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Helena Glazer Hodne, or better known as the Brooklyn Blonde, is the cool girl mama that we’re ready to be best friends with. We’ve long been connected on social media but finally got the chance to meet her in person at our first #thejuggleisreal panel at Rebecca Minkoff’s SoHo store last month. Helena rounded out the panel on fashion technology and how these smart and busy mamas are juggling career and motherhood, with Kristin Elliot, Vice President, Fashion & Luxury Industry at Condé Nast and designer Rebecca Minkoff. The born-and-bred New Yorker and blogger boasts 461k Instagram followers and counting, and it makes sense – despite her busy life balancing the blog and mothering her adorable son Nate, Helena looks amazing and is creating compelling content for the fashion set. Ahead, we sat down with her to talk about how #thejuggleisreal, why it’s okay to say no to over-committing, and how we can stay stylish even when we’re on mama duty. Read on…

the brooklyn blonde

What does the juggle between work life and motherhood look like for you? Share a good day and an off day.

Quite honestly, the juggling act is the hardest part of it all. It feels like every minute of every day is filled with something! Whether it’s mom stuff or work stuff, there’s always something that needs to be done. I do have a nanny that helps me 3 times a week, so I’m fortunate to have somewhat of a balance of being at home with Nate but also having time to focus on my blog. A good day for me is being able to spend the day with Nate, but also manage to get some work or “me” stuff done while he’s napping or down for the night. Then there are those moments where I take on too much and there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Those are the nights I end up staying up until 1AM, which ends up taking such a toll on my body. I’ve learned to turn down more and only commit to projects that truly make sense for me, but the balance still gets the best of me.

Your little one is just a year old. How did becoming a mom affect The Brooklyn Blonde? Did your readership change much? The content you are creating? Or the way you work?

I’ve been lucky enough to have a loyal following that has been part of my life since I started my blog, almost 7 years ago. So many of my readers have been going through similar life changes so they’re able to relate, which in turn has really allowed me to connect. With that being said, I also work hard at trying to balance the content I put out. I recognize that many people started following me before I had a child and I don’t want to isolate those readers that don’t care about motherhood, because let’s face it, not everyone does!

Don’t be so hard on yourselves. I think “mom guilt” happens to the best of us, but I’ve quickly realized we’re all doing the best that we can.

What has been your biggest challenge in the transition to being a working mama?

Hands down, time management! It is so necessary to develop good time management skills when your time is split in a million different directions. It’s still something I’m trying to get a good handle on, but I think it just comes with the territory.

What’s your go-to advice for new mamas heading back to work?

Don’t be so hard on yourselves. I think “mom guilt” happens to the best of us, but I’ve quickly realized, we’re all doing the best that we can. Whether you’re going back to work because it’s financially necessary, mentally necessary, or just because it’s a job you truly enjoy – give yourself a little break. Also, if you’re considering a cleaning person – get one!!!! Worth every single penny.

Can you remember a moment when you felt like you were totally overwhelmed by work and family? What did you do to get back to a place of balance?

Ha! Those moments happen on a weekly basis. I’m fortunate enough to have an amazing, hands-on husband, so sometimes all I need is to step out of the house and run to the gym, or I’ll just get a manicure. There are days when it’s as easy as just stepping outside to take a breather and on other days, I will text message my fellow mom-friends and vent. That also leads me to one of my number one rules: have a mom crew! It is so necessary!

You have 450k+ followers on IG. Was there a certain period you can point to when you really started to pick up that traction? Any certain post or series of posts that added to that momentum? 

Oh man, I wish I knew the exact formula, but I really think it was a combination of many things. For starters, I started my blog way before Instagram, so I was lucky enough to have a following that carried over. After that, I think it’s so important to have strong photography, a strong point of view and to really connect with your followers.

How do you manage the sheer volume of interaction keeping up with your followers and authentically engaging on social media? Do you have any apps, hacks or assistants?

