How do you balance being a mom and a woman? New columnist Kaira Sturdivant Rouda helps us out.

I have to admit, I'm a huge fan of mom bloggers, mom social networkers, mom connectors and moms in general. So when I was asked to start a column for Momstyle, I was honored!

As a mom of four-ages 12, 14, 15 and 17-I hope by sharing my experiences with you, here, you'll find we have a lot in common. Whether you're the mom of a newborn, a mom-to-be, a SAHM, or a mom who works full-time, there is more that we all have in common than we ever share. So that's my goal with this column. Let's find the common ground and stick together, ladies! Just imagine what we could accomplish, for our kids and ourselves!

What does it mean to be the Real You with Kids? It means that you actually realize and BELIEVE that you are an important and distinct individual from your kids. That you live for them, but not through them. That's the bottom line. And the opportunity.

Here's a question: When is the last time you had fun? Real, meaningful, lasting, belly-laughing fun?

If it was yesterday, congratulations! My sense in this guilt-ridden, self-effacing-as-the-norm mom society that you, like me, feel incredibly selfish having fun. Am I ringing a bell? Travel for work, okay. Travel with your girlfriends for the weekend? No way. Plan a birthday party with all the fixings for 20 eight-year-olds? Of course. Plan a happy hour with two friends? No time. I could give you a zillion more examples, but I hope you know what I'm talking about. I know, 'they're only young once', but so are you. And don't just take my word for it. Study after study shows that what children really want from their mom is for her to be happy. Really. When Mom's happy, everybody is happy.

Did you know children laugh an average of 300 times per day; adults only 15? How many times do you laugh a day?

To re-connect with that happy woman you are inside, you need to make sure you're tapping into all of your passions. Sure, you're passionate about your family, but what else makes you smile? What hobbies have you allowed to languish in your quest for the perfect SAT tutor or the new lacrosse stick? If you work full-time, do you consider that your personal time? If you stay at home full time, what are you missing? Think about it. It's time for the Real You with Kids.

This month's quote: "Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there are still untapped possibilities within us, and new beauty waiting to be born." -Dr. Dale Turner

Kaira Sturdivant Rouda is a mother of four, author and entrepreneur. She's interested in writing, yoga and energizing women's lives. She's also been known to "honk" when laughing. To learn more, visit