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Well Rounded in LA: Morgan Smith

Bugaboo’s online and PR guru is pregnant, and she’s just as stylish as you would think.

Well Rounded in LA: Morgan Smith

When you work at one of the most design-minded companies in the baby business, chances are you know a thing or two about style. And now in the case of Bugaboo North America’s Digital Marketing Manager Morgan Smith, that style know-how extends into maternity. The online and PR maven is due with her first babe in June, and her adorable bump has got us ooh-ing and aah-ing about more than just Bugaboo’s newest set of wheels. While we’ve loved fawning over her super-chic fashion choices while she’s growing Baby Boy Smith, we loved her perspectives on becoming a mama even more. “Life doesn’t have to stop with children,” she says. “Instead, life continues on, incredibly enhanced, as you are able to not only show your kids a new beautiful world, but relive it through them.” Here’s how this baby industry expert and mama-to-be is keeping her cool while she’s Well Rounded in L.A. How would you describe your maternity style? This is my first pregnancy, and the whole experience has been so new. Every pregnancy stage, it’s evolved, trying to re-work and figure out what flatters the bump along the journey. I am a big online shopper, and it’s been tricky not knowing your body and what will work. Lots of trial and error. Thank goodness for Asos.com free shipping…both ways! I have pretty much lived in dresses which make me feel more feminine (and more comfortable!)… and lipstick always goes a long way these days! I need that pop of color. What are you favorite “belly-friendly” brands and your staples throughout your pregnancy? Free people (non-maternity) Asos (maternity / swimwear and resort wear for the babymoon) Hatch Collection (maternity for formal event, wedding) Zara (flowy dresses) Target (maternity leggings) Also, I’m so happy that retro ‘runners' are back in because I wear my New Balance 410’s to the office. They feel cool and sporty, but I’m actually wearing them because they are unbelievably comfy! They’re also great for travel -- I have lived in them this pregnancy. What’s it like being pregnant in L.A. vs. somewhere else? Luckily we’re graced with some good winter weather, so I have been able to get outside our place and take daily walks and weekend hikes – keep that circulation flowing! Sunshine really is just good for the soul. Those first several months were hard with the morning sickness, and it helped to get some fresh air and sunlight on my face. How have you felt during the pregnancy? Any surprises when it comes to your body? I feel like everyday there is a new surprise. Surprise, swollen ankles! I was on 14 flights during my pregnancy so far, so I got really friendly with compression tights. Isn’t it crazy our bodies can do this? All the little inconveniences become worth it though, when I feel those kicks or get a close-up of the ultrasound. It’s amazing what a love and bond you feel for a little person you haven’t met yet. In your job, you pretty much know everything that’s around the web. What blogs have you been reading while getting ready to welcome baby? I love the newly launched Cricket’s Circle. It’s a product review site that is curated really well and keeps it less overwhelming with only three selects from each category. I love everything Kid & Coe is about. Not only is it a beautifully, well-designed site, but it provides such inspiration and excitement for life with kids – knowing there are resources that can allow you to still keep traveling and exploring with your family! And of course, Well Rounded NY! It’s such a great feeling, knowing we aren’t alone – but instead all in this new overwhelming and magnificent experience together. I love being able to get a fresh and modern take on pregnancy from WRNY! How has working in the baby industry prepped you for being a mama? I do know a thing or two about car seat adapters and stroller assembly, but aside from the maintenance, my favorite thing about working in the industry is that over the past two years, I have gotten to work with these genuine and inspiring families that have given me such enthusiasm for life with kids. Working closely with passionate and creative parents, I’ve realized that life doesn’t have to stop with children. Instead, life continues on, incredibly enhanced, as you are able to not only show your kids a new beautiful world, but relive it through them. I can’t wait for that. I can’t wait for the adventures we are going to go on and the memories we are going to make. Tell us about your nursery. What’s been your inspiration and how have you designed the space? Much to my surprise, I have absolutely loved doing a boy’s nursery. It’s felt a little more unexpected. I’m getting to pull in some dark leather, cool vintage prints and mid-century furniture, keeping it neutral and minimal yet masculine. Any favorite L.A. baby shops? Santa Monica: I love Giggle. It’s so happy and colorful…yet clean and organized! Great merchandising. West Hollywood: Bel Bambini. Ask for Rick, he has incredible product knowledge (on everything!). Manhattan Beach: Gum Tree Kids / Bloume Baby – everything is beautifully designed. It’s hard to walk away empty handed. What are you most nervous or excited for when baby arrives? Family to me is everything, and I’m just so excited to be creating mine. I can’t wait to feel a deep love I haven’t felt before. And also to jump into this next chapter with my husband, and deepen our relationship by creating and raising this little human that is half of us. Such a blessing! And as far as nerves go, I would say balance and fulfillment; trying to figure out how to be a great mom (one that my child deserves), while managing and balancing the rest. I would like to keep my identity and sense of self (interests, outlets, work), while trying to avoid as much mom-guilt as possible (although I hear it’s inevitable). It’s a new, beautiful life, one I feel so blessed and honored to have, yet one I know will take some major adjusting and growth on my part. And finally --- what Bugaboo is little Baby Smith going to be riding around in? THE question. It’s still a debate at our place. My husband at 6’5 is pulling for the Bugaboo Buffalo being a “taller, robust and masculine” stroller -- he loves the all terrain aspect. I think I want to go for the Bugaboo Donkey Mono. That side basket at the farmer’s markets and beach days is everything. Who doesn’t need extra storage? And the stroller can also grow with your family for #2.

