On the HOT SEAT:
Stephanie Ciatti, founder
Babbling Babes LLC
Welcome to the lake country hot seat! We believe in supporting local, and being apart of our community. We cannot think of a better way to get to know the owners of local businesses, community leaders, makers and shakers than to ask them questions to learn their knowledge, advice, wisdom, challenges, wins, and maybe some fun personal tidbits as well. We are hoping a little interview will help drive traffic for them by gaining insight in trust to who they are by you!
I am a Speech Pathologist by trade, a children’s book author, illustrator, and publisher, wife to a Scotsman, and mom to 3 littles. I love spending time in nature and exploring new spaces and places.
My mission with Babbling Babes is to connect local moms with each other and also with local businesses. To truly build community. To get offline and in-person, forming real connections. It is a hyperlocal, grassroots mission to truly bring the village back for a forgotten demographic, the backbone and heart of the city, the moms.
I came up with the idea of Babbling Babes during a very difficult postpartum experience with my second baby. When I became pregnant with my third baby, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t let my pre-mom self fade away again. I wanted to still visit the beautiful spaces I frequented pre-baby, but I wanted to do it surrounded with other women in the same season of life. I searched high and low for a group like this and realized it didn’t exist. So, I created Babbling Babes. Out of a very dark period of my life, a beautiful light and life-giving group was created. It truly brought the village back for me and for so many women who were welcomed with open doors and arms into supportive, local businesses. Welcomed into these local businesses to gather and make lasting connections and spark new friendships. We truly have brought the village back…one Gathering at a time.
I came up with the name Babbling Babes from the children’s book series I wrote, titled Babble Books. When thinking of a name, I wanted to make sure the focus of the group was not just on the littles in the group. I thought of women coming together and babbling away with their babies sitting next to them babbling away. I thought of my pre-mom self (the one I didn’t want to ever forget again) as not a frumpy mom, but a strong Babe and my little baby as a babe. It was a name that showed the connections between sparked through connection between the moms and the babies.
We have Gatherings in the greater Metro Milwaukee area and surrounding suburbs up through Ozaukee County and out through Waukesha County. We also have had Virtual Tribes where I matched up over 500 local moms during the pandemic and afterwards into little groups sorted by babes’ ages and by neighborhoods to connect and support each other when our Gatherings couldn’t happen in-person. We have had Mom & Baby Coffee Dates at Goddess and the Baker, a BB Halloween Gathering at The Corners, a Lake Country BB Book Club that meets monthly at Twisted Vine Wine Shop in Pewaukee, and many mom-led Walk & Talks and Gatherings at parks and beer gardens throughout the summer months. We have Moms Nights (one recently at Spring City Wine) and also volunteer at many local nonprofit organizations who give back to local families. I have just launched Babbling Babes Staycations. The first will take place at Saint Kate The Arts Hotel in the Theater District downtown Milwaukee and the other will take place at Forbes 5 Star Resort and Spa, The American Club in Kohler Wisconsin. These Staycations will focus on getting a group of women together who want to get a little rest and relaxation, but want to do it while surrounded by other local moms prioritizing themselves, leading to connections that will last long after the Staycation. Babbling Babes Gatherings often have photographers at our Gatherings as this was a goal of mine from the start when I’d look back at photos from that hard postpartum period. My tired eyes, out-stretcheched arm capturing a selfie of me and my babe on the couch. I want moms to have a reason to dress up and get a keepsake photo of themselves and their babes. It’s these little touches that make moms feel seen and uplifted. Babbling Babes also has an off-social media platform, called The Village, for local moms to connect and make plans to meet in-person, to share local wisdom and tips, and to just have a safe space to make these connections. We also BB merchandise that the moms can wear and the BB logo acts as “ice breakers”. Moms see each other in the BB gear and simply say “Oh! I’m a Babe too!”
I would tell the mom who is looking for a community like Babbling Babes that she already is a Babbling Babe. Anyone who is looking for connection and community is welcomed with open arms. We are all in this together and we are stronger together. Babbling Babes is against cliques and judgements (things that run rampant in mom circles these days).
The resources that have been helpful to me in creating Babbling Babes have really been local, women business owners who believe in mentoring and supporting me and Babbling Babes. So grateful for women who truly champion and support other women on their business journeys.
My best memory with all the exposure Babbling Babes was the first time I was on The Morning Blend in October 2019. It was right before my first Gathering and they loved the idea and mission of Babbling Babes so much that they had me on to talk about it. They were my first platform for spreading the word about Babbling Babes. Beyond the memory from that exposure, I will always remember the women who share how BB has touched and helped their lives. I have heard such heartfelt stories of women feeling so alone, attending a BB Gathering, leaving with 3 new friends who still are friends 2 years later. Women who were in the depths postpartum life, whose partners heard about the group and “forced” them to come, and now they feel like they have a community and belong. TIme and time again.
Day in the Life running Babbling Babes and mom to three littles means a lot of doing work like I am right now (after bedtime from 8:30-11pm) and squeezing it in before they wake up in the morning, in the carpool line, while my toddler eats lunch. It’s a real juggling act, but I am so grateful for it as it is truly my passion. I know just how important these Gatherings are for new moms and for experienced moms looking for deeper connections.
I hope to continue to grow Babbling Babes to support more local moms and to further this community of real, authentic connection that we all need. I hope that this village will help more and more women feel less lost in motherhood and more connected, both with each other and with the local businesses in their community.
Just for fun:
What is the best meal you have ever eaten?
The best meal I ever had was fettuccine in Lake Como shared with my 11 month old who was grabbing fistfuls.
If you won the lottery, what would you do first?
I actually thought about the lottery question because my husband bought a ticket when there was a crazy winning amt. I would donate to Milwaukee Public Schools. I am a Bay View native and went to Rufus King from high school. It was a phenomenal school, but I know that so many teachers and schools need more support and funding in MPS. So, that is what I thought of first when he purchased that ticket. Then, after all the bills are paid (hello speech pathology grad school debt) and family/friends are taken care of, I’d buy a summer camp. My husband and I met working at a summer camp in Maine.
If you are interested in being in the Lake Country Hot Seat with The Lake Country Mom, send us an email or connect with us on social media.