It’s time for another round of office chitchat! For this Table Talk, we invited four fabulous Vera Bradley mothers to gather over tea and treats and catch up on sleep challenges, trying to do it all, those Vera Bradley styles that they just couldn’t do without, and all things mom.
On the guest list:
Elizabeth H. (EH), Sr. Merchandise Planner
Mother to Sam, 3½ and Ellen, 15 weeks
Make a Change Baby Bag in Provençal
Tiffany K. (TK), Business Intelligence Analyst
Mother to Gwenyth, 3½ and Estella, 5½ months
Mom’s Day Out in Va Va Bloom
Leslee H. (LH), Inventory Planning Analyst
Mother to Sullivan, 3½ and Hadley, 4 months
Backpack in Portobello Road
Jessica F. (JF), Retail Promotion Analyst
Mother to Betsy, 11 months
Messenger Baby Bag in Canyon
What’s your advice for birthday parties since Jessica’s approaching her first with Betsy?
EH: Don’t invite 50 people. I did, and it was overwhelming; and then Sam got sick.
TK: It’s so stressful. And then halfway through they just want a nap and they’re over it.
LH: They find one gift and that’s all they want.
TK: And then you feel like you have to apologize to everyone else. “I’m so sorry, she really does love your gift. I’m sure she’ll play with it tomorrow.”
EH: Make it special for you and your family and don’t go crazy.
LH: All the decorations are really for you, anyway. They just want presents – and the boxes.
The lessons you learn …
LH: This isn’t really related to anything but, just so you know, if your kids have croup in the summer time, you are supposed to open the freezer door and stick their head in. It really worked!
JF: We’ve been so lucky with Betsy being healthy, but last night she broke out in a rash after eating eggplant. I didn’t even know people could be allergic to eggplant! It was the first time I’d ever had it, so …
On the topic of sleep …
LH: But at least we’re sleeping through the night now.
EH: Yeah, we’re taking a break on that. Apparently that’s not cool anymore. The 4 am wake up is my favorite since I get up at 5:30 for work anyway.
JF: I get up at 4:30 to go to the gym and then get Betsy ready for the day.
LH: That’s awesome.
TK: Well, I get up at 3:30 every morning and make pancakes and sausage! Just kidding …
EH: Sam ends up in our bed every night.
TK: Oh, Gwenyth has for the last two weeks! She’s figured out, “If I don’t wake them up, they can’t take me back to bed, so if I creep in and get in the middle and go right to sleep, I’m golden.”
EH: And then they don’t want covers on and they’re in the middle.
TK: She’ll kick me in the face and I’ll say, “Gwenyth!” and she’ll say, “I’m sorry, Mama, it’s OK.” And she always says, “Do you want to sit by me?” which means sleep in my bed. “Are you sure you don’t want to sit by me?”
Pancakes and other palate-related topics …
LH: Did you know there are pancakes on a stick? I eat them. They’re amazing.
TK: That sounds weird.
EH: Do you not like corn dogs then?
LH and EH: Mmmm!
EH: I love corn dogs, and the veggie ones are actually good and I don’t feel awful giving them to my kids.
LH: However, veggie cheese slices ….
TK: That sounds like a terrible idea!
LH: It was. Elizabeth, your kid’s the only one I know who eats veggies on request.
TK: Oh my gosh, Gwenyth is obsessed with fruits and veggies. She asks for broccoli and eats the stems before the florets! Who does that? You don’t even have to eat the stalks!
EH: I made Sam’s food and I feel like homemade baby food had more texture so they get more comfortable with textures. And he always ate what we ate.
LH: I started with that thing with the handle you crank.
EH: Mini food processor all the way.
LH: Yeah, I just used the blender. But I did teach him that prunes were candy. So, when he has a tummy ache, he’ll say, “I think I should have a prune candy.” And I’ll say, “Yes. Yes, you should.”
TK: Yeah, my Mom will bring juice over and be like, “It’s OK, it has 40% less sugar.” And I’m like, “Than what? I mean, 40% less sugar than a candy bar? What are we talking about here?”
EH: Sam calls my parents, “Giggy and Bop.”
LH: I love that!
TK: Favorite 3-year-old word, hands down, is “ravioli”. And nothing is “she”; it’s always “her”. “Her looks cute. Her needs changed.”
What’s the toughest thing about being a Mom who works outside the home?
TK, LH and EH: Guilt.
