Making Up Answers About Make-up and Beauty


I do not know why children are drawn to following their mother into the bathroom, but it seems that every mom I know has a hard time showering or using the bathroom without children hanging from her legs.  One day as I was rushing to put on make-up before work, my son came in and asked what I was doing.  His question made me realize how odd my everyday practice of applying mascara was from the perspective of a 4-year-old.  In my haste, I brushed past his question with a quick, “because that’s what mommy’s do,” only to have him rebound with the favorite word of preschoolers: “why?”  I put down the mascara brush and looked at him, seeing in his eyes how confused he was about my beauty ritual and I paused before responding.

I have thought for a while about how important it will be in raising children to create a positive body image in them by not disparaging my own appearance.  As a child who is told they have their dad’s eyes or mother’s hands, or even more emphatically that they look just like a particular parent, hearing a parent speak critically of their appearance sends the wrong message to the child about his/her own.  I imagined that this would become more salient during adolescence, but my preschooler’s curiosity made me recognize that the lessons we learn about beauty start from the beginning.

So in the moment, I chose to talk about my make-up routine as one step in the process of getting ready, similar to brushing my teeth or putting on my shoes. I refrained from using descriptions that reference beauty or self-improvement, although most of the language I have for cosmetics falls in these categories. As my children continue to grow in their awareness of my beauty rituals and the industry surrounding them, I will continue to seek better answers to their questions that will hopefully allow them to develop security and love for their own natural bodies.


If you have any resources on this topic, please share in the comments!



Working Parent Dilemma: Where to send your kids after school


As a dual-working parent household, it is inevitable that once our children start school, we will need to find after-school care for them. While I am still figuring out where they will go to school, I am simultaneously worried about finding a reliable, convenient, fun, and educational program that will make the time between school and work ending meaningful for them. Luckily, Philadelphia has many great options, both in school-based after care enrichment programs and independent programs, many of which offer school pick-up. Here is a round-up of a few of the best local options:

Philly Art Center
2501 Olive St.
Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 765-2787

514 Bainbridge St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 765-2787

Not your average cookie-cutter, arts & crafts program, Philly Art Center’s After School Program has been fostering out-of-the-box thinking for over a decade. Daily classes grouped by age provide instruction in drawing, painting, ceramics, mixed-media arts and more! The program includes outdoor play, snacks, homework help, and projects.

They offer pick up at over 10 schools around the city! Choose 1-5 days per week for ages 4-12.

* We have taken music classes and attended birthday parties here and have loved all of our experiences.

Zhang Sah
530 Bainbridge St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147
(215) 923-6676

Zhang Sah’s after school program focuses on developing the mind and body, morals and ethics, and knowledge and confidence, through scientific and philosophical teaching.

Daily after school program activities include martial arts class for grades K-8, taught by a dedicated and qualified group of staff, a nutritious snack, indoor & outdoor free play, homework time, sports, and special projects throughout the year. Children arrive at Zhang Sah by bus, walking escort, or van, immediately following daily dismissal from school.

Philly PACK
729 S. 4th St.
Philadelphia PA 19147

From tap and ballet to theatre and jazz, PACK is an outlet for kids to get those wiggles out in a fun, organized, and creative way. At the end of each semester (there are two semesters per school year), all the hard work pays off with a special performance for families and the public that is always a sell out!

Classes for ages 4-13 are grouped by age, experience, and skill level. Pick-up options are available from Meredith Elementary school and sibling discounts are available, too!

Mi Casita
1415 Fairmount Ave.
Philadelphia, PA 19130

Join Mi Casita for a Project Based Learning Program that incorporates art, movement, música, Spanish language learning and culture.

Children from grades K-3 will come together to create the Tesoros Travel Adventure. With each class, students will earn an Adventure Certificate and create a portfolio of art that culminates in the “Qué Bueno” Community Performance! Students will work directly with Mi Casita teachers for this opportunity to be creative and learn about cooperative project based learning with physical activity, music and art making- all in Spanish!

Philly InMovement
500 Kenilworth St.
Philadelphia, PA 19147

Welcoming to all skill levels, InMovement encourages students to believe in themselves and learn gymnastics at their own pace in a safe and patient environment. From the vault to the balance beam, your little one will gain skills, courage, and confidence through a progressive and mindful curriculum.

Classes for ages 5-12 vary between an hour to two hours long. Teachers pick up from Meredith Elementary School Monday through Fridays and from McCall on Wednesdays.

* We have taken gymnastics classes here and attended/hosted birthday parties here and have loved all of our experiences.

[Disclaimer: Some of the above content was provided by Philly Art Center. I have no affiliation with the above businesses and was not compensated for this post. Except where noted, I have not experienced these programs firsthand. All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.]

