Last week I got together with one of my fave Bachelorette’s and sorta new mom, Ali Fedotowsky, to talk all things baby. Lately I have been yearning for support and wisdom from fellow new moms. Ali has a cutie-patootie 16 month old daughter named Molly so she knows a thing or two about raising a child. We decided to interview each other to ask all the things we were curious about from self-care to biggest fears to our favorite products.
HINT- one is the Nokia Thermometer, a mom’s best friend. She’ll tell us all about it below but it’s super cool and I am so relieved I know about it because now the fear of not knowing when Sonny has a fever is behind me! It is super accurate and it scans over the top of the forehead so you don’t have to wake your sleeping baby.
It was super hard to only ask Ali a few questions, but see below for our interview and how amazing of a mom she is!
W. How do you protect your family during cold & flu season?
A. Kevin and I wipe down everything! Especially when we go to public places. But at home too! I was lucky enough to get pregnant at the same time as a few of my girlfriends so we all have little ones around the same age. When Molly’s little friends come over for playdates I let them play and do their thing, but when playtime is over Kevin and I usually wipe down all her toys. For example, she has a mini ball pit that she loves to play in and we throw all of the balls in the bathtub and wash them down after a playdate. When we go out to restaurants, we usually wipe down the table and restaurant high chair with wet wipes to try to kill off any germs that may be lingering. We try not to be crazy about it. It’s important for her to be exposed to germs. We let her play with her friends and we take her out and about, but we just try to be cautious. Kevin more so than me. He cleans EVERYTHING!
W. Has your baby been sick yet? How did you react? Did you panic?
A. Molly’s been sick once. She woke up stuffy one morning and just didn’t seem herself. Luckily, we just happened to have a pediatrician appointment that day. So when we went to the doctor, she wanted to test for RSV. Sure enough, she had gotten RSV! Which is basically a really bad cold. It only lasted a few days but it was so heartbreaking to see her sick.
W. When do you call the doctor?
A. Luckily we went to the doctor that day. But I definitely had her number on hand just in case things got worse. RSV can get very serious so you have to watch your children closely if they have it. I would have lost it without my Nokia Thermo thermometer. We used it to check her temperature throughout the day and when she woke up at night (we’ve had a few different thermometers and this one is by far the best and most accurate in our opinion!). It works so quickly by swiping across her for head. Let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to keep a toddler still, especially when they’re sick. So a thermometer that’s fast is so important! I don’t know what I would have done without it. Honestly, I use it on a weekly basis if I think she feels warm. It just gives me peace of mind.
W. Who is your best source of advice when little ones are sick? Parents, other moms? Do you become “Dr. Google?”
A. My mom is a nurse and my sister has two little girls so I feel like I often go to them when I have questions about Molly. However, like many other moms, I Google everything! I’ve totally freaked myself out by googling every little thing I’ve thought could be going on with Molly. Now that she’s a little older, I feel like I don’t do it quite as often. But for the first 6 months of her life I googled everything imaginable! The things I’ve googled about poop are pretty hysterical when I think back on it.
W. Is Unlimited TV for sick kids OK with you?
A. We actually didn’t let Molly watch TV for the first year of her life. Around 14 months, we finally decided that we would let her watch a little TV to help us get things done around the house since she’s quite the handful nowadays. However, she has absolutely zero interest in it! Which is probably a good thing. I’m sure when she’s older we’ll be trying to rip her away from the TV. However, she does love cell phones! If she sees a smart phone, she’ll cry until you give it to her. But it’s so hard because I try to get a lot of work done on my phone when I’m with her all day and that’s nearly impossible now.
W. Which stage was the hardest for you in the first year?
A. That’s such a good question! I honestly don’t know! I remember “witching hour” starting around 3-4 weeks and that being really hard. I also remember around eight months I had a mini breakdown because I had never asked anyone for any help with Molly. Kevin and I took everything on ourselves. Up until eight months Molly had never been babysat or even watched by anyone else for even an hour. I think eight months was my breaking point when I realized I really needed help. But when I look back, Molly was sleeping two naps a day and I remember I could get so much done during those two naps. And now she sleeps one nap a day anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 hours and I feel like it’s so much harder for me to get things done during the day because I have such a limited window. So I guess what I’m trying to say, is that I think you always think the phase you’re in is the hardest. Because it’s what you’re going through at the moment. Or at least that’s how I’ve been feeling. I hate saying that, because it makes it sound like I think being a mom is hard all the time. But the truth is it is hard! It’s really hard! But at the same time I love it and wouldn’t want it any other way.
