Glimpses of Motherhood is a series that offers a small peek into the lives of moms from all different places and walks of life. The women give us a look at what life is like for them while also serving up recommendations and getting a little vulnerable. My hope is that these posts make you feel connected and understood, while also seeing the ways other women live their lives differently than yours.
I stumbled upon Raquel Harbin and The Cool Mom’s Blog through Instagram a few months ago and was instantly smitten with her emphasis on self care. She may be a busy momma to three under five, but she always remembers to take care of herself—and constantly reminds her followers to do the same. Take this caption from a recent Instagram post:
“After a long week, I plan on staying in a robe all day, giving myself a manicure and having a movie marathon with the kids. Days like this are necessary for me to be a better mom. You know, filling my cup and all that. How are you going to fill your cup this weekend?”
I love that Raquel shows off different facets of motherhood: some days she posts a photo looking fierce in thigh-high boots or a full face of makeup. Other days she’s all coffee and top knots. The contrast reminds us mommas that we’re not all one or the other. Instead, it’s about finding our balance.
I wanted to learn more about her and how she manages that delicate balancing act.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a 20-something mother of three, living in Los Angeles. I’m originally from San Diego, but moved to LA for work. I was a hair and makeup artist then, working on photoshoots. I have been married for almost 6 years now, but we have known each other almost 10. We met in Vegas of all places! Right now, I’m working from home, sharing my life and uplifting other mothers in my little corner of the internet.
When it looks like you won’t be getting any kind of self care done for the day, but you really need it…You improvise. Face masks for everyone! . . . #myrealmotherhood #igmotherhood #parenthood_unveiled #dailyparenting #motherhoodrising #bestofmom #stopdropandmom #motherhoodalive #myhonestmotherhood #motherhoodsimplified #unitedinmotherhood
What does a typical day look like for you?
Complete and utter chaos, haha! But really… My youngest son is my alarm clock, 5:30 am every day without fail. I feed him, drink my coffee, and have a little solo time with him before my other two wake up. Once they wake up, anything can happen. They eat breakfast and then I usually try to get them outside and moving around. The park and the library are their favorite places so we walk there and hang out for a couple of hours, eat lunch and then go home for a nap.
Throughout the day, I respond to emails and check in on social media, but nap time is my opportunity to get some blog work done. If I need to shoot pictures for a brand, that’s when I set up and take them, or if I need to write I do it then. I only have about an hour (two if I’m lucky) to work and then my attention is back on the kids. When they wake up, it’s “school time” and we do whatever educational activity I planned for the day. Then, they either play outside or watch a movie while I get a little cleaning done and prepare dinner.
After dinner is the usual bath and bedtime routine. When they are in bed, I finish what I started at nap time. Some days are really exhausting so I throw on Netflix and cuddle up with the husband instead. But mostly, the after-bedtime hours are my working hours.
Our day sounds so uncomplicated when it’s written out. I guess I forgot to throw in all of the fighting, tantrums and damage control that happens too. Oh, and I’m currently nursing on demand during all of this!
I almost deleted this picture because it wasn’t a “good” one. No one is looking in the same direction, I look exhausted and crazy, the baby is trying to launch himself out of my arms. The longer I looked at it, the more flaws I discovered. And that’s when I decided it was worth keeping. Motherhood is not always pretty or perfect. It’s chaos. It’s blood, sweat and tears…Literally. Somedays, it’s struggling to stay afloat and put on a smile. It’s pouring so much of your love and attention into your children, that you barely have enough for yourself. And it’s choosing to do it every day, over and over again, because you couldn’t imagine your life any other way. ❤ . . . . #motherhoodsimplified #momlife #mommyhood #unitedinmotherhood #lovethelittlethings #honestmotherhood #happymama #humansofjoy #joyfulmamas #momentsofmine #dailyparenting #realmomtogs #documentingmotherhood #documentyourdays #everydaymoments #mamalife #ohheymama #bestofmom #lifeofamom #acupofmotherhood #momblogger #thisismotherhood #littlestoriesofmylife #stopdropandmom #teammotherly #holdthemoments #motherhoodalive #motherhoodrising #igmotherhood
What beauty product would you take with you on a desert island? Why?
A really good moisturizer. I can’t live with dry skin.
