Look up "cool" in the dictionary, and you will likely find a photo of Jane Kim Roggen and her family. In addition to being a mama to two-and-a-half-year-old Hughes (who provides some of the best toddler content on Instagram), Jane is responsible for influencer marketing and business development for many brands you're obsessed with.
Jane is always down to give an off-the-beaten-track recommendation and humorously honest product feedback, making her an obvious choice to be part of Troop Danrie. Here, we talk about all things holiday and gifting.
How do you and your family celebrate the holidays?
We celebrate at home and stay local, avoiding stressful holiday travel. A lot of quality time was spent with family and friends but balanced with doing absolutely nothing and hibernating at home without leaving the couch. My husband and I make it a point to unplug from work, decompress, and veg out - sleeping in, bingeing on a new show, taking multiple naps throughout the day, repeat.
We're a Chrismukkah family and like to do all of the celebrations. We do the menorah lighting and decorate the Christmas tree together. This is the first holiday our son understands what's going on (and understands presents), so I'd love to incorporate ways of giving back and instill in him that holidays aren't just about receiving.
Are there any holiday traditions you and your husband have brought from your childhood to your home today?
We're so excited to do Christmas morning. That means baking cookies for Santa the night before and making it look like he was there… the whole thing. My family would open gifts, watch the Christmas parade on TV and then have the Yule Log channel on all day. And then, of course, watch A Christmas Story. To honor my husband's tradition for Hannukuh, we'll light the candles each night and recite the blessings. We'll eat latkes and matzah ball soup my mother-in-law makes daily for the week. Our fridge will be stocked with all the leftovers (the best!). Hughes loves dreidels and knows all the songs, so we'll probably teach him how to play with the chocolate coins (gelt) this year.
What is your gifting strategy when it comes to kids?
I do not have one and will take any advice I can get here! So far, I've asked Hughes what he wants or noted things he's shown interest in. Clothing is an excellent gift for this age to get him excited to get dressed for celebrations.
What does "balance" mean to you during the holidays?
Spending time with extended family and friends, but then just having quality time together as our little family and creating our own traditions. Hibernating at home, spending time cooking (rather than ordering in or eating out), and getting rid of things we no longer need.
What's one thing you splurged on for your son that you don't regret?
Formula. The only one that helped with his reflux was the HiPP Organic Formula which you could only have shipped from Europe, but worth every penny.
Oh, and a sleep consultant. You can't even put a price on sleep, so this was the best money spent. We worked with Jayne Havens of Snooze Fest after finding her on a Facebook Mom Group when Hughes was three months. The longest stretch of sleep he'd give us was 3 hours, and we were exhausted. We did her 30-min Ask Me Anything Call, which is one of the services she offers, and it was comforting to hear that what we were going through is totally normal and common at that age—which as a sleep-deprived, highly emotional new mom, knowing you're not alone is all you need to hear. The sleep training is more about training YOU as parents reassuring you that your baby will be OK during the process, not to worry, and trust the process (aka don't give in, hold your ground!). She told us that it's important for the baby to learn how to self-soothe back to sleep, and the longer you wait, the harder it will be. Jayne has different methods for parents depending on what you're most comfortable with, and we just wanted to rip the band-aid off, so we went ahead with the Cry It Out route. It really was not as bad as I had anticipated, and within two days, he slept through the night and hasn't had a regression since.
The best tip is to create a consistent bedtime routine, which we continue to do every night. Bath, pajamas, read, sing a lullaby, sound machine on, put in the crib.
A recent discovery you've made that you can't wait to share with your friends?
The Canopy Humidifier - I've gone through 7 different humidifiers, all ending up moldy and in the garbage no matter how well I cleaned them. The Canopy is a game-changer, and you can throw it in the dishwasher, which is soo much less work to care for and maintain because I was spending way too much time every night cleaning out humidifiers!
The WayB Pico Portable Car Seat - We LOVED our Doona stroller and were so sad when we grew out of it after a year, wishing there was something compact and easy for the toddler/child age. I like to call my WayB Pico my new Doona because it's exactly what we were looking for for travel. Our friend used the WayB Pico on a flight and raved about it, so we got one for a recent west coast trip. Although we didn't use it as a plane seat, we used it for our rental car and getting in and out of Ubers. It's safe, lightweight (only 8 lbs!), and easy to travel with and use.
What's one purchase you made with the first baby that you'd 100% make again if you had a second?
Is there a charity or an organization you're loving right now?
Baby2Baby and Room to Grow.
I feel so blessed with everything I can provide for my son day in and day out. Baby essentials are not cheap, and your time with your child should not be taken over by the stress of being able to provide. Diapers, wipes, clothes, and formula are all necessities that every child deserves, and I love Baby2Baby for its ongoing mission to provide for children in poverty. They have been at the forefront in the wake of disasters providing relief to families through their Disaster Relief program and recently their distribution during the national baby formula shortage.
Room To Grow's focus on supporting the parents and the family really resonated with me. As a parent, I want to be the best version of myself for my child, and for me, that couldn't be possible without the support from my partner and family and guidance from friends. I know how fortunate I am to have the help, and I was looking for ways to help others who might not have access to the same resources during a critical time of child development. Although I have heard of the organization before, I only recently learned about their work when searching for organizations to donate a bag of toys and books. I love that Room to Grow fosters their families in a more profound, meaningful way with their program, providing guidance and a strong foundation for parents.