FIVE X FIVE: Lee Cordon
The Tot FIVE x FIVE invites inspiring mamas to answer five questions on motherhood and curate five products they can’t live without. Here we talk to Lee Cordon, Founder and Editorial Director of DoSayGive.com.
LEE ON MOTHERHOOD
- What’s one of the most challenging things about motherhood and how do you overcome this? My grandmother used to say that motherhood is NOT for wimps. She was right! It can be exhausting, both physically and mentally. For this reason, I try to allow enough margin in our schedules to manage it all without pulling my hair out. I’m always reevaluating our commitments, declining invitations when our plate gets too full, and trying to keep our children’s extracurriculars to a minimum.
- What’s your proudest mom moment? When my daughter’s feeding tube was removed at age four. She was born very premature and considered “medically dependent” for several years. We spent hours in front of the high chair trying to feed her enough to thrive on her own, in addition to countless therapy and doctor appointments. Those years are now a blur, but I’ll never forget the day her GI doctor took out her g-button. I felt like they should have had cake and balloons to celebrate, but it was actually very anti-climatic. In my heart, however, it was a huge accomplishment – for both her and me!
- What are your non-negotiables that keep you and your family centered? Nap time is a non-negotiable in our house! My oldest napped well through kindergarten. My two middle girls dropped their naps a little younger but still had “quiet time” every afternoon, which included listening to audio books or playing quietly. I have found that my children need down time (without a screen) to relax their little minds and bodies, to think and to exercise their imaginations. (I needed that down time, too!) I’ve also found that a well-rested child is usually a much better behaved child! Our fourth baby has had to be flexible with her big sister’s school drop offs and pickups, but I try to prioritize her nap time as much as possible. It’s been good for our whole family to align with her schedule and all have a little rest time – especially on the weekends!
- As a mom of four what are your go-to timesaving hacks? Getting up 1-2 hours before my children has been a game changer as a mom with a work-from-home business. I accomplish so much during that quiet, uninterrupted time. There’s something so pleasant about having a cup of coffee, and time to think about my day, before the pitter patter of little feet wakes me up (and all the questions and needs commence!).
- What are the key attributes you want to impart to your children? I want my girls to be gracious and others-focused. Not just “well-mannered” but truly having a heart for others, especially those who might go unnoticed. I encourage them to reach out to the new girl on the first day of school, to smile and talk to the disabled child in the waiting room, to show respect to the elderly by holding doors open or giving up their seat. But I’ve learned that developing a love for others truly begins at home. If I allow them to speak disrespectfully to me, or be sassy to their sisters, I cannot be surprised if they act that way to others. It’s a daily process to raise selfless, gracious children but one that is very important to my husband and me.
LEE’S GIFT ESSENTIALS FOR KIDS
- Olli Ella Strolley: This doll stroller was on our holiday gift guide. It is so timeless and can be used for so much more than a stroller – grocery cart, mail cart, the imagination possibilities are endless!
- Moulin Roty Tool Set: This toymaker is one of my favorites. I love giving special toys that can be eventually passed down to children and grandchildren.
- Petit Collage Magnetic Dress – Best Friends: This is a go-to brand for classmate birthday presents. Toys that have their own storage and are easy to take on car trips or to doctor’s waiting rooms make great gifts!
- Odette Williams Kids Apron – Navy Stars: One of the best things my daughter ever received was her own child-size rolling pin. She gets so excited to get it out for baking and crafts. I love this little set that includes an apron, too.
- Lovelane Designs Knight’s Tunic: Every child should have a costume bin or basket to encourage imagination. Fill it with beautiful costumes from this awesome company or passed down items like Grandma’s old costume jewelry and scarves.