I Officially Have a Mom Crush on Michelle Obama

11102877_10152772609320205_6410402974126457914_n.jpgMore than a decade ago, I dreamt up the concept behind Role Mommy. With two little kids in tow, I was determined to find a way to achieve success in my career without it taking a toll on my family. Thanks to an incredibly understanding boss who was quite the visionary back during those days, I managed to carve out a schedule for myself which paved the way for other women in our department to work from home. Despite my unconventional work schedule, I still managed to climb the ladder and eventually became a vice president in my department working with incredible individuals who were leaders in their field — from television producers, to programming executives, writers and actresses – all of whom were doing what they loved while raising a family.
At the time, I was fascinated by women who didn’t compromise their own dreams while pursuing motherhood and that’s the moment that Role Mommy was born. In my wildest dreams, I never imagined that my passion for storytelling would eventually lead me to the opportunity of a lifetime. What I have come to discover during this incredible journey as a parenting blogger is that anything truly is possible. After being invited by Cafe Mom to visit the White House where I would get the chance to meet the First Lady and learn more about the “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity, it became quite apparent that today’s working mothers have found an ideal way to integrate their families into their lives in a way that ensures they will never short change their kids while pursuing their own careers. Incidentally, nearly every person who spoke at the event was a working mother who has made it their mission to help others while being an incredible role model for their own families.
michelle.jpg
When First Lady Michelle Obama took the stage at the Let’s Move event it was at that moment, that I developed my “mom crush.” Not only is she beautiful, poised and so incredibly smart, Michelle Obama is authentic, relatable and down to earth. As she recounted a story about how she used to feed her kids junk food when she was a busy working mom with two little kids, it instantly transported me back to those days when I was juggling a busy corporate career with motherhood. As hard as I tried to be a good mom, I remember short changing my kids with poor food choices — caving in to easy menu choices like chicken fingers and fruit roll ups, until those bad decisions caught up with me. In Mrs. Obama’s situation, she shared how her family’s fast food habits led her to have a serious conversation with her kids’ pediatrician who urged her to start introducing healthier foods into her daughters’ diet. In my case, a visit to the dentist revealed that my daughter’s fruit roll up fixation inevitably was the cause of several unwanted cavities. In both cases, we were both pretty lucky that these red flags took place when our kids were little so we could make a course correction and start introducing healthy foods into their diets when they were still pretty young.
Today, my kids actually love fish, vegetables (they are partial to my crispy kale chips) and oftentimes opt for the healthy food options then an easy junk food alternative. And in Michelle’s case, she shared how her two daughters have also made healthy food choices without her having to force them to do it.
By tackling the childhood obesity epidemic in the White House, the First Lady has made healthy eating and fitness a priority with families across the nation. No matter how busy you are as a working parent, it is essential that we make smart choices for our family and it’s great to know that kids today are being empowered in schools across the country to learn why it is so important to lead a healthy lifestyle. One thing that really struck a chord with me was when Mrs. Obama said it will be interesting to see when we look back on this generation that was initially raised on chicken nuggets and hopefully, those types of foods will no longer even be considered a viable meal option. Just as it’s become second nature to wear seat belts, kids have the potential today to grow up incorporating proper nutrition and fitness into their daily lives.
As Mrs. Obama looked around the room and remarked how inspired she was by the 150 bloggers and online influencers who have shared their individual stories with the world, I realized that there truly is power in storytelling. Everyone’s personal connection to the topic of getting and staying healthy is a powerful one. In my case, I recently lost a close relative to heart disease and have realized now more than ever the importance of taking care of my own health, while I care for my family.
michelle2.jpg
Whatever your personal story may be as it relates to the health and well being of your family, just know you are not alone. As a parent, it might be easier to cave in and give your kids what they want at the moment – but trust me – what they want may not necessarily be what they need. Provide them with healthy options like fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and fish and make sure they go outside and play. If we give kids the chance to be kids again while nourishing them with the foods they need to grow and thrive, there’s no telling what they can accomplish. Just take a look at how healthy eating has transformed my two little kids into incredible young teens!
IMG_3110.JPG
A huge thank you to Cafe Mom and the Stir for inviting me to attend this incredible event. For more information on how you can get involved with Let’s Move, visit their website and make sure you take advantage of all the cool opportunities in your local community.

