I always heard friends say, “The moment you have a child, your life changes forever.” But I never realized how true the statement was until I had one of my own.
Since becoming a mama to my son Brooks (now 2 years old), I remain committed to doing everything I can to foster a nurturing, loving and supportive environment. In my effort to be the best mom I can be, below are seven simple, yet effective tips I try to incorporate into my daily life.
1. Get your kids out of the house.
If it were up to my son, he would sit in front of the TV and watch curious George all day. But as his mama, it’s my duty to keep him active! Sometimes I plan a beach day, and other times it’s as simple as turning on the sprinkler system and running around in the backyard for a few hours.
We make a lot of play-dates and go to different parks around LA. It keeps him interested and tires him out! We also love going to museums and farmers markets. Regardless of how big or small the activity is, I’m a big believer in striving to keep kids active and engaged in the world around them.
2. Load up on healthy foods.
My modeling career taught me that you definitely are what you eat, and I want my Brooksie to feel his best at all times. Which is why I’m really careful about what I feed him. I give him raw goat or cow milk because it’s much richer in vitamins and enzymes than pasteurized milk. I also make him a daily smoothie. He loves helping me throw all of the ingredients into the blender.
When we’re at home he snacks on fresh fruit and gluten-free toast with almond butter. For a sweet treat, I give him almond milk with a dollop of unsweetened cocoa powder. He loves it!
For me, the key to success is staying organized. Every Sunday night, I make green beans, corn and peas and cut up a bunch of fruits and veggies and put them in the fridge so we have ready-made snacks for the entire week.
3. Be present.
Since I’ve become a mother, one of my greatest priorities has been to be a present mom. My work obligations keep me really busy, and it often feels like I could work for 24 hours straight and there would still be more to do. But the second my son walks through the door, I put my phone down and focus on him.
We love reading books, and he’s very into trucks and cars these days. While he’s eating, we work on our colors, numbers and flashcards. It’s a perfect time to get his attention because he can’t move! It’s not always easy to disengage from work and technology, but it really does make the time we spend together much more meaningful.
4. Take time for yourself.
In order to be the best mom I can be, making time for self-care is critical. Whether it’s getting a pedicure, taking a walk outdoors, lighting a scented candle, drawing a bath, exercising, or just treating yourself to your favorite juice, there are lots of simple ways to recharge your batteries. I’ve been on a reading kick lately and love unwinding with a good book.
It’s not always easy to carve out time, but I’ve learned that in order to be my best self, I need to plan activities for myself in the same way that I would plan for Brooks! Even if it’s as simple as making myself a cup of tea and sitting in silence for 20 minutes — that opportunity is critical in helping me recharge and feel calm and collected at the end of the day.
5. Connect with your partner.
The more solid, stable and happy my marriage is, the safer my son will feel. I strive to make my marriage a priority. It doesn’t matter if we get dressed up and go on a real “date night” or just make dinner and curl up on the couch. The importance lies in making sure we carve out time every day to talk and connect — even if he’s traveling, in which case, there’s always FaceTime!
I also make sure to show him how I feel in more subtle and surprising ways. I leave him little notes on his shaving kit, backpack or desk, places where he least expects it. I always want him to know how much I appreciate him.
6. Teach humanitarianism.
A child is never too young to learn the importance of giving back. Brooks just had a birthday party. After the party, we opened his presents and decided which ones we were going to keep and which ones we wanted to donate to Baby2Baby, an organization that donates toys and baby supplies to underprivileged families. Not only did our actions help others, but it also teaches my son that he is an individual, blessed with the power to make his world better than how he found it.
These days, there are so many active and affordable ways to make a positive impact. From beach cleanups to charity walks to serving dinner at a local shelter, I encourage people to connect to something they're passionate about and find a way to make their children a part of it. This year, we celebrated Earth Day by planting an herb garden. It was a fun way to show Brooks the importance of taking care of mother earth. He may not fully understand the concept right away, but I try to instill those lessons in him as often as possible.
7. Keep a green home.
Not only are most traditional cleaning products filled with toxins that are harmful for children, but they’re also harmful to the environment. Before having my son, I did an eco revamp of my entire house. I swapped out our mattresses for nontoxic ones, stocked my cabinets with all-natural cleaning supplies, opted for stainless steel water bottles and containers over plastic ones and began using recycled paper products whenever possible. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your home greener!
Photo Credit: Gia Canali