C: When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was well past my due date, and thought - “oh my god, this is only the start of me no longer having control of my world!” And that was such a weird realization. So, for you, as someone who I consider a perfectionist in what you do and very much in control of your environment, did you feel that same shift?
K: So, for me, all of a sudden being a mom, especially for the first time…second time around...you're like, okay, you kind of get an idea of what to expect, of what it's going to be like. So, it definitely feels easier being a mom the second time around. But with Vittoria, my first, I was like, oh my goodness, there's this schedule I need to abide by and then I'm going to dress her and then I'm going to feed her, and then I'm going to do this, and then she's going to take a nap and then I'm going to do the laundry – and none of that ever happened that way. For somebody like myself who likes to have everything pre-planned and have a structured day, so to speak, it was very eye-opening to be like, oh my goodness, I'm no longer the boss. This baby's the boss.
Sometimes I would just sit there and be like, “No, we're going to have it my way. We're going to do it my way.” And then she'd start crying and be like, no, this is how I'm going to cue you to let you know you're not going to be doing the laundry. You're going to be feeding me right now, or this or that. I said to myself, you know what, this is how it's got to be.
THIS IS HOW MOTHERHOOD WORKS. YOU WORK AROUND THE BABY AND EVERYTHING ELSE FIGURES ITSELF OUT AND THE PRIORITY IS YOUR BABY.
Right? So as long as she's fed, she's good. Diapers changed, she's happy. That's where you'll be good with everything and everything else will fall into place.
C: What was it like going from being a mom of one who was eight years old, and then becoming a mom of a newborn again after that many years?
K: So being a mom of one for eight years to then being a mom of two and now with a newborn, it's like being a first-time mom all over again in the respect of figuring everything out – like a schedule and, you know, the diaper changes, etc. My eight-year-old was just so self-sufficient, she could pretty much do everything herself and it's kind of interesting because now, looking at her, she has almost grown up in a day to me. She was the baby. And now she's the big sister. And we have another little baby in the house. But it's been easier being a mom the second time around because now I have more confidence in myself. I'm like, you know what, you figured it out with one, you'll figure it out with the second one.
It's all a matter of just taking it day-by-day and just going through the motions of what the baby needs, what the baby wants, and just being there for them. It is difficult, though, and tricky to juggle both. Because while my eight-year-old wants some time with me and she's got homework to do, I'm here trying to feed the little one or change her diaper. Although my eight-year-old, Vittoria, is a lot of help in some respects, it's challenging because I don't want her to feel like she's being neglected in any way because she's only eight and she's been the baby all these years. So, to her, everything's so new and the family dynamic changes basically overnight once the baby comes home, right? Everything that you're used to is all of a sudden flipped, and the baby decides a lot of that.
Then on top of the newborn and the eight-year-old, you throw a puppy in the mix. We have a mini labradoodle that my daughter adores, so put all that into the mix and it's quite interesting to say the least. But it's amazing, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It all kind of keeps you on your feet!
C: What is it like watching your daughter as a big sister now?
K: It's magic. And I say that because I have a sister and my relationship with her…she's my everything. I've always dreamed of having my daughter have that kind of relationship with another sibling. For her to have a sister is just a dream come true for me as a mom, seeing that. And I can only hope that as they get older, they will have that bond that my sister and I have. That's probably the best thing my parents, my mom, could have given to me, and I hope that when Vittoria gets older, one day she'll just say, wow, I can't picture my life without her. She's my best friend, she's my everything. Because that's exactly what my sister is to me. So, it's coming full circle.
C: Are there any things, like, I know now because I record everything my daughter does, I will listen to videos of myself and think – was that me or my mom? I sound like my mom. It's coming out of my mouth, but I can literally hear my mom saying it. Are there any things where you're like: “whoa, I am my mom when I do this”?
K: I am my mom all the time, I feel. “Vittoria, clean your room. Victoria, eat. Vittoria, let's do this.” I remember growing up my mom would always be so put together, and she made everything seem so easy. Now being a mom, I'm like wait a minute, to be that, it really takes a lot out of you. I try my hardest to keep everything together as best as I can, to follow in her footsteps. Although she always tells me, she's like: “Klaud, life is not easy and it might come across that way, but it was always hard for me to be all those things.”
C: Can you tell me about your mom?
K: My mom is the rock of the family. We came here when I was six years old from Poland and she's... sorry, I just need a moment.
She really holds everything together. She's the one that really set the stage for family's first, family's everything. You have your sister and you guys need to be close because that's a bond that is everything, right? So, me and my sister have been raised that way to just always be there for each other and we can't imagine not having that kind of relationship where we don't check up on each other, we're not there for each other. And my mom set that up for us like that.
C: And what is your mom like as a grandmother?
K: I'm so honored to have my mom teach my girls all the stuff that she's been there to teach me and my sister. She's an amazing grandmother. She's there for the girls, she loves them dearly. The things she does with Vittoria: she does puppets, she bakes with her, she has so much patience. She's doing the same thing with Livy, although a newborn. She's just constantly there to lend a helping hand and wants to immerse herself in helping out and being there for us. I can't imagine having a better mother, grandmother, I mean she's amazing and she always keeps me grounded. She lets me know that it's okay, and I hold her in such a high regard, and I look up to my mom so much. Every time I say to myself, my gosh, I wish I could only come close to how awesome my mom has been with me and my sister. I hope that one day when my girls hopefully, when they have kids, they can think the same of me as a grandmother.
C: Are there any lessons from your mother that you try to emulate with your own daughters?
K: The lessons from my mother would be, the biggest one is to always be humble, be kind, and try to always be happy even at your darkest times. We came here when I was six years old and it was hard, and it was humble beginnings. My mom was like this little spark of light that always just held the family together. I remember her sitting with me with a dictionary doing my homework and looking up words, one by one, trying to do my homework with me, or just keeping me calm about the drastic change in our life and picking up from what I knew as a kid to a whole new world. I want my girls to always know too that I'll always be there for them, just like my mom has. And to always know your roots, to know where you came from. And treat others really well and be humble about everything you do and be kind at heart because it's easy to lose sight of that. When you have that, it makes life so much easier. It builds strong connections.