Mom, entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, host and Real Housewives of Potomac star Monique Samuels is an absolute delight. I mean, I only spoke with her on the phone for about fifteen minutes but it was enough to tell that she’s whip-smart, witty, wise and open — so open, in fact, that she and her husband have launched a podcast that delves into the nitty-gritty of their own relationship and parenting styles and serves up their learnings in the most fun and accessible way for listeners. I’m now an official Not for Lazy Moms convert, despite being…definitely kind of a lazy mom.
Samuels also gets really real about the trials and tribulations of toddler toilet time in her new book, Potty Training “Mommy and Daddy.” We caught up with Samuels to get the scoop on the book and podcast but also much more, from her quarantine survival tactics to the trippy astrology books she’s reading to her surprisingly affordable go-tos for kids clothes — and you can shop it all.
Also, Samuels totally butt-dialed me later on in the day by accident, and laughed profusely and apologized. See what I mean? A delight!
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My pandemic-parenting escape tactic
“Wine at 8 o’clock every evening as soon as the kids go to sleep! I like to be in peace to enjoy it. My husband and I, we both have our wine and put on a movie. Homeschooling is like, there are four different places we have to go for homework to pull assignments?! Weeks ago in school, three weeks went by and I had totally forgotten to upload the kids’ answers. Homeschooling has been…phew, man! It’s a lot. But I try to incorporate some time for learning daily, and when the kids are on break they have to earn iPad minutes by reading a book or writing the ABCs. My daughter is five, so she’s writing her name and the alphabet.”
The podcast I’m currently listening to
“I mostly listen to music, but I have my own podcast. It’s called Not for Lazy Moms, featuring me and my husband and one of my contributors; we discuss everything mom/relationship, and we try to do it in a fun way. You’re gonna laugh, and you can listen to it with your partner too. My husband is so good at breaking things down in a way where a man can understand where moms are coming from!”
The books I’m reading for myself
“I used to love reading, and I didn’t realize this but quarantine has reminded me of things I used to do before I had kids. Because you have so much time! I’m not used to having this much time. I’ve been digging into the whole anatomy and astrology thing, relating our bodies to the world; that’s where I’m at right now! So I’m reading my friend Manley P. Hall Cole’s book The Occult Anatomy of Man. I’ve been reading that and talking about the connection between mind and body and the world — it’s a quick read, which works for me because the kids will interrupt. I really love it.”
The beauty product that’s always in my bag
“I always keep my lip gloss, and that can be one of any brand. I have a lot of lip gloss; I also have these tiny containers I put shea butter in. I can’t be caught with ashy hands!”
The books my kids love to read
“Currently my son, Christopher, he’s reading and he’s writing; he’s actually working on his own book right now as we speak! I love it. There’s a book series called Swift Walker, with different journeys — going in space, going on these adventures. He likes reading it because it’s easy for him but there are still words that are challenging, so he can learn new words. For my daughter it’s Don’t Touch My Hair; she loves that book because it’s what she lives. People are always touching her hair and she’s like, ‘Mommy, I don’t like people touching on me!’ So someone sent me that book as a gift and she loves for me to read it to her. Chase loves these little finger puppet books, he gets a kick out of your finger moving around. The one he loves most is Old McDonald Had a Farm — it’s like a cow sticking his head out of the book.”
My favorite kids skincare / bath products
“We’ve actually used emu oil! My daughter, in the winter, gets these patchy rashes, like dry skin, I guess it’s eczema. It’s harder to keep her moisturized; I tried emu oil before, it’s like a balm that’s thick. Or sometimes I’ll mix apple cider vinegar with organic coconut oil until it’s not too liquidy, more of a paste, and put that on her skin when she gets out of the bath to boost the alkalinity. We love to do that. Along with organic coconut oil, there’s raw African shea butter; we use that daily, my kids are always shiny! Plus Dr. Teal’s bath salts and bubble bath, the lavender chamomile. My kids are always asking, ‘Mommy can I pour the salt in?’”
