Over the past year, our Momsessed series has tapped the brilliant brains of notable moms with amazing style — from actors to influencers to CEOs. What’s missing? The seriously smart mothers who make us, SheKnows, tick on a daily basis. Which is why we’re psyched to start showcasing parenting essentials — books, toys, snacks, subscriptions, you name it — that our own editors swear by for their own kids/homes/nutso-busy working-mom lives.
We’re launching this fun sub-series of Momsessed with none other than our Branded Content Director Ashleigh Morley. By day (working hours, at least) Ashleigh is a superstar editor helming sponsored content with companies we love; mornings/evenings/weekends, she’s a barre instructor on Long Island, an impressive (IMO, at least) weeknight chef, and mama to the sweetest lil’ ginger boy we ever did see, Peter.
Read on for Ashleigh’s recs for surviving work-from-home quarantine life just outside NYC with a toddler in tow.
Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
The podcast I have on repeat
“I’m a bit of a podcast obsessee! I start every single morning with NPR’s Up First and The New York Times’s The Daily — that’s how I get my news every single day. After that I move onto my political news pods, which include: The NPR Politics Podcast, Pod Save America, The 538 Politics Podcast (do you see a trend?), Hysteria and a bunch more along those lines. I’m a bleeding-heart liberal at my core and am adamant that listening to all of these keeps me mad enough to do things that will demand change of some sort.”
The books my kids are currently obsessed with
“My son’s Pete the Cat phase is going strong. Some nights I swear we read Pete the Cat’s The Wheels on the Bus three or four times. We sing the words on each page and have made cute actions that go along with it. His favorite is when we get to ‘The back of the bus bumps up and down, up and down, up and down…’ When he’s sitting in my lap, I bump him up and down to the words and he gets such a kick out of it — the giggles are off the charts and absolutely adorable! We even catch him reading it to himself in the mornings while I’m making coffee and my husband is making his lunch for work.”
What I’m currently reading myself
“I just finished Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reed and can’t recommend it highly enough! Being a working mom during COVID-19 means I’m busier than ever and have little time to do things like read a book for me, so I read that last week on vacation. Now I’m onto The Guest List by Lucy Foley — it’s been on my list since it came out and I’m so excited to dig into it. But knowing my schedule, it might take me longer than I care to admit to actually finish it (sadly).”
The snacks I always keep on hand for my kids
“I think one of these days my son may actually turn into a Goldfish, he eats those crackers so much! I always have a little Munchkin Snack Catcher in the diaper bag full of GFs as my husband and I call them (we buy them in the biiiiiig carton). The minute Peter hears one of us say “goldfish” he has to have them right this minute, so GFs is our abbreviation for them when we don’t want him to know what we’re talking about. Other than that, he loves Go-Go Squeez apple pouches. I probably let him have them too much.”
The beauty product that’s always in my bag
“I’m a big lip balm person. I probably have tubes of Glossier’s Balm Dot Calm in every bag I own. I have them in my nightstand, on my desk for work — everywhere. Lately I’ve really been loving the mango flavor, but I’m a big fan of the rose flavor as well. And while I don’t keep it in my bag, the only other beauty product I’ve been swearing by lately is Supergoop’s Glow Screen. I haven’t worn real makeup in six months (who has?!), but this is the closest I’ve gotten. The SPF is a necessity, but I love that it also has a hint of highlighter/illuminator in it. It’s a tiny luxury in an otherwise dull and not at all luxe beauty routine lately.”
The apps that make my life as a parent easier
“I don’t have any exciting app recommendations. The one that I use the most for parenting things is my text messaging app. I have group texts between my husband and our daycare owner and also with my husband and my mother-in-law. Those two are probably the most important for me parenting-wise. Our daycare owner will text us when she’s out of wipes or something. And on the days my in-laws watch my son, which is about once a week, my mother-in-law constantly sends us photos and videos of him. It’s the best text to get in the middle of a busy work day!”
The parenting accounts I love to follow on Instagram
“I feel like I always learn so much every time a post from @feedinglittles comes up in my feed! Those women are a wealth of information and have made me feel good about the different foods I was giving my son back when we were introducing solids. They have so many smart ideas! Beyond that page, I love my mom friends. I have a close group of neighbors with kids the same age and we love on each other’s posts all day long.”
The subscriptions I love for the kids
“Does Amazon Prime count? We have the Prime Video app on our TV and Peter’s two favorite shows — his only favorite shows — are both on Prime. He loves Clifford The Big Red Dog, but only the new version that’s an Amazon Original. And, of course, Pete the Cat. He’s obsessed with both of them and knows all the words.”
My favorite kids skincare/bath products
“I’m secretly in love with the bubble bath I’ve been buying my son — I randomly found it while mindlessly searching on my Target app. It’s called Alaffia, I’d honestly never heard of it before. The eucalyptus mint scent is so relaxing. I love that it’s ethically made and the brand puts information on the bottle about their reforestation efforts, eyeglasses distribution, and births funded in Togo, West Africa.”
The non-screen toy or activity that keeps my kids busy for hours
“I’m not sure about hours, but when we go in the backyard, he loves his water table and little pool. Sometimes he will just carry water in a little cup from the water table to the pool, going back and forth like that for what feels like… several minutes!”
How I keep my mom wardrobe on point
“I’m basically at home 25/7. My mom wardrobe is leggings, sports bras and t-shirts. Nothing fancy happening at Casa Morley!”
The TV shows I actually enjoy watching with my kids
“I don’t mind sitting down with him to watch Clifford or Pete the Cat! There are a couple shows my friends said their kids loved and when I turned them on, I personally couldn’t stand them. So we don’t watch those!”
The kids music I don’t hate playing around the house
“We actually don’t really play any kids music in the house. Peter will sometimes dance to the intro music to my podcasts (OMG — is that sad or funny? I can’t tell!). On Sunday mornings, before I go to teach a barre class I will put on my class playlist and we’ll dance to that for 30 minutes or so. I’m very proud to say he likes Taylor Swift!”