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Here's How She Does It

Ever wonder how today's moms make it through the day? Do they have some secret tricks they'd like to share with us? While every mom is different and every situation is unique, one thing is true -- we're all in this together. Take a look at the little things that get them through their day and beyond.

Meet Allison Ziering Walmark Allison lives in Westport, CT with her husband and son Ethan, 13, and daughter Eliza, 11. She spends much of her time tirelessly advocating and raising funds for autism research and awareness through Autism Speaks -- a cause near and dear to her heart, having a son who has autism spectrum disorder. She's also on the Board of Directors at Fairfield Theatre Company in Fairfield County, CT.

Your biggest pickup line pet peeve Married over 14 years, I only wish someone would try to pick me up! LOL. Back in the day, it used to be the standard, “Don’t I know you?” or “Has anyone ever told you that you look like...” and depending on the stage in my life, the person would be Gwyneth Paltrow (my 20's), then Jennifer Aniston (30's/40's), and now I’d probably get Rosanne Barr. (I know. I know. I’m a bad person. It’s a joke.) Oh wait, THAT pickup line -- cutters -- I hate the cutters -- so rude!!! Your best mom hack My kids both have cell phones -- it’s “a thing” in middle school, since the kids are much more independent. While I am always available to help with homework, answer questions, or explain something, I prefer they not take the easy way out. A popular refrain (from me) is, “Why don’t you Google it?” I encourage my kids to be curious, to discover answers and build their own frame of reference. There’s a certain pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from researching a question, finding an answer and committing that to memory. When I was young, I had to look everything up in the World Book Encyclopedia or go to the library for heavy-duty projects. Kids today have everything literally at their fingertips -- there's no excuse to say, “I don’t know.” (Even now, if I search online for something specific, I find at least ten other things I want to learn about and then look up!)

Your lunch packing strategy, if any... My body is so conditioned to run on caffeine from morning coffee, that I rarely eat breakfast and/or lunch. As for my kids, my son (age 13) is a picky eater and gravitates towards the same things. I’ll pack either two slices of pizza or a cheese sandwich, with a piece of fruit, and maybe a small treat. My daughter (age 11) somehow finds the middle school cafeteria food to be delicious, so she buys lunch every day. Regardless, I always make sure to put a new “love note” (that expresses my pride in being their mom or something inspirational) in their lunch bag or backpack -- every day. When is your me time? True “me” time is after the kids go to bed, usually from 9:30-11:00 PM. Once the kids leave for school, I go into “mom/wife” mode, and focus on things for the kids, the ‘hubster’ or the house. I’m a morning person, so if there are things that have to do with me, I need to get them done first thing, or they get put off until the next day.

On Saturday morning when everyone is still asleep, I’ll grab the New York Times (Sunday) Magazine which comes on Saturday and try to complete as much of the crossword puzzle as I can before the insanity begins. If I can’t complete it, I’ll look at clues periodically throughout the day and try to finish it. If it’s not finished by Saturday evening, it goes into recycling because I won’t get a chance to work on it again. After the kids are in bed, I... Try to read some of the backlog of magazines that magically accumulate (Vanity Fair, People, Entertainment Weekly), check online gossip, and maybe do a few puzzle apps to clear my head and sharpen my brain. Right now, I'm obsessed with the Word Cookies and Block! Hexa apps.

When I dream of an escape, I picture... Being on a family vacation (we’ve never taken an adult-only vacation, and have no desire) in a warm climate... with a gentle breeze blowing... the sound of waves crashing ... delicious cuisine... the kids getting along... and when we arrive, my husband lovingly says, “Why don’t I take the kids, honey. You just relax, rest get some sun, and enjoy yourself.” You did say it was a dream escape, right? Shower time? AM, PM -- never??? There was a time I would shower in the morning, then rinse off before bed. Now, the hair goes up in a ponytail first thing in the AM. I always take a hot shower in the evening, because it relaxes me -- it’s also where I get my best inspiration and ideas -- plus, I like to wash away the “day’s dirt” so I can snuggle into clean sheets. Your mom philosophy in one sentence... Don’t be a d..k. Really. That’s my philosophy in a nutshell. (No pun intended.) Mom vice... Dr. Phil and Judge Judy. (Shhhhhhhhh. Don’t tell anyone. Ha.)

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