Hi everyone, I’m so excited to introduce you to another cool mom today! For our second Playdate, I met up with gorgeous mama, Lauren Podoll and her handsome baby boy, Dashiell Quinn Podoll. He is currently 20 months and is as charming as can be!
I met Lauren a few months ago and was instantly smitten by her sensible style. She’s got so much grace, and little did I know, Lauren, and her husband, Josh, are the owners/designers of a very chic local clothing line, The Podolls. When I first saw this Refinery29 feature on their home and work studio, I knew I wanted to know Lauren better because she is so inspiring as a mom, as a wife, and as an entrepreneur. I’m so lucky to have met Lauren and have her share her insights with us today. I hope you have your coffee ready because this mama’s got some great tips for ya! And oh, there’s a little surprise for you at the end from her shop… I’m certainly going to take advantage of that myself. :) Enjoy!
1. Where is a favorite spot you like to go with Dashiell and why? I love introducing Dashiell to art and exposing him to the rich cultural diversity this city has to offer. The de Young Museum Sculpture Garden is fantastic because he can safely interact with the work and enjoy running and playing simultaneously. It’s also a lovely spot in the park to sit before sharing lunch in the museum café. Nice change of pace from sandboxes at the playground. I get my culture fix and he gets playtime—it works for both of us.
2. Has it been difficult to keep up with your fashion business and being a new mom? In other words, do you get the mother’s guilt? If so, how do you handle that? Whether your business is fashion or something else, it’s difficult for all parents to feel pulled in several directions at once and truly focus on the task at hand—I’m always grappling with this. When I’m with Dashiell, I try to give him my full attention and not be distracted with email or work calls (although there are some days when I have to multi-task more than others). Luckily, we have our extended families nearby and I feel secure knowing he is in good hands when he’s with Grandma and I’m working.
3. Where do you go for tips/advice for motherhood and parenting? I wish I could say I had lots of books to recommend, but the truth is I barely find time to read these days! I have good intentions but often fall asleep after a few paragraphs. I’m fortunate to have a strong network of fellow mamas and they have been invaluable for me since the early days of pregnancy. For the most part, I rely on intuition and believe that ‘mama really does know best’. The challenge is trusting that inner voice.
In terms of other resources, I’ve found the internet can be a blessing and a curse. It seems like you can find articles or threads regarding any possible question or concern you have about your child. Sometimes there’s valuable advice available online but often the sheer quantity of opinions and personal experiences really stresses me out, so I try to steer clear. I do subscribe to those age-appropriate Babycenter emails and skim them if they sound relevant. Otherwise I use the internet for kids recipe ideas, activities, music suggestions and cute ideas for homemade toys like play dough. The three parenting books sitting on my nightstand are: Heaven on Earth: A Handbook for Parents of Young Children by Sharifa Oppenheimer, If the Buddha had Kids: Raising Children to Create a More Peaceful World by Charlotte Kasl, and Postive Discipline: The First Three Years by Jane Nelsen, Cheryl Erwin and Roslyn Ann Duffy.
4. Do you own a diaper bag? If so, which one do you use or recommend? Instead of buying a bag specifically made for parents, I decided to use a regular tote and divide the contents with zippered pouches—one for baby stuff and one for me. It’s worked out pretty well so far and I’m glad I chose to use a lightweight canvas tote because these bags get heavy fast! When friends ask for my opinion on the topic, I encourage them to use something easy to clean without lots of hardware to minimize weight.
5. Your favorite baby gadget? I’m not really a gadget person and I’ve tried to be moderate about acquiring baby gear (easier said than done!) Most gadgets are only relevant for such a short time and then you either store them away or lend them. The items that have gotten the biggest workouts for us are the Ergo and the Uppa G-Luxe stroller. Dashiell is getting too big to carry in the Ergo but I loved it while it lasted. The G-Luxe stroller is lightweight, collapsible and easy to maneuver in tight spaces so I keep it in the car for errands. Both are perfect for toting baby all over the city and on our travels.
6. What is your favorite thing to do when you have some alone time? Yoga. I’ve practiced for years and used to teach before I had Dashiell. I stopped teaching at 32 weeks (during pregnancy) and right now I’m really enjoying my individual practice. At class I can settle in and not think while I rebalance myself. Motherhood is demanding, both emotionally and physically, and yoga helps me nurture myself and stay strong. Sometimes I feel like I just don’t have the time to fit in class, yet when I go, I find that the rest of the day flows more smoothly and I have more patience. It’s as if taking the time creates time. The saying ‘happy mama, happy baby’ is really true so it’s so important to take time for yourself as a mama.
