What It’s Actually Like To Be a Mom, According To 8 Cool Moms
by Akili King
Mothers are magical and powerful beings. Not only do they manage to hold onto a baby, two bags of groceries, and talk on the phone all at the same time, they’re also living proof that anything is possible: that we can make time for ourselves, the ones we love, and maintain a successful career all at once. They see us through our darkest times (and wildest haircuts) and still love us just the same. I’ve always wondered how mothers are able to gracefully manage so much and still have the energy to be sweet, patient, and forgiving. This Mother’s Day, we chatted with some inspirational mothers about how they are able to balance it all. We talked careers, self-care, joyous moments, and how they still turn to their own moms to get them through hard times. Whether you’re a new mom, a well-seasoned mama bear, or just someone who simply loves and appreciates moms, you’ll definitely learn a thing or two from these superheroes.
Don’t forget to squeeze your mama today and always!
LAUREL PANTIN, @lapantin: Editorial & Fashion Director, Coveteur
“The most difficult part about being a mom is realizing that your life and time aren’t totally yours anymore. But squeezing Ellis helps me stay grounded.
The best part about being a mom is spending time with my baby and seeing all his firsts. That first smile was heaven! I also love that he’s still small enough to nap on my chest, which is the most amazing feeling.
He’s otherwise still blob-like so there’s also lots of holding, bobbing, and singing. The most important thing I’ve learned so far about motherhood is that It’s not important to do things ‘perfectly,’ just love on your kid!”
ELIZABETH DE LA PIEDRA, @elizabethsmart: Photographer
“The tough part about being a mom is trying to balance time for everything. Sometimes I feel like I’m constantly dropping the ball or functioning at 60 to 70% and it can be very frustrating. During those frustrating moments, breathing and meditation truly help me.
I really love the smiles in the morning and when a milestone happens; sometimes you think your heart will burst. My favorite thing to do with my kids is cuddling. We love to pillow fight which always ends up in lots of cuddles.
My advice to new mothers is to be kind to yourself throughout this life-changing transition. No one can prepare you for it, but you got this just like our mothers and ancestors did. My mother taught me the importance of patience and understanding. I definitely call her all the time for advice.
In terms of my career, because my time is very limited, my execution and efficiency skills improved ten-fold. My career goals never changed.
Whenever I have alone time, the most important thing to me is self-care. A face mask, my nails, hair treatment, you name it. Very necessary.”
FELICIA LA TOUR, @felicialatour: Makeup Artist, Motivational Speaker
“The hardest thing about being a mom, for me, is having patience. I truly believe I asked God for patience and it came in the form of a child [laughs]. Prayer and pilates really help me stay balanced. Seriously, exercising helps my mental health so much, so I really try and stay on top of it, as well as praying through tough times. I also have an amazing support team who keeps me lifted up!
My favorite activities to do with Peace are shopping, singing, dancing, going to the nail salon, having girl talk, and laying in the grass. Holidays are our favorite! But when I have a moment to myself, the first thing I do is a workout! I want to just lay there without someone tugging at me and saying, “Mommy!”
At the end of the day, the simplicity and unconditional love of motherhood bring me the most joy! They love you, flaws and all. They forgive you, they are always there for you, teaching you more than you or they even know at times!
I would tell all the new mothers to go with the flow. Don’t be so eager to conform to society’s pressure to ‘snap back.’ It’ll all come together day by day. But literally, take it all one day at a time.
I’m grateful that my mother has taught me compassion and independence. Luckily, my career goals didn’t change too much, but becoming a mom will quickly teach you how to say ‘NO’ and not be a pushover. It helps you tap into being your inner BOSS!”
STELLA BLU, @bystellablu: Artist
“The hardest thing for me has been finding the time for myself and adjusting to a brand new body. You change in ways that you never could have imagined. Taking care of the baby is the easy part. Taking care of myself has been a struggle and I’m still trying to find that balance. I think it will take some more time.
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I just take a look into those big brown eyes and see that she’s my whole world. There are still difficult moments, but man, it makes it easier to see this tiny miracle you created. To see her grow every day, physically and mentally — it’s unreal. And as cliche as it sounds, it really is all worth it.
She’s just such a good baby, it makes me so happy. I love to see her little personality blossoming, it’s hilarious. Every day is different. My heart has severely expanded. It bursts every day. Taking her to art museums is my absolute favorite. She loves art and paintings and I love it. It amazes me to see her so interested at 8 months old!
The most important thing I’ve learned as a new mother is to enjoy every day and all the difficult moments because the time absolutely flies by. I feel like I was just pregnant and she’s already 8 months old. How is she already almost a 1-year-old? I really have no idea.
Career-wise, every mother is different, obviously, but I’m an artist and I work from home, and it’s still not easy. It’s a sacrifice and I knew it would be. I mom all day, and after she goes to bed, I paint/work till I knock out… and then repeat. But it’s getting easier. Some days, no work happens and it is what it is.
Whenever I have a moment to myself, I prioritize showering and/or eating. When you are with the baby, it’s like a rushed shower, a rushed meal. When I get some alone time, I take a nice hot shower, drink some tea, and I’m also still breastfeeding which makes you super hungry. I just eat in silence and peace. It’s wonderful and I can’t believe I never appreciated doing nothing before.”
CRISTAL ESPINOSA, @cristalfanne: Mother and Bruja
“My favorite thing to do with Mia has always been taking her out for walks, especially now that the weather is getting warmer and everything is blooming. There’s so much to learn and see and she has so many questions. I’m in love with her curiosity.
