Everyone Needs a Best Friend Like Her: Interview with Valerie Soto

For the month of May, I want to feature 31 women who continue to touch my life through their kindness, friendship, humor, passion, and determination. Each of these women have some great secrets as they open their doors and let me into their “mommy world”. Their stories bring us back to the realization that we all go through struggles, make mistakes, and sometimes need to “fake it until we make it” as parents. Join us as we celebrate these mothers throughout the month of May.

Welcome to day 30 of Bulldog’s Mommy Blog Project! Before we learn more about how my best friend, Valerie Soto, tackles motherhood, work, and manages a busy life, let’s learn about the parenting tip of the day.IMG_3707

Parenting Tip of the Day: Be a good role model for your kids. A part of being a parent is taking on the role of a teacher and mentor. The way you talk about yourself can have an impact on your child’s behavior and self-image. Be a “teaching parent” with these tips:

  • Eliminate negative self-image talk. Watch what you say about yourself around your kids. We all struggle with our own self-image at times. Our kids look to us as examples of the extended world- let them see a positive reflection. If we don’t relay a positive self-image in ourselves, our kids will not be able to see it in themselves.
  • Communicate! Talk to your kids about how you feel and your reaction to certain situations. If you get angry and overreact to a simple mistake your child made, let your child know the reason behind it. Remember to apologize!
  • Be involved. Make it a point to attend events that are important to your kids. Stay in the moment during the times that are important to them. Your kids will learn the value of togetherness and the importance of relationships.
  • Demonstrate truthful behavior. We all make mistakes or have times when we don’t follow up on our promises. Take a moment to speak to your kids about this and explain the circumstances behind it. Your kids will appreciate this “human” side of you.

For more info or tips click on our website: Parent Coaching

I met Val in college. The second I met this girl, I knew we would be best friends. We were total opposites, she was an athlete studying science, and had a steady boyfriend. I was between majors, a hot mess, and partied a little too much: “A la Canadian Style“. We were different, but somehow completed each other. She is probably the kindest person I know. She never talks bad about people and truly finds the beauty in everything. It sometimes drives me insane! I just want to yell “VAL it’s ok to talk SH*T sometimes.” But, she doesn’t. There are no words to express how much I love this woman. She has helped me through the hardest years of my life. She flew in from DC to Canada for my father’s and brother’s funeral. She dropped everything, booked a flight, rented a car, and boom…made it across the border. She stood by me when I made a life changing decision and helped me process it all. When I was pregnant, 39 weeks to be exact, she flew in the weekend I was moving, helped me unpack, and set up my new home for my daughter. She taught me how to swaddle my kid, breastfeed, and sooth a screaming child. In the first few weeks of my daughter’s life she called every day, she sent care packages, and coached me through the roughest weeks of motherhood. Val is strong and kind. She is filled with love and beauty. She is my rock, my sister from another mother, my best friend. Val, I dedicate my success and ability to manage it all to you. You are truly the most amazing woman and I love you dearly.

Please welcome my best friend, Val Soto, to our Mommy Blog Project!


Name: Val Soto
Location: Washington, D.C.
Mommy Title: Mom of 2, but I am a substitute mom for 5!
Favorite Social Media Site: Facebook and Pinterest
Mommy Status: Married
Number of kids: 2
Age: 5 and 2
Gender: Girl & Boy

Walk me through a day in your household.
I am up at 5:45am. I put out the clothes for kids, make lunches, and get ready to be out the door by 6:30am. Daddy takes them to school. I leave work at 5pm and pick up the kids from daycare. We go home and go play outside for a couple hours. Then we come back and eat dinner. On a good day, we give them both a bath. On a bad day, none of them make it to the tub. We read books and then we start bed time around 8:30pm-9:00pm. Plenty of times, I have fallen asleep in my daughter’s bed. When I don’t, I try to spend some time with my husband. Then it’s rinse and repeat for the next day!

Val Favorite Room

What is your favorite room in the house and why?
I like my kids’ rooms, especially my daughter’s. We finally got it into the type of room and environment that I wanted it to be. It’s so peaceful. My daughter gets to spend time there without other distractions. It’s our place to spend some quality “Mommy and Me” time.

What is your favorite time of the day with your kids?
It’s probably bedtime. I get to relax and not think about all the “to-do’s” of the world. In the evenings, I get to let go of all my worries and get to be there with them. We love to listen to music and read books together. It’s a special time for us.

