Don't call it a Mom Blog! We chatted with Nikita and Aleks, creators of the hilariously honest blog, The Rebel Mama on all things pregnancy, motherhood and their ever-growing Rebel Posse.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges?
Nikita: Like anything else in life, the rewards in motherhood come only after you dig in your heels and do the hard work. Hearing my son say “please, thank you, and excuse me” is rewarding (most Canadian statement ever made) because that’s the result of months and months of consistently instilling manners as a priority. Same goes for great sleep habits and when he finally stopped biting everything and everyone in sight.
The biggest joy is when my house is filled with laughter - could there be a better sound than that?
The biggest challenge is when my house is a toddler vs. parent war zone over something ridiculous like having to wear a winter coat in January. I’m not the most patient person so learning not to lose my marbles in those situations has definitely been challenging!
Aleks: When I was pregnant, people always told me motherhood would be SO rewarding. I remember staring at my new baby a few months later thinking WHEN?!! As time went on, and my baby turned into a toddler the rewards came flooding in. Simple things like his open mind to food, his love of reading, learning and always wanting to know more, his manners and temperament, his early love and respect for animals, his love of sleep, and the list goes on and on. These daily occurrences and traits are just a reminder that all the time in the trenches was and is worth it.
My biggest joy is our time together spent snuggling - there’s really no better feeling than your child needing and wanting your closeness. I could melt a thousand times.
My current challenge (they change at the drop of a dime) is a power struggle of who’s boss. My two year old clearly thinks he is capable of making every decision in the house.
What have you learned about balancing motherhood with your career?
Nikita: I’ve learned that I need my mommy. Seriously. The balance would not be a balance if I didn’t have my parents around to help whenever I need them. They’re the best babysitters anyone could ever ask for… and they’re free!
Aleks: I’ve learned not to feel guilty about having goals outside of motherhood, and realized I need to work on many different projects to feel like a fulfilled human being which in turn made me a more focused and grounded parent. It takes a lot of organization and my multi-tasking skills have reached a new level, but it’s totally worth it!
What was the inspiration behind your blog “Rebel Mama”? Any particular features/ stories/ interviews that have been a highlight?
Nikita: The Rebel Mama was created because I could see that there were a bunch of women out there who were drowning in a sea of pink and blue cattiness, judgement, and negative discourse. The site was my way of throwing out a floatation device to anyone who felt like they needed to get the hell away from all that crap.
Anytime we publish an introductory feature on a new contributor I get really excited - I love that our Rebel Posse is constantly growing and diversifying and it’s so much fun to introduce the world to fabulous, inspiring moms from all walks of life.
Aleks: When Nikita and I were pregnant together, it literally felt like we only had each other to relate to. Nothing felt real enough and we were desperately seeking out like minded mamas that talked the talk, and walked the walk. Women who weren't judgmental, who could hand you the real truth without sugar coating, and who could be there when it mattered most. I’m most impressed with how many of these ladies there actually are, and how incredibly strong our Rebel Mama community has become.
What excites me most is getting out real stories that other women can relate to. It’s when I read comments from mothers thanking us for writing something, or sharing things they couldn’t otherwise say themselves that makes it the best. If we can make just one mother feel more human - we’re winning.
Do you find that your personal style has changed since you’ve become a mom?
Nikita: Not really.. I’ve always been a black / white / grey / nude / denim kinda gal - complete with bold footwear and statement accessories. The only thing that has changed is that now I can pull a look together in under 45 seconds!
Aleks: Agreed with the above! Us Virgo’s really have that practicality down to a science. I have always, and still do, live in basics and neutrals which really works for the mom life. A stellar pair of jeans and a great tee is all you really need. (And high heels… If you're leaving the house after 9am, heels are a must)
Where did you find inspiration for your kids’ names?
Nikita: When I was pregnant with my first son, I was scrolling through instagram *as you do* and I stumbled across the most ridiculously cute toddler/puppy tag team named Beau and Theo respectively. We’d been tossing around names for a while (most of my picks got vetoed pretty quickly) so I texted my boyfriend and said “How about Beau?”. He said “I actually love it” and that was that. His middle name is Stanley (my last name).
