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Mum's the Word

Ani + Wren x Hatch Event

Last week we were honoured to partner with Hatch for an event showcasing their Fall 2018 Collection. We were joined by the amazing mompreneurs, Ariane Goldman, The Rebel Mamas and Sasha Exeter, who discussed all things related to motherhood, careers and the latest fashion trends. Everyone brought their own inspiring and unique perspectives to the table, and it was so refreshing to see how these modern mamas keep it real!

Thank you to the talented Trish Mennell for photographing the event and Devin Connell from This Is Crumb for providing us with a delicious and beautiful spread!

Check out the photos below from this fun filled event!


Breast Cancer Awareness Month- Wren's Story

Back in 2010 my husband told me about a study they were doing on the BRCA gene at Women’s College. He had read about it in the Toronto Star and suggested that I should get tested for the gene. In order to qualify to be part of this study you had to be of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and have at least one relative who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

I didn’t really think too much about it ... I went to get the test done because ... I could and I qualified. I was an Ashkenazi Jew and my paternal grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in her 40s (and passed away in her 50s).

Even though I had a family history - it was minimal. I didn’t really think I could be positive for this gene - most people who are positive for the BRCA gene have families that are riddled with breast and ovarian cancer (or at least that’s what I assumed).

A few weeks after my mouth swab I got the call that I had tested positive for BRCA1 - I didn’t really know what that meant other than I had a really high likelihood (80%) of developing breast and ovarian cancer as compared to the rest of the population. I wasn’t really upset by the news - I don’t think I really understood at the time how this was going to impact me, how I should feel or react, or what I should really do. I didn't know anyone else who had the gene and really didn't have anyone to talk to.

When I got the news I was in my mid 20s ... I was immediately put into a research study group through Women’s College led by (the brilliant) Dr Pamela Lenkov. The good news was that I was followed ... really well. I got physical checks by Dr Lenkov and had regular MRIs and Mammograms. I felt safer than I had ever felt - that if I did develop breast cancer it would be detected early on.

Then I hit 29 and started having kids ... lots of them. The thing is that you can’t have MRIs or Mammograms when you are pregnant or nursing ... and when you are pregnant your breasts are quite dense and lumpy. So checks became harder, they became a bit more stressful. There were false positives, biopsies ... luckily nothing cancerous but the anxiety of not knowing was there.

A lot of people think we had kids close in age because that’s what we wanted ... and we did. But one of the biggest reasons was because I knew I wanted a big family - 3 or 4 kids. And that if it didn’t happen immediately the pressure of getting my ovaries removed would be there. The unfortunate thing about ovarian cancer is that it is currently impossible to accurately screen for - once detected, it's too late. So I felt like I was on more of a timeline - I wanted my ovaries out by 40. Luckily pregnancy happened quickly and by the time I was 34 I had 4 kids.

I knew once I was done having kids my ovaries had to come out. There is some conflicting research on whether you can get your tubes out first and then wait until you are 40 to have your ovaries out. But I figured why wait? I know I’m done, I know I’m at very high risk ... what’s 5 years? So 4 months after my son was born I had my ovaries removed in 2017.

To be honest - that was the more impactful surgery. Removing my breasts didn’t have much effect on me (internally speaking). But after my ovaries were removed that’s when the fun happened! I had to go on hormone replacement therapy - which I think overall has been ok. Other than a few downsides to not having regular estrogen production (hello hormonal acne and thinning hair!) I have actually responded quite well to the medication I’m on.

In truth I was never planning to have a mastectomy - I was pretty content with how I was being followed and studied post babies and nursing. But then you hear stories ... bad ones. Stories that hit really close to home.

I can’t remember what the turning point was between me not getting surgery and then making the appointment to get a double mastectomy but it was fast. I started thinking about the surgery in the spring of 2017 and in October 2017 my prophylactic double mastectomy was booked. Once I made the decision to get it done I never really looked back. I wasn’t scared or anxious - I knew it was the right decision for me.

