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Monti Kids’ Zahra Kassam’s Mom Essentials Include Hand Cream She’s Had Since College

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Zahra Kassam is more than just a Harvard grad, a Montessori teacher, a Shark Tank contestant (Kassam told Conscious Company Media that being on the show was “more painful than childbirth” and we believe her), a famous TED Talk speaker on early childhood education, and the entrepreneurial founder of Monti Kids. She’s also, of course, a crazed mom of two boys who is raising her kids to love hip hop and reggae — and just wants to find a break for some solo meditation. Is that so much to ask? For plenty of us busy working moms, that’s a definite yes, but Kassam manages to meditate on a daily basis, and she also finds time for reading, dance parties, a liiiitle educational TV, and daily toddler massages with her youngest.

How? A few of these hacks ahead sure help. We got Kassam to spill her favorite mom recs and products — from podcasts to skincare — that make her frenzied working-parent days a little less hectic. Or, you know, at least a bit more fun.

The podcast I’m currently listening to on repeat

“I’m a self-improvement junkie, so I really like the Mindvalley podcast, which is all about personal growth. I’m also unreasonably excited for Brene Brown’s new podcast to launch soon!”

The books my kids are obsessed with

“Zayd, my two-year-old, is obsessed with a board book called At the Supermarket, about a boy who goes grocery shopping with his mother for all the staples and ingredients for a birthday cake, which they make together at the end. I love books he can really relate to. My seven-year-old, Musa is really into the book I’m currently reading to him at bedtime called Crenshaw. It’s about a boy his age whose family faces some hard times and ends up living in their car. It’s funny and lighthearted while serving up a big dose of empathy and gratitude.”

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I shared tips for working at home while keeping children engaged with @people magazine💻👦👶 ⁣ ⁣ For example, set a timer to set a boundary. ⏳⏰Tell your child, "While we wait for the timer, I get to work on my work and you get to work on yours." Let your child know that once the timer goes off, it will be time to read that book or color together as they wanted. 📚🖍️ If they want, they can even work next to you while they wait for the timer. Being consistent and also following through on your promise to take a break will allow for everyone to get more work done overall! Start with just a few minutes on the timer so your child builds up their capacity to wait. As they get used to the routine, you can progressively add more time to the timer."⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ Read the full article for more ideas – 🔗 in bio! And tag friends who are navigating this crazy new normal. ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ #StayAtHome #StayingAtHome #SafeAtHome #ToddlerActivities #WorkFromHome #WFH #WorkingFromHome #MontessoriActivities #RaisingChildren #MontessoriFromBirth #Montessori #ChildDevelopment #BabyDevelopment #SustainableToys #LetThemBeLittle #EarlyChildhoodEducation #PlayToLearn #ToddlerLife #Toddlers #MomentsLikeThis #MontessoirInspo #MomWin #MontessoriMom #Toddlers_Of_Instagram #ToddlersOfInstagram #IG_Motherhood⁣ #MindfulMoments

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The books I’m reading myself

In the Flo by Alisa Vitti is changing my life. It’s about how women can sync their nutrition, work activities, exercise and sex life to their hormonal cycle to accomplish more with way less stress and less energy depletion. She talks about how men have a 24-hour energy cycle, and our whole society is based on that, whereas women have a 28-day energy cycle, and if we reclaim that, we can dramatically improve our lives.”

The snacks I always keep on hand for the kids

“I try to give them whole foods as much as possible. Dried mangos and cashews are their favorite snack. Delicious, nutritious, and keeps them regular!”

The beauty product that’s always in my bag

“I love L’Occitane intensive hand balm and apply it several times throughout the day. I’ve been using it since college and my husband is always commenting on how soft my hands are.”

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✨ How do you inspire your child to dream big? I was recently asked this question in an interview with Thrive Global. ⁣ ⁣ 👦 👶 The thing is: Montessori education is about helping children find their talents, gifts, interests and whatever dreams flow naturally from those. It’s about supporting children to follow their unique path of development which leads to their unique path in life. ⁣ ⁣ For that reason, I’m not particularly concerned with getting my children to dream big, because I don’t think it’s my place to judge their dreams. If they choose to live very simple lives, I will support them. ⁣ ⁣ 🌎 The world needs some people who have chosen simple lives, and some people need simple lives in order to be happy. ⁣ ⁣ 💛 That being said, I do actively observe my children’s curiosities and interests and aim to encourage those. For example, my son Musa loves art, so we have lots of great art supplies at home. Nurturing those buds of curiosity is what helps them flower into dreams. 🌷⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #Parenting #Family #FamilyIsEverything #Momprenuer #MomBoss #CEO #FemaleFounder #Entrepreneur #MomLife #GrowthMindset #Grateful #Gratitude #Inspire #Inspiration #Growth #Journey #Love #MotherhoodUnplugged #MomsofInstagram #LessonsLearned #LifeLessons #BePresent #MomentsLikeThis ⁣#Montessori #MontessoriFromBirth

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The apps that make my life as a parent easier

“I use Simple Habit for guided meditations. I’m trying to meditate more regularly, and since it’s hard to do first thing in the morning with kids, I schedule time to meditate right when I get to the office. I find my day goes better when I give myself this little gift.”

