This week Barb Machen, co-star of HGTV’s new breakout show, Flipping Moms, and co-host of the popular web show MomLife and shares her favorite parenting tips with Momstamp co-founder, Julie Hermelin.

On Flipping Moms, Barb, and her friend, Jen, take on the task of fixing and flipping a house. The women combine their business and motherhood skills, as they aim to master the ‘fix and flip’ world. Barbara lives in Los Angeles with her husband and twin daughters. 



Checkout Barbara’s Fantastic Home Renovation Recommendations on Momstamp!

Barb’s Parenting Hacks:

1. Constant Communication 

I’ve always valued communication, and when it comes to my kids I’d go as far as to say “over-communication.” I am constantly talking to them about everything.  My goal is to be topically ahead and very direct in regards to what’s imminent depending on their age. I’ll talk to them about dating or sex and they’ll say “Mom we’re only 12,” but it’s important to talk about these issues in advance before they hear incorrect information from their peers.  With a constant line of direct communication, misinformation is less likely to happen.

2. Plan the Afternoon 

As soon as my daughters get into the car after school, I ask  “What kind of homework do you have? How long do you think it is going to take you?” Our ride home is about planning how that day is going to wrap up. It’s something that really works in our house and makes for a much smoother evening.


3. Admitting Mistakes 

As parents sometimes we want to put up a really good front and I don’t know if that necessarily benefits our kids. They need to see us make mistakes and be human-whether it’s something going wrong at work or my day going south.  We aim to make smart decisions every day, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.  The kids may have not gotten an “A” on a paper, meanwhile I got an “F” on a work project.  Telling my children about things not turning out the way I thought they would lets them know that I’m human and makes my experience more relatable.

If make a parenting mistake, losing my temper when I shouldn’t have, I come in and say, “I am really sorry. It had nothing to do with you. I was really stressed from my day and I am really sorry that I did that.” Compassion will help your kids understand that you’re trying your hardest, even if you’re not always hitting the mark.  Failures are opportunities to learn.


Barb & Jen from HGTV’S Flipping Moms

4. Incentivized Free Time 

I do not give an allowance for what needs to be communal housework.  The children are part of this family so they need to keep their room clean and do help do dishes, etc.  These are not “chores” just communal pitch in.  They can make extra money by reading books on their free time.  Depending on how large the book is I pay anywhere from $5 to $20.  I try to encourage them to use their free time wisely. Kids need to have free time and they need to be in control of that free time. My goal is to incentivize free time towards productivity.

5. Money Management 

Once they have money in their bank accounts, it’s theirs to spend.  They’ve earned it, whether they spend it wisely or make decisions they’ll regret, they need to own the decision.  One of my daughters wanted to give $400 away to a charity and only had $600 in her bank account. I let her do it, it was her choice.  Whether it’s buying something, donating it to charity, saving it or using it to start a business with a friend, it’s their decision to make.

6. An Hour for Yourself 

As our kids get older, our parents get older, you need to help everyone and are being pulled in so many different directions. It’s easy to forget about yourself.  The one tip, I have is  “take an hour for yourself a day.” For me, it’s making that list the night before and maybe watching a half hour of TV.  Whatever it is that will wind you down.  I try to get ahead of the ball, rather than get stuck constantly behind it. Having children makes you so reactive.  I was a big planner, very proactive and suddenly with kids there was no time to be proactive. Things were getting thrown at me constantly.  I needed to make space to breath and get organized. It’s such a common thing people say but hard to grasp.

7. Know When to Throw in the Towel 

Don’t roll against the current. If you’ve got a day and everything is just going wrong, you’re running late, the kids aren’t going to make it to soccer. Sometimes it’s best to just go home and watch a movie. Start over, maybe take your kids for ice cream. Just let it go.  It can be difficult when you create a list and want to check everything off, I was a very gold star/pat on the back oriented person, but sometimes it just doesn’t all happen.



Barb works with a variety of home remodel professionals, See her insider tips on  Momstamp!