Hey, Cool Mom! with Molly Graber

Hey, Cool Mom! with Molly Graber

I'm excited to introduce the first post in a series called "Hey, Cool Mom!"  The series will feature supercool moms (and sisters and friends) who are doing their thing, in style.  I'm interested in what's inspiring them beyond housekeeping and keeping kids alive.  

My first, most brave, mom is Molly Graber.  She graciously agreed to do this after I "no pressured" her a few times.  Molly was an instant best friend my freshman year of college.  She has been a proud feminist and lover of cheese since way, way back.  Most everyone thinks she's the funniest person they know.

Molly and her husband, Dave.  Aren't they the best?

Molly and her husband, Dave.  Aren't they the best?

1.  Describe your family.

My husband and I started dating when we were in college, so it feels like we’ve been through a lot of life’s stages together. It’s crazy now to think that we’ve been together for fifteen years when I feel like I’m still in my early twenties most days! We have a three year old girl who is a wise old soul and a wild, super physical one year old boy. We live in Chicago and it’s always tough finding the balance between loving the urban diversity and finding the best (schools, outdoor space, etc.) for your kids.

2.  What do you do most days? 

I am a teacher and have been fortunate enough to work part-time the past three years (since having my daughter). I work in the mornings and we have a nanny come to the house during that time. I am a reading support teacher which means that I work with small groups of children that need an extra literacy boost. I have this little tiny office that at first I hated. I soon came to realize how much my students felt cozy and comfortable in there, so now I embrace it. When I get home from work, I feed the kids lunch and then I have one napper and the three year old has “quiet time” (aka a show). In the late afternoon, which from day one of being a parent has proven to be my hardest time of day, we get out. We go to a park, our local conservatory, or just for a “nature walk” around the neighborhood. This helps all of us release some energy before it’s time to wind down, but it makes dinner prepping/preparing tough. I’m still trying to figure that out. When my husband gets home, we have a family dinner, then dance party while we clean up, and then up to bed. We do “brother sister bath” and we switch off putting the kids to sleep each night. My son still takes a bottle before bed (so hard for me to give up) and my daughter likes to talk about her day, hear made up stories, and then finish with the same song every night. I wish I did something more productive at night with our adult time, but honestly we watch Netflix and/or catch up on Internet happenings. Mindless decompression I guess. I try to read before bed, but usually only make it a few pages before I zonk out. Which reminds me, I have a book club book I’m supposed to have finished by Thursday.

with a champagne cocktail at  The California Clipper , one of her favorite spots in Chicago

with a champagne cocktail at The California Clipper, one of her favorite spots in Chicago

3.  Who/What is inspiring you these days?

I have been really inspired by strong women these days. My life was changed the day that I attended the Women’s March in January. After so much fear and anger, it was relieving and uplifting  to see so many strong females rise up in protest. I hope to keep that feeling alive as the bleak news continues. I actually started crying as I watched the beginning of Wonder Woman in the theater because I had never seen anything like it before. I was really feeling this tweet afterwards.

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4.  What books are you reading or wanting to read?  Why?

My book club has been getting into a vein of women’s resistance books so I recently reread Handmaid’s Tale and In the Time of Butterflies. It’s always good to read some old faves, especially when they are so relevant to our times. I also love a good novel about family relationships with strong character development. I enjoyed Commonwealth, A Spool of Blue Thread, and am looking forward to reading Anything is Possible - all from amazing female authors that are crazy prolific writers. Lastly, I have to throw in Catherine Newman’s memoirs about being a mom. So so good for me to read and feel validated in my new mom feelings of never ending anxiety, overwhelming love, and total exhaustion.

5.  What’s your favorite song for 1) a dance party 2) feeling sad

1) I get down to Usher’s Love in this Club. If you haven’t experienced it, you’ve got to watch this animatronic version.

Watching it makes my face smile in the biggest way possible.

2) If I’m feeling down I get into some stuff I can sing super loud and soulfully along to like Halo (Beyonce) and Stay (Rihanna). Sometimes I’ll take it back further to Tori Amos or Liz Phair if I need something with that’s angrier.

(Listen to all of Molly's music picks here.)

6. What artists or designers do you like?

I feel like I’m in a real rut culturally. I need to get out to see more artists and street art and performances, but I don’t really know how to find the time for it. This is something I am going to work on. Thank you Stay Cool Mom for helping me in this endeavor. 

7. What trip are you planning?

I am planning a girls vacation next year to New Orleans for our thirty fifth birthdays and am dreaming up a serious relaxation vacation with my husband and no kids for our tenth anniversary in three years (this is the sad life of this mom). Hopefully we’ll have some jaunts to the beaches of Michigan between now and then though.

8. What clothes are making you feel good?  

Everyday I am wearing these Madewell shorts and I LOVE THEM. They are super comfy and functional (read:pockets). And since they are Madewell, I feel like they aren’t too mom-ish, as shorts often are.  

I have been also loving denim dresses this summer. I have a couple that I wear on rotation, but this one from Old Navy is making me feel pretty good about my summer mom bod (the short sleeve one I have is sold out but this long sleeved one may be the perfect thing to take me into fall).

Everything in the Lou&Grey line is right up my alley. I have this softest dress ever. It isn’t the most flattering fit, but it’s so easy and comfy that I reach for it a lot on busy days.

I guess I’m feeling the chambray vibe these days because I also love this top from Gap. It’s perfect for me because it is a classic look with a little bit of interest. I like the tulip back because it feels a little sexy but isn’t risque at all...I mean come on, I am a mom.

***Necklace, earrings, and shoes were included because they are part of Molly's signature look.

With her two kiddos, Eamon and Orla

With her two kiddos, Eamon and Orla

Thank you so much, Molly!  Gotta go see Wonder Woman!

I'm Watching: Jake Schreier Music Videos

I'm Watching: Jake Schreier Music Videos

Weekly Culture Roundup: Staying Cool in August

Weekly Culture Roundup: Staying Cool in August