For those of you on a quest to find that infamous balance within life and motherhood, this interview with Ana Fritsch, the mama behind Lucky Penny, is a must read. Here, Ana speaks openly about her struggles and triumphs raising two beautiful girls in Brooklyn and how sometimes you just gotta go with the flow and opt out of your daily routine.
1. What does healthy living mean to you? How does it influence how you raise Edith & Lilah?
Healthy living for me is rooted in balance. It sounds cheesy, but I really identify with a lot of traits that are typically attributed with being a Gemini. I have this dual personality of chalk full of contradictions - longing for adventure while being a homebody or fiercely independent but I prefer not to be alone. As a result, I try and live in the “grey” as much as possible and not let myself be too much of any one thing. With the girls, my parenting ends up looking like not taking life too seriously and allowing ourselves a lot of grace and room for mistakes. I’m constantly telling them that I’m learning as I go and ask forgiveness when I need it. We have routines but they aren’t written in stone. One day we may throw our routines out the window and just stay in our pajamas all day if that’s what we need. I love for them to eat healthy, but we allow ourselves treats if the moment calls for it. Moderation is our motto.
2. You moved from San Francisco to New York. While this is certainly a difficult transition for anyone, you had to do this with two littles in tow. How did you handle the move? What advice can you offer other moms who are considering a cross-country move?
Oh man, that was a crazy time. We moved when Lilah was 3 months old and Edith had just turned 2. It’s not something I would recommend unless you have family on the other side, but it is definitely doable. At first, I missed all of our create comforts like a car and a big apartment, but now I see those things as such a burden. We quickly got used to the busier city life of taking the subway and living in closer quarters. The best advice would be not to be hard on yourself! Look at everything as an opportunity to learn and grow.
3. Tell us more about the #TogetherWeMother series. How did it start and why are you passionate about the series?
My friend Hailey and I were talking one day about how we would love to hear from all of these incredible mothers that have become our friends over time through Instagram about how they “Mother” and their honest thoughts on these shared moments we all have as mothers. It has been really amazing reading and getting to everyone on a deeper level and see that even though our experiences and perception of the same moment is different, we are still in it together.
4. What gets you through a tough day of parenting?
Getting outside! The best part about living in Brooklyn is that within half a mile I have 4 different playgrounds, Prospect Park, restaurants, coffee shops, toy stores, kid play spaces… I can just say, “That’s it! We’re going outside!” and the change of scenery and fresh air always changes our mood.
5. What is your favorite thing about living in Brooklyn?
The community. It honestly feels like living on Sesame Street. We love going to the park and running into our friends because they are our neighbors. We love saying hi to all the familiar faces in the neighborhood - like our waiter at our favorite pizza joint or the school crossing guard or the clerk at the bodega where we pick up our milk and other last minute groceries. It seems like one big family here and that makes me really invested in making our neighborhood a better place to live for everyone. Nothing beats seeing everyone come out in the summer for block parties with sidewalk chalk while the kids splash in the fire hydrants.
6. What do you look for in the clothing and products your purchase for Lilah & Edith? What are some of your favorite things from Noble Carriage right now and why?
I love for the kid's clothes to be soft and comfortable. I love supporting women-run business whenever possible. I also love that there are so many incredible makers right here in New York that are available on Noble Carriage. The ladies behind Misha + Puff and Goatmilk are incredible and I’ve had the chance to meet both of them. They are definitely favorites in our house.
7. There are so many healthy and delicious take-out options in Brooklyn. Do you order-in or cook most nights? If you cook, what is your go-to meal for the girls?
Honestly, when we first moved here I think I ordered in every night. There are definitely healthier options and so many different cuisines than just Chinese or Pizza. We would order Spanish tapas or ceviche one night and Thai another. We also had this great rotisserie chicken joint that came with mixed vegetables, sweet potatoes, and macaroni and cheese for under $15! It was amazing. But ever since my husband decided to eat Paleo in January, I started cooking more and realized how much I enjoy it! Tonight I’m cooking salmon with broccoli and rice - Lilah will honestly eat about 12 oz of Salmon by herself but Edie really doesn’t like it. I was very firm from the beginning about not giving up on foods even if they don’t like it. Our only rule is that you have to try at least one bite of everything on your plate. Some of my other favorites are a roasted vegetables (butternut squash, brussel sprouts, and asparagus) with steak, or this new chicken and mushroom dish I’ve been cooking non-stop because everyone loves it.
8. What was or is your biggest struggle with the transition from one babe to two. Do you go out of your way to make personal time for both? Any advice for a mom who just found out she is pregnant with her second?
The hardest part of the transition for me really happened because of my Postpartum Depression. That, combined with the cross country move and not setting up any childcare in New York first, really made it difficult. It was such a scary and hard time for me that I just wasn’t prepared for, especially the second time around as I didn’t experience it with Edith. I make a sincere effort to spend a lot of quality time alone with them. Saturday mornings are just for me and Edith. I take her to ballet class in the city and then we usually go do something fun together afterwards. Lilah and I spend Monday and Fridays alone. They are my favorite days of the week.
I wish! But no. After my experience with PPD and weighing the financial and emotional costs it just isn’t possible for our family. The girls already share a room that is only 80 sq ft big so it would get pretty cramped in our house with another body!
10. What does your perfect day look like?
The perfect day definitely starts with the kids jumping in my bed. They always wake up first but come in to snuggle and eat their yogurt. Then we would get dressed and stop at the farmer’s market to pick up some fruit before heading to Prospect Park. We play and picnic in the Long Meadow or go to the zoo until lunch time. Then we would head home for Lilah’s nap while Edie and I do an art project together or work on our coloring meditation book. We always go to the playground again after naps and usually run into a few of our friends. We love to have people over for dinner on Friday nights (my favorite night of the week!) so the kids usually run around while the parents talk and catch up. We usually let the kids skip bath and go to bed much later than normal.
11. How was Lucky Penny blog born? What’s up next for you and your blog?
Lucky Penny was born from a few different thoughts. For starters, I was taking so many pictures - pictures that I didn’t just want on Instagram - that I wanted a place to organize them by date and be able to write down a few memories from that day. But it was also born out of a way to try and foster something creative. I went to Fashion School at FIDM in San Francisco and have always wanted to be involved in content creation, brand management, or social media and thought this would be a great way to still stay home with my girls while fostering that need of mine. I’m in the middle of a complete rebrand and development of a new website that should be completed by December 1st (I hope!) and with it will come a little bit newer direction. My girls are getting older and while I’m still going to talk about motherhood as it pertains to my journey, I’m going to share a little bit less about them. I want to respect their privacy and space. You will still see them on the site though because I really want to focus on our family travels. I’ve had a strong desire to get out and see the world and introduce the girls to new people and cultures.