Summer in the City


As the Summer continues to fly by and everyone continues to share photos of their weekends “down the shore,” I thought I would share my favorite things about Summer in the city. Sure the city heat can be oppressive and it is nearly impossible to find a place to build a sandcastle or fling your body across a slip n’ slide, but it does have its own perks. In no particular order, my favorite parts about Summer in Philadelphia:

1. Pop-up Parks– the city keeps reinventing itself each Summer with new places to visit. We fell in love with some of these attractions last year and they returned this year with even more creative features.

Spruce Street Harbor Park: come for the roller skating, fall asleep in a hammock, and stay for the Garces food.

The Oval: a rotating schedule of events for adults and families, including a parade of food trucks.

Philadelphia Horticultural Society Pop Up Garden: transforming a vacant lot into a flowering beer garden with gourmet food? Yes, please!

2. Public Pools and Spraygrounds– there are so many fun and free options for water play that you’ll forget you are in a city.

Herron Park Sprayground: a block from Federal Donuts, enough said.

Sister Cities park

Public City Pools: 71 different pools!

– A listing of spraygrounds by neighborhood can be found here.

3. Cheap Eats– citywide happy hours and restaurant weeks offer great opportunities to try out new restaurants at less of the cost.

Center City Sips

University City Dining Days

Center City Restaurant Week

4. Block parties and street fairs– neighbors come together all over the city to barbecue, jump in bounce houses, and bond. If your block isn’t hosting a formal party, the city is likely hosting a fair nearby.

2nd Street Festival

40th Street Summer Festival

East Passyunk Car Show and Street Festival

Franklin Flea: find a vintage keepsake while strolling outside, and with food trucks!

5. Ice cream and water ice everywhere– not only are there ice cream trucks zig zagging the city, but there are some delicious scoops from brick and mortar shops as well.

John’s Water Ice: good enough for Obama!

Franklin Fountain


Enjoy exploring Philadelphia this Summer!

[I have no affiliation with any of the organizations above and I am not responsible for the content of any external websites.]

Setting Incremental Goals


One of the best parts about my job is the other working moms in my office who serve as daily sounding boards for my working motherhood journey. We frequently ask each other questions, share resources, and offer support. It is truly one of the keys to my success. Outside of work though, I had not found a supportive, helpful community of working moms until Dr. Portia Jackson found me and introduced me to her Working Motherhood site. A self-described rocket scientist turned financial planner and success coach, she interviews working moms about the secrets to their success and shares them as podcasts with the Working Motherhood community. So when she approached me about taping a podcast, I was excited to participate and take the conversations that I have with colleagues at work to the Working Motherhood community at large.

During my chat with Dr. Portia Jackson, we covered some of my favorite topics: maternity leave, breastfeeding, and immunizations. She assured me that the podcast would be 30-minutes of the “Katie show” and I will admit that as uncomfortable as this concept made me, talking about these topics was something I could have done for hours!

One of the take-home messages that Portia extracted from our interview was setting incremental goals. I discussed this in the context of breastfeeding, but I think it works with whatever goals you have set for yourself this year. When I started breastfeeding each of my kids, I had hoped to make it last for a year, but I set smaller goals along the way to help motivate and reward myself. Each small step was celebrated and moved us ahead to my ultimate goal. This technique not only applies to breastfeeding, but many other aspects of parenting and career development.

So please check out my Working Motherhood podcast and let me know what you think!

Podcast on the Working Motherhood site:

Direct Download Link

iTunes and Stitcher Links

[All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. I have no affiliation with Working Motherhood and I was not compensated for this post or podcast.]

The Pediatrician at the Party


Being a pediatrician at a children’s birthday party or baby shower is like being a mall Santa. People are practically lining up with a list of questions. Ok, so maybe they don’t line up, but they do have a way of finding me. I have been asked general questions (“how do you feel about juice?”), specific questions (“is his head size too big?”), and physical exam questions (“can you look at his finger?”). Parents drag their children over to me, push clothing aside, and ask my opinion of a variety of physical findings. I have had mothers strip their children near naked in the middle of a party so that I can get a better look at whatever is worrying her.

I’ve heard other professionals get asked advice at parties, but since I now hang around a lot of children’s birthday parties my expertise seems to be in particularly hot demand. At a recent party, another mother asked what I do and when I told her I was a pediatrician, she replied, “oh really?  You probably shouldn’t say that too loudly.”  I looked around at the forty parents and thirty children around me and nodded in agreement.

Whether parents are asking me questions or not though, my profession sometimes still gets in my way. I can not help but worry at a trampoline party about someone breaking an ankle. Or cringe at the amount of juice consumed. Or worry about the child with the food allergy getting the wrong dessert. It is hard to separate the pediatrician from the parent, so I understand when others have the same difficulty when talking with me.

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