The morning of my mastectomy I was oddly calm ... I wasn’t stressed. To be honest I was looking forward to having a break and a full night sleep away from the kids! (Sort of like a staycation??) I was excited to not have to worry about breast cancer and I was even more excited about the new perky boobs I was going to get (after my 4 kids had sucked the life out of my current saggy boob situation).

I had my partial reconstruction at the time of my mastectomy in October and had a second surgery in march 2018 to finish my reconstruction.

I feel lucky that I did that test almost 10 years ago. And that we have the kind of medical care we do in Canada ... that we have access to one of the best breast cancer hospitals in the world (and the best reconstructive doctors out there).

I posted my story last year on my personal Instagram. I talk very openly about this gene and my situation and the decisions I have made (and why I made them). The best part about me being open is talking to so many other young girls - about their stories. Some who have the gene and some who don’t. Some who have had breast cancer and some who have taken proactive measures like me.

The thing I have learned is it really doesn’t matter your family history, if you have this gene or if you don’t. It doesn’t matter how pretty, smart, funny or cool you are. If you are a woman you are at risk. Be smart about self exams, about doing your research, knowing your body and don't ever second guess yourself ... if something feels funny get it checked.

It's been a year  and I have never been happier with the decision I made. To not have to worry about breast cancer, about getting checks every few months, about waiting and wondering,  ... and really to never having to wear a bra again thanks to my new perky AF breasts #winning.


Momspiration: Elle Daftarian

Get to know...

Elle Daftarianentrepreneur, author, former TV Personality and mama-to-be styled in Ani + Wren pieces. Elle, featured in our most recent photoshoot with Trish Mennell Photography, talks to us about all things motherhood, finding that work-life balance and so much more.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges? 

E: The most rewarding thing about motherhood is knowing you have the gift of raising a good human. The biggest challenge is always finding time for yourself and the biggest joy is when they are happy and peaceful.

Elle wearing the Cutler Striped Tank Dress, available in store & online, $185

Q: What have you learned about balancing motherhood with your careers?

E: I have learned to always be present in the role I’m in. I always say it's about quality not quantity. It is important for kids to see their moms having a passion for something other than them. I believe that’s what will light the spark for them to find a passion of their own.

Q: How does your family inspire you? Does is reflect into your business? 

E: My family has taught me about the meaning of life. They inspire me everyday to be a better version of myself and it absolutely reflects into my business. The love, kindness and respect I receive from my family I can then give back to the people I work with.

Elle wearing the Joie Hacinthia Dress from Ani + Wren

Q: You were in your 20s when you were pregnant with your first and now you are in your late 30s – how is this pregnancy different? Is it easier or harder? 

E: This pregnancy has been so different than my first. To be honest, I thought it would be so much harder considering my age but it has been the complete opposite. In my 20’s I was not as healthy as I am today and I was not as active.

Q:You look incredible! How do you stay fit (and motivated) during your pregnancy? Do you have any pregnancy cravings?

E: That’s so sweet, thank you! My motivation is my age. I am no longer in my 20’s and I know everything will move slower if I don’t practice good habits. I make sure to eat right and try to get a workout in everyday- weight training & pilates I believe has been my saviour. My cravings have been so different this time around. With Sophia I craved fried food and milkshakes :/. This time I crave fruit non stop and smoothies.


Q: Do you have a go to recipe that your family loves?

EI make these amazing sugar free, wheat free protein banana chocolate muffins that my family loves.

Q: How did you come up with your daughter’s name? Any name ideas for the new baby?

E: I had two names picked out. Sophia because I was obsessed with Sophia Lauren growing up and Madison because I thought it was spunky and fun. But when I held her for the first time I knew she was a Sophia. She was so angelic and calm so it was a very easy choice. We have one name that we both love so stay tuned..

Q: Go-to family restaurant in Toronto?

E: Cafe Belong at the brickworks. Every dish is made with local and seasonal ingredients which I love. It also helps that it’s a few minutes from our house.

Q: Fave family vacation? 

