September 20, 2017 7 min read

Happy Wednesday Mamas! This week we are chatting with Vanessa, the master of sleep nursing who's imagery is just as poetic as her writing. Her Instagram feed is beautiful, and full of creative imagery that has us oohing and aahing. Vanessa is on a quest to find balance, ditch laundry, and get as much quality time with her family––while still pursuing her dreams. Grab your drink of choice, find a cozy spot, and lets read how this mama does it!

Vanessa Rivera How Does She Do It? Motherhood, Work, Life Balance

Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.

My name is Vanessa and I am 27. I live in Southern California with my husband and 3 children ages 5, 2, and 8 months. I am currently a stay at home mom, but I just graduated and majored in English Education this year so hopefully I'll start teaching soon. 

Describe a day in the life of you.

 A typical day in my shoes always starts with morning cuddles from all 3 of my little ones. Then we rush off to drop my daughter at school. Thank goodness it's literally across the street or we would be late every day! While she's in school the boys and I hang out. We play trains, I do some house chores, I'll work on my current writing project, and I take pictures and edit photos for my IG. Once school is out we rush off to gymnastics. The day ends with a walk or some jumping on the trampoline and a nice family dinner that is most likely burnt by yours truly! Once the littles are in bed, my husband and I like to watch our current series episodes to unwind and sometimes with a little wine!  
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?

 When I was in school, my mom helped a lot, but now that I'm done, it's just me. My husband of course helps out when he gets home from work, but during the day I manage to hold down the fort alone. 
How do you manage to have “me” time?

Squeezing in "me" is quite challenging, but I try to at least give myself some time at least 3 times a week for a good hour so. During this time I write. However I also do have mini "me" sessions a few times a week where I browse instagram and go to the gym. 
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?

I do try to eat healthy and work out at least 3 or 4 times a week at the gym to balance out our junk food and lazy movie night festivities. 
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits?  If so, how do you do it with children? 

I am definitely a pj's all day type of girl. Since I'm at home most of the time, I like to be comfortable when I'm running around playing with my kids and doing house chores. But if I must get dressed up, I'm a tee shirt and jeans type of girl. Getting ready is pretty difficult with 3 little ones, but Peppa Pig is quite the helper!
Has your style changed after motherhood?

Yes definitely. My tummy was left with tons of stretch marks and loose skin after 3 babies so my style has changed a bit to work around that. Also, as a mom to 3 I've learned to appreciate comfort in my wardrobe so loose fitting dresses and tops are my favorite.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure is my nightly netflix binge with my husband. We get addicted to shows and finish seasons in a matter of days. Oh and sushi! We may or may not have a sushi addiction. 
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?

I do breastfeed my youngest, but I don't really schedule my day around his feedings. I feed him any time and any place he's hungry.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?

I co-sleep and breastfeed, so I honestly get my full hours of sleep. After 3 kids I've mastered sleep nursing quite well. I've managed to dodge the team no sleep committee. 
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
My priority is my kids and husband. I like to spend time with them as much as possible. Sometimes its teaching my daughter piano or netflix watching with my husband, or taking daily walks to the park with the kids. I think the thing that gets neglected the most is laundry. We always have piles of unfolded clean clothes or mountains of dirty laundry. But hey, priorities right! 
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?

 I'll be honest, I hate cooking and I'm not great at it either, but I do try to cook dinner during the week consistently. Weekends I usually leave the cooking to my husband, who loves cooking, or we go out for dinner. We may have a sushi problem. As for planning our weekday meals I go shopping on Sundays and pick 5 meats and tons of veggies to sauté on the side. Nothing fancy. Quick and healthy is my cooking motto.
Have you ever felt like you are loosing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?

Definitely. Several times actually. I think the thing that hit me the most was my lack of a social life and girlfriends because I was one of the first of my friends to have kids. Several times I've felt lonely in this area. However, I overcame this when I became involved with instagram in January. I fell in love with the motherhood instagram community. There are thousands of women out there just like me and I love talking to them and sharing moments with each other that we can relate to. The friendships that I'm building have definitely helped me a lot.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?

 He helps where he can. He'll come home from work and play with the kids while I shower or have some "me" time to write. 
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?

Marriage and motherhood are tricky to balance, but after years of trial and error, my husband and I finally got it down. He understands the demands of being a mother and so he is very understanding, patient, and helpful which in turn helps me stay leveled. During the day motherhood is priority, but as soon as the kids go to bed, its our together time. We've also learned there everything has cycles. Some days we are very intimate and other days life happens and we've learned to be okay with that and just embrace our time together and power through the lows. 
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?

I don't work for a company, but I do work as an instagram influencer. I usually take pictures during the day every day. It has just become part of my daily routine and honestly I don't mind it since it's pictures of my kids. After the kids go to bed is when I do my photo edits then the next morning I post. This eliminates me being on my phone all day and keeps my focus on my kids. 
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? if so, how do you meet new mommy friends?

Sadly yes. I used to have quite a few friends, but now I'm down to 1 that I'm pretty close to. She's a mommy too so we understand each other. However, I am building some pretty cool friendships through instagram.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?

I hate doing laundry!
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.

 A few weeks after I had my youngest, I experienced postpartum depression for the first time. It hit me hard and I was loosing it. I couldn't stop crying and doubting myself. I felt lonely and overwhelmed. I wasn't myself at all. I finally opened up about it to my midwife during one of our final visits. Hearing someone tell me that everything I was experiencing and feeling was normal honestly helped me beyond what she will ever know or understand. 
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to __________________

to shower in peace! I always have visitors on stand by. 
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?

Balance is everything and we are working to master it in our home right now. Balance is understanding that life is unpredictable and that means we won't always find ourselves in the center, but that shouldn't break us down. Everything has cycles and we need to become comfortable with that in order to be at peace. So balance in our home, ironically, means accepting what is unbalanced being okay with change and those experiences.  
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?

My greatest dream is to become a published writer. I want to write novels and the next big trilogy. I want to be remembered as a modern Latina poet as well. 
What is one thing that keeps you sane?

One thing that keeps me sane is a clean kitchen and chocolate. Somehow having a kitchen clean makes me feel put together and chocolate is like my glass of wine at the end of a long day. 
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?

What is something you want to leave behind? For me, it's my writings. I sometimes imagine my grandchildren finding an old folder with all my poems and short stories inside and that thought makes me pretty happy. ​

Keep in touch with Vanessa: 

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