FEATURED VIDEO

This is how we’re defining success this school year

Hint: It's not related to grades.

In the ever-moving lives of parents and children, opportunities to slow down and reflect on priorities can be hard to come by. But a new school year scheduled to begin in the midst of a global pandemic offers the chance to reflect on how we should all think about measures of success. For both parents and kids, that may mean putting a fresh emphasis on optimism, creativity and curiosity.

Throughout recent decades, "school success" became entangled with "academic achievement," with cases of anxiety among school children dramatically increasing in the past few generations. Then, almost overnight, the American school system was turned on its head in the spring of 2020. As we look ahead to a new school year that will look like no year past, more is being asked of teachers, students and parents, such as acclimating to distance learning, collaborating with peers from afar and aiming to maintain consistency with schooling amidst general instability due to COVID.

Despite the inherent challenges, there is also an overdue opportunity to redefine success during the school year by finding fresh ways to keep students and their parents involved in the learning process.

"I always encourage my son to try at least one difficult thing every school year," says Arushi Garg, parenting blogger and mom of a 4-year-old. "This challenges him but also allows me to remind him to be optimistic! Lots of things in life are hard, and it's important we learn to be positive during difficult times. Fostering a sense of optimism allows kids to push beyond what they thought possible, like biking without training wheels or reading above their grade level."

Here are a few mantras to keep in mind this school year:

Quality learning matters more than quantifying learning

After focusing on standardized measures of academic success for so long, the learning environment this next school year may involve more independent, remote learning. Some parents are considering this an exciting opportunity for their children to assume a bigger role in what they are learning—and parents are also getting on board by supporting their children's education with engaging, positive learning materials like Highlights Magazine.

As a working mom, Garg also appreciates that Highlights Magazine can help engage her son while she's also working. She says, "He sits next to me and solves puzzles in the magazine or practices his writing from the workbook."

Keep an open mind as "school" looks different

Whether children are of preschool age or in the midst of high school, "going to school" is bound to look different this year. Naturally, this may require some adjustment as kids become accustomed to new guidelines. Although many parents may wish to shelter our kids from challenges, others believe optimism can be fostered through adversity when everyone is committed to adapting to new experiences.

"Honestly, I am yet to figure out when I will be comfortable sending [my son] back [to school]," says Garg. In the meantime, she's helping her son remain connected with friends who also read Highlights Magazine by encouraging the kids to talk about what they are learning on video calls.

Follow children's cues about what interests them

For Garg, her biggest hope for this school year is that her son will create "success" for himself by embracing new learning possibilities with positivity.

"Encouraging my son to try new things has given him a chance to prove that he can do anything," she says. "He takes his previous success as an example now and feels he can fail multiple times before he succeeds."

There's no denying that this school year will be far from the norm. But, perhaps, we can create a new, better way of defining our children's success in school because of it.

This article was sponsored by Highlights. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

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Becoming a mother has been life-changing. It's been hard, tiring, gratifying, beautiful, challenging, scary and a thousand other things that only a parent would ever understand.

It is these life-changing experiences that have inspired me to draw my everyday life as a stay at home mom. Whether it's the mundane tasks like doing laundry or the exciting moments of James', my baby boy's, first steps, I want to put it down on paper so that I can better cherish these fleeting moments that are often overlooked.

Being a stay-at-home-mom can be incredibly lonely. I like to think that by drawing life's simple moments, I can connect with other mothers and help them feel less alone. By doing this, I feel less alone, too. It's a win-win situation and I have been able to connect with many lovely parents and fellow parent-illustrators through my Instagram account.

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