TK: When they’re sick and you’re trying to take care of them and make sure things at work are taken care of, and then, I’m in school, so I have to start homework. About a month after I decided to go back I found out I was pregnant … and we were moving into our new house. You know, overall, the most important thing is, we try to be everything and sometimes you have to stop and say, “I can not be Wonder Woman.” You have to pick. Of course, the girls are top priority, family, but you have to remind yourself of that sometimes.
EH: After having Ellen, I was actually ready to come to work. I love the adult interaction and socializing, but I think being surrounded by so many women who have kids around the same age is a huge help. You can vent and bounce things off each other. I can’t imagine not having that.
LH: It’s crazy that there are people who actually are doing it all. They aren’t lacking anywhere; their house, their kids, their work. It’s all perfect! How is that? Because I’ll go home and there will be a bowl on the floor, with nothing in it because the dog ate it. There will be a bowl in my bathroom from the cereal I ate while I was getting ready, and there will be a bottle sitting out. And that’s how it will stay until I spaz out and go through and clean like a tornado. And there will be books everywhere …
TK: Oh, the books! The books!
LH: How did we gain a library in 3 years? I love that he loves books, but …
JF: I’m pretty lucky because I’m part time so when Betsy’s down, that’s my go time.
Which Vera Bradley style is most helpful as a mom?
EH: Brush and Pencil, which houses the nose sucker, comb, hair bows and tubes of stuff all in a brightly colored pouch that’s easy to find.
TK: I love the Ditty Bag! With two girls who are always spitting up, we go through several outfits. I can throw stuff in there and I don’t have to worry about other things getting wet.
LH: It’s also great if you do cloth diapers, even though I hesitate to put those in something so beautiful.
JF: Honestly, with my Baby Bag, I don’t need anything else. I love all the pockets, it’s lined, and I just put everything in its spot.
LH: I have to give props to the Backpack. I never thought I’d be a Backpack girl, but I totally am! Your hands free all the time, and the pockets are perfect.
You all have little girls. Do they have their first Vera Bradley yet?
TK: Yes, Gwenyth has the Caitlyn in Watercolor. She keeps Mr. Potato Head in there for now, but I’m sure that will change.
LH: Sullivan has a microfiber Brown Backpack. He wears it to school. It’s only fancy on the zipper pull.
EH: I did get a Vera in Folkloric when I found out I was having a girl. I love the pattern and it’s a great smaller baby bag option. Plus, you can wash it.
JF: I’ve got a Large Duffel in Priscilla Pink for weekends and, of course, I got a Little Betsy at my Vera Bradley baby shower.
Favorite bedtime story?
JF: We do Goodnight Moon a lot. It was a favorite of mine as a child, so I love reading it to her.
TK: We do a lot of Dr. Suess. Now she knows the words so she reads it to us, and it makes her so tired.
EH: We like God Gave Us You. It has two polar bears and it goes through welcoming another baby.
LH: Oh! Have you guys heard of Before There Was You? It’s the best book for before the baby comes for the older sibling.
What characters are big in your house?
JF: No TV in our house yet.
TK: Gwenyth likes Dora the Explorer but she also likes to watch Ghostbusters with her Dad.
LH: Wild Kratts is a big one for Sullivan.
EH: Yes! I like that one. We stick with PBS. Nick Jr. is pretty good, too.
TK: I think she likes Doc McStuffins now, because she’s started diagnosing everything.
EH: Sam likes Caillou and He-Man. There’s no violence and there’s always a lesson at the end.
LH: I love Dinosaur Train, too.
TK: Well, and we’re a Yo Gabba Gabba family, too.
EH: That show was the only thing that calmed Sam as a child. As soon as he saw DJ Lance Rock …
TK: Well, and it gives great advice. I mean, “Don’t bite your friends,” “There’s a party in my tummy.”
What’s the best advice you could give to a new mom?
JF: Don’t listen to anyone else’s advice!
EH: Take time for yourself.
TK: Accept help.
LH: Don’t’ listen to people. Everyone thinks they know your child, but you really know them best.
On a night out, what bag are you carrying?
LH: The Zip-Around Wallet, because it looks great in and out of your bag.
TK: I love the Vera Vera Flap All in One.
EH: There’s a certain sparkly collection coming out that I can’t wait for! [hint, hint!]
JF: Yeah, the All in One Wristlet is great. It’s small and easy to grab and go.