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Think of dressing yourself as a form of self-care, mama, says stylist La Tonya Yvette
LaTonya Yvette

LaTonya Yvette is a multi-hyphenate mama who makes work-at-home motherhood look incredibly stylish. As a stylist, blogger, and the author of the new book Woman of Color, Yvette is inspiring other women and mothers as she tackles all kinds of topics.

A blog that started out as a way to document her journey as a young millennial mom has grown with Yvette and is a reflection of the fact that mothers are multifaceted people and that the lifestyle space, which is so often minimized by those outside it, is also a space for very important conversations.

During the third episode of the second season of The Motherly Podcast, Sponsored by Prudential, Yvette tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about her transition from a 21-year-old new mom trying to figure out how to dress her new body to an author who is impacting the lives of so many other mothers.

On style as self-care

The stereotype of a mom in yoga pants could never be used to describe Yvette. For her, yoga pants all day isn't going to make her feel like her best self, something she wants every mom to be able to feel like.

From her early days as a stylist, when she dressed new moms who weren't sure what to wear after their bodies had changed, to the present day as she had a huge platform as an influencer and author, Yvette wants women to to make time to take care of their style. Because if it is important to you, you don't have to give it up just because you are a mother.

"We feel like our best like selves when we're actually taking care of our mental health. And you know that's style for me," she tells Tenety. "It's so much about self-care and a lot of it has to do with just like putting myself forward so that I then can give to my children."

For Yvette, this means that when she puts her kids clothes out at night she makes time to put her own clothes out, too. It's a little thing, but it's a time saver and a simple act that reinforces that she is a priority in her own life.

On finding your style after motherhood

For so many moms, getting dressed after having a baby is more challenging than expected. Our bodies change, what we need our clothes to do for us on a practical level changes, and the whole relationship with our closet can become a lot more complicated. Yvette suggests that moms who are feeling uninspired or stuck in a style rut take an inventory of their clothes, because sometimes the clothes we've collected aren't a fit for our current lives.

"I always say first things first is like look at your closet right. Like, look at what you have in there because it might not even be you. It might just be inspired by the things that are in there. You're not inspired. It's not just a time thing. It's like actually things that you have that no longer speak to you and speak to who you are or who you want to be," Yvette says.

When it comes to figuring out what you're going to wear once you're out of your maternity jeans (and don't worry if that takes a few months, mama, baby bumps don't disappear over night), Yvette suggests moms put away their old jeans rather than think about getting back into them. It's totally okay to just get new jeans.

"I think you know false expectations are really dangerous, and so I think that like putting up the jeans that you wore before and literally not looking at them unless like you somehow know you've lost all your weight you know. Like it's not worth it," she explains.

To hear more from Woman of Color author LaTonya Yvette about style, motherhood, race and writing, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.

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I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

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I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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