I love talking with new mamas. It brings me back to those early months with my first baby girl and how life-changing, crazy, confusing, amazing, wonderful, emotional and brilliant it was. It’s one of those “you don’t know until you’ve actually experienced it” things. You just can’t explain how you are feeling, thinking, surviving during those first few days/weeks/months. That is definitely one common bond all mamas share.
I had the chance to chat with new mom and fashion blogger, Elaine of SEE LARK!. She is brutally honest about life as a new mama so all you new mamas and mamas-to-be will definitely be able to relate. She also shares how she looks so pulled together and how you can look that way too, really! (even though you haven’t slept in days, can’t remember what your last meal was and just had a meltdown!). Read on to get the scoop…And seriously how ridiculously adorable is her son!?!?
Fit Fab Mommy (FFM): How/Why did you start See Lark?
See Lark! (SL): I have had a lot of life events in the past 4-5 years such as buying a house, planning a wedding, having a baby, etc . With each one, I discovered a new found joy of decorating, completing a DIY project, finding something I coveted at a discount, and (of course) dressing for all these special occasions. I started SEE LARK! as a way to share my interests and practice photography. A great side benefit is that I have a chronicle of life events that I can look back upon and share with my family.
FFM: Congratulations on your new role as mama! What was the biggest shock/biggest adjustment for you from no child to mommy hood?
SL: This was a tough question for me to succinctly answer. There are a lot of adjustments and surprises, but I think the biggest adjustment is defining my role and expectations as a new mother. Before baby, responsibilities were clear between me and my husband and there was always time to take care of myself. The first few weeks we were all out of sorts and I wasn’t sure where or how I should spend my time. If I spent it away from baby I would feel guilty, if I did all the baby-related tasks I would feel a little resentful. I think I am balancing out now and my husband and I have our new responsibilities figured out (he is good with diapering, I do baby’s laundry) so we are figuring it out.
FFM: What were your three favorite items when you were pregnant?
SL: Yoga blocks, Hatch maternity line, and cocoa butter lotion. Yoga is a great stress reliever and yoga blocks were a life saver for me, especially in the third trimester. I would use them as an assist in stretching, sit on them to adjust my pelvis, and just to have around to help me off the floor or couch! Maternity fashion has definitely improved and the Hatch Collection pieces, even if just a couple, just makes you feel prettier while pregnant. Their high-quality legging, a v-neck tee, and a dress are what I would recommend. The pieces are really flattering and totally acceptable to wear when not pregnant (I still wear the leggings and plan to wear a couple of their dresses in the Spring time). This line is a bit of a splurge, but you can find an occasional discount by shopping their sale section or looking on Gilt which has a flash sale with this brand on a semi-regular basis. Finally, as your skin stretches it gets itchy. I got into a good practice of using cocoa butter lotion after showers every day. I think it helped me reduce stretch marks as well.
FFM: What did you wear home from the hospital?
SL: A plaid dress by Hatch, black loafers, and a Club Monaco cocoon coat. No one ever talks about what happens after birth and the fact that you will still look pregnant. Therefore, loose silhouettes are ideal for those first few weeks after delivery.
FFM: How do you stay comfy, yet look so fashionable now that you are a mom?
SL: Fortunately, the trend these days is “athletic chic” so mixing style with comfort is much more achievable. I look for things that are both true to my personal style (simple, clean lines, and anything black, white or gray), functional, and I am firm believer in layering. For example, a pair of distressed boyfriend or slouchy skinny jeans is my go-to piece. Then I choose a henley or a button-down shirt (something nursing friendly) to wear on top and then add a scarf (that can double as a nursing cover) and leather jacket or a drapey coat.
FFM: 5 items all new moms need to own?
SL: Boyfriend jeans, red lipstick, shape wear, smartphone, and Blue Apron. The boyfriend jeans and red lipstick really helps you feel a little glam and like your old self in this first few weeks. Shape wear makes you feel secure if you have to go out and wear something other than sweatpants soon after giving birth. We all have smartphones but mine is an extension of my arm these days. I use it to track diaper changes, naps, feedings, blog, read blogs, online shop, pay bills…all while holding or nursing baby. Finally, Blue Apron is a game changer for dinners. You don’t have to think about planning dinner and the meals are well balanced.
FFM: Baby essentials – items you can’t live without for your little one?
SL: Breast Friend nursing pillow, Kickee Pants onesies, Fisher Price Cradle N’ Swing. The Brest Friend is the best nursing pillow out there. It really helps you hold baby up higher which your shoulders will thank you for later. Kickee Pants are the softest onesies I have ever encountered, they are my go-to for baby pajamas and as baby gifts. I’d like to think I have an “average” sleeper on my hands but who knows! But what I do know is that coupled with tight swaddling and the sound of running water, the Fisher Price Cradle and Rock swing really puts my guy to sleep so much more easily at night than me rocking him to sleep. It’s another game changer!
FFM: Do you think your style has changed since becoming a mom, if so, how. And what is the one or two items you probably won’t wear when you are with you baby?
SL: This is a great question. Before having a baby I wouldn’t think twice about material or care instructions, but for now I steer clear of silk and anything that is dry clean only! Also, I have to put the dresses with a crew neck collar on the back burning…who wants to lift up their entire dress to feed baby?!
FFM: How do you make work/life balance?
SL: Check in with me in June when I have had a few months of work under my belt! Right now I am on maternity leave so it makes work/life balance a little easier. I go back in March and to be honest, I am a little anxious. I do think it’s important to define what balance looks like for you. I think a common misconception is that balance is that both work and life are great and equally fulfilled at the same time. To me, balance is knowing when one may take back burner for awhile. This may mean that I will want to focus on life and be as efficient and productive with work during work hours and try to limit working late hours (which my job can often demand).
FFM: What do you find most challenging about being a first time mama?
SL: As a first time mother, you don’t have a point of comparison. It’s hard to know what is normal and you end up second guessing yourself a lot or benchmarking your kid with someone else’s. I know the advice if ‘you know what will work best for you and baby’ is conceptually correct, but that sixth sense doesn’t kick in automatically.
FFM: What do you love most about being a mom?
SL: I knew I would love my baby boy, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I would love him until he was born. The amount of love and joy just cannot be described in words. That “feeling” is what is best about being a mom. It’s the looks, that first smile, it’s knowing that he loves you back unconditionally and that your voice and touch brings him comfort. I’m tearing up just writing this!
FFM: Words of wisdom for mamas-to-be…
SL: It will take time but pick and choose (and have confidence in your decisions) from the flurry of advice you will get from parenting books, online, and from friends and family. When you feel ready, carve out time for yourself to workout, get a mani/pedi, or for some fresh air. Get dressed everyday, it will help your mindset and mood. Lastly, find good girlfriends or a new parent support group to talk to, be it venting, sharing good and bad experiences…anything that helps you emotionally and have a since of belonging.