If it isn’t obvious yet, I’m really into capturing memories, especially of my daughter Leslie. Not a day goes by when I don’t take at least 10 photos of her. Rewind to her first year and I was taking at least 100 photos a day. When it came time to create her Baby’s First Year photo album I was so overwhelmed with thousands of photos to choose from. It was just too much for me to tackle. Admittedly, I walked away from the project and decided I’d tackle it another time.

About a month ago I came across an incredible mama-founded photo album service called Shortcake. Shortcake makes it easy to create beautifully-designed keepsake albums. The design service will gather your photos and social content (think dates, locations, status updates, comments…), and use the details you’ve collected and shared to create a beautiful scrapbook of your family’s moments and adventures. The only thing you have to do is connect your social and photo storage accounts, fill out a form with some details, and then sit back and wait for the design to come in. Ah-mazing! Goodbye mommy guilt. Hello beautiful, personalized album of my daughter’s first year.

Want to create one? Use code “NUGGET” to get 10% off the design fee for your first order at www.shortcakeinc.com/order. Offer expires 7/21.

I recently connected with Coralee to talk about her business and just how she keeps it all together. Check out what Coralee has to say in our latest Inspiring Moms feature!

On Motherhood, Work, and Keeping it Together

When did motherhood become real for you?
When my daughter was born. As in literally the moment when she came out of me. It wasn’t real until I saw her. My actual first words on seeing her were “Holy *, it’s a baby.” (Oh the panic of first-time motherhood.) For me, no matter how much I “knew” I had a baby in there while pregnant, I didn’t really know until I saw her in person, crying and defenseless and needing our care and attention.

What is the most surprising thing about motherhood?
The paradox of extremes. How quickly (as in seconds) you can go from being completely frustrated and overwhelmed and desperate for anyone to take over for you, to utterly melting in a pool of love and cuddles.

What is the scariest thing about motherhood?
The vulnerability of having your heart walking around outside your body.

What inspired you to start Shortcake?
A little before my daughter’s first birthday, I started feeling guilty because I hadn’t been writing down her milestones and special moments in the baby book I bought for her. Both my mom and my mother-in-law had kept lovely baby books for my husband and I, so I felt awful that I hadn’t done the same. Then I thought about how I had shared most of my daughter’s most important moments with family and friends on social media, which included written descriptions, captured the date, and received some fun comments that I liked looking back on. “Somebody must have a business that will help me turn that into a really nice album, right?” I couldn’t find what I was looking for, so I decided to create it myself!

What are you most proud of?
In truth, I’m really proud of myself for starting this business. It might be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. There were so many times I could have quit when it got hard, but I didn’t, and I’m proud of what I’ve created. I love knowing I’m a role model for my daughter and other moms I know who are thinking of starting a new career.

What has been the hardest thing about balancing your business and being a mom?
Taking control of my time. It is not easy and I struggle with it. I’m still a full-time caregiver to our daughter while also putting in full-time hours running Shortcake from our home office, so if I want to achieve something (whether personal or business) I have to block out time for it or else it doesn’t get done. Being pregnant isn’t helping – it’s SO tempting to take a nap during naptime instead of working.

#MomTip: What is your best advice for other mamas who are trying to make it all work?
Write out your to do list for the next day before you go to bed. (That’s when all your reminders and lists are swimming around in your head and keeping you awake in bed anyway, right?) I’ve seen this simple trick greatly help my productivity (and help me get to sleep faster too). Then in the morning I don’t have to use my brain at all – I just look at my list and know what I need to focus on.

What can’t you live without?
Some help! Like many new moms, I struggled in the beginning with letting someone non-family watch our daughter. But once we finally hired our first sitter about a year ago….it’s so great. I currently have a sitter come watch her for a few hours twice a week so that I can get in some extra work time, and it is the best. Our daughter loves the sitter too and has such fun playing with her. Win-win.

First thing you do when you put your kiddos to bed…
Have some dessert and talk to my husband. He doesn’t get home from work until our daughter’s bedtime (and I’m usually still half-asleep when he leaves in the morning), so after bedtime is the only good hangout time we get. Then it’s either time for me to go back to work or call it a day. Did I mention pregnancy with a toddler is exhausting? Follow Shortcake on Instagram , Facebook and check out the Shortcake blog. Stay tuned… I’m in the process of creating my own Shortcake album of my daughter’s first year. Can’t wait to share it with all of you!

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