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Movin’ and shakin’ NOLA mamas: Professional makeup artist and hairstylist Cat Vo

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With Mother’s Day on the horizon (May 8!), IntheNOLA’s celebrating some of our favorite #NOLAMamas over the next few weeks!
Cat Vo (Professional makeup artist and hairstylist), Abigail (aka Abby; 8 years old) and Jericho James (aka Echo; 9 months old)
Beauty aficionado Cat Vo is not only busy making sure that the women of New Orleans look beautiful with their hair and makeup on point, she’s also busy raising two young New Orleanians, daughter Abigail and son Jericho James!
“I was born and raised in New Orleans, so now raising my own children here feels so special to me,” she smiled. “We live in such a diverse city that is rich in culture with so much soul. As a New Orleans mom, I want to teach my children to discover their own voice and be strong, and that with determination, any goal is possible. New Orleans can be a tough place, so I hope that my husband and I are positive examples to our children to be the change we want to continue to see in our beautiful city.”
Eight-year-old Abigail and nine-month-old Jericho are some kind of special to Cat! “My Abbycakes is so sweet, shy, artistic, and smart, and she’s the best big sister ever,” she said. “She has an incredibly nurturing spirit and she loves to share. From a very young age, she was very caring and affectionate. She loves learning, reading, drawing and writing; she’s even working on completing her first book! She also has the strongest love for animals and wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up.” 
She continued, “Echo is energetic, happy, and charming, and he’s a very mischievous nine-month-old. He loves music, dancing, exploring, people-watching, and most importantly, attention! While they are both so different, there are qualities in each of them that remind me of myself. There are times where I’m very shy and introverted, and other times when I’m inspired and want to share my creativity with the world.” 

As a working mother, Cat knows that ‘mom guilt’ is very real. “Being a mom is already a tough job, so when you’re a working mom, the job can be twice as challenging! When I had Echo, I wanted to spend more time at home with him since I went back to work so quickly after Abby was born. When I started accepting clients part-time, I felt guilty about so many things: not being able to consistently breastfeed anymore, having a messy home, Abby missing a homework assignment or getting to bed late, dishes piled high, and the list goes on. The more work I accepted and the more time I spent away from my babies, I felt satisfied in my progression, but I also felt like a terrible mom. I realized that I wasn't truly focused or organized enough. Emails, text messages and work just started piling up and became so overwhelming. The house became so unmanageable with toys, clothes, laundry, to-go boxes, and dust bunnies swirling everywhere. I felt like I was in a creative rut because I didn’t have the time to create or organize content for my business. Mix all that with a dose of the baby blues and the world was slowly caving in.”

She added, “My husband and I knew we had to get organized and create a support system to satisfy our need for work and the want to be hands-on parents. For parents struggling with guilt, I would highly recommend sitting down and develop a plan or system that works for them. I’m a very visual person, so we used a dry erase board and the calendar app on our phones, where we can share our appointments, to plan out our work and home responsibilities. In addition, for me, I feel like if both parents are working, both parents need to contribute to housework and parenting work. My husband really heard my concerns and we take turns washing dishes, picking the kids up from school/daycare, cleaning the home, helping with homework, baby feedings, etc. We also try to arrange time for ourselves to reconnect with each other, our friends, or family. We even try to plan for each of us to have our own time to hang out with friends separately.” 

Having that support system has been invaluable for Cat and her family. “For all parents, it's okay to seek help, whether you ask friends, family, read books and parenting articles, or find an online support group for moms such as The best advice I've received from other working moms is not to beat yourself over laundry not being done or the baby wearing a soggy diaper for 5 minutes longer than you would have wanted. I was always trying to be the perfect mom and the minute I accepted that it was OK not to be perfect was the moment I felt a little more sane. The worst thing any parent can do is compare him or herself to others or judge other parents. Discover what kind of parent YOU want to be and build a plan to do so. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stressed, know that you are not alone! Every parent and every child is different, but the one thing that can help is finding what works for each family to be efficient and happy!” 
Cat concluded, “One important fact that my husband always reminds me is that this time is only temporary. Abby and Echo will only be little for a short while so we need to enjoy and embrace the chaos. It's all a balancing act and every day it gets better and better. I don't try to be a perfect wife, mom, or businesswoman anymore. I just try my best to manage and love this crazy time.”
Thanks, Cat, Abby, and Echo!

Here are some of Cat, Abby, and Echo’s favorites: 

Favorite Park
Cat: Audubon Park or Danneel Park, which is very baby and toddler-friendly! 
Favorite Snowball Stand
Cat: We try to limit sugar intake for the kiddos, but when we do indulge, we usually go to the snowball truck at Audubon Park. 
Favorite Restaurant
Cat: Too many to only name one! 9 Roses, Mo Pho, Jacque Imo’s, Superior Seafood, Surrey’s, Carmo, Peche, District Donuts, Magasin, Company Burger, Hana Sushi, Sake Cafe, La Thai Uptown, Doris Metropolitan, Dim Sum at Panda King on Sundays, Wood Pizza, and Domilise’s, just to name a few!
Other Favorite Places to Go 
Cat: We enjoy taking the kids to the Aquarium, Audubon Zoo, Cafe Du Monde, Storyland at City Park, and the Monkey Room.  
Other Favorite Things to Do
Cat: We enjoy taking the kids on a stroll down Magazine Street, riding the streetcar on St. Charles, and grocery shopping at Fresh Market. Abby also loves taking a pedicab if we’re exploring downtown. I also love taking a girl’s day with my Abbycakes to get our nails done, then go to Sucre for her favorite macaroons, and sitting in our courtyard blowing bubbles and enjoying our snacks! On a very rare occasion, my husband and I will plan an overnight stay-cation and try a new restaurant or stay at a local hotel like a tourist. Since my husband and I also work a lot, we also enjoy taking the kids to work or on-location if I’m working on a photo shoot. It’s definitely a family affair! 

Check out our other movin’ and shakin’ NOLA mamas:
Donna Crump (Good Dance Since 1984)
Genevieve Douglass (Uptown PR and KINDRED Studios)
Tamica Lee (WWLTV and New Orleans Saintsations)
Jolie Bensen Hamilton (Jolie and Elizabeth)
Melissa Mendoza (Family attorney)
Last modified on Thursday, 28 April 2016
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