Soleil Moon Frye

If you were a child of the 80s, you know her as Punky Brewster. It’s not often you see a child star disappear from the limelight and emerge on a new path of total success, but Soleil Moon Frye did just that.

Not only is she a totally hands-on mom of three (Poet, 8.5; Jagger, 6; and Lyric, 5 months), but she’s also a badass entrepreneur with an empire of kid-friendly companies. There’s Moonfrye, an app and website dedicated to getting crafty with littles – and her DIY projects are actually easy and fun (for you too, we swear). She’s the host of Home Made Simple on the OWN network, author of Let’s Get This Party Started, co-owner of eco apparel shop The Little Seed, Today Show contributor, a Target Mommy Ambassador, and she just launched PSXO – a chic line of party decor that also gives back, so for each party box you purchase, you’re “bringing a little celebration to someone in need.”

Amongst all that, she still found time to chat with us about how she stumbled on her kids’ unusual names, her favorite art projects and the guilty pleasure her husband does not approve of.

And in case you’re feeling nostalgic, Punky Brewster lives on (thank you, YouTube).

DIY Master

The girls and I have so much fun getting crafty. Some of our favorite DIY projects are making stress balls, concocting slimey goo and anything to do with collaging. We went through a homemade crayons phase – you take all the little crayon nubs around the house, break them into little pieces, put them in silicone molds (mix and match colors) and bake at 300 degrees for 10 minutes.

Start ‘Em Young

My earliest memories are of baking with my mom, who was a chef – I remember sitting on the counter stirring batter. I started doing fun projects with my kids as soon as they could sit up – we would freeze toys in ice trays for sensory experiments. When they were a bit older, we would blindfold each other and do taste tests of different fun flavors.

Parenting Advice

You’re going to have these incredible moments as a parent where you feel great and empowered and like you’re doing it right. Embrace those moments because the next day, you may feel like you’re doing it all wrong.

Ahem, Yes, It’s True

Early on, people say, cherish the moment because it goes by so quickly, and at first, I was like, Really?! It’s all so new and overwhelming and sure doesn’t seem to be flying by. But turns out, it really is true – I can’t believe Poet is going to be nine. It goes even faster with the second, and it’s flying by with the third.

On The Go

When we aren’t at home, you’ll find us at the beach in Venice, strolling along Abbot Kinney, hitting up the farmers market or getting mom-daughter mani-pedis. On a rainy day, the movies or a museum. And scavenger hunts – we love scavenger hunts!

The Name Game

All of our kids named themselves in a way. Poet was a name we always loved, and on Father’s Day before she was born, we were walking around and said, What should we name her? And we looked up and saw a sign that said poet. We both love the Edgar Allan Poe poem “A Dream Within a Dream”, so we call her Poe for short.

Jagger had a seriously strong kick in my belly, and we felt like she needed a powerful name. We didn’t know if it was a girl or boy, and this worked for either.

With Lyric we were talking about names and saw a sign that said lyric and absolutely loved the name. And we kept seeing signs that said lyric throughout the pregnancy, so it just felt right.

Melt

I love those moments when we’re all together as a family. Lately it’s been group ooohing and ahhhing over baby Lyric (aka honeybunny, sweetie pie and lovebug). We have a lot of impromptu dance parties and cozy snuggles with everyone in our bed. It’s important not to take yourself too seriously.

#Momfail

I’ve had so many of them, even in the last three weeks. I was wearing ridiculous fancy heels at the girls’ school and fell going up a hill, did a couple of flips in front of the whole school! My girls were so sweet, but I was mortified.

Guilty Pleasure

I love indulging in a really bad gossip magazine once in a while. My husband gets on me, but I’m allowed if I’m going on an airplane.

A Night Out

The last time I was out past 1am was at the J/P HRO gala, a charity that is very close to my heart. It was an incredible celebration – people were in town from Haiti and a good time was had by all, including me, and I was really pregnant!

Who Knew?!

I love playing basketball. I used to play on an entertainment league basketball team – all 4’11” of me. I also used to spend summers rollerblading on the Venice boardwalk. I was one of those people!

Circling Up With ArleneNalty

Lives: Belvedere, CA (just north of San Francisco in Marin)
Family: Husband Charles, twins Jane and Charlie (almost 4 years old), and yellow lab Bailey
Spends her days: Television producer and founder of the media & production company Ice Water With Lemon

What are you obsessed with right now?

