Eva Amurri Martino, the blogger, actress and mother to one-year-old daughter Marlowe, may be the person closest to solving the “can we have it all” conundrum. “I believe that, as long as we keep a sense of humor, we really can “have it all,” says Martino who pens her recently launched blog, Happily Eva After, which is packed with candid stories, travel, food and decor inspiration, and of course, loads of refreshing humor.
She is the modern mom in every sense, and shares her daily life so that fellow parents can gain insight into her world as well as how to manage career and family while first and foremost having plenty of fun.
Here, Martino shares her perspective on parenting with style and why it’s more about juggling than balancing.
What was the impetus for starting “Happily Eva After?”
After having my daughter, I felt pulled in a lot of directions. I felt so happy to finally be a mother, but I also mourned the loss of my “previous” multifaceted life and the little (now superfluous-feeling) things I enjoyed so much. I felt guilty for wanting to also have a career and other interests besides being a Mom–it took me a while to realize that it’s ok to be a Mom and be lots of other things as well. The site was born because I wanted to be a resource for people trying to parent while also leading full, happy, and FUN lives. I believe that, as long as we keep a sense of humor, we really can “have it all”.
What was the most surprising element of becoming a mother?
I think what’s most surprising is how strong and specific your child’s personality is from day one. It really settles the “Nature vs. Nurture” argument!
What stage have you found most difficult / most rewarding so far?
I found the beginning stage, or the “fourth trimester” as some people call it, extremely challenging. I spent those first three months trying to piece back together my life as I had known it, going through many “new parent” growing pains with my husband, pumping breastmilk relentlessly, and feeling generally anxious. Plus, the infants don’t give a lot back at that stage! Now I look back on that time and laugh because taking care of Marlowe back then was so easy compared to how exhausting it is now! I look forward to chilling out a lot more in the newborn stage with a second baby.
When you’re not working, what’s your own beauty routine like? What products do you like to use?
I found early on that I felt much better about my day in MommyLand if I looked somewhat pulled together. I wash and moisturize every morning, and try to quickly put on a little powder, blush, fill in my eyebrows, and apply a couple swipes of mascara. When I look in the mirror and see a (faux) refreshed woman, I really feel like I can tackle the day! In the morning I use iS Clinical Cleansing Complex, iS Clinical eye cream, and Control Correctives moisturizer with SPF– and in the evening I cleanse and then add iS Clinical Active Serum before moisturizing. This serum is the bomb and keeps my combination skin totally clear.
What 5 essentials do you recommend to new mothers who no longer have the time to put on a “whole face” but who still want to look pulled together?
1. Easy mineral powder foundation. I like Jane Iredale
2. A rosy blush. I like NARS Deep Throat
3. Eyebrows! I groom mine with a brush and fill with Clinique eyebrow pencil
5. Mascara! I like Clinique Lash Power Mascara in Onyx.
What is your daily uniform?
I’m a jeans and Tshirt girl when I’m on Mommy Duty (I like super skinny or boyfriend style with a crisp white Tshirt) and on days that I’m having meetings or working, I’m always super femme in dresses. I LOVE a great dress.
What are the top 5 baby items you cant live without?
As a busy working mom, what is your best advice for other working moms trying to strike that balance between work and family? What is your biggest challenge?
I once heard somebody refer to it as a “juggle” instead of a balance, and I totally identify with that. I never feel like I’m getting it perfectly right, but as long as everyone in my family is communicating well, and we are getting good time in together and individually for ourselves, I feel like I’m keeping it together. I highly recommend scheduling one Date Night a week and one Family Date a week. Date Night is dinner and a movie or drink, and Family Date is a special activity we do alone with just the three of us. It can be a meal, or a half hour at the park, or grocery shopping, as long as we are all engaged and spending quality time together that’s what matters!
What do you do to carve out time for yourself? Meditation, Exercise or Nights out with girlfriends?
Girls Nights are where it’s at! Sometimes you need to laugh and conspire together at a restaurant for an hour without having to feed anybody but yourself.
As an actress with a daughter, what will you try to teach her about beauty and self image? Any good advice that your mother taught you?
Truthfully, I hope Marlowe never becomes an Actress. It is so challenging to keep your head above water with constant rejection and scrutiny. I consider it a miracle I’ve made it through and (mostly) maintained my sanity. I want her to have a job where the color of her hair or the size of her jeans isn’t a talking point. That said, I have a very spirited child, and it does run in the family. I am just going to focus on reminding her that kindness, strength, intelligence, and humor are the most beautiful attributes of all.
How do you balance your time between work, your child and nurturing yourself?
I’m always reminded of the instructions for airplane oxygen masks: Secure your own mask before assisting other passengers. I think this is great parenting advice as well. Make sure you are in a good place emotionally, and your other responsibilities will fall in to place. When I’m stressed and miserable, my child is miserable and my work suffers as well. Sometimes I need to take a yoga class, stop for a smoothie on the way home while chatting with a girlfriend, and by the time I’m back in MommyLand I’m ready to rock.
What are some of your specific gadgets, organizational tools or aids that help maintain a stress-free work/family balance?
I use a family calendar and a notebook, both paper! I like physically writing schedules down on an old-fashioned calendar. For work, I use my iCal.
If any, what changes did you make to your work hours/life in order to create more time with your daughter?
I work mostly from home, so this is still a work in progress for me. I’ve gotten better at locking myself away, but it’s hard knowing that my sweet-smelling little rascal is just a few doors away for me to kiss if I want to! I make sure to schedule a couple of baby classes during the week to make sure I have time with her on the books.
With less time to get ready in the morning, what is your go-to look in order to look chic and put together for a full day and possible evening events?
A monochromatic looks always works great for me. I like to do some black leather leggings to add texture, and pair it with either a white or black top. I can switch from Nike wedge sneakers to stilettos and add a swipe of bright red lipstick to kick it up for nighttime.
What are your favorite activities with your daughter?
Marlowe loves music and playing instruments, so I have a great time taking her to music class, or even just putting on the radio and having a dance party at home. We also love the LA Zoo!
What is the most valuable thing motherhood has taught you?
For me, Motherhood has been about rediscovering and embracing humility at its most basic level. It has taught me to ask for help and to be generous with myself, and most of all about being in the moment. Children have a beautiful ability to take each moment as it comes, and wake every morning with a clean slate– that kind of clarity and optimism is infectious.
Photo Credit: Top 3 photos courtesy of Eva Amurri Martino, Bottom 2 photos, Instagram.