7. Where do you find inspiration for your work and design? Everywhere. Seriously. Travel, nature, vintage textiles, people watching, old movies, my mom’s closet and the women I know.
8. Any advice on marriage or keeping the romance going after having a baby? I believe in setting aside time for dates- even if dates mean planning delicious adult meals at home after baby is in bed. We don’t really use baby sitters who aren’t family (yet) so we end up eating home most of the time. Luckily, I love cooking so I make us a nice dinner at least a few times a week and we sit down together with placemats, flowers and wine and try not to discuss our business. Parenthood is a wonderful stage of our relationship—we feel even closer now than before—but it can also be challenging to a marriage if you’re feeling sleep deprived. Respectful communication is critical and cutting your partner some slack goes a long way. I tend towards perfectionism and I’m the first to admit that there’s no such thing as a perfect parent. We’re both trying our very best on a daily basis and I try to remind myself of that when I’m feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. I feel so fortunate to have an incredibly supportive husband and I try to never take that for granted.
9. How do you organize your day? Before becoming a mama I used to resist daily routines but now I completely respect schedules and stick to ours. It gives Dashiell a sense of security to feel the familiar rhythm of the day and know what’s happening next. I tend to think of the day in sections of three blocks of time: morning, nap, and pre-bedtime. On days when I’m with Dashiell all day we read and play with blocks after breakfast and then get out for an adventure by 9am to take advantage of his morning energy. If it’s a nice day we’ll head to the park or meet up with friends. He just takes one nap a day now, usually from 12:30-2:30pm, so we usually have lunch at home and then settle down for naptime. I try to take advantage of his naptime to get work done, clean up, cook or even rest a little myself. In the afternoon, we often do errands and/or take a walk and then prepare for dinner, bath and bedtime. He’s an early riser (6am) and early to bed (by 7pm) so Josh and I have several hours in the evening to relax and enjoy downtime (i.e. collapse on the couch!)
10. Has it been hard to keep in touch with friends who do not have kids? Most of my friends had babies the same year we did- it was crazy. I referred to 2011 as ‘The Year of the Baby.’ That’s fortunate because we can share our similar experiences but sometimes it’s hard to carve out adult only time with other parents. Ironically, it’s actually easier seeing our friends without kids because they can come over for dinner after we put Dashiell down for the night and we can enjoy uninterrupted time with them.
12. Any beauty product(s) you swear by to help you get ready? My Shu Uemura eyelash curler! Even if I’m just running out the door in sweats I use it—helps me feel more bright and awake (even if I don’t feel that way!) Besides that, I try to be consistent about skin care. I love the Arcona line—natural and effective. I use Cranberry Toner and White Magic Moisturizer everyday. And 100% Pure makes a great coffee bean eye cream that works wonders to reduce puffiness after a sleepless night. In terms of makeup, I like the beauty balm by Andalou Naturals and I swear by Cle de Peau concealer. If I want to take it up a notch, I love a bright lip and Julie Hewett makes the best vibrant, long lasting reds.
13. What’s your favorite trait of Dashiell? It’s hard to pick just one (spoken like the proud Mama I am!) I love his exuberance and unabashed zest for life. He’s so full of love and glee and has the most contagious giggle. He makes friends wherever we go and loves socializing, so we tend to meet lots of interesting people. I also admire his determination, sense of humor and keen observer’s eye.
14. What’s next on your agenda – work wise? kids wise? We just launched our online shop on thepodolls.com. It’s been on our minds for a long time and we finally made it happen. I’m excited about promoting it, expanding it and having a more direct relationship with our fans. Actually, this is the perfect opportunity to mention that we would like to offer Shop Sweet Things readers a 25% discount on purchases from our site through the end of May. Use code “SST25″ and find something fun for yourself! (SST: I got my eye on this, this, and this!)
Thank you so much to Lauren and Dashiell for spending a lovely day with us! I’m so excited to have discovered the Sculpture Garden at the de Young and now got another cool spot to bring my girls. Be sure to follow The Podolls on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for their latest collection, news, and an irresistible dose of Dashiell!
Many thanks for the wonderful photography by Eva Kolenko.