Shooting video with drones

Enough already with…

Reality television

What’s stressing you out right now?

The colds my twins bring home from preschool every other week.

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What’s more important, sleep or sex?

Tie

What TV show are you into right now?

Too many –The Fall, Broadchurch, The Good Wife, House of Cards, Homeland, Tyrant, Silicon Valley, Togetherness

Favorite form of exercise?

Swimming

If you could invent 1 law, what would it be?

That children are not allowed to wake their parents up before 6am on a Sunday.

What are you getting better at?

Multitasking

What are you getting worse at?

Penmanship

Career highlight?

Starting my own business, a production company called Ice Water With Lemon

Career lowpoint?

Driving around Washington, D.C. at 4am on a Sunday searching for chocolate covered donuts for a certain news anchor.

Favorite vacation spot?

Capri

What’s your spirit animal?

My yellow lab, Bailey

First site/app you visit every morning?

UK Daily Mail

Describe your “comfy clothes”

La Perla silk PJs

Favorite brand for you?

Zara and Lanvin

Favorite brand for kids?

Busy Bees, Orient Expressed, H&M, Zara

Babies are…

such babies.

Favorite kids food?

Chicken fingers

What’s your “mommy drink”?

Veuve Cliquot

Have it all

Having it all has gone the way of a ‘pantyhose required’ workplace policy. And to both we say, good riddance!

Instead, the conversation is turning towards something more comfortable – flexibility. An idea that’s as adaptable as the opportunities it describes. For some working moms, it means part-time employment; for others it’s contract work – or just a workplace that fosters family-friendly policies (paid maternity leave and onsite daycare!).

So it’s not surprising that a lot of women are looking for ways to make their careers and home lives more, well, flexible. We’ve found five awesome resources that can help.

Maybrooks

Who’s Behind It: After having her second child, journalist and founder Stacey Delo searched high and low for a website to help her navigate the increasingly complex world of working momdom. She couldn’t find it – so she built it. (Go Stacey!)
What It Offers: Think of Maybrooks as a career resource center for moms: You’ll find a maternity leave toolkit, thoughtful family-focused research on potential employers, career coaching advice, and job listings for flexible positions – a lot of which are shared by users.
Use It When: You’re heading out on maternity leave, passionate about your career but need a job with a bit more flexibility, or are looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break. The content-rich site will inspire you to get what you want out of your work.
Members Only? No. Anyone can use the site. You do have to register if you want to post a job listing.
Find Jobs Like This: A 100% remote job of Manager, Regional Development at Education Pioneers

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Prokanga

Who’s Behind It: By day, Jamie Flaherty Cheney worked in the digital marketing world servicing start-up clients who were looking for experienced project-based help. Evenings and weekends, the mom-of-three had playdates with educated professional moms who craved more flexibility in their day-to-day lives. She put the two together to create Prokanga.
What it Offers: A network of mid-career professionals who were on their way to the C-suite, but decided what they really wanted was a more flexible work arrangement. Cheney and her team work with companies to place the members of the network in jobs that are a fit. However, as a member of Prokanga you are in control of the work arrangement – whether you consult hourly, do one-off projects, or commit to ongoing contract roles – the choice is yours.
Use It When: You’re ready for a change of pace (dare we say leaning out a bit?) but are still looking for work to be challenging, rewarding, and fulfilling. Just not all-consuming.
Members Only? Yes. You have to apply to become a part of their network of freelancers.
Find Jobs Like This: A 4-week engagement writing a business plan for a Mongolian cashmere brand’s launch with a focus on the luxury market.

Mom Corps

Who’s Behind It: Harvard MBA Allison Karl O’Kelley founded Mom Corps way back in 2005 (we consider her a flexibility pioneer) after realizing that achieving balance with a full-time career and kids was a difficult proposition. (Are you sensing a pattern here?)
What It Offers: More staffing company than a job listing site, Mom Corps focuses on both flexible positions and full-time staffing for companies that really respect the priority of work-life balance.
Use It When: You’re looking to dial back on office time or turn up the dial on your career without sacrificing work-life satisfaction.
Members Only? Registration is free, but for a fee ($9.99/month or $99.99 for an annual subscription) your resume moves to the head of the line. Our take: It may be worth it seeing as Mom Corps has been around for ten years which means a lot of CVs in that pile. Also, as a paid member you gain access to group coaching sessions, a members-only portal where you can chat with their recruiters, and countless learning opportunities and webinars.
Find Jobs Like This: An IT Change Management Lead for a 6+ month contract assignment.

