Balancing Creative Work while Raising Kids

I haven’t written a blog post in a long time. Being a working mama with twin girls makes every minute sacred. I even asked busy creative mamas how they manage writing books while raising kids + getting it all done. Here’s what they told me.

My true story from the trenches: Recently, my twins were both sick at the same time. I got a last-minute assignment for a story that was due in a few days. Our house was 10 days of pure chaos — wiping noses, managing fevers, cranking out interview questions, and writing at 6am. My husband, who works for DreamWorks TV as an executive producer, and I juggled childcare and our work. We were dead exhausted. I needed to turn in this story on Monday. It was Thursday, and I had some seriously cranky toddlers who kept sneezing/coughing in my face. I caught the cold. I spent the weekend, sniffling, interviewing experts, and pulling quotes and photos.

I turned in my story about kids living with rare genetic conditions on Monday. It was published on Today’s Parent on February 28 for Rare Disease Day. I saw that Chelsea Clinton was tweeting about Rare Disease Day so I shared my story with her. She retweeted it!!!! I lost my mind.

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I didn’t tell my editor that I was sick and my kids were sick. I told her I’d turn it in on time and get all the interviews done. My editor’s response when she found out was priceless.

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Sometimes, the universe gives you a big pat on the back after you’ve been buried in the trenches. Thank you, universe!

Why I Advocate for Paid Family Leave

As a new mom and freelance journalist and editor, I had to cobble together my maternity leave with California’s paid family leave program and by working on projects during my pregnancy. The United States currently has no federal paid family leave. I recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic’s CityLab about corporations who are offering generous paid family leave (up to 26 weeks fully paid), on-site childcare, and additional parental support.

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How to Stay Calm During Pregnancy and Beyond

Recently, I wrote a Brit + Co article about 9 Ways to Stay *Super* Calm During Pregnancy. It’s hard to stay zen when everything about your body is changing every single moment. One day, you feel like everything’s making you want to vomit and the next day, you could eat your way through an entire grocery store. Hormones!

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A fellow writer I met through UPOD Academy — a must for any freelance writer — started her Meditations for Mamas site to help moms and pregnant women get through the rigors of pregnancy and motherhood. She interviewed me about what it’s like being the mom of twins (exhausting/wonderful) and my life after writing so openly about my miscarriage for BuzzFeed. I love her approach to 2-minute, 5-minute, and 10-minute meditations that she offers on her YouTube channel that are geared toward busy parents who need some stress-free moments in their day.


When You Need a Little Creative Break

My friend David Licata posted this link to a helpful breathing GIF that I wanted to share. As someone who is running on little sleep and trying to be creative, I thought this image was a perfect reminder to take a deep breath during those hectic times.



How to Maintain a Writing Schedule as a New Mom

As a new mom of twin girls (yup, two babies), the hardest thing — besides the sleep deprivation — is keeping up with my paid and passion writing projects. I’m still learning the ropes of how to do this, but I found that finding another writer mom has been super helpful. I asked my friend Melissa Sarno to be my writing partner. This is how it works: Every time we finish a chunk of writing time, even if it’s just 15 minutes, we text each other, “DONE!” The other writes back, “Way to go!” or something along those lines. During the month of May, we challenged each other to write for at least 20 minutes a day (with 3 freebie days), and we both stuck to it.

This exercise came out of an important lesson from a writing teacher I admire (Psst … look up UPOD Academy and take classes with David Hochman). When I told him that I wanted to finish revising my YA novel but was terrified that being a new mom would zap all my time, he said, “Carve out 15 minutes a day. You can find 15 minutes. You’ll be amazed at what you can do.” And he’s right. I’m slowly but surely churning out these revisions. I look at it this way. Fifteen minutes a day is better than 0 minutes a day.

If you’re a mama who writes, please share your tips for carving out that creative time while managing your kiddos!

I’m in Oprah Magazine!

I’m SUPER excited to share that in the July 2016 issue of O: The Oprah Magazine, you’ll see a picture of me in the contributors section of the magazine. Woo hoo! I wrote a story about Patrice Banks, the wonderful female auto mechanic who is opening her own auto body shop in Philadelphia called Girls Auto Clinic.

O is one of my fave magazines and it’s so thrilling to be featured in the magazine, alongside Elizabeth Gilbert! A dream come true for me.

July Contributor Page

How to Take Maternity Leave as a Freelancer

Paid family leave in the US is a hot topic, and deservedly so. As a new mom, I wish the US was more progressive and offered what some other countries give new families.

Back in February 2016, a fellow freelance writer interviewed me for a Fast Company article on How Freelancers Can Plan for Parental Leave.

Recently, a radio producer at SoCal Public Radio KPCC’s Take Two contacted me to talk about paid family leave based on my comments in that article. Here’s a link to the full interview.

Hopefully, this ongoing conversation will lead to bigger changes for new mothers and fathers and anyone caring for a family member!

My Latest Published Piece in the April 2016 Issue of Real Simple!

I’m excited to share that my first published piece for one of my favorite magazines, Real Simple, is out on newsstands now. I interviewed workplace expert and author of Work Simply Carson Tate about how to use your productivity personality to figure out exactly how you best work.

Real Simple is one of the magazines on my bucket list and I’m thrilled to have a byline in the April 2016 issue. After five years of pitching (yes, five years), I FINALLY wrote for Real Simple. Woo hoo!

Real Simple April 2016 cover


Snag the Feb/March 2016 Issue of Bust Magazine!

One of the very first pieces I ever wrote was for Bust magazine back in 2007 about young women who wanted to become nuns. It’s one of my favorite independent magazines and I always enjoy writing for them. In the Feb/March 2016 issue with The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams on the cover, I wrote a short piece about CatLadyBox, a subscription service geared toward cat ladies. If you’re crazy about cats or have a friend who is, check out CatLadyBox. It’s super cute!

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Two Veg Editors Share What They Want to See From Food Writers

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My colleague at VegNews magazine, Aurelia d’Andrea, founded Swell! Magazine, an online magazine focused on “eco-friendly travel, healthy eating, creative self-care, guilt-free relaxation-and-pampering tips, and inspiration from other women leading creative, compassionate lives.” Aurelia recently interviewed myself and Vegetarian Times food editor Mary Margaret Chappell about what we look for when we’re searching for new food writers for our respective magazines. If you’re an aspiring food writer or want the inside scoop on pitching food magazines, check out Aurelia’s interview here. Enjoy!

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