Recently we caught up with a handful of our incredible mamas, Cassie Ventura Fine, Denise Vasi, Michelle Lee, and Jamie Mizrahi, about life as a mom since we last hung.
Reflecting on the early days of motherhood (whether the first, second, or third time around) these badass women chat new normal routines, birth stories, quarantine pregnancy dressing, beauty rituals, breastfeeding, and silver linings.
DENISE VASI, On Life With Two
Last time we hung with Denise, founder of MAED, she was pregnant with her second. Now, with a little girl and a baby, we caught up with this stunner on life with two, observing quarantine, and giving back. @denisevasi
Since we last chatted you had your second baby. How has life been with two?
Life is a beautiful mess. It’s non-stop madness, but I love it, and I feel so fortunate to have healthy children right now, but like having two is no joke!
“New normal” daily routine?
Every day is so different. Honestly, the only constants are my skincare routine and coffee! I’m taking one day at a time and prioritizing each day differently. I’ll block three days of the week where my goal is to spend more hours of the day focused on my family and then set two days to do more work-focused tasks.
Now, more than ever, I am vocal with everyone about what I need. I’m saying “no” a lot and I’m trying to give myself a break from all the pressure and mom guilt. My husband is pulling his weight the best that he can. Our school is doing their best to support our children. Everyone is pitching in.
Plus, I’ve been working on going to bed extremely early (for me) so I can wake up at 5 am and have some peace before my house is up. Also, I try to get dressed, fix my hair and do my makeup (even minimally), at the top of the day. I find if I haven’t done it by 9 am, the day gets rolling and before I know it, it’s 5 pm and I’m still a hot mess.
Silver linings that will come from this experience?
I believe we’ll see positive changes in the working world. Parents are going to be able to spend more time at home now as a lot of companies can see how productive and responsible employees can be while working from home. That alone is promising for mothers who want to continue to work and be with their babies. It means not having to choose.
Tips for working while homeschooling?
This is a tough one. I think there’s been so much pressure on mothers to keep these rigid homeschooling schedules. It’s so annoying. Flexibility is key with children, especially right now. We’re fortunate our little preschool was able to get something up and running online, but my main focus right now with my five-year-old is less about the ABCs and the 123s and more about her emotional growth and the life lessons I can teach her.
Hugging and kissing my children | Banter with my husband |
Food | My skincare routine | Texting with my besties | Red lipstick
I need six. Can I have six?
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
We’ve been putting our efforts into a few different places, Feed America, Every Mother Counts and doing our part to help small businesses as well. I’m also working on a special project with an accessories brand right now to bring comfort, and advice to women who have or are becoming new mothers during this period of COVID 19.
Breathe. It’s one of the healthiest things you can do for your mind, body, and spirit. Think about giving birth, how we breathe through the wave of contractions. It’s the same idea. This moment we are living through is just a really tough-ass contraction, but on the other side of it is this beautiful gift. That’s what I think the other side of this pandemic experience will be. This beautiful and genuine appreciation for life and the little things. Also as always, be kind and gracious with yourself and schedule in your me-time!!! It’s just as important as that conference call or PTA meeting.
Breathe, because this moment we’re living through is just a really tough-ass contraction and on the other side of it is this beautiful gift. @denisevasi
Cassie Ventura Fine, On New Motherhood
Just before the world took a pause and just after we spent the afternoon playing dress-up, Cassie had Frankie. Now, five months later and loving life as a mom, this beauty and musical powerhouse, shares her birth story, new routines, five things, and how she makes me-time! @cassie
The birth story?
By the time I made it to the final month, I was ready. Two days before my due date, I started feeling cramping. We headed in for a check-up where my OB confirmed that my “cramping” was actually contractions. At that point, I could either go in early and augment the birth or labor at home until she was ready. In my perfect world, I wanted Frankie come in her own time, so we decided to head home and wait it out. Over the course of the night, as we ate, watched movies, and “chilled” the pain intensified. By 6 am it was so intense we decided to make our way to the hospital. As the hours passed, the contractions increased but I wasn’t dilating and after nearly 24 hours we decided to have a C-Section. Knowing this was always a possibility I avoided having a birth plan and feeling disappointed – I felt her birth was best left in the hands of fate. On Friday December 6th, 2019 at 8:16 pm, Frankie Stone was born.
Your “new normal” daily routine and rituals?
Pre-quarantine, I was super comfortable in my “maternity-leave / stay-at-home mode” with Frankie, then (as luck would have it) just as she turned three months old and I was ready to go back to work, we went into lockdown. Therefore, I’m using this period to write music and enjoy our time together because momming is THE most fun thing I’ve ever done; Frankie makes us laugh all day long. Overall, I’m excited about this next stage of my life both career-wise and as a family.