What are the last three books you’ve read? Were they any good?
The last three books of the Harry Potter series. Of course they were good, they are my favorite and I think I’ve read them all about a million times.
What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
The Kardashians. The only one I really like is Kourtney and maybe Kendall… but I just can’t look away. Anytime something with their name pops up, I click on it and read. The whole time people were speculating if Kylie was pregnant, I was like “Who cares?” but I totally watched her 11-minute baby video.
If you had to listen to one album on repeat forever, what would it be?
If you were a literary character, who would you be?
Hermoine Granger, of course.
Finish this sentence: My momma always told me…
I’ll have to switch this out to Grandma but, “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” She always said this every day, whenever I left the house. That is probably why I am extra cautious and question everything now, haha.
What are you afraid of?
I am afraid of a lot of things. My mind goes to the worst possible scenarios whenever something is off. My husband says it’s because I watch too many shows like SVU and Criminal Minds.
Tell me three things not many people know about you.
Let’s see… I didn’t know how to ride a bike until my friend taught me in middle school. I might seem like a “girly girl” because I love makeup but I absolutely love being in nature. Camping, surfing, snowboarding, horseback riding, hiking trails… you name it, I enjoy it. And the third thing… while I love nature, I will FREAK out if anything that flies comes near me.
“Support wildlife, raise kids.” At least that’s what it feels like I’m doing lately. But there will come a time when the house will be quieter, when I can’t pick them up anymore or feel their little hands on my face. So until then, I’ll let them be as wild and free as their little hearts desire ❤ – . . . . . #myrealmotherhood #arwildbeauty #igmotherhood #motherhoodrising #candidchildhood #honestmotherhood #punkymoms #momstatus #momsofinstagram #ohheymama #bestofmom #stopdropandmom #parenthood_unveiled #motherhoodalive #unitedinmotherhood #mywildmotherhood #lovethelittlethings #our_everyday_moments #teammotherly #littlestoriesofmylife #holdthemoments #momiform #humansofjoy #dailyparenting #documentingmotherhood #documentyourdays #lifeofamom
What’s the most surprising thing about motherhood for you?
I think the most surprising thing was how differently you have to parent each of your kids. I don’t think anyone touched on that when telling me about motherhood. For example, my son calms down when you comfort him. My daughter’s crying only gets worse if you even get anywhere near her.
What’s your parenting style like?
Honestly, I’m kind of just winging it. I don’t have a set plan because I’ve learned most times, planning does no good. I encourage learning, reading and independence. And above all, I tell them I love them 54,759 times a day.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other moms?
My number one piece of advice is to always ultimately go with what you feel is right for your family. Don’t care if other people will judge you or won’t be happy with your decision. It’s your life, no one else has to live it and you know what works best for your family.
What do you do to unwind?
A really hot shower to start, food and either a book or TV. Right now I’ve been trying to put a dent in my list of documentaries on Netflix and HBO. Recently I’ve watched The Paradise Lost Trilogy (I’m only halfway through but it is REALLY graphic), They Call Us Monsters, The Wolf Pack, and Mother Dead and Dearest.
What does balance mean for you?
Balance to me means peace. Even though I described our days as chaos earlier, there is a peace there that I can’t even begin to explain. My kids don’t have to compete with my work and my work doesn’t suffer from the time I spend with my kids.
What’s your favorite podcast?
I actually don’t have one. Got any to suggest?
Editor’s note: Majestically Awkward! 😉
What’s the strangest or most random thing your kid has said recently?
My kids are all about butts and farts recently. My daughter, who used to call me honey, now calls me “Mommy booty.”
Tell us about a hilariously awkward moment.
As I said before, my kids crack up at anything having to do with butts. All day long they say things to each other about butts and laugh like it’s the funniest thing ever. We were at the grocery store and my daughter said, “Mommy I want to eat your candy.” (I had put licorice in the cart.) My son, who loves to copy her, then turns to me and says, “Mommy, I want to eat your booty.” I will never forget the looks I got from everyone in the aisle! It was so embarrassing but I couldn’t stop laughing. Of course, that made him say it over and over again. I got out of there as fast as I could.
If you’d like to continue the conversation with Raquel, please feel free to ask her questions in the comments. I also encourage you to check out her out on Instagram.