But, the most difficult part of being a mom is the fear. Definitely the fear of her getting hurt or someone hurting her. There are so many things that could go wrong. I’ll never stop worrying about her. It’s like they say, having a child is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body, and that’s scary.
At times when I feel scared, it helps to know that this is all part of the process, this is part of motherhood. I have really bad anxiety, so whenever I have some alone time, I knit. Knitting slows me down, it makes me feel in control.
Seeing Mia grow up before my eyes makes me happy. She’s getting to know herself while I get to know her.
I’m thankful my mom taught me independence and how to have tough skin. Motherhood definitely made having a career a lot more complicated because scheduling and timing had to revolve around Mia. I decided to work from home and it’s working out so far, I get to spend more time with her.
My advice to new moms is to never feel like you have to defend the choices you are making. Motherhood is your journey with your child.”
NICOLE GONZALEZ, @lilliesandleon: Blogger
“I feel very blessed that I have an amazing partner who is in tune with my emotions and knows when I need a breather or a break. Sometimes just stepping away and reading, or zoning out to a show helps me to decompress and let the stress sort of melt away. The part that makes me happiest is how much my heart expands and the intense, deep love that you feel for your children. The love is infinite and raw and it can quite literally bring you to your knees. It’s the scariest and best feeling I have ever experienced.
My advice to new mothers is to follow your instinct. Every mother has their own powerful intuition and what is right for someone else’s child might not necessarily meet the needs of your own child/family. There will be so many people dishing out advice and it can feel overwhelming. Only you can decide what works best and following my gut has always proven to be the best decision.
I really wanted to be home with my children while still doing what I love. It is a very intense juggle and I have found there is no such thing as the perfect balance. A lot of times emails get pushed to the side and work gets backed up. That being said, I still have to pinch myself sometimes that I get to have this amazingly special time with my kids while still helping to provide for my family.
Now that Lucas is a bit older, my favorite time with him is bedtime. When I pick him up from school and ask him how his day was his response is usually ‘good.’ When we snuggle up in bed, usually after we read a book, is the time when he shares and opens up to me. We talk about his day, things that are making him sad/happy, his feelings. It’s honestly my favorite time with him and I love that we can connect on a deeper level and I get a real insight into what’s going on in his six-year-old mind.
I love taking walks with Lillie and seeing the world through her eyes. She’s at an age where everything is exciting and new. To see the pure joy from a fallen leaf or playing with sand — it’s a little like a reality check on what’s really important and reminds me to slow down.
I try to make time for the gym when I have time to myself, which is harder than it seems. I go weeks without going and then once I’m back and I’m on the treadmill with my headphones on, I feel like I can conquer the world (or at least homework and bedtime). Running is an amazing release for me.”
KIRSTEN CORLEY, @kaydoggg: Mother & Entrepreneur
“It’s tough to say what the most difficult part about being a mother is. I would say it can be difficult to allow Kensli to feel angry or those not so pleasant emotions without trying to control them. Sounds simple, but believe me it is not. That and trying to carry seven grocery bags from my car while holding a sleeping toddler. Can’t decide [laughs].
Prayer helps me the most during the difficult moments! It sounds cliche, but it really works. That and positive self-talk. It’s so easy to just feel doomed when your child is throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of Target. Lift ya head, sis!
There are so many moments that make me super happy, though. It’s hard to choose, but I love how instinctual motherhood is. I usually can assess how she’s feeling, what her mood is, or what’s wrong with her before she even has a chance to tell me. Because she truly is an extension of me. Our deep connection is probably what brings me the most joy. It’s a really deep-rooted love that only you can share with your children.
I love doing anything outdoors with her, honestly. We live in Chicago, so it’s not that often we get to walk to the park and enjoy the nice weather. We’re finally getting to do that again.
Whenever I have a moment to myself, I read! Nothing is more satisfying than diving into a good book when Kensli is tucked into her bed or napping. It fills me up!
My advice to new moms is really to just enjoy the little nugget stages. When they can’t say anything or go anywhere! I’m sure you already hear this from everyone, but it really does go by faster than you know it. And the only way to get it back is to have another child.
From a young age, my mom has always given me and my sister such a huge sense of independence. She wasn’t super strict on us until we got to high school (ha) so we always were able to kind of explore our surroundings and figure things out in an organic way. I pride myself on doing things on my own, still to this day!
I had a huge shift in my career goals after my daughter arrived because I wasn’t able to do what I originally had planned to do after college. Fortunately, I was able to redirect a lot of my passions to my own entrepreneurial pursuits, but even still, it now requires that extra effort to make sure you complete the tasks you set out to finish.”
TYLYNN NGUYEN, @tylynnnguyen: Designer, Creative Director
“The whole mom thing can be difficult. Being responsible for others’ emotional, physical, and mental well-being is a heavy responsibility. I don’t take it lightly. But realizing God would not have given me this role if I didn’t have all of the resources inside of me helps me through it all. The most important thing my mother has taught me is that life happens for you, not to you.
My children’s laughter brings me the most joy. Watching them live in the moment with such vigor and awareness is enlightening. We also all paint in the Nguyen home. It’s our favorite activity to do together because we can all be free and create and speak about the creations we are each making.
I became way more motivated and determined career-wise once I became a mom. My children gave me a new set of wings. My vision became clearer. But, when I have a moment to myself, I make sure I do my 10-step beauty routine every single night. Self-love for myself runs over into them. It’s a huge priority.
My advice to new mothers is to listen to your instincts! God put them there for a reason.”