When I first received a copy of “The Fab Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Baby,” my first thought was, We don’t have enough pressure as moms? Now we have to be back to fabulous within seconds after giving birth? But author Jill Simonian’s message is about a different kind of fabulous.
For Simonian, founder of the parenting and lifestyle website TheFABmom.com, FAB stands for Focused After Babies and her mission is to arm moms with tools to cultivate their sense of self while navigating the complete change of lifestyle that newborns bring. Her book, which comes out in April and is available on Amazon, reads like a chat with a gal pal over coffee. Simonian’s sense of humor and authenticity come through as she shares her fears about becoming a mom, her brain fog after giving birth, challenges of finding childcare and juggling work and family. And like any good gal pal, she also gives advice on moisturizing with scar cream and wearing a postpartum tummy wrap.
Tells us about being a FAB mom.
Those first few months with a new baby are exhausting. Being a FAB mom is really about being resilient through all those crazy moments when you feel like junk. It’s about having mental clarity to make good choices for yourself and your family. It’s also about enjoying yourself and having fun. It’s not about putting on heels and makeup and being glamorous, but it is important that you feel good about yourself.
What was your own childhood home like?
I was born and raised in Fresno, which is culturally very different than L.A. Both my parents are third generation Armenian. Our neighborhood had a very small-town feel to it. You always saw someone you knew. My parents were pretty traditional. My dad is a dentist and Mom is a teacher, and my mom was the one who did all the cooking and drove us everywhere. Even though I live in L.A., I still have a lot of those traditional expectations for myself. It was hard to ask my husband to drive the girls to school or for me to pick up dinner. My husband is great, but I had a tough time reconciling my image of what a “mom” should do. Now I urge all moms to say out loud, “I need help. I can’t do it myself.”
What are your daily habits to stay FAB?
Every morning when I wake up, I say, “Thank you for this day.” It sounds crazy, but saying it makes me feel centered and confident. I won’t go to bed with a dirty kitchen sink. Even if I’m dead tired, I will take the extra 10 minutes at night and load the dishwasher so I can wake up to a clean kitchen. It helps me feel more in control. I can only get to the gym once a week, but I stretch in the bathroom every night before I shower. It gives me a few minutes of alone time and it’s so great for your mind and body.
What advice do you have for new moms?
Get yourself as organized as you can. The more things around you are organized, the more in control you’ll feel. Know that it’s OK to shift your plans if something isn’t working. If you tried breastfeeding and it’s just not working for you, don’t torture yourself about. It’s OK to shift gears. Remember, nobody knows more about your baby than you. Be confident. And the old cliché of if you look good, you feel good is true! Take time for yourself to shower, wash your hair, put on a little lipstick, go for a walk. It’ll make a huge difference.
Elena Epstein is Director of Content & Strategic Partnerships at L.A. Parent.