My second son’s name was inspired by my favourite Italian boot designer (I shit you not) - his name is Rocco. His middle name is just the letter “A” because it just so happens that TONS of family members who mean a lot to us have names that start with “A”, so it’s a little nod to them.
Aleks: My mother was going to name me Oscar had I been a boy, so that name has been floating around for a while but we like to say he was lovingly named after Oscar Wilde and Oscar the Grouch - not because they have any particular importance in our lives, besides sharing a great freakin’ name. We just loved its timelessness and the fact that it hadn’t been overused. His initials (and nickname) are now O.K - which is also pretty cool.
Quote the worst/funniest thing your child has ever said.
Nikita: “F*ck. Jesus.” - on Orthodox Easter.
Aleks: Besides his broken-record swear words which have become tiresome - the new thing is saying “You’re a baboon”. To friends. And strangers. And probably the wrong person any time now… (thanks National Geographic Channel).
Go-to family restaurant in Toronto?
Nikita: La Cubana on Roncesvalles - so delicious and such a great, not-too-dumbed-down kid menu.
Aleks: Lil Baci in Leslieville. What kid doesn’t like pizza and pasta? And what mom doesn’t want to drown in Italian wine?!!
Fave family vacation?
Nikita: My parents have a house in Tulum, Mexico, so it’s a home away from home (Complete with babysitters! Love you Mom & Dad!)
Aleks: My in-laws have a condo in South Florida and it’s where we hibernate when Toronto winters get tough. Dreading when he has to go to school and STAY here.
Sunday night tradition? If not, any fun family traditions?
Nikita: Our family is still pretty young.. I don’t know if we’ve been doing anything long enough to consider it a tradition - but on Saturday mornings, my boyfriend takes my eldest son to an old Italian bakery by our house and buys fresh croissants for breakfast… White flour filled with butter for breakfast once a week is a tradition I’d be happy to continue for the rest of our lives.
Aleks: The only thing I’d call a tradition around here is getting in family time every weekend with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. It can be tiresome to always be on the go (I miss my lazy weekends) but those are the memories we need to collect before we’re not able.
How do you find time for yourself? What’s your ideal girls’ night?
Nikita: If I can hit a yoga class I am in heaven. An hour and a half of nobody talking to me and me not being able to check my phone is the best thing for my sanity!
An ideal girl’s night requires good food, bold red wine and even bolder girlfriends. I also like to be wearing an item of clothing that’s Dry Clean Only since those garments don’t get out much these days.
Aleks: Time out for myself can mean lunch with a friend, an extra long shower, or running personal errands. Really anything I get to do alone is the most precious and I gladly jump at every opportunity.
An ideal girls night is any night a bunch of your sassy best friends get together - be it over dinner, at some shmancy event or just shooting the shit over what seems like endless bottles of wine at someone's house. Girls actually do just wanna have fun.
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 your family on social media platforms?
Nikita: I’m conscious of the fact that the world isn’t just filled with nice, well-meaning people - I know that creeps exist (and I do have an open Instagram account) so I’m pretty careful about what and how much I post when it comes to my kids. You can absolutely share meaningful family memories and beautiful images that don’t put your kids in compromising positions… you just gotta werq those camera angles. I also don’t post an excessive amount of pictures of them - I’m a realist. I’m aware than the only people who want to see photos of my children everyday are their grandparents and that’s what Shared iPhone Albums are for.
Aleks: I just try not to overdo it. It’s inevitable to not incorporate your favorite people into your social media these days (especially when part of your “brand” is motherhood itself) but I try to stay conscious of how much information I’m letting leak and how often. As to what’s appropriate, it’s all about what you’re comfortable with. Just know the internet is watching.
Any last words of wisdom for our fellow new moms?
Nikita: Don’t be too hard on yourself. The mom-guilt benefits nobody. It’s a complete waste of time. Get off of Pinterest, leave that shitty Facebook Mom Group and go enjoy your family - they love you whether you’ve washed your hair this week or not.
Aleks: Don’t spend all your time stressing about the small stuff. It all passes, and sooner than you think - enjoy the time you have NOW with your children. You’ll never get it back.