Welcome to your Interview!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town? I’m originally from outside Pittsburgh, PA (a small town called New Castle). We’ve lived in Redondo Beach for 3 years; prior to that we lived in Santa Monica.
Child/Age-I have one son, Matteo, who is 13 months
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Pole dancing is my favorite form of self-care. I started pole dancing in 2012, to burn off some anxiety due to the pressures of graduate school. I fell in love with the sport, because it’s feminine, strong, sexy, and body-positive. I have a complicated history with my body, and I love being in a community that truly embraces all sizes and shapes, and sees the female body as one of pure strength. Everyone looks great on a pole. Going back to pole after having the baby has been quite a humbling transition, but I’m finding myself feeling stronger, more flexible, and more graceful with each class.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I’d like to thank my Mama SharBear who has been watching my growth in motherhood from Heaven. The lessons and experiences we shared prior to her death have been hugely influential to how I parent my baby. Of course, I would be struggling immensely without the incredible support from my husband, Matt, who is truly the most committed father I know. I never had to ask him to be up all night with me, especially in the beginning. He knew that in order for me to support Matteo, I needed his support. His love and graciousness made my transition into motherhood feel peaceful, easy, and natural. I can only hope that I was as supportive of him as he was of me. Finally, our wonderful nanny, Kayce, has been such a God-send for us. She loves my son as if he were her own. She’s kind, loving, compassionate, and patient with him. She makes being a working mom feel really comfortable.
Favorite local places to keep/shop/play with kids?
Currently, we love My Gym, the Long Beach Aquarium, The Great Room Café, Watersafe Swim School in Los Alamitos, and any park with a swing. My son isn’t walking yet, so we take him to places where he can move in a way that’s most comfortable for him. We love Gum Tree LA In Manhattan Beach as well as Lollipop in Redondo Beach for shopping for the most adorable baby clothes and gifts. I think it’s really important to shop local – with that being said, I shamefully admit that Amazon delivers packages to our house several times per day.
Favorite things to do with your little guy?
We love taking him to music classes, my Gym, anything educational, and the beach. He loves to eat, so we spend a lot of time grocery shopping, preparing and cooking food, eating, and cleaning up. He loves to be an active participant in these activities. We got him this adorable learning tower from Etsy that turns into a small table and chair (it’s pretty ingenius!), and he really loves the freedom that this tool gives him. For his first birthday, we did a South Indian tradition where you place 5 items in front of the baby, and whichever one he goes for ‘predicts’ his vocation. Out of gold, a dessert, a lemon, a rosary, and a pen, he chose the lemon, which ‘predicts’ that he will be a farmer. Haha! This kid loves food!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share! I am the owner and director of South Bay Mommy and Me in Redondo Beach. I offer a curriculum-driven, educational, and engaging program for moms with infants and toddlers Birth through 24 Months. Each week the topic reflects your child’s current stage of development, and is expertly timed to follow the child-mother relationship for the first two years of life. I’m an Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist; my primary interest is to support families in achieving healthy, realistic, and flexible child-parent relationships.
My philosophy is based on infant mental health research, child development, and principles related to mindful parenting. My mission with the program is to support moms in building an authentic village of like-minded women, where we can discuss the joys and challenges of our parenting experiences without shame or judgement. We learn to honor ourselves and our children in the process, and discover who we want to be as parents. I hold space for moms to reflect upon how our early childhood experiences influence our parenting today, which I feel is a critical part to the parenting process that so many of us are not provided proper support on. I am deeply passionate about my work. It is my deepest honor to accompany a mother with her child, especially in the most vulnerable stages of their life.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I couldn’t be where I am today without the support of all of the women and mothers who I have come to know, adore, and love throughout my years of teaching Mommy and Me. When it was time for me to open my own location, I had a core group of women follow me and support me in that venture. Local pediatricians and local mental health therapists have been hugely supportive by providing direct referrals for dyadic therapy as well as spreading the word about South Bay Mommy and Me. The South Bay is such a wonderful place to not only raise a family, but to also build a village of friends. We love it here and are here to stay.