What is a unique family tradition?
On the day we actually do dinner together as a family, we do a “high of the day”. Usually we have a full table. Cousin, aunts, and my kids all together at the dinner table. We get to select the “chooser” of the “high of the day”. It is a great moment and the kids just love sharing about their day in that way. Does not happen every night, but we try to do it as much as possible.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed?
I call YOU. You are on my speed dial. When I talk to you, I just get to vent. Seriously, I call you! I also cry or go for a walk.

This is Val's Husband Yovani. He is such a Goof. Had to add this picture to the mix

This is Val’s Husband Yovani. He is such a GOOF! Had to add this picture to the mix!

What is the best “uh-oh” story?
I definitely have a few:

#1: I drove for 40 minutes to bring my daughter to a “Bounce U” birthday party for her classmate; only to find out I got the date wrong. I was a day early, so at least she didn’t miss the party!

#2: I was attempting to prevent my son from climbing on the dining room table and wanted to teach him a lesson or two in the process. After he climbed up on the table, I moved back all the chairs from the table, so that he would be stuck (and in my mind regretful for not listening to me when I repeatedly told him not to climb up on the table). Instead of learning that BIG lesson I planned for him, my son fell on the floor and bit his tongue, which resulted in a lot of bleeding – definitely NOT my brightest parenting attempt!

#3: It had been a few months after we had to put our oldest beloved dog, Duke, down. I was driving with my daughter on an early Saturday morning in the car to go to the gym for a childcare workout she does. During the car ride there, she asked, “Mommy, if Duke went to heaven and is now a star in the sky that I talk to… will you one day be a star in the sky?” I was SO NOT prepared to talk about the circle of life with her! I did the best I could, but ultimately went with the truth that yes, I will be a star in the sky after I die that she can talk to. I was thinking I did an ok job explaining stuff at her comprehension level… until I looked in the rearview mirror and saw that she is balling! FULL BLOWN TEARS OF SADNESS. Oops…need to brush up on the death talk!

Lisa Kudrow

Which celebrity mom is most like you and why?
Val could not think of a celebrity mom. So, I stepped in (per usual) and I decided she is a mixture of Pheobe Buffay (actress Lisa Kudrow) from Friends and Michelle Williams. She is goofy like Pheobe, but also smart, independent, and focus on her kids like Michelle. 

What is your favorite website or blog?
Your blog, Bully Boot Camp!!! I am also on Twitter and I use it to read and catch up on the news. I secretly follow some of the celebrities! I also love the Outlander book series. It’s my guilty pleasure. So I follow them on Twitter.

AFI FEST 2008 Premiere Of "Wendy And Lucy"

What advice would you give your younger self? 
I would say enjoy your free time, travel more, and don’t worry about always trying to get ahead and getting to the next mile stone. Don’t rush your life!

What is your go to outfit?
I like things that are comfortable and practical: tank tops, capris, and a workout jacket or a hoody.

What is something you are pretending to know about but have no clue?

What have you learned from your kids?
I have learned that they have their own personality and it might not be the same as yours. You just have to learn to listen to them and embrace who they are. I am not an outgoing person, and they make me break out of my comfort zone because they are so social.

Val's Kids

If you could ask the universe one question what would it be?
Will we live happily ever after?

What is the looming task on your to do list?
I have to do my will. I have not done that yet and I really need to get it done. I also need to do the estate planning and who will take care of my kids when I’m gone.

Closing thoughts, mantra, or advice:
My advice is to not lose yourself in your kids. You need to take time for yourself. Set some goals, plan a trip, focus on your career, and work on your marriage. You can do all those things and still be a fantastic mom. Also, don’t beat yourself up and enjoy all the little beauties in life. We all make mistakes and we all lose our cool from time to time. Just find your go to person or thing to help you calm down.

I would like to thank Val Soto for being my best friend. She the most compassionate and caring mother, a dedicated wife, and an amazing friend. There are not a lot of Val’s out there in our world. When you find one, hold them close, appreciate them, and learn from them. They will teach you the best lessons in life and you will laugh your ass off in the process. Today, take a minute and tell your best friend why you appreciate them.       

Until Next Time…
Kortney Peagram
Be Strong*Be Brave*Be a Bulldog

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Filed under: Mommy Blog Project

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