PowerToFly

Who’s Behind It: Katharine Zaleski, who you read about in her all-over-Facebook apology to all the moms she ever worked with. She was a manager at media companies who, in her own words, “didn’t realize how horrible I’d been – until I had a child of my own.” Now she’s co-founded a start-up focused on matching women with technical positions they can do from home.
What It Offers: You make a profile and start, essentially, online dating for jobs. The best part? A 2-4 week (paid!) trial to make sure the gig you start is a good fit all around.
Use It When: You love your field but not your commute – and want to experiment with finding the right new job for your new situation.
Members Only? Nope – creating a profile is free (and you can “friend” other freelancers).
Find Jobs Like This: Part-time, remote social media and blogging for a Beverly Hills law firm.

Inkwell

Who’s Behind It: Manon DeFelice has a bad ass resume – an attorney and former executive director of a women’s rights organization, she’s also spent time in the NYC Mayor’s Office on human trafficking and the DA’s Office of New York, Sex Crimes Unit. So it’s no surprise that after having kids, she still wanted to be challenged by her career, just not at the expense of her family. Inkwell was born to create and support women like her.
What It Offers: It matches smart, talented women with forward-thinking businesses that allow flexible work schedules.
Use It When: You want to stay engaged or re-engage in your professional life but still have time for your family. Also, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away from “work” – Inkwell cares only that you are ready to engage in your career now.
Members Only? Yes, you must submit your resume for review. Once received, they check references and set up in an in-depth interview if they are interested.
Find Jobs Like This: Accountant/right hand woman to CFO, 24 hours per week on site in NYC.

Best Things About First Year

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of chasing after baby’s milestones like they’re girl scout badges. Especially when you run into those moms, who are pleased as punch to announce that little Gwendolyn has six teeth, can crawl, stand, do crow pose, and, what’s that? Her first word was “Montessori”?

Breathe. All kids hit their marks in their own time (do you know any adults without teeth?), and your pediatrician will let you know if you should actually be concerned about something. In the meantime, take solace in the fact that every milestone, as exciting as it is, comes with some loss of your own freedom. Let’s celebrate what you get to enjoy before those leaps happen.

BEFORE Baby starts turning towards sounds

(around 1 month)

…You can watch TV while holding baby so she faces the wall…and she will be FASCINATED. Cuddle time + catching up on Mad Men = Bliss.

BEFORE Baby recognizes you as mom

(around 3 months)

…You can hand her off to friends (or trusted shop owners) while you try on clothes without her hollering.

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BEFORE Baby starts sleeping through the night

(anywhere from 3 months on)

…Some moms swear they look back nostalgically on the middle-of-the-night cuddles (we say that’s selective memory at work).

BEFORE Baby starts eating solid food

(around 4 months)

…Their poop is much more predictable, manageable, and, we’re sorry to say, less stinky. (Gross but true.)

BEFORE Baby learns to roll

(around 5 months)

…You can leave her in the center of the bed while you go brush your teeth without worrying about her rolling off. (Though, we know you know if it seems like the skill’s around the corner, don’t do this!)

BEFORE Baby starts turning towards voices and sounds

(around 6 months)

…You can feed her in any sort of noisy, chaotic place without her constantly turning away to look at what other babies are up to. (Yes, babies have the worst FOMO.)

BEFORE Baby starts reaching for things

(around 7 months)

…You can keep your sunglasses free of baby print smudges, and still wear dangly earrings.

BEFORE Baby can sit up

(around 7 months)

…You will put her down in the crib and she will just LAY THERE and eventually go to sleep. As in not sit up the moment her butt touches the mattress and then sit there until she’s too tired and shouts for you to come start the process all over again.

BEFORE Baby can crawl

(around 8 months)

…You don’t have to deal with babyproofing…or the near-constant presence of a red bump on your sweet baby’s forehead.

BEFORE Baby can pull to stand

(around 9 months)

…You can keep the crib mattress on the highest setting which makes it easier to gently lie down a sleeping baby and lean over to kiss her.

BEFORE Baby can walk

(around 12 months)

…You can get away with not going to the park every. single. day. And don’t have to worry about them toddling off to something shiny in the supermarket.