E: Seville, Spain. That’s where Chris proposed to me with Sophia by our side. It has sentimental meaning to our family and truthfully it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

Q: How do you find time for yourself? What’s your ideal girls’ night?

E: I have to make time because I can never find time. I make sure to devote an hour a day to doing things that make me feel good like working out, going to lunch with a friend, reading and writing. My ideal girls night would be at someones house with a few cocktails, some yummy food and lots of laughs. 


Q. With the power and influence of social media such as Instagram, how do you draw the line about what you think is appropriate to post of your children? As a mother, do you enjoy and/or find it beneficial to share photos and videos of your family on social media platforms?

E: I think social media is such a powerful tool if used properly. To me I will only post a picture of my daughter if I feel it can inspire other mothers. It’s not about affirmation to me, it’s all about empowerment and inspiration which is what the platform should be used for.

Elle wearing the Bae All Or Nothing Maternity Dress, available in store & online in black, grey and khaki, $165

Q. Any last words of wisdom for our fellow new moms? Do you have a favourite quote or mantra that you live by?

E: The most common advise I give new moms is this -Don’t ever put your kids before yourself a happy and healthy person will raise happy healthy kids. “Work harder on yourself then you do on your job”- Jim Rohns.


Momspiration: Kate Gertner & Sarah Deitcher Of Play With Pieces

Get to know...

Kate Gertner and Sarah Deitcher, Co-Founders of PLAY WITH PIECES, the innovative baby play mat company that combines stylish design with safe materials for your little one. Kate and Sarah sit down for a photoshoot with Trish Mennell Photography and talk finding inspiration for their designs, working together as friends and how they balance motherhood.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges? 

K: There is really nothing better than hearing your kids laugh.

S: It really is the biggest joy.It’s the best; but being a mom is hard, and there are so many challenges! Fifty percent of our phone calls revolve around sleep, or lack there of—who’s sleeping, who’s not sleeping, how do we get more sleep, how do we get our kids to get more sleep? The other 50% is about our work. But, at the end of the day when all your kids want to do is to show you something new they’ve learned or have a quiet snuggle on the couch, you suddenly forget about everything on the to-do list and want to freeze time forever! 

Q: What have you learned about balancing motherhood with your careers?

K: Motherhood really is a balancing act. Sometimes you won’t be able to make it home for bedtime, or you need to take a phone call when you’re on sandbox duty. We try to do the best we can. Sometimes that means spending an hour on the phone parked outside our respective houses to can finish up a work call so that when go inside, we can be present with our kids. 

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Play with Pieces? Where do you draw inspiration from for the designs?

K: We are both really design-oriented people. There was nothing out there on the market that we wanted to live with everyday in our homes. We draw a lot of inspiration from vintage rugs, and combining them with current trends.

S: It became a style dilemma that we were determined to solve, and we knew we couldn’t be alone in our search.

Q: How is it working together? Do you have any tips for friends going into business together?

K: The funny thing is, we weren’t really friends before we went into business together.

S: Well, we were new friends.

K: Yes, we were very new friends; we were actually set up on a "blind mommy

S: We had both recently given birth—I think Teddy was three months and Grayson was one month—and we met at Terroni and had ate pizza while our babies slept under the table in their bucket car seats.

K: I think we maybe shared a salad too.

S: The mushroom one, obviously.

K: We became really good friends fast; we had a lot in common and basically talked about going into business together from day one (though many ideas were tossed around before the play mat). So we don’t bring 30 years of friendship baggage into our business partnership. It was the perfect clean slate.

S: For business and friendship – ha! 

K: Find someone you like (like, really like) because at the end of the day, it’s just the two of you (in a makeshift office) and the idea you came up with together.

S: And like any relationship, it’s all about trust. Ideas will come and go and your business will evolve, but you need to go to bed at night knowing you can trust your partner.

Q: How did you come up with your kids’ names?

