Rachel Zoe on Motherhood, Style, and Keeping Your Home Germ Free

Rachel Zoe is a fashion mogul, style savant, best-selling author of Style A to Zoe and Living In Style, founder of the fashion and lifestyle blog The Zoe Report, and her own eponymous clothing line. Viewers got a glimpse into her life and her journey to motherhood when “The Rachel Zoe Project” debuted on Bravo in 2008, and since then, she will tell you that her most important job is mom to Skyler, 6 and Kaius, 3. She recently teamed up with Lysol’s Laundry Sanitizer to bring awareness to germs left on our laundry even after washing and the reason why is that, “Like so many moms, I am maniacal about germs and cleaning and keeping my children as healthy as possible,” says Zoe. “I just always assumed that when you washed something it was completely free of all germs and bacteria, but it’s not. The laundry sanitizer kills 99.9 percent of all germs. It’s so easy to use, and why wouldn’t you.”

We also talked to Zoe about motherhood, style and other ways to keep your home clean.

Do you have any tips for parents on how to maintain a clean, germ-free home? In the winter months, the flu months, I am maniacal about  “Lysoling” everywhere. Using Lysol on door handles and keeping hand sanitizers in every car is something I did way before I had kids, and once I had kids I saw how easily they get sick and pick up viruses. Kids are running around and playing and then they put their hands right in their mouth and don’t even think about it. For me I cringe when they do that so treating the things that are closest to them, like their favorite clothes, their backpacks, lunch boxes, blankets and pillows, and stuffed animals, has been a lifesaver. Those things need to be washed regularly and properly sanitized.

Do your boys help out around the house or are they conscious about keeping things clean? My older one is 6 and he’s so funny, but he definitely takes after me and definitely loves to wash his hands and he is starting now to take his plate to the sink, put his clothes in the laundry, he hasn’t gotten the bed making things down, although we’ve tried. My 3 ½ year old is just having fun, but my 6 year old is very germ conscious. Whenever he eats lunch at school he always cleans his hands before and he reminds people to wash their hands, it’s pretty funny.

What do you feel your greatest accomplishment as a mom has been? So far, and I really hope that they stay this way, is that my boys are very kind, they’re very friendly, they’re nice to all kids. They’re very happy, social, friendly kids. My younger one, is probably that way because he follows his older brother and was just born sweet and delicious, but my older son would never hurt someone’s feelings. I think for me as a parent, and I always say that to Roger[Zoe’s husband], that, “That’s our job.” They go to school everyday and they’re going to learn behaviors as well as academics and all of that, but for us, it’s our job to really keep them good people, and to be kind and empathetic and sympathetic. So that has been the greatest mission that I have as a parent, that they have manners, and that they say hi to people, and that they are kind.

I have two boys, as well, so I’m always looking for advice from other “boy moms.” What are some challenges you’ve faced raising your boys? My boys, thankfully, really live and die for each other. They even started sharing a bed because they want to be together at nighttime, they are best of friends. But with that said, boys are very physical so even when they’re hugging or playing and snuggling, I constantly worry, but they don’t get hurt very easily. As parents even though it’s a constant challenge, you have to stay strong on how they treat one another. I think that it’s easier for parents to just let the boys “fight it out,” but for me, I always make sure that they resolve it, that they hug it out, and that they are laughing the next minute. Also it’s easy for us as parents to root for the baby because they are the underdog, but I think we also have to consider the older one sometimes. It’s hard to have everyone root for the baby, so maybe sometimes the older sibling doesn’t have to share that toy that minute, let the older one have the toy instead of the younger one.  I think it’s important to also give some extra TLC to the older one and some alone time.

I recently read that you opened a nursery in your office to help your employees with the strain of new parenthood. How do you hope to continue to empower working moms in the future? I started that nursery because we had six babies born in my company in a year, my second child included. When I had Sky I took him to work with me several times a week and it really bothered me, the thought that it was okay to take my child to work and other moms didn’t have that same luxury. And what I found was that the moms who used the nursery, were so productive.  I think a lot of corporations really worry that it will be counterproductive and what they don’t realize is that it’s actually the opposite. Because when moms and dads know that their child is in the same building, under the same roof and that they can peak in on them if they want to, their mind is not so distracted with thinking about when they’re leaving, what is the baby doing? I think for me, they were much more dedicated, they didn’t even look at the clock, and if they needed to work late it was fine, because their baby was with them. We found it to be so amazing and I loved it. What am I going to continue? We have a few moms that work different hours and we really don’t mind as long as their job performance is good.

Any simple tips for moms who want to up their fashion sense? My whole mantra, whether you are a mom or not is to take an extra five minutes to do something that makes you look and feel better. So I think for that it would be to take off your gym clothes, throw on a cute pair of leggings and a cute shirt that you feel good in but that is also comfortable. Swap gym shoes for a cute pair of flats or an ankle boot, there are even really cute fashion sneakers now. Honestly you’ll feel better, and it doesn’t always have to be a style statement, but trying to pull yourself together as best you can will really make you feel better, too.


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