Wonder Mom: Potty Training Pro Jen L’Italien
Jen L’Italien hails from the woods of South Eastern Maine and works as an Oh Crap Potty Training certified consultant helping families around the country (and internationally) with this messy and rewarding milestone. She can help you with her super affordable potty training video course or 1:1 through her service Potty Training from ME to You. Jen grew up in New Jersey, lived in New York for 14 years as a writer and renaissance woman with jobs helping produce gift guides for Real Simple and Redbook magazines (jealous!!), but Maine feels the most like home to her. Having kids has given her a deeper awareness of the need to sometimes just be silly and always pack a snack. Jen also has a natural sense of beauty and humor that she applies to all of her choices from the craft projects and cozy decor to awesome family haircuts. How does wonder mom potty training pro Jen L’Italien keep up her Pin-stagram-worthy life with two kiddos (7 and 5.5 years) and a lot of other “crap” in tow? Here’s how!
Wonder Mom Potty Training Pro Jen L’Italien Shares Her Truths:
WHAT DO YOU DO?
I help moms and dads through one of the most challenging, can-feel-maddening milestones…potty training. But far beyond supporting parents through the process of getting their toddlers to put pee and poop in the potty, I see my mission as helping parents find their confidence again. I know a ton about potty training, but ultimately, you as the mom are the expert on your kiddo.
HOW DID YOUR CAREER/LIFESTYLE COME INTO BEING?
I trained under Jamie Glowacki, who is the bestselling author of Oh Crap Potty Training (she has a new book coming out in June, Oh Crap I Have a Toddler!). When I was potty training my daughter, I used her book as a guide. Back then, Oh Crap Potty Training was just an e-book and Jamie was doing a weekly blog talk radio show. I read the book and it just jived with me, and made sense. When I got stuck in the process, I actually called into her radio show and her advice always worked spot on. Years later, I hit a bump in night training my son. When I checked back on her site, I discovered she had created a certification program to become an Oh Crap Potty Training consultant. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should do it, and I was already an Oh Crap groupie telling other moms how good the book is. As a potty training consultant, I love connecting with other mamas and helping shift things in a positive way when potty training is not going right and everyone is feeling stressed, frustrated, or filled with self-doubt.
HOW HAS HAVING CHILDREN TRANSFORMED YOUR LIFESTYLE?
Mostly I’ve slowed down and enjoy the small stuff by following their lead. Children relish the bits of magic we as grownups have long stopped noticing…pretty red leaves on the walk to school, how cool it is to build a snowman, or how exhilarating a simple game of hide and seek can be. We used to live in Brooklyn, and now we live in Maine, so that was a big lifestyle change. On a daily basis, I feel like I am constantly preparing food for little humans. They’re always eating! Basically I feel like prepping meals and snacks should be a skill listed on my LinkedIn profile at this point.
5 WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL SENSE OF STYLE?
More earthy balanced by whimsy
HOW DO YOU FIND TIME TO GET READY AND MAINTAIN YOUR STYLE?
I have less, so there’s less time spent making choices. My kids have great wardrobes (thank you, Grandma, and hand-me-downs from friends), but mine is tightly edited compared to what it was pre-children. It wasn’t a conscious decision, I just naturally spend less time looking for things for me, and spend more on them. But it’s made getting ready in the morning so much easier. Less to choose from — just keep the things you love to wear.
WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR ENERGY?
My kids keep me in motion all day. Dance parties help me rev up for dinner making. Besides the obvious (coffee in the morning), I’ve gotten really into using this foam roller to stretch out the kinks and find a second wind.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL OR DREAM SUPER POWER?
We are big into the fairies in my house. And there’s a beautiful island in Maine called Mackworth Island with actual fairy villages…people hike around and create little fairy homes from bits of nature. My daughter often talks about what she’d ask a fairy friend for if she ever got to meet one. My personal wish would be to worry less and have a magical button to stop time when my kids seem to be growing up too fast.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? (OTHER THAN YOUR CHILDREN)
Film. I love making little videos of my family. I used to work in magazines and one of my favorite parts of that job was creating the photo shoots, making pretty still lifes out of props. Once I learned how to shoot and edit video with my DSLR camera, I feel tapped into that creative side of me again. And video lets you hear people’s voices so it takes you back to the moment in a different way than a photo does.
WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS AND WHY?
There’s not one in particular but rather women of today and yesterday who follow their own voice, and keep going, even when they’re told no. We’re big fans of the Rebel Girls books.
ANY WORDS THAT YOU LIVE BY? (A QUOTE OR YOUR OWN)
I love this manifesto I spotted on Instagram:
“Turn off your TV (and devices). Leave your house. Know your neighbors, Look up when you are walking; Greet people; Sit on your stoop; Plant flowers; Use your library; Play together; Buy from local merchants; Share what you have; Help a lost dog; Take children to the park; Garden together; Support neighborhood schools; Fix it even if you didn’t break it; Have potlucks; Honor elders; Pick up litter; Read stories aloud; Dance in the street; Talk to the mail carrier; Listen to the birds; Put up a swing; Help carry something heavy; Barter for your goods; Start a tradition; Ask a question; Hire young people for odd jobs; Organize a block party; Bake extra and share; Ask for help when you need it; Open your shades; Sing together; Share your skills; Take back the night; Turn up the music; Turn down the music; Listen before you react to anger; Mediate a conflict; Seek to understand; Learn from new and uncomfortable angles; Know that no one is silent although many are not heard. Work to change this.” – Karen Kerney
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR CHILDREN?
Trips to the beach looking for lucky sand dollars and soaking up the sunshine (in Maine you don’t take summer for granted.)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH MORE TIME?
So many things. Sleep more, ha! I’m a natural night owl who carves out more time to catch up on things by stretching out my evenings, But really, I should be sleeping more and I’m always a better mom when I follow that simple truth. I’d also finally start some of the home projects that have been on my to-do list for a long time. I know the colors I want to do for each room, just need the time to paint. I’d clear out my computer of the thousands of photos of my kids I need to organize better. I’d also love to travel more. Even within Maine, there’s so much I have yet to see and would love to play tourist in my own state.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE FAMILY AND WORK?
I work from home which makes so many logistics easier. And I’m working with other moms, which makes scheduling clients easier with phone consultations (no mom wants to chat at dinner or bedtime!).
WHAT ARE 3 PRODUCTS THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT AS A MOM?
Back when they were little babes: a baby carrier, my Nellie’s laundry detergent (I washed their cloth diapers), and organic muslin swaddle blankets I used for everything. Now that they’re older: our Planetbox lunchboxes, my Ikea letter tray for organizing school papers, and Rao’s tomato sauce for making meals taste good when there’s no time to make anything from scratch.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?
I’ve gotten into gardening this year, which is work but also feels meditative to be outside digging in the dirt. We had a big crop of yummy cherry tomatoes! I also love drawing with my kids. Turns out, it’s pretty fun to just zone out and draw and color.
WHAT TIME DO YOU GET UP AND GO TO BED ON A TYPICAL DAY?
Get up between 6-6:30am and go to bed anytime between 10pm to midnight.
WHAT DO YOU TYPICALLY EAT FOR BREAKFAST?
Always a smoothie. I pack it with good stuff and like how I can drink my breakfast while getting the kids out the door.
COFFEE, TEA, WINE, TEQUILA, OR OTHER?
Coffee. Actually a coffee and a shot of espresso if you’re buying.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU STRUGGLE WITH FITTING INTO YOUR LIFESTYLE AND HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH IT?
I was struggling to bring in exercise in a consistent way and was getting so discouraged that whenever I’d try a yoga class or sign up for some exercise video app, I’d experience debilitating back pain after a session. I have a diastasis recti from pregnancy, and without a strong core it’s been hard to move forward in regular exercise. So I’ve been working with a physical therapist to fix everything from my abs to my lifelong bad posture, and it finally feels like I’m moving in the right direction.
ANY ADVICE FOR NEW MOMS, OR MOMS WHO ARE STRUGGLING TO MAKE IT ALL WORK?
Turn off social media when you’re having a bad day. Connect with a friend who always sends the perfect text to make you laugh. Practice your floss moves in the kitchen with your kids to shut down a case of the grumps. I apologize to my kids often, which takes pressure off myself and helps them understand how to be more empathetic humans. Learning is messy for everyone…children, new moms.