K: Theodore just happened to be a name we really liked. We are into traditional names and especially loved that it has a cute short form – we call him Teddy. For my second we were looking for a B name to honour my husband’s mom. Bennett was so perfect us because it felt formal but still fun (and not so common). At home we call him Mr. B.


S: My husband and I have always been drawn to names with English heritage. Having a short-form that we loved was also a must for us.



Q: Do you have a go-to family restaurant in Toronto?

K: Mildred's Temple Kitchen for their Bluberry Pancakes.

S: Terroni or Cibo—basically anywhere that serves pasta and where we can
make noise.

Q: What's your favourite family vacation?

K: We spend a lot of time in California because we have family there; Abbott Kinney is like a second home to us. California is so kid-friendly (aside from the time change) and what is not to love about being on the ocean?

S: My husband’s family has a home in Vermont. I love being surrounded by so much greenery! It’s my happy place—and when mama’s happy, everyone’s

Q: How do you find time for yourself? What's your ideal girls' night?

S: We are both pretty low key (right Kate??). Ideal girl’s night involves a long delicious dinner in a cozy space, with lots of laughter and some musical chairs so you get to talk to everyone. Also, there must be dessert and tea— Earl Grey for me and peppermint for Kate.


Q. With the power and influence of social media such as Instagram, how do you draw the line about what you think is appropriate to post of your children? As a mother, do you enjoy and/or find it beneficial to share photos and videos of your family on social media platforms?

K: For the first year with Teddy, I really made a conscious effort not to show his face on social media; I would post little snippets here and there but nothing too revealing. Then, our production samples arrived the same day I gave birth to Bennett. Suddenly, we found ourselves in need of a readily available (and free!) baby models, so up our kids faces went, all over our Instagram feed. However, we are very respectful of kids and our customer’s kids on instagram. We always ask permission to post (or repost) and we understand that everyone has different levels of comfort with what they want to share on social media.

Q: Any last words of wisdom for our fellow new moms?

S: Drink water. Eat well 80% of the time. Have sex. Mind your own business.


Ani + Wren Go To New York

When we think New York, we think of the infinite things to see, do and eat. Whether you are a fashionista, a food enthusiast, an art junkie, or a lover of Broadway - there is something for you.

Traveling with little ones can feel overwhelming with the unpredictable schedules, long packing lists and impatient kids. But traveling can also be fun and exciting for kids of all ages with all the new experiences, sights and most importantly, family time.

Lani and Lauren are veterans when it comes to traveling with little ones and last month they gathered everyone up for a trip to New York! 

Let’s talk travel…

We all know this isn’t your first family vacation but we have to know. What essentials do you pack in your bags and what do you leave behind? Do all the kids get their own bags? Tell us the secrets to making the prep time as painless as possible for all the moms out there.

LAUREN: I have one rule when I pack - I don't bring more than 1 suitcase for all my 4 kids. I try to order or get supplies (diapers, wipes, etc.) wherever I am going. Otherwise I only pack what outfits my kids need (and at the end of the day, they end up wearing the same thing over and over...). When I only had one child, she got her own bag with the cutest outfit changes (like 4 per day...). Things change once you travel with a full crew of toddlers! My other tip - be organized!  I pack about a week in advance so that it's done and I'm not stressing the night before. I also always pack a carry on with a change of clothes, medicine, and a few other essentials in case their suitcase doesn't make it! I also pack for myself in advance ... I hate doing anything last minute!

LANI: I am the worst packer ever, and now with a kid it only makes it worse. I have no idea how Lauren does it, I am convinced they all share underwear lol. I typically pack myself in 1 large checked bag, and then squeeze all of Marc's and Xander's stuff in another large checked bag. Only tip I have that helps reduce some bulkiness is that I usually order diapers, wipes, swimmers, snacks to the hotel in advance, so I don't need to lug it all with me.

How do you keep the kids entertained when you travel? How do you feel about screen time as a distraction, and how much is too much?

LAUREN: When we travel I don't worry about limiting screen time - it's really all about survival! I always stock up on crafts, games, activities but I also make sure to put a few new games or movies/shows on their iPads to keep them entertained.

