Real Life SmartMom Shannon O’Brien

Shannon Headshots - Natalie Probst Photography84 copyAt SmartMom, we are very excited to continue our blogger series featuring your favorite Mommy Bloggers! We go to them for advice, recipes, support and whenever Google comes up with an answer we don’t like. Let’s get to know the mommies behind these amazing blogs a bit better – why? Because they are SmartMoms; and smart moms talk to SmartMoms.

This week we hear from Shannon O’Brien, a make-up artist who has worked with celebrities including Sophia Bush, Kristin Cavallari, and Meghan Markle (Prince Harry’s girlfriend!). Shannon is mom to an 18 month old daughter who, from this interview, sounds like an absolute firecracker. Read this interview while looking at her Instagram for pure inspiration. #momcrush

Here are some questions we asked –

Tell us about your kids: names, ages, and fun facts.

Luella Roan – 18mo – Head full of curls & Chatterbox; Nickname: Turbo

What are some of your favorite things about your kids?

Luella is a social butterfly.  She loves to smile and say hi to everyone she meets.  She keeps us laughing and always on our toes.  I love how curious she is and it really helps me try and see the world through her eyes. 

Who do you look up to for parenting advice?

Definitely my parents and my in-laws.  It’s always great to have some veterans in your corner who have been through it once or four times.  That being said, it’s also nice to have parents my age, going through the same things we are going through.  There is a sense of solidarity – which is so important.  Being a new parent, while an adventure, can be isolating at times.

How would you describe what you do?

I am a makeup artist by trade, so I like to focus on beauty trends, products, and tips.  For instance, I will break down a look that I created for a job by listing products, a brief how-to, and how to make it work for your everyday life.  My blog/Instagram is also just a running log of items/looks I am currently obsessed with. 

How do you balance work and family?

With a lot of help.  I am lucky that my husband and I have jobs that give us flexibility with our schedule.  We have one day a week of scheduled child care so we can get out of the house and get work done.  Other than that, we divide up the responsibilities.  Again, super awesome (and affordable) but it doesn’t leave much time for anything but work or baby.   When I figure out how to balance it all, I will let you know!

What does an ideal day look like for you?

I’m not exactly sure, but it would include these things:

1.  It’s summer time

2.  Baby sleeps from 8pm-6am (NO WAKE UPS).

3.  Walk for coffee with Lu

4.  2.5 hour nap for Lu where mom gets a solid 60-90min of office work done, an hour to clean, and 30min for shower/get ready

5.  Go to the park + play with Lu

6.  Lu eats all of her dinner

7.  Maybe mom gets to the gym?

8.  1 (at least) hour of mom + dad time

What were some of the biggest questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?

I thought I was doing it all wrong.  It’s so easy to look on Instagram and see all of these “perfect moms.”  Gained 12lbs the whole pregnancy.  Baby latched no problem.  Breastfeeding comes easy.  Lost all the baby weight.  Casual strolls in designer clothes.  Baby sleeps through the night.  I mean, I got guilt tripped that I was probably going to have a scheduled c-section in my birthing classes by the students and instructors.  Guess what – babies don’t come out butt first on their own.  That was the first time I realized I had to stay away from what everyone else believes – I have to do what is best for this baby and what is best for me.  We all handle pregnancy/motherhood differently.  There is no perfect way to do it.

How did becoming a mom change who you are?

How hasn’t it changed me?  I feel everything a whole lot more now.  The best way I can describe it is that I’ve found parts of my heart that I didn’t know were there.  It’s also forced me to slow down and really assess things.  Before Lu I would just go, go, go, go and work as much and as hard as I can without having to think about it.  It’s helped me prioritize what is important and forced me to at least try and find balance.

What are your favorite baby products you’ve discovered since becoming a parent?

Bumbo that turns any chair into a high chair

Como Tomo bottles

7am Enfant Polar Igloo

Anything that is spill-proof

Uppa Baby Mesa + Vista

What was the most surprising or unexpected thing about becoming a mom?

It was nothing that I imagined.  I’m sure like every expectant parent, you are running through what your life is going to be like once your baby comes along.  The truth is, you’ve never experienced anything like it so it’s hard to know what it is actually like until you’re in it.  It is the hardest + most rewarding experience.  I laugh, I cry, I get frustrated and yet I love doing it.  My daughter brings me so much joy and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

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About Mary @ SmartMom

Mary is the Community Manager of SmartMom. She is a new mom to a bubbly little boy who has fire red hair and loves to smile. She loves to walk her dog, Bob, and watch Chicago sports with her husband. Go Cubs Go!