Tucked into the beautiful Instagram pics sharing peeks into the crazy busy lives of two metro Detroit twins, both anesthesiologists and moms juggling seven kids, two big dogs, husbands and homes, is a message all moms should hear: Never lose yourself.
Until about three years ago, that’s exactly what Christina and Jennifer Rhee say they were feeling while juggling insane work schedules and family needs. Then came a birthday lunch together and they decided to do something about it.
“We wanted to reclaim some of what we had for ourselves,” says Jennifer, the older of the pair.
What they came up with was Mimosas Munchkins & Muffintops where the best friends and sisters share what they love most: fashion, food and family fun on Instagram (with nearly 11,000 followers and counting) and their blog.
“It shows how we are trying to find a balance in life, and I think a lot of moms can relate to that. I think there’s no perfect balance, the bottom line,” Christina says. In it, they hope other moms find encouragement to pursue their own passions and hobbies judgment free.
“Don’t beat yourself up too much. ‘Am I working too much, am I staying home too much?’ You shouldn’t question yourself too much about it,” Jennifer says. “In the end, life is never going to seem perfect. You should get to a point where you should feel comfortable.”
They are working on it, too.
It’s natural to the sisters, who grew up in Northville, to share the exact same passions.
“We’ve kind of always done everything together. Everyone thinks it’s crazy and odd that we went to the same undergrad and we did med school together and chose the same profession, but for us it’s always been normal,” Jennifer says. “We’ve always functioned as a team.”
And now their children, also born around the same time, are best friends, too.
Jennifer has Cayleb, 7, and Layla, 4, plus two teenage stepchildren, Ayven and Ayverie. Christina has Elijah, 7, and twins Noah and Ariah, 4.
“We’re both each other’s children’s second mom,” Jennifer says.
These busy moms took a timeout to answer a few questions.
The biggest lesson since becoming moms?
Jennifer: “Maybe life doesn’t go as planned. You have this vision of how things are going to be. I just think that you have to take any advice with a grain of salt. All kids are different, even amongst my own kids. It doesn’t go as planned, but you just kind of have to roll with it and have fun with it.”
Christina: “I learned that you have to be extremely flexible and not worry about things all of the time.”
Did your parents influence own parenting?
Both say yes. Their dad is Korean, the epitome of the American dream, they say. Their mom, Dutch. “They are two polar opposites.” Mom was the patient one, encouraging them while always trying to show them a good time. “Without her, we never would have gotten through med school,” Jennifer says. Their dad pushed them and their brothers, both also doctors. He expected a lot academically and never expected less of the sisters than he did of their brothers.
So, they say they have incorporated it all in their own parenting; they expect a lot from the kids academically, but make room for relaxation and time to have fun.
What lessons did you learn in 2020?
Jennifer: “I know it might sound cliché, but don’t take anything for granted.”
Christina: “Being able to improvise and make joy out of the small things in life … Creating moments that the kids can look forward to.”
What are you looking forward to most in 2021?
Both: Just being able to have the kids play with other kids and playdates at the house. “Everyday things that seem very simple, everyday life. Just being able to get together with people without thinking twice that you could get someone sick,” Jennifer says.
Secret weapon for doing it all?
Christina: “Not being so hard on yourself. I remember saying to Jennifer a few years ago, when I’m at the gym I feel like I should be home with the kids, when I’m home with the kids I feel guilty, maybe I should be doing something else, maybe working out or helping out Grandma and Grandpa, or I feel bad that I gave up a shift at work. Just decide what you are going to do and enjoy it and don’t be so hard on yourself.”
The one thing guaranteed to make you happy?
Christina: Being with the kids.
Jennifer: Someone making me a really great dinner.
The thing you won’t leave the house without?
Both: Face powder and cellphone
Your specialty dish?
Christina: Pressure cooker Korean beef served over rice
Jennifer: A white chocolate fruit tart
The one thing in your purse you’re embarrassed to have there?
Christina: Random pieces of kids’ toys
Your most hated household chore?
Jennifer: Doing the dishes
Christina: Any type of cleaning of the bathroom
Follow the Rhee Sisters on Instagram at mimosas.munchikns.muffintops