LANI: I agree with Wren. Marc and I were so hesitant to introduce screen time to Xander before the age of 2, but then we had a 10 HR flight to Hawaii for the Xmas break and it was our life saver!! #iPads4Life on flights, anything to keep your lil one happy and entertained. We try to limit screen time during our daily routine, so he doesn't become reliant on it, but like anything in life, everything in moderation right 



What are your go-to snacks to pack for the kids? For yourself?

LAUREN: One of my kids is celiac, so I pack a lot of gluten free snacks from some of my fave brands (Made Good, Annies, Simple Mills) I also always pack fruit, veggies, pizza bagels and bring my son a few gluten free meal options. Also candy as back up (lollipops, gummies, etc.) for meltdowns/bribery!

For myself I try to pack nuts, Kind Bars ... things I can eat quickly but that will fill me... when traveling with kids who knows when I will get to eat, pee, etc.

LANI: On travel days I try to pack mess-free snacks. I like to keep things clean and tidy, OCD styles, so I try to avoid messy snacks/liquids. Crackers, cheese strings, apples, cereal, and raisins are my go to. Let's be real though, you can never avoid messes with kids, but a girl can try!

In terms of snacks for moi...Non-pregnant Lani gets unsalted almonds, and gum! Pregnant Lani gets salted almonds, licorice, Xander's Ritz crackers, and who am I kidding, a bagel and cream cheese!! 




Now let’s talk New York…

What are some of your favourite places to take the kids?

LAUREN: I love NYC with kids! Some of my fave places ... Central Park Amusement Park (only in the summer), also Central Park Zoo! Gazillion bubble show (it's really amazing!) and definitely go see a broadway show (I recently saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Frozen) and then they get to see Times Square. Cool Mess is fun (make your own ice cream), Dylan's Candy Bar and my girls love the American Girl Store (make an appointment if you are booking "services" for the dolls - cue eye roll). If your kids read the Eloise books definitely take a trip to the Plaza.

That all being said, sometimes some of the best things in NYC are spontaneous. I took my daughter last year with her friend. We went to Eataly and took out some food and ate outside in this little public area across the Flatiron. There was a Facebook Lego group meet-up (random!) but our girls had the best time eating pizza and watching/ helping them build!

LANI: Central Park Zoo was a hit. He loved seeing all the different animals, and running around from 1 exhibit to the next. Also Central Park Amusement Park was fun, because there were a handful of rides for toddlers, and he loved watching his cousins play all the games.  


Marc's sister lives in Connecticut, so we also always try to get some family time in to see her and her kiddies. We like taking the train because Xander can move around vs being trapped in a car seat for 2 hrs, while enjoying the view from the big windows.


What about some good kid-friendly museums/art-installations?

LAUREN: I went to the Kids Museum which was a great rainy day activity. The MET and MOMA also has kids specific tours.

LANI: With a 2 year old, it's more about the simple things in life. We did a lot of searching for rocks in central park, and spotting  yellow taxi cabs on the busy streets of NY. Maybe next year when he is a little older, we'll hit up the American Museum of Natural History to check out those dinos!!

What are your go-to kid-friendly restaurants?

LAUREN: I don't usually go anywhere kid specific ...I find we end up eating anywhere around where we are. Room service always is requested for at least one night!

LANI: Samesies, I basically just copy what Lauren does with her kids lol.

What are your favourite spots to hit up when the kids are asleep?

LAUREN: My bed ;)

LANI: Noo come on Wren we are more fun than that. We love Avra Madison for dinner on the Upper East Side - their fresh branzino is next level good, and the zucchini chips + dip are not to be missed. Carbone, because why the hell not, best Italian in the city. We also usually go to Quality Meats, because we tend to stay in that neighbourhood, and they have a good wine list and steaks. 



What are your go-to stores for the kids? For yourselves?

LAUREN: In Soho, there is a Uniqlo, the Converse store, and Melissa (those amazing shoes for girls!) all on the same block. I also love Crew Cuts (JCrew for kids) - there is one on Madison.

