Jill Simonian knows a little something about being a fab mom. The mother of two, TV personality and now author of “The Fab Mom’s Guide: How to Get Over the Bump & Bounce Back Fast After Pregnancy,” wants moms to know that bouncing back after pregnancy isn’t just physical. It’s about learning how to stay "focused after babies" (the "fab" part of the title) and motivating yourself to recharge your mind and spirit, too.
After all, moms need to give themselves a break and, let's be honest, just hang out in underwear sometimes.
Simonian talks to Mom.me about her new book, which hits shelves today, and offers her frank yet funny and focused tips for getting back to your organized self after Baby. She also reveals the advice she gives her girls to boost their confidence, and who she’d love to have lunch with—and we can guarantee she isn’t the only one!
First of all, congrats on your new book! Was that like a third child for you?
Yes! This book is absolutely like a third baby. It's also been my most difficult baby. Putting my guts and soul on paper in such a permanent way got a bit terrifying once I started finding out that people are actually reading my work. Every time someone emails me, "I ordered it!" or posts on social media, "I'm reading it!" I get nervous! The fantasy of writing a book and actually doing it are as different as night and day. I'm thrilled that this goal actually came true, but at the same time it's required so much more work and perseverance than I ever imagined.
Describe the moment when you were inspired to write "The Fab Mom's Guide."
I think the moment was gradual. I've had "Become an Author" listed as one of my life goals since college, but I never knew what I'd write about until after having my second baby. For starters, I was petrified to become a mom the first time around. When my second daughter was born (when my first baby was a year and a half), I found myself feeling in-control, happy and still like "me" with two babies under the age of 2 (although things did turn crazy once my little one started walking).
With both of my babies, I rarely found myself feeling the chaos of the lifestyle change that a lot of new moms feel. I was setting and doing certain daily goals around my house (like spending as much time in my underwear, committing to making my bed every day, doing career-related projects during their naps), and all of these things were "bouncing me back" in mind and spirit, which then boosted my confidence and capability as a new mom. So, I figured, why not write a book about my own fear of motherhood and how setting all sorts of weird goals around my new lifestyle built my own confidence, resilience and focus as a new mom? That's what "FAB" stands for: "focused after babies."
You are also a journalist and a mom of two young daughters. What's your secret to getting it all done?
I don't think I'll ever "get it all done" (I have an endless to-do list right now)! But I do make an effort to think and move fast—no joke. One of my most powerful mantras as a mom is, "If you take care of the seconds and minutes, the hours will add up." That philosophy has served me well with career goals as well as daily home life. Working moms do not have a single second to waste mulling over decisions or wondering if we made the right choice for this or that. If I have a list of to-do's, I prioritize according to urgency, make a decision and take action fast, and then do not doubt myself once the decision is made. Get things done, then move on.
When did you first feel successful?
This book has definitely made me feel legitimate as a "parenting lifestyle expert." I started shaking when I first got an envelope of advanced reader copies in the mail back in January! But I also felt an extreme jump of success when I started working for CBS Los Angeles a little more than a year ago. They hired me to do once-a-week segments discussing parenting topics, and soon boosted it to twice a week. I get weepy every time I walk into the studio these days because taking my "Fab Mom" brand to television was one of the reasons why I started blogging back in 2011. I still can't believe my crazy plan worked!
As a successful female author and TV personality, what are some ways that you want to teach your kids about "girl power"?
My big thing lately is reminding my girls about their confidence and to encourage them to do things their way. "It doesn't matter how other people do it—do it YOUR way!" I tell them that whether they're coloring, playing with Legos or just acting out the movie "Trolls." Growing up, my parents had very traditional jobs (a dentist and a teacher), and I was the one who went off the beaten path to work in entertainment and media. I learned that the only way to succeed at something in uncertain territory was to have unabashed confidence in myself, no matter how I really felt on the inside (believe it or not, I struggled with confidence a lot until after I had my babies). If I can teach my girls to tap into their own confidence, listen to themselves early on and do things their way without doubt, that will give them all the "girl power" they'll ever need.
Has there been anything about writing "The Fab Mom's Guide" that surprised you or inspired you in a way you didn't expect?
I didn't expect it to involve so much self-doubt and serious hustle! I love writing (and genuinely had a great time revisiting all the funny stories with celebrities and anecdotes from my own life during that first year of motherhood), but the real work begins after the book is done and when it's time to promote. I am freaking out about the launch date, and sales numbers, and whether or not enough outlets will be talking about it. I'm scared that some people might disagree with certain parts of the book (namely, the part where I suggest that new moms opt out of nursing if they want to make their new-mom lives more organized and manageable). The good news is that I've gotten a lot of positive feedback, so that makes me feel better!
What's your advice for moms who are looking to write their own book?
(Think again! Just kidding.) My biggest advice is: Don't wait, just do. This goes for anything, really—writing a book, finding a new job, having a party at your home, making that semi-complicated roasted chicken recipe that you've had your eye on for a few weeks. I call it bungeeing—make a move and dive right in, even if you're not sure if you're ready to or not. Half the battle is starting, so conquer that battle before you stop yourself from doing it because you don't think it's the right time. It's never the right time.
What sacrifices have you made as a mom and career professional to keep everything in balance?
One of the things I talk about in my book is taking a step back from my career—and being OK with it—the first few years of motherhood. Even though I've been working full-time hours lately launching the book, I've found that my magic combo for happiness is working part-time. I feel most content when I have bits and pieces of both worlds—being a working mom (because I love my job!) and a stay-at-home mom (cleaning my kitchen actually de-stresses me).
If you could have lunch with any business person/mogul/entrepreneur living or dead, who would it be and why?
I'm always curious about the fails that successful people experience before they get to where we see them now, and how they figure out alternative paths to where they want to go when people tell them "no" (maybe that's why I have a tab that says "Fail" on my blog). I'd be curious to pick Kris Jenner's brain. Whatever you may think about her or her family (I myself have a lot of conflicting thoughts), I think she is fascinating as a mastermind businessperson who also happens to be a mother.