That said, me-time is equally important as my time with Frankie. While self-care now has to take place in the early AM hours, as long as I get it in, I don’t mind. I like to do my hair and make up at least once a week to get that feel-good feeling. I’ve also always loved dry brushing and taking daily walks as a family. Plus, Alex and I have been painting with old Bob Ross shows. Hilarious!
Mario Badescu Rose Water Spray | my water bottle | Frankie | Frankie’s teething toys | And, of course, my husband.
I have an amazing friend that gifts me books all of the time and he recently sent me Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler. I hope to start it today.
“No advice, just praying for everyone and hoping any new mamas out there know they’re not alone.” @cassie
Jamie Mizrahi, Is Pregnant With Her Second
Last time we hung you were pregnant, and now you are again! Congrats! How are you feeling?
Big. And tired. And weirdly nauseous again. It came, went, and now it’s back. Ugh. However, all things considered, I’m grateful to be home relaxing and forced to spend time nesting. That alone has made the entire experience very different from my last pregnancy wherein I went nonstop with work until the last second.
Plus, with my first, I took the time to focus on my body and myself with massages and acupuncture. Obviously that can’t happen now, but truth is, with a toddler, even pre-COVID I wasn’t doing those things.
How are you adjusting to life in quarantine while pregnant?
Seven weeks into this, and we finally have a system down! In the mornings, I lay in bed for way longer than I ever have in my life, guilt-free! I have a couple solid blocks of work time throughout the day while Yael takes his naps. And, when he’s up we have quality time together. Plus, I try to walk at least 10k steps a day or swim laps, although recently it’s become much harder to move. I do a self manicure and facial once a week plus end each day with a bath, rose tea, and TV with my husband.
Overall, while this is a crazy, horrible situation, I’m grateful for the extra special time I have with my son right now.
Quarantine pregnancy dressing is different than normal-life pregnancy dressing. I live in my HATCH pajamas from 6 pm until 11am, after which I throw on an easy cotton dress or something loose-fitting and comfortable.
Ice! | Ice pops (at least 1 to 2 a day, ha!) | Byredo hand and nail cream (my hands couldn’t be more dry from washing and gloves, etc.) | The Kit Undergarments triangle soft bra and boy brief | Bonjesta!
Streams To The Ocean by Jedediah Jenkins.
Accept that every pregnancy will be different and go with the flow as worry free as possible.
Michelle Lee, Had Her Third 11 Years After Second
Life with a newborn in the house?
My son is 15 and my daughter is 12 and now we have a newborn! The last time I had a baby in the house was such a long time ago. But my older kids have been so helpful, my daughter especially, (I even offered to pay her to be my mother’s helper!). It’s kind of brilliant and equally bizarre to have your kids 12 years apart. Sometimes when I see my older one holding the baby, it blows my mind to think I made them all!
The first few weeks were a lot considering all the usual things like no sleep and lots of crying. Now that we’re passed that phase, it’s manageable. In general, some days are really hard, others less, but having the older kids gives me perspective. When she’s inconsolable, I look at how fast my other two have grown and I’m reminded this too shall pass. Truth is, the actual “baby phase,” is so short and time is fleeting.
My milk didn’t come in right away with my older daughter, and she lost a ton of weight in the newborn stage. This time I had the same issue and decided to pump exclusively from the get-go to save myself the heartache. Therefore, life has become a never-ending cycle of pumping and feeding. Plus, dishes. So many dishes.
I breastfed my son for a year and my older daughter for 6 months. Now, because of COVID, I like the idea of giving her antibodies, so I’ll try to give her breastmilk for as long as possible.
New beauty routine?
I make time for skincare, which for me is self-care. Now that the baby has settled into a schedule wherein she usually wakes up around 4:30 in the morning for a feeding, instead of going back to bed, I try to sneak in a mask or a facial massage after she feeds. I could probably use the extra sleep but skincare makes me feel like ME.
Otherwise, I have done my makeup a few times and love the practice of putting makeup on, but have realized being home that I like the way that my face looks without. It’s been a good reset for me.
Also, I’m a huge nail art fan, and for the first time in years have naked nails – which is crazy for me! Between all the hand washing and the baby bottles, I just can’t do it right now.
Fourth trimester dressing: cute or not cute?
There are no cute outfits. I started maternity leave with every intention to “look cute.” Instead, it’s all about comfort. I also said that I would wash my hair everyday, then the day comes and sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s fine. I’m learning to go easy on myself.
Solly wrap | Swaddle | Food | My Skincare! | Dr. Brown Glass Baby Bottles
You can drive yourself crazy reading all the news and easily get depressed. In the first month of Corona, I was emotionally overwhelmed and broke out in tears at my pediatricians office. Partly because I was exhausted, but also because I was consuming so much terrible information. It was a good reminded that I had to limit my intake. While it’s important to stay informed, it’s equally inportant to avoid going down a rabbit hole of depressing news everyday – especially as a new mom when hormones are off the charts.
Not only did I have pregnancy amnesia, but I also had newborn amnesia. @heymichellelee