For me, I love love the shoe Department at Bergdorf's... I have a shoe obsession and that is the best place to give into it!! I also love the Reformation store and Intermix in Soho.

LANIFor Xan, I've ordered some great stuff online from Little Giants Giant Shorties, they have really cool pieces for little boys. I've never had a chance to get to their flagship store in Brooklyn, but it's definitely on my to do list next time we go :)



Intermix is my jam in NY.  Their assortment is so well curated in NY, especially in the Soho store- Laur and I always do well there! I also love Otte, it's a NYC-based retailer, and there are several locations around the city. Brand roster is amazing, and I am always so impressed with the sales staff and their customer service.


Highlight of the trip?

LAUREN: Spending time with the fam, grandparents, cousins! Nothing better than having everyone together ;)

LANI What she said ;)


Number one advice for traveling with kids?

LAUREN: Try to be flexible ... when we travel I don't care as much about bedtime, naps, eating healthy ... let go of your rules and try to enjoy!

LANIYou gotta go with the flow. Traveling with kids can often be unpredictable, so don't sweat the small stuff, and just try to relax and have fun. I find we always end up having the best time when there are no concrete plans and we decide to just do something spontaneous ;)

Momspiration: Ali Budd

Get to know...

Ali Budd, President of Ali Budd Interiors, the award-winning interior designer with a serious knack for transforming any home into your home of your dreams. Ali sits down for a photoshoot with Trish Mennell Photography and talks to us about all things motherhood, the importance of taking time for yourself and so much more. 

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges? 

Watching my children grow up and seeing their amazing, hilarious and distinctive personalities come to life has been an incredible joy for me. I look at them (when they aren't whining) and my heart could explode. Literally explode. They have shown me how to see things in a different light and are definitely a constant reminder of what is important in life. When I became a mother, my own mom looked at me and said, "Only now can you truly understand how I feel about you." It was completely true! Unconditional love like no other. 


Q: We know you're busy running your interior design firm, Ali Budd Interiors — what have you learned about balancing motherhood with your career?

When I'm at work, I try and remain completely focused on work. When I am with my children I do my best to make sure they have my full attention. I am very upfront with my clients initially to make sure I manage their expectations — I don't take meetings in the evening or on weekends. That is my time to be with my family. I have found that people ultimately really respect it.

I have always found it helpful to have an open dialogue with my children about what I do, why I do it, and why I love it. I've explained that there are other people that need mommy's help. They come to my office all the time to see what's up and I hope in time they will understand that everything I am working so hard for is ultimately to make sure I can give them the best life possible. 

I feel proud that my daughter is growing up watching me try and fulfill my professional goals, and that my son can see that women can at once be successful business women and compassionate mothers. The two aren't mutually exclusive. I should also mention I have an INCREDIBLE village which I utilize all the time. 

Q: Do you find that your personal style has changed since becoming a mom? 

My style has definitely evolved over time, but I am not sure it has anything to do with being a mother. I love fashion and I love getting dressed. I'm a product junkie! I don't think you need to be all leggings and tees when you become a mom (although of course around my house, that's exactly that you'll find me in!)


Q: Where did you find inspiration for your kids' names?

Joey's name (my daughter) came from Dawson's Creek. I could totally lie about it but that's where I heard the name and we always loved it. We actually called her Blair in the hospital for 24 hours but it just didn't seem right. She was way more of a Joey (also why I encourage people not to order their monogrammed stuff until after they have had their baby!) 

James was named after my father who very sadly and suddenly passed away when I was pregnant with him. I knew I was going to have a boy, but in the sadness and shock of losing my dad, I couldn't even think about what to call him. I went into labor very early and the nurse who signed us in also signed her last name to all of our documents. Her last name was James which was my father's middle name. It was a done deal in that moment. I actually don't even remember discussing it, we just knew! 

Q: Quote the funniest/worst thing your child has ever said. 