That Time I Got Invited to the White House

If anyone would have ever told me back in 2005 when I started Role Mommy that my mission to inspiring parents to pursue their passion while raising a family would have eventually led to me attending an event at the White House, I would have told them they were nuts. But that was then, when I was still climbing the ladder at a corporate job with two little kids in tow.
Fast forward 11 years and I just experienced the best day ever as a blogger. Thanks to Cafe Mom and The Stir, I was invited to attend a very special event at the White House where about 150 parenting bloggers would get to learn more about the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” initiative.
When we arrived, we were whisked through security and the process was pretty organized and simple. In a matter of minutes we were on the grounds of the White House and were able to roam freely – especially when one security guard told us – “you don’t fit the profile for terrorists.” He’s got that right!
We were all practically giddy walking up that hill to the White House and were even more amazed when we walked inside and were encouraged to visit all the rooms (no – we couldn’t check out the Lincoln Bedroom but we did see a lot!). I remember visiting the White House as a kid but when the rooms were all roped off when I was there. But under the Obama Administration, you can walk into a room and even sit down and take photo right under a painting of Jackie Kennedy.
meathewhitehouse.jpg
Before we knew it, we were invited into a room filled with round tables and we all took our seats in nervous anticipation as the event started. The morning started with an introduction by Deb Eschmeyer, the Executive Director of the Let’s Move campaign who talked about the impact Let’s Move has made to combat childhood obesity and educate kids and families about the importance of healthy eating and exercise.
michelle.jpg
Since the Let’s Move campaign was introduced, over 80 million people in this country now live in a LetsMove city, town or county.
The mission of Let’s Move is to get to a place where everyone in communities across our nation has access to healthy lifestyle options.
Former Olympian Dominique Dawes
Throughout the event, we were introduced to so many inspiring women who play an integral role in the Let’s Move campaign. Former Olympian Dominique Dawes who is now a mom of two and the co-chair of the Fitness Council for Let’s Move, shared her personal story of how she realized the importance of finding time for herself when she became a mom. While nutrition is important to staying healthy and fit, it’s just as important to take time out of your day to exercise.
Dawes is also involved in Lets Move at school, an initiative to encourage kids to be active. “If we teach kids these healthy habits when they are young, they will continue these habits throughout their lives.”
Every Kid in a Park Initiative
From schools we hit the parks and learned that starting this year, 4th graders who visit our national parks with their families will be given the opportunity to visit for free! That means if you are traveling to the Grand Canyon or Acadia Naitonal Park or anywhere in between, if you’ve got a fourth grader in your car, you will get free admission!
You can download your pass at www.everykidinapark.gov .
The goal behind the every kid in a park initiative is to get everyone out to explore.
Community Gardens
Another incredible accomplishment of the Let’s Move Campaign are the amazing community gardens that have been created as a result of their efforts. From faith based communities to schools, kids and adults are coming together to plant seeds and grow vegetable gardens – teaching children about where food comes from and empowering them to become a part of the healthy eating movement.
On the Let’s Move website, you can find out more about how to start your own community garden and shares the following news:
The USDA has grant funds available to help parents create and start a farm to school program.
Technical assistance materials available – Let’s Move has spent the last seven years creating resources that schools can take advantage of.
Let’s Move wants to champion success – there are little girls like this all over the country — that are super psyched about the gardens — kale that they grew is on on the salad bar. When we share stories it inspires others.
Let’s Move is also running the “One in Melon Award” — accepting nominations now through April 15 — to showcase schools in our nation that have exemplary food to farm programs.
Choose My Plate
Growing up, we were conditioned to know about the Food Pyramid that was released by the USDA and told us how many proteins, breads, fruits and vegetables we should eat each today. Today, the pyramid has been replaced by the Healthy Plate. Some initiatives currently taking place to celebrate communities embracing this new model include:
Healthy Lifestyle Challenge — kids 8-12
1. My Plate My State — If you have a child in your home who loves to cook or develop recipes, then you might want to enter them into a contest where kids are encourage to submit recipes — one winner from every state will attend a Kids State Dinner at the White House! The goal is to showcase locally grown foods, from your state or region.

2. My Plate My Wins Challenge – show people you can make simple small changes on a day to day basis — 2+2+2 – try two foods from every food groups and 2 kinds of physical activity for 2 days. Over those 2 days you record your progress and that information lives in the Let’s Move super tracker. You can even form a team and compete with each other and add a little fun.
Finally, celebrities are also lending their names to the Let’s Move campaign, recording inspiring and hilarious videos and sharing them via social media. Follow the hashtag
#TeamMFNV to follow along with your favorite stars.
More to come in my next post…including details on Michelle Obama and the personal story in her life that led her to tackle childhood obesity with the Let’s Move campaign.