W. How do you balance work and motherhood?
A. I don’t. This is something I really struggle with. I’m finding it really hard to juggle everything right now. When I’m doing really well with all of my work stuff, I feel like I am not as good of a mom. But then when I feel like I’m being a kick butt mother, my work totally suffers! So I guess I feel like you really can’t have balance as a mother. I don’t mean to sound dramatic. But that’s just how it’s been for me. I’m sure if I got a nanny or a regular babysitter, I would feel less stressed and feel like I could focus on my work more, but then I feel bad that I wasn’t home with Molly all day. But then on the days I’m home with Molly all day and get to soak up every minute of motherhood, I get no work done. So I think you get what I’m saying. Something always has to take the back seat in some way.
W. How do you find me-time?
A. I’m so lucky that my husband Kevin is such a rockstar dad. Every time I’m feeling overwhelmed he senses it even before I do and offers to either take Molly out of the house, or suggest that I get out of the house and do something for myself. That said, when he does take Molly I feel like I’m so behind on work that I use all of my me time working. Again, I’m working on the whole balance thing.
W. Is it hard to stick to a routine with a toddler?
A. We’ve had Molly on a schedule ever since we did sleep training with her around nine months. Sleep training can be a controversial subject but it’s by far the best thing we ever did, not only for us, but for Molly! Ever since then we’ve stuck to a schedule as much as we can, and she sleeps very well. But it’s definitely hard the older she’s getting. Especially because sometimes the classes I want to take her to don’t match up with her schedule and I have to be flexible. But I think flexibility is one of the most important things you can learn as a parent.
W. People say it gets easier, does it??
A. For me it hasn’t. Ha! I hate saying that to you because little Sonny is just 3 months old and I remember thinking at 3 months with Molly that any day now it would get easier. I actually remember taking Molly for a walk at three months and passing a neighbor and then asking how old she was. Kevin and I responded by saying “she’s three months old so we’re almost out of the water! “ our neighbor responded with “Oh you’re just getting started”. I’m now starting to understand what he meant. I know I have a lot of learning and growing to do. I mean, I think some things get easier, but some things get harder. And you’re just constantly adapting. Once you figure one thing out they throw another curveball at you. But I have noticed this, when Molly has friends come over for a playdate things are so much easier! In fact, one of my girlfriends has started coming over in the mornings and she bring her son who is just 6 weeks older than Molly so they can play. While they’re playing, we have one eye on them and one eye on our computers doing work. We barely talk because it’s the one time we can actually get things done. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I have this notion in my mind that if Molly gets a sibling in the future then hopefully it will get easier. Ha! I know all the moms out there with two kids reading those are probably shaking their heads at me. But I’m just gonna hold onto that belief for as long as I can!
W. What have you learned in the past 16 months that you could teach me??
A. I think the biggest thing I’ve learned since becoming a mom is that you have to ask for help when you need it. We as mothers tend to try taking on everything all at once, but the truth is, there’s no such thing as a supermom. We all have weaknesses, we will all crumble at some point and we all need help. So whether that’s a family member or friend, when things seem like they’re getting to be too much, ask for help. I waited eight months to do so and it resulted in me reaching a breaking point. I wish I asked sooner.
A few fun and super helpful things to know when using the Thermo:
- Measurements only take about 2 seconds, and a light vibration tells you when the reading is complete.
- Readings appear right on the device along with a color-coded LED (great in the dark) that tells you if the temperature is normal, elevated or high.
- Up to 8 people can use Nokia Thermo to track their temperature. This will be useful for when/if we have more kids.
- You don’t need to have your phone on you to use it, and measurements automatically sync to the free Nokia Thermo app on your phone making it easy to track a fever and share results with the pediatrician.
- Thermo includes in-app advice from Boston Children’s Hospital based on age and symptoms. You can also get reminders and input symptoms and even add photos.
- If comes with 2 AAA batteries already inside it that should last up to two years!
If you want to try Nokia Thermo use code WHITP20 for 20% off your order, here.