The snacks I always keep on hand for the kids
“I wish you could see right now, I have the Gimme Organic seaweed in front of me! We all eat that. My kids, I usually don’t let them eat sweets until they’re close to two years old. All my kids for their first birthdays, they had a beautiful cake but did not eat any. That played a part in their palates right now; my kids love to eat raw veggies, fresh fruit. They’ll eat mangoes, grapes, apples — they’re gonna go for that first. Then they want these sweet crunchy rice cakes; they’re gluten free and vegan. And we love the sea salt seaweed, we’ll go through packs and packs. One of their most favorite snacks across the board is Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies in the purple box. Plus Annie’s fruit snacks — it’s not a huge pack full of junk.”
The kids clothing brands I love
“I am not a shopper. I go online for everything. But I will say, for my daughter, when I go into Target I come out with a handful of clothes for her. Target has the cutest clothes! Especially for girls. And it adds up, it does. They have the basics there, like cute jean shorts and tights in every color and the cutest little jackets. My daughter loves wearing jackets when she goes to school; she has this shiny iridescent jacket people are always asking where she got it. And when I say Target they’re like, ‘For real?!’”
How I keep my mom wardrobe on point
“It’s all over the place. If I see it and I like it, I’ll get it. It doesn’t have to be a name brand, and since the quarantine happened, I’ve just been wearing workout clothes every day — or pajamas! I do like to shop online; I go to Revolve. I love shopping Revolve if I go for a special occasion, because they’ll ship within a day or two and their sizes are pretty easy, so I don’t have to guess what size.
“A lesser-known clothing brand I love for myself is this website called Well(un)known. I love this website because they basically highlight all of the emerging brands that most common shoppers don’t know about; it’s good quality stuff without the high designer price tag. Good quality clothes, very couture-esque. You can get something as simple as a jogging suit or more high-end; they’re featuring all the brands that are unknown. I love the title too. It’s really cool. They’ve got purses, accessories — and they’re helping people with small businesses.”
The kid subscriptions I love
“A subscription we have is Little Passports. They love to travel, and they really look forward to the subscription every month and what’s going to be in the box; I had to get a second subscription of it for my daughter! It’s amazing, it really helps them learn about the entire world without having to go anywhere.”
The apps that make my life as a parent easier
“I literally cannot go a day without this app called COZI. It’s a family planning app, but the great thing is you can upload our schedule and share it. My personal assistant, she’s on this app, we have everything on there, where I am or where my husband is. Like how right now, you can find us at home doing press; it’s on the calendar! My assistant knows when to schedule things, my husband knows what I have going on, there’s a list section where you can create a shopping or to-do list. So when my husband’s at the store he can just open up COZI. There’s a whole to-do section of ‘Daddy Do’s I need him to do!”
The TV shows I actually enjoy watching with my kids
“With the kids, they love watching Oomie Zoomie, Bubble Guppies and Paw Patrol. They get a kick out of the puppy Chase, which is my son’s name. It never gets old. We actually watched as a family last night Spider-Man, the old one. And my kids both love Maleficent; we watch it again and again.”
The screen-free toys that keep my kids occupied for hours
“Christopher, my oldest, is a Lego fanatic, and because of that my other two have followed suit. They love Legos, anything with building. Yesterday we were painting birdhouses; we sat outside and the kids made the birds their homes. We’ll find different places to hang them in the trees when they’re done drying. They love arts and crafts, board games. We have a jumbo size Connect Four game, oh my god. I hadn’t played Connect Four in years, but it’s so much fun! The kids will even be on teams with us; they’re always involved, and they have their own strategy.”
The kid-friendly music I don’t hate playing around the house
“For kid music, I still use Pandora! My brother says I’m ancient. Look, I have my settings where it only plays the clean version; I actually have some friends who downloaded it recently and that’s not even an option anymore! But with my old version I can play whatever on Pandora, and it’s not going to have the cuss words. So we do that a lot if we’re hanging at the pool. I put the music on and I don’t have to run up and change the song because it’s filthy. We like to play instrumental music too. We are musically gifted people, and we’ll start rapping to it, and my kids will start free-styling!”
To get even more parenting recommendations, click here to read about the other stylish moms featured in our Momsessed series.
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