We met Sasadi Odunsi, the founder of the 7-year-old maternity shop Bump Brooklyn, just a few months before we launched this wonderful site you're reading right now. We were instantly enamored. She's a NYC mom of three boys, who now range from 3 to 8, running a successful shop on her own, and gracious and excited to help a sister (or a mother-to-be) out.
It's almost two years later, and we're still in awe. Even with all she has going on, she's always cool and collected every time we see her. Not to mention chic--which shouldn't be surprising since her shop is as fashion-forward as a maternity shop can be. But did we mention she has three boys?
Over a year ago, I read a beautiful post on her Bump blog about how she yearned for a baby girl, and each time I saw her I'd wonder whether she would go for it. Four kids in NYC is not an everyday occurrence. A few months later we heard the news that she was pregnant with her fourth baby...and that it was a girl! That baby girl is now 3 months.
Each time I see a photo of Odunsi's beautiful family on Instagram it brings a smile to my face. She shows us that with the right attitude you can, in fact, do it all.
Here she tells us what it's like running this large household, a business and gives us a peek into a typical day.
How has each pregnancy differed?
My first pregnancy was probably the easiest, except for the fact that I had no idea what to expect. My second pregnancy came as a bit of a surprise right after we had signed the lease for Bump, so I didn't have a lot of time to focus on it, but my work life was all about maternity fashion so I got to enjoy it in a different way. My third pregnancy brought different new symptoms I had not had with my first two (like really itchy skin), and it was the first time we found out the sex of our babe-to-be.
With my fourth, I knew very quickly that I was pregnant since I had morning sickness from the very beginning. I was nervous about having a fourth--the prospect of another boy, and then the excitement of having a girl--so it was definitely emotional. I was pretty certain it would be my last, so I tried to enjoy the pregnancy as much as possible even when I was exhausted. It ended up being my shortest (Isabel was born at 37 weeks) and I have to admit I wasn't quite ready for it to be over.
How did you make the decision to have a fourth baby?
I can't lie--we really wanted to have a girl. It might sound crazy, but after our 3rd boy was born our family didn't feel complete. I never in my life imagined that I would have four kids, but it feels right and I feel blessed with our big, crazy and beautiful family. Had we had another boy…it might be a different story!
How has your family dynamic changed with each new babe?
Each child has added to the chaos of our family but also to the fun of it. Our lives are very physical with three boys in the house. They are each very independent but also love playing together--when they aren't stealing each other's toys. There is a lot of superhero and ninja time--I am looking forward to some tea parties in our future.
What have you learned throughout the years as a parent?
I have learned to be more patient and to accept that there is no such thing as perfect parenting. There are days when (just about) everything runs smoothly and other days when my to do list just gets longer and longer. There are moments I feel defeated, but thankfully there are always lots of smiles, hugs and kisses to make up for the rough patches. I try to remind myself to take a deep breath and remember that it all goes by so quickly, so there is no point in getting stuck on the little things.
How do you feel about parenting in NYC?
I feel incredibly lucky to have become a mother in NYC and in Brooklyn in particular. It is a great balance between small neighborhood and big city. I love that we can walk anywhere we want to go and have access to the park, playgrounds, classes and so much more without having to get in a car. It didn't take long to find a community of mothers who have since become some of my closest friends. I have friends in other towns and cities who found their transition to motherhood to be a much more isolating experience.
Do you feel your style has changed as a mom since your first baby was born?
I no longer work in a corporate environment so it is definitely more casual. At the same time, I have had a shop for most of my time as a mother, so a big part of my life is focused on clothing and fashion with the dangerous perk of being able to place personals. I love heels but hardly put them on anymore--in general my wardrobe needs to be flexible and easily transition from work to the playground. I'm a big fan of accessories and usually have some kind of beads or baubles around my neck or on my wrists even if I haven't had a chance to take a shower or brush my hair.
What is one tip you can lend to working moms?
Have focused time with your kids. Having my own business gives me the benefit of flexibility, but it also blurs the lines of work and home. I am often checking work emails at the playground, and sometimes it takes one of my boys to remind me that I need to put my phone down and focus on them. As mothers, we tend to multi-task a lot (and are pretty good at it), but it is really important to have time to just be with your child(ren), so put your phone down and pick up a ball instead.
What are some tips for traveling around town with a pack of 4?
Buy a whistle! Just kidding, but there are times when I feel like a sergeant trying to keep them all in line and not running anyone over on their bikes. I am thankful that Ethan and Zachary are old enough to be able to help when we go out. We try to travel light when we can but also try to always have a snack, wipes, something to play with and a little extra time...because inevitably we're always a little late.
As a business owner how did you you structure a maternity leave (if at all)?
When we started planning Bump, we included 4 months maternity leave in our plan. I took over Bump on my own before my last pregnancy, so maternity leave wasn't quite as straightforward as it had been when I had a partner. I hired a new staff member and planned to be in the store as little as possible over the summer.
Isabel decided to arrive the week before my new hire was starting and another employee was on vacation so it didn't start as smoothly as hoped. I ended up being at Bump with her a few days after she was born. I tried to spend little time in the shop the first couple of weeks, but have worked a few days a week since then.
It's been a very social experience given than Bump caters to expecting and new mamas, but there are times when it's difficult juggling a newborn and helping customers. I look back on the past three months and it doesn't really feel like I had a maternity leave, but I also feel incredibly fortunate that I am not getting ready to go back to a 9-5 job and leave her at home. Isabel will be with our sitter a few hours a week this fall but otherwise our littlest shop girl will be at Bump with me most days for a few more months.
Give us a rundown of a typical weekday morning.
6 am(ish): Feed Isabel in bed (she sleeps in a co-sleeper next to me) and then try to sleep until my alarm buzzes.
7-7:30: Everyone wakes up and gets dressed. Ideally the boys make their beds and put pj's away.
7:35: Downstairs for breakfast. The boys have cereal most days but we'll make pancakes or scrambled eggs, beans and toast (my husband Ade is a Nigerian-Brit) when we aren't feeling too rushed.
7:50: I make the boys' lunches while constantly reminding them to calm down and eat and inevitably sitting with them making sure they finish.
8 am: Pack backpacks and boys brush their teeth.
8:05: Shoes on and out the door to school on foot or bikes. Ade takes the older boys one way and I head the other direction with Alex and Isabel to drop Alex off at preschool and hopefully take a walk in the park before heading home for some snuggle time with my little girl. Then its laundry, grocery shopping and anything else that needs to be done before picking up the boys at school. If we're lucky, we'll make it to mommy & baby yoga too.
Original Photography by Bridget Eldridge Photography