This month, I reached out to five of my favorite mom friends — actress Tori Spelling, photographer Elizabeth Messina, Entertainment Tonight anchor Nancy O’Dell, event planner Mindy Weiss and actress Constance Marie — and asked them, “What’s Your Favorite Mom Tip?” I was looking for clever and loving advice about raising children, and they sure didn’t disappoint. From convincing their kids to clean their rooms to eating their vegetables, these moms exclusively share their valuable tips with us. They’re guaranteed to help you navigate those moments when your patience gets tested. And I promise they’ll also make you laugh. Enjoy!
Tori Spelling: “Kids are like cyclones! In a matter of minutes, their rooms can be unrecognizable and a complete mess. They love playing but hate cleaning. So to get them to clean their rooms, we play a game called, “Who’s coming to visit?” While they pick up their rooms, I have them create a fun story for me about who’s coming to visit and what they’ll be preparing for them. Stella calls her room her “royal princess castle” and Liam calls his “the dragon’s lair.” They each create a story about a special guest that will come to visit, thus the reason to clean their rooms! They tell me why they’re coming, what they’ll do to entertain them and what they’ll prepare for them to eat. Six and four-year old minds can be very creative! They’re so excited about making up the story that it passes the time tidying up their rooms.”
Actress Tori Spelling is the mom of four children, Liam, 7, Stella, 5, Hattie, 2 and Finn, 1, with husband, actor Dean McDermott. You can learn more about their family on ediTORIal and check out her gorgeous kids clothing line Little Maven here. Photograph by Elizabeth Messina.
Elizabeth Messina: “Being a very busy working mother, I sometimes feel I never have enough one-on-one time with my three little ones. So I find ways to include them in my errands and obligations. If I have to go to the post office, one lucky child gets to come and be my sidekick. If I have to straighten up my office, one of them will get to help me. The trick is, it’s really about the time we spend together. And going to the post office can be so much fun with an adorable companion!”
Elizabeth Messina is the mom of daughter Mykela, 13, Malik, 8 and Jasmine, 6 with her husband Lee Moore. She’s also one of the most sought-after editorial, wedding and celebrity portrait photographers in the world. You can see more of her award-winning work on Kiss The Groom and in her beautiful book, The Luminous Portrait. Photograph by Kirsten Ellis.
Nancy O’Dell: “The way I’ve found balance as a working mom is to be on my daughter’s schedule. For me to have the energy to do both, I have to get enough sleep. That’s vitally important. So I’m always on Ashby’s schedule. My husband and I laugh, because if someone asks us out to dinner and says it starts at 7 pm, we’re like, ‘Are you kidding me? Come 8:30 pm we’re heading to bed!’ I’m on her schedule because I want to spend as much time with her as possible and read to her before she falls asleep. Then I get up around 4 am to get things done, answer emails and get my workout in when she’s still sleeping. That way when she is up, I can focus and spend precious and wonderful time with her!”
Entertainment Tonight anchor Nancy O’Dell is the mom of daughter Ashby, 5, and stepmom to Carson, 13, and Tyler, 17, with husband Keith Zubchevich. She’s also the official spokesperson for Creative Memories and Rusk Hair Products. Her storybook app Little Ashby Star Reporter was recently nominated for a Cynopsis Kids Imagination Award. Photograph by Ulrica Wihlborg.
Mindy Weiss: “The one tip that all my friends and family are amazed by is that the only thing I ask of my children is to call me twice a day. The way I got them to do this? I sat them all down — of course surrounded by great snacks — and told them that because I travel and work so many hours, each one of them has to check in with me once in the morning and once in the evening. It not only allows me to start my day off in a positive way, but I sleep so much better knowing where they are and how their day went. When I’m being interviewed for a job, I always tell the prospective client that when my children call the office I will take the call. If that bothers them, then we’re not a good match. I don’t put many demands on my children, but calling to check in is something I couldn’t live without!”
Mindy Weiss is the mom of three sons, Jordan, 29 (pictured above), Jesse, 22 and Alex, 15, and mother-in-law to Tali, 28. She’s also one of the top event planners in the world with clients including Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi, Katy Perry and Russell Brand, Hilary Duff and Mike Comer, Nicole Richie and Joel Madden, Heidi Klum and Seal and Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale. You can learn more about Mindy at www.mindyweiss.com and in her book The Wedding Book. Photograph by Elizabeth Messina.
Constance Marie: “Luna Marie and I are vegetarians and I can’t raise a vegetarian who doesn’t eat vegetables! So I’ve come up with a little trick to avoid battles. Starting from a very young age, I’ve posted a lunch and dinner menu for her on the wall in the kitchen. It’s usually a three-course menu, and the first course is always vegetables. If she doesn’t want to eat them, she doesn’t have to. But if she doesn’t eat them, she knows she won’t get to the next course on the menu. It’s the coolest thing, because she doesn’t associate me with the menu. If she says, ‘I don’t like that,’ I point to the wall and say, ‘But it’s on the menu!’ So far, she hasn’t figured out that I’m the one who makes the menus. So if it’s on the menu, she feels she has to eat it!”
Actress Constance Marie is the mom of daughter Luna Marie, 4, with fiance Kent Katich. She currently stars on ABC Family’s Switched At Birth and played George Lopez’s wife on The George Lopez Show. You can follow her funny and joyful spirit on Twitter @goconstance. Photographs by Elizabeth Messina.
• Ulrica Wihlborg
All photographs ©2013.