There are SO many. My kids say the most hilarious things. The other day I spilled water on James and he was very upset I got him wet. I told him I was so sorry and he looked at me and said, "Mommy, I will forgive you but I won't forget." He is three years old...

Q: Do you have a go-to family restaurant in Toronto?

I would love to name some cool, amazing place where my children eat with chopsticks and use cloth napkins. Not the case! My kids' favourite spot in the city is United Bakers, a very family-friendly, dairy restaurant in Midtown. They eat mac and cheese and French Fries and sprinkle cookies and we are in and out in 30-40 minutes max most of the time. 

Q: What's your favourite family vacation?

Miami. It's close and so easy with the kids. I'm very much about group parenting — I have lots of friends that go down at Christmas time as well and my kids love it. 

Q: Favourite Sunday night tradition? If not, any fun family tradition?

I sing a song to my kids every night before they go to sleep about all the people that love them. Mommy, daddy  and the dogs are always in the song and then every night we switch out different people. Also, every year, no matter where we are, my kids wake up with a room full of balloons on their birthdays. I love celebrating the day they were born. 


Q: How do you find time for yourself? What's your ideal girls' night? 

I am a single mother, so I am pretty on most of the time. My kids go to their dad's every other weekend and that's usually when I take some time for myself. Like I said before, I have an incredible supportive and involved family and group of friends. They are all extremely involved in the lives of my children and I couldn't do it without them! My kids have a great father — he is very active in their lives. I also have a live-in nanny who is beyond helpful.

I love being with my girlfriends. They are absolutely my lifeline! I don't care where we are or what we are doing — we just laugh. A lot. My favourite girl time ranges from being at the cottage, backyard hang outs, fun dinners out or mini getaways. My girls make my heart happy. 

Q. With the power and influence of social media such as Instagram, how do you draw the line about what you think is appropriate to post of your children? As a mother, do you enjoy and/or find it beneficial to share photos and videos of your family on social media platforms?

On my professional Instagram, I am extremely selective about the images I post of my children. I rarely post pictures of their faces and if I do, it's occasionally and only in stories. I have a private, personal account with limited followers where I post pictures of them so that my family and friends can see. I don't use Facebook or any other social media.

Social media is at once, very powerful and very scary. I love it as a business tool, but there is no way we can completely comprehend the impact it's going to have long term on this generation. For the most part, I'm going to let my children navigate what they want out there about themselves when they are old enough to make those decisions. 

Q: Any last words of wisdom for our fellow new moms?

You are doing an amazing job and the universe gave you the baby you are supposed to be a mother to. Period, end of story. There are no coincidences in this department. Someone said to me, our job as parents is to raise good adults, not good children. I carry this with me and try to remember it always. Also, really, I have no wisdom on this — but does anyone? I think as mothers if we follow our gut and do what's right for our children, that's all we can do. 


Meet The Rebels Behind The Rebel Mama's Handbook For (Cool) Moms

Aleksandra Jassem and Nikita Staleny are two REBEL MAMA’s who just published the ultimate girlfriend’s guide to early motherhood. No bullsh*t, no judgment, just the parenting book of your dreams.

Q: How long has this book been in the works for? 

We started writing the day our Kickstarter campaign wrapped — May 4th, 2017. The book launched online on May 4th, 2018! We can honestly say it was in the works for exactly 365 days!

Q: If you could describe the book in exactly 3 words, what would it be? 

Chill. As. F*ck. 

Q: What is your favourite tip/piece of advice from the book?

Ignore people’s opinions about what you do in your “leisure time.” ;) 

Q: Are you gals on the same page in terms of parenting or do you have any differing styles or philosophies? 

In parenting, (as in life), Nikita is slightly higher strung and Aleks is slightly more rebellious. We try to keep eachother in check as much as possible though. It’s a good balance. 


Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you tell yourself as a first-time mom? 

“Relax babe.” You can’t waste your life worrying about every single thing or you’ll miss out on all the good stuff. Relax, trust your gut, and enjoy the ride!