Still believe in fairy-tales? Great!
We have been honored to get an exclusive interview with the Princess Ivana Pignatelli!
About Princess Ivana Pignatelli Aragona Cortes:
Ivana is a modern princess married to an Italian prince. She has Masters in Education and has worked with children for over 20 years. Ivana’s Super Mom juggling act between life, love, kids and career inspired her for a new book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy & Baby’s First Year. (out in March 2013)
The Princess Ivana kindly shares her thoughts on kids, parenting and social life of a princess. She gives fabulous tips on how to get back to a sporty shape after a childbirth and speaks on private time for new moms. Her love-based approach is so MUCH appealing! Enjoy!
My first question to Princess Ivana would be: How did you come up with the idea of Princess Blog?
I was working on my first book, A Simple Guide to Pregnancy and Baby’s First Year and wanted to connect with moms on a personal level. Every mom struggles to balance it all, and I’m no exception. I think we all deserve the chance to create the life we want, even while doing the Super Mom juggling act. In writing both my book and the blogs, I wanted to understand and share solutions on how we could simplify our modern lives, and have fun in the process. I hope that when other moms read my blogs they are inspired, laugh or learn something new and that we all feel like we are on a journey together.
Whose creative idea is behind these wonderful cartoon princess avatars?
Princess Ivana: We wanted to have fun with the blog and what better way than seeing yourself and kids as cartoons! The creative idea was conceptualized by our illustrator, Rima Hawkes, along with input from our internal team (myself, my mom and my sister). We come up with the ideas and Rima executes them beautifully. She is a brilliant graphic artist out of New York. Rima has worked on campaigns for Jo Malone and La Mer. We’re excited to work with her. Thanks, Rima!
Is it difficult to find time for blogging being a mom of two?
Definitely!!! In addition to being a mother of two great kids, and a writer, I’m a business woman with a full-time job. I couldn’t do it without a strong support system. My husband is a prince in more ways than one. He helps with the kids when I need time to write. My sister is the perfect Auntie – there are no words to express her amazing support. It also helps to prioritize and compartmentalize.
When I am with my kids, I am dedicated to them. When I am writing, I am dedicated to writing and creating the best piece possible.
The quality time that I spend with my kids inspires me to write about our successes and struggles. Hopefully our stories help other moms along the way.
Tell us about your kids and time you usually spend together. When you are out with your kids what do you love doing? What are your usual outdoor activities?
Alessio just turned 3 and Sienna is 1 ½. Every day I dedicate my mornings and evenings to spend true quality time with them, unobstructed by tasks or technology (i.e. phones, email, etc.).
I find that when I am “in the moment” with my kids, it is so much more enjoyable! Some of our favorite activities are going to the park or a museum, painting, building forts, and playing hide and seek. I really try to get into their world and on their level (literally on the ground with them) and do something silly to make us laugh every day, whether that is dancing, singing, or making silly faces.
Is your social life strictly divided from your kids? Do you take them with you to receptions, concerts, etc?
At times it is. I prefer not to take my children to a function where I know they won’t enjoy it, or they won’t be able to have the attention that they need from me.
Kids get annoyed when Mom and Dad’s attention is diverted for a substantial amount of time. It’s just a fact, regardless of how well behaved your children are.
On the other hand, my children’s social life is pretty active, too. We go to lots of birthday parties and play dates.
My kids are a bit too young right now for anything too formal. I will definitely take them when they get older and have an attention span greater than half a millisecond. When we go for outings, I try to choose ones that I know they will enjoy. There’s a great hands-on kids museum in Los Angeles where I live. They can run around and touch everything, and learn how things work. Every Sunday we try to do something together that is a little different from our daily routine.
If happen that you take them, how do you manage the overall balance between behaving well and still staying a child?
My kids tend to be well-behaved when expectations have been set and they are entertained.
As a parent, it is my job to set my children up for success. Kids don’t want to misbehave, but in new situations they need some coaching.
Setting them up for success at an event means I have communicated where we are going, how long we are going to be there, what they can play with (bring toys for them), and how to behave if they want to leave/become frustrated. As a parent, you want to enjoy the event too. It is about setting realistic expectations for yourself and your kids.
How not to spoil a dinner at the restaurant being with your kids?
I honestly don’t take them out to dinner that often. At this age, their attention span is pretty minimal and energy is sky high. When we do go out to dinner, I make sure we get a table in a quiet corner, away from the bustle of waiters and food trays. I bring small toys, handwipes, and a pacifier (just in case) in my Mary Poppins magic purse.
I also set expectations and make it an adventure: Eating out is a special treat and requires extra special behavior.
They also know that if they misbehave, I will pull the cord and we’ll be out of there faster than they can say “super cala fragilistic”. You have to be prepared to walk your talk if they do misbehave, otherwise your children will have the upper-hand and end up controlling the situation. Setting firm but loving boundaries works for everyone.
If we might get back to your pregnancies, I wonder whether it was easy for you to get back to a good shape after the child births? Do you have any good shape secrets?
As we all know, it’s not easy to get back into shape after childbirth. It takes patience, energy and drive. Nine months to put it on, and nine months to take it off. Attitude is important and not overdoing it.
Moderate daily exercise works better than gigantic workout programs.
I love your stroller workout! That’s how I started, just simple walks around the block with the baby.
Once I reached the 6-week marker, when my doctor okayed more vigorous workouts, I combined an exercise program of hiking, Pilates and Barry’s Bootcamp a few times a week. The secret is making health a priority and eating well (whole grains, low sugar and plenty of veggies and fruit). Keeping in shape with moderate exercise during pregnancy will help your body get back into shape faster postpartum.
Did you happen to stay with your kids without any help and take care of yourself?
With both kids I was fortunate enough to have help. I stayed home full-time with the babies for the first three months postpartum and then went back to work. With regard to taking care of myself, I give myself one morning every week to do whatever I want – sleep in, go for a massage or mani/pedi, breakfast at my favorite restaurant, or go to the gym. My husband has the same setup (just on a different day).
Do you believe it is important to have some free time for every new mom? Why? What would you recommend to concentrate on when having free time for yourself?
Time for yourself is critical.
When you don’t give yourself the time or space to just be you and do what you want, I guarantee you are going to sweat the small stuff and become annoyed at a faster rate. Once you become a mom, you are a mom forever. Pace yourself accordingly.
At times we all feel like sprinting to just get through a phase of life. But the more you sprint, the less likely you are to have enough energy to win the marathon. I try to take care of myself in the same way I would want my children to take care of themselves, and that definitely includes taking time for themselves. By the way, I felt extremely guilty when I first started taking time for myself (all moms do), but now I realize just how critical it is to my well-being, which translates into my family’s well-being.
Name three key things that every mom should bear in mind?
Wow – only three! That’s a tough one, but here goes:
- Don’t strive for perfection. It doesn’t exist. Accept yourself, your husband, your kids for who you/they are. With strengths, flaws and all! Focus on each other’s strengths, not the weaknesses.
- Take time for yourself. Put aside your to-do lists, and make a list called Me!
- Remember to breathe and approach every situation with love. Whether that is telling your husband he needs to help out more or asking your screaming 3-year-old to share his toy. Getting angry doesn’t solve anything. Approaching with love means letting the other person know that you understand how they feel, and stating in positive terms what you expect/need. As the song goes, All You Need is Love.
Thank you so much for the interview Ivana! We wish you the best success in all what you do!