The parenting accounts I love to follow on Instagram

“I love @the.holistic.psychologist. It’s not solely related to parenting, but it helps me be a better version of myself. And that definitely makes me a better parent.”

The toy that keeps my kids occupied for hours

Play Doh! Both my kids love Play Doh. It provides such a great sensory experience and allows them to be really creative. Zayd loves mixing the colors to see how they change, and Musa loves creating mini basketball courts.”

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👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Tackling mom guilt has been an ongoing struggle. A few years ago, a wise psychologist told me that children need 20 minutes of quality time with their parent every day in order to feel secure and happy. ⏳ ❤️ 😊 ⁣ ⁣ ✨ When I stick to this practice, it really does feel like I’m meeting my kids’ emotional needs as well as my own. Because I’m being thoughtful and deliberate about quality time, I don’t end up feeling as guilty about the number of hours in the week spent working and away from my kids. I love this advice because it’s so concrete and so impactful.⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #Family #CollectingMoments #PresentMoment #Wellness #Health #HealthyLiving #SelfCare #MomentOfTruth #Transparency#MomTruths #Momprenuer #MomBoss #Honesty #CEO #MomentOfClarity #SelfAwareness #AuthenticMoments #FemaleFounder #Entrepreneur #WorkLifeBalance #MomLife #EmpowerWomen #GrowthMindset #InspiredWomen #Love #Parenthood #Grateful #Gratitude

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The TV shows I actually enjoy watching with my kids

“I try to limit screen time, but when we do watch TV, Daniel Tiger is the best! It’s inspired by Mr. Rogers, who I grew up watching. I have learned how to be a better parent from watching his tiger parents in action, and I use their songs to help my kids through difficult moments.”

The kid-friendly music I don’t hate playing around the house

“We have lots of dance parties at my house. It’s great when things are going south and we all need to shake off some difficult feelings. Luckily, my kids love my regular music, so we dance to hip hop, reggae, Indian, African and Arabic music.”

My favorite subscriptions for the kids

“We get National Geographic Kids magazines for Musa, and we both learn so much from reading those and doing the activities. Zayd is still subscribed to Monti Kids. As the founder of the company, it is so rewarding to see him joyful and learning when he plays with the toys we designed.”

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One reason I love working with children is because they keep me young at heart, reminding me to enjoy the little things in life, like my birthday! 🎂 Despite the giant to-do list on my desk, I can welcome joy whenever it comes knocking – like when a dear friend gifts me giant balloons! 🎈 ⁣ ⁣ Because I’ve learned that accepting an invitation to joy really is a choice. So I’m tying my balloon bouquet on my desk and smiling as I work. 😊 And as I officially head into my late 30’s, I’m making a promise to fill this year with more fun than the last! 🎉 ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #YoungAtHeart #SelfCare #Momprenuer #MomentOfClarity #SelfAwareness #FemaleFounder #Entrepreneur#WorkLifeBalance #MomLife #EmpowerWomen #GrowthMindset #InspiredWomen #Love #Family #Parenthood #MeTime #Grateful #Gratitude #Inspire #Inspiration #LifeIsAJourney #Growth #Journey #BabySubscriptionToys #Montessori #MontessoriFromBirth #Celebrate ⁣

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My top picks for kid bath time and skincare

“My favorite bath product is Burt’s Bees apricot massage oil. I give Zayd a massage every night after his bath and it’s become part of our routine that helps him calm down and know it’s time for bed. It’s especially helpful when we’re traveling and his routines are disrupted, but we can stick to this one.”

How I keep my mom wardrobe on point

Aritzia is my favorite! Plus I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, so I feel proud watching one of our local brands spread all over the US.”

Zahra Kassam Monti Kids

To get even more parenting recommendations, click here to read about the other stylish moms featured in our Momsessed series.

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 and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

For more educational play options like Monti Kids, check out these sensory toys kids of all abilities will love.

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