The Productive Mom: Amy Palanjian
BEING A MOM IS HARD. BUT THERE ARE MOMS OUT THERE FINDING JOY, PURPOSE, AND EVEN PRODUCTIVITY THROUGH THE DIAPERS, DISCIPLINE, AND...DIAPERS. THIS SERIES SPOTLIGHTS SOME OF THOSE MOMS.
Amy Palanjian is a writer, editor, recipe developer, and crafter for magazines, books, and websites. She’s also mama to a very energetic toddler who inspires her to share wholesome, yet realistic recipes and feeding tips with other parents of little ones at her site Yummy Toddler Food. For more inspiration, check out her website and Instagram.
Name: Amy Palanjian
Number of children: 1
Age range of children: 2
Where have you primarily raised your family: outside of Des Moines, Iowa
Most important parenting tool: involving my daughter in the everyday—cooking, cleaning, gardening—because it makes me feel productive as we spend quality time together.
How can people connect with you:
Let’s start big, what is one of your biggest parenting blunders and what did you learn from that experience?
Trying to “fix” or “solve” a colicky baby is a recipe for disaster. I almost made myself crazy trying new diets and solutions to make her happier. Nothing worked and she simply grew out of it once she could move around more on her own and was more independent. I definitely learned that there are some things that, no matter how hard you try, you cannot fix.
What has been one of your sweetest moments as a mom?
My daughter has an amazing memory and the other day driving her home from preschool she “read” me a Berenstain Bear book that we had in the car. We had to sit in the driveway for a while so she could finish reading it to me. That was a very sweet moment recently!
What is one thing about you that made you a great mom?
My husband and I really try to involve our girl in what we like to do as much as we can so that she can learn real skills and we get to do what we love while we spend time with her. We cook together a lot and she spends a lot of time in the garden with my husband. The other day they turned pulling dandelions into an imaginative game that involved dragons and tutus. It was so fun to listen to them through the window while I fixed dinner.
How do you escape when you need a break?
Exercise is my biggest escape, either going for a walk or doing a Barre3 online workout at home.
What is the best parenting advice you ever received?
This advice came to me through a good friend, but it’s one of the core feeding principals of Ellyn Slatter: the parents decide what to offer the child and when, and the child gets to decide what they actually eat. Remembering that during mealtimes with my very opinionated toddler makes all the difference in the world. We almost always eat the same family meal, but I never expect her to eat everything I offer her. I simply hope (and know, now that we’ve been doing this long enough) that within the range of what I’ve presented, she’ll find some yummy options to try.
What is the best parenting book/blog/resource?
I like Ellyn Slatter’s site for feeding tips, the Honest Company for natural baby care, and my best friends who have kiddos that are similar in age to mine.
Fill in the blank: ______________ is the secret to being productive as Mom.
Doing chores in short bursts, whenever there is a pocket of time.
If you were able to go back in time and start your family over again, with all of the same family members, what would you do differently? What would you keep the same?
I would have asked for more help when my girl was a baby. I tried do to it all—work, take care of her, soothe her colic, feed the family, and keep myself healthy and I almost hit my breaking point a few times. I wish I would have realized that it was okay to ask for help. On the flip side, I made a really difficult decision to not go back to my office job as a food editor after she was born and to start a freelance career. I did miss working with my great colleagues, but that was definitely the right decision for our family. I feel so fortunate that I was able to stay home with her for 14 months and that I still had engaging and meaningful work to do while she slept. It was not perfect (see above about me trying to do too much!), but it was pretty amazing to see all of her milestones firsthand.