If you based your assessment of Sasha Benz's life purely from her Instagram profile, you'd think she had a perfect life. In all honesty, though, she (almost) does. She has insanely cool style (even her son, Rhythm, wears baby Gucci tees), her husband is a model (and a DJ), they all live in a house by the beach, and her day job is creative director of Montauk cultural hot spot Surf Lodge (for those uninitiated, it's where all the hip people hang out in summer). But just like books and their covers, don't be fooled by her social media appearances. If there's one thing we know about motherhood, it's that regardless of who you are, no one gets off the hook. The struggle of sleepless nights, feeding, and interpreting the cries of a newborn (is it a diaper change or sleep they need?) is something every parent has to learn. And despite the way it can look in pictures, in reality, it's definitely not easy.
вЂњIt's really tough,вЂќ Benz tells MyDomaine. вЂњI'm not going to lie. But like all new things, it just takes a bit of practice. Try to be organized, prioritize the important things, and let the small things go.вЂќ Not stressing the small stuff is something Benz had to figure out early on. Rhythm was born on the same day that Surf Lodge opened for the season. вЂњI was literally on my laptop while having contractions,вЂќ she explains. вЂњSo I just went into autopilot/new mum/worker mode.вЂќ Without any time to transition from working woman to working mom, Benz admits she вЂњstruggled at the beginning to work out a balance, but I was so busy that I didn't really have a chance to fall or have room for error.вЂќ
And we can thank Mother Nature for that. вЂњI must say that the most surprising thing (about motherhood) is that 'mom strength'-it's so real,вЂќ she says. вЂњHow we find that strength to power through anything for our kids with no sleep, no time, no energy is astounding. Somehow, we can always find the strength to be patient and to be a good mom.вЂќ In the third installment of our new series, Her Domaine-a space that celebrates all moms-Benz opens up about her personal experience as a new parent, what she's learned along the way and the importance of slowing down (even though she hasn't perfected that part yet).
There's so much chatter around work/life balance that the very premise of this trend can do the opposite of what it originally intended-many moms think it's misleading. вЂњI'm personally not well balanced at all as I don't really know how to stop or slow down,вЂќ she confesses. And when the topic of her self-care comes up, Benz almost chokes in her response. вЂњNothing,вЂќ she reveals. вЂњYikes. No, for real. I haven't really had much of a break this year, but that is by choice because I'm in a good work stride at the moment.вЂќ Still, taking time out is something she's working on, and Benz thanks her husband for making it happen, even if she doesn't want it to.
вЂњOli keeps me sane,вЂќ she says. вЂњHe overcompensates in the chill zone. Laughs. He's often the only one who knows how (and when) to shut my laptop while I'm mid-typing an email to grab my hand and take me outside or persuade me to take an hour off to go for a swim. I always put up a fuss at first, but I feel a million times better for it, and it lifts me up. I'm so much more productive afterward.вЂќJess Nash for MyDomaine
In fact, slowing down is one of the biggest lessons motherhood has taught Benz since Rhythm was born (even if she is still trying to figure it out). вЂњBabies grow and develop so quickly,вЂќ she muses. вЂњIn this short year, Rhythm has taught me that you can miss some pretty important life moments if you don't stop and take things in. Look up from the phone, take a moment to step away from work, and really be present in those moments. Otherwise, they will pass you by (as clichГ© as that sounds). And you can't get them back.вЂќ
Being a full-time creative director and a mom is challenging. Benz continues to hone the juggling act, but she made a conscious decision earlier this year to take care of her health. As parents, we're constantly putting our children first at the expense of our own needs. In fact, they're too often pushed to the end of our to-do list. Benz found going vegan really helped. вЂњIt's been almost a year, and I try to feed Rhythm the same by keeping our diet all whole foods and plant-based,вЂќ she points out. вЂњI give him a few supplements for iron, but other than that, it is just clean eating, no sugars. I found that once I cut out meat and dairy I felt better, both physically and mentally.вЂќ
So what's the secret to convincing Rhythm to eat his veggies? Turns out, there are no tricks (sort of). вЂњI haven't struggled yet with veggies as it already makes up most of his diet,вЂќ she says. вЂњBut a little sauce or steaming with seasoning doesn't go unnoticed.вЂќJess Nash for MyDomaine
But there's one thing that's helped the young family get into a healthy rhythm (mind the pun): routine. вЂњWe have a nice little routine for the morning,вЂќ she says. вЂњIt involves jazz music on the record player (vinyl always), some fruit, and a big Aussie breakfast (normally avocado toast is a fave). Then Oli likes to make sure he has an 'adventure' between each nap, so whether it's taking him to the library for group playtime, to the beach, or even just to the pool for a swim, we find the mental stimulation really wears him out for a good nap.вЂќ Their typical evening ritual includes a family dinner out (if they're not working) and then the standard bath, bottle, and story time. вЂњHe also falls asleep to baby Mozart and cuddles his flat bear,вЂќ she says. вЂњGets him every time.вЂќ
Motherhood has also turned Benz into a вЂњpro at multitasking.вЂќ Getting more done in less time is her new life motto. вЂњFor example, I'll return emails while he is drawing next to me on the floor, or I will fold the laundry while he plays with the baskets under my feet,вЂќ she explains. вЂњI also function well with an organized, color-coded calendar. I find that if I have a few calendars between me and Oli, me and the nanny, me and work, and my personal one, I never miss a thing. This way I don't feel like I am overbooking myself at any given time.вЂќ
She's also an absolute list queen. вЂњI'll write down anything I think of that needs to be done at any given time so I don't ever feel like I drop the ball,вЂќ she says. вЂњThis can include anything from buying nappy cream to signing a major client contract. There is nothing too small or too big that goes on there. Nothing is missed that way.вЂќJess Nash for MyDomaine
While being a modern working mom can be a lot of hard work, Benz wouldn't change it for the world. вЂњThe absolute best thing is that you created a family-a little unit-a team,вЂќ she says smiling. вЂњThe feeling that you're the most important person in someone's life, that feeling of them only wanting you, is pretty incredible.вЂќ She also has a вЂњvery supportiveвЂќ partner. вЂњThankfully, my husband, Oli, was turned on by the whole maternal motherhood, breastfeeding thing,вЂќ she laughs. вЂњIt has definitely helped me feel a bit more confident at home.вЂќ
So what advice does she have for other new parents? вЂњSpend money on things that will really help you like cleaners, or a nanny, just to give you time out. And don't waste it on things that you really don't need (like the things most baby books tell you to get),вЂќ she says. вЂњAnd everyone said this to me (and it annoyed me at first because it sounded so clichГ©), but it's true that it only gets better. Each and every day, I can't believe that it can get better, but it really does.вЂќ
Have you experienced a similar transition into motherhood? What are the challenges you faced?