It takes a lot of work, but without my followers, I wouldn’t be where I am and I think it’s important to recognize that. I usually carve out 30 minutes every day, usually while he’s napping or down for the night, and respond to DMs, comments and emails. Some days are better than others and there are instances where I don’t respond until a week later. It’s not ideal, but it happens! Especially since on the days that I’m with Nate, I try to be as present as possible and I refrain from being too active on social media. And I do have an assistant who helps me with a lot of backend stuff, but anything relating to reader interaction comes solely from me. Otherwise, it wouldn’t feel authentic!

Talking about it helped tremendously! I think that is key. Whether it’s with a therapist or in a mom group, it helps to know that you’re not alone and it is in fact, very common.

Post Partum can be such an emotional time and different for everyone! What was your experience like?

This is actually a post that I’m currently working on! It’s a topic that needs to be discussed a lot more than it is because Postpartum is so much more common than I ever realized. Personally, I didn’t have PPD right after I had Nate but when I weaned from breastfeeding. It was months into motherhood, so the fact that it wasn’t right after I had the baby hit me like a ton of bricks. I didn’t know what was happening and why I was feeling so incredibly sad, but after doing a ton of research, I realized that PPD from weaning is so much more common than people talk about. After a few rough months, my hormones finally felt like they leveled out and I started feeling like my old self again. Talking about it helped tremendously! I think that is key. Whether it’s with a therapist or in a mom group, it helps to know that you’re not alone and it is in fact, very common.

My easy go-to is: Levi’s jeans or cutoffs, espadrilles or my trusty Gucci slides, a simple white v-neck tee and some necklaces to jazz up the look.

What’s been the most surprising thing about motherhood for you?

That I would be completely okay with saying no to so many things. I’ve had to turn down many incredible work trips, projects, events, fun nights with friends and I’ve been totally okay with it. I also think that “the right time to be a mom” means something different for everyone, but for me, having a child in my 30’s was the best thing I could have done. I feel like I lived an incredible pre-baby life and I was ready for that next chapter! Yes, it means that I’m less available, something that is sometimes hard to grasp, but overall, I’ve been fine with it.

Do you feel like your style has changed at all as a mom? What’s your go-to look on days when you are with the little one?

Yes and no! I still love to dress up, as a matter of fact. I still NEED those days, but I’ve also never worn so many flats in my life! I actually love the challenge of coming up with outfits that are comfy, but also stylish to “mom” around in. My easy go-to is: Levi’s jeans or cutoffs, espadrilles or my trusty Gucci slides, a simple white v-neck tee and some necklaces to jazz up the look. If it’s chilly, I’ll throw on a leather jacket on top. I’ve also never been so focused on skincare as I am now. I’d rather invest my time in making my skin look good so on the days where I don’t have time to put much makeup on, I still feel great.

What is your work set-up like? Do you work from an office or at home? Are you most productive with a group or alone?

I used to work from an office that I shared with a friend, but now I work from home and from a local coffee shop. Sometimes I need to get out of my house so I’m not distracted by the hundreds of things that I need to do. My productivity can vary depending on what I’m working on. If I need to focus, I’m better off by myself, but if I need to brainstorm and get inspired, I love being in a group setting.

What’s your support system like? Do you have a great group of mama friends? How has community been important to you as a mom?

During my first months of motherhood, I joined my local neighborhood Facebook group and have been so lucky to have met some incredible women from it. Having a support system, especially those going through the same things as you, was key in surviving that first year. Now, we all have boys the same age and it’s so nice to be able to get together, both with them and without, and to just hang out!

 

brooklyn blonde

3 pearls of wisdom

1.

Don't judge. Everyone has their own way of parenting and that's perfectly fine. I've met mothers who have their baby on a strictly vegan diet, and mothers who feed their baby everything under the sun. Whatever works for you! As long as the child is loved, to each her own!

2.

Don't neglect your partner! It's easy to get caught up in balancing work and motherhood, but I make sure to make my relationship a priority as much as anything else.

3.

Don't be afraid to travel with your child. When I was planning our first trip, I was so anxious, but after we came back, I realized it was much easier than I had expected. As much work as it entailed (because let's be honest, it's a "trip", not a vacation), the memories made it so worth it.

xx Helena Glazer Hodne

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