Hilaria Baldwin on the Mom Hacks Keeping Her Sane in Lockdown
Hilaria Baldwin is in the middle of building a wheelbarrow for her four kids when she answers the phone. Her kids are audible in the background, and she jokes how, even when she’s on a call, they “expect a certain level of service” from her. It’s lunchtime and they’re getting hungry. Hilaria and her family are self-quarantining on a farm. Having family in Spain, she had an idea of just how severe COVID-19 could get and chose to leave New York City well before lockdown began.
In between taking care of her kids, Hilaria, who announced she was pregnant earlier this week, talks to The Bump about the steps she’s taking to prioritize her mental and physical health, as well as the parenting hacks that are keeping her sane during lockdown.
As an Expectant Mom, What Are Some Things You’re Doing to Stay Positive and Calm?
I’ll take a bath in the morning and at night, and I’ll wake up before my kids to be able to get ready and take a shower. Then, I’ve got nowhere to go at night, so I go to sleep early. It’s hard. I definitely have my meltdowns. I definitely, definitely have my moments where I cry and I get overwhelmed, but I think it’s about finding a balance. I’m not somebody who’s going to turn the news off, but I do believe in moderating it. I want to stay as informed as possible and know about any kind of advances, but if I have the news on all the time, it’s not healthy for me. It really will make you physically sick. Also, it’s about not getting too overwhelmed. I find I often feel better if I can disengage from everything.
What Advice Do You Have for Other Pregnant Women Who Are Trying to Stay Positive and Decrease stress?
I think the most important thing is to stay safe, stay home and follow precautions. That’s really giving me a lot of peace of mind. …Also, just remind yourself to focus on your breath—a week or two ago I posted a breathing video on my Instagram.
But also stay hydrated and get extra sleep. I’m trying to think of all the things that I can do to improve my immune system right now, like taking my vitamins and, as hard as it is, focusing on ways that I can improve stress. If anyone says, “Don’t stress,’’ that’s the silliest thing in the world because of course you are going to stress! But try to move your body a little bit and realize that stress manifests itself in the body in different ways. For example, I’m a very practical person, so I pay attention when, say, I’m freaked out and I’m tightening my muscles, and make sure to release them. I’m just trying to be practical and also realize that this isn’t going to be forever—it’s just about sanity and survival right now. So it’s important to take this time to take extra, extra good care of yourself.
What Are Some Ways You’re Getting Active, Either Alone or With the Kids?
We’re lucky to have a backyard here, so we’re running around there. For my own activity, I’ll do my found moment workouts, and I’ll post them online. Plus, there are tons of streaming workouts right now that are being made free so that people have access, and also there are free yoga and fitness classes on YouTube. It’s important because these things really help our immune system and our mental health. It’s important to move every single day. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself—it doesn’t have to be a whole giant workout—just move your body every single day. Especially if you’re nervous and stressed, movement will increase your happiness.
What Are Some of the Parenting Hacks That Are Helping You Get Through the Lockdown?
A lot of it is giving yourself a break. You need to give yourself a break. Especially being a New York mom—we’re so scheduled, and our kids have schedules so we can find some time for ourselves. Now all of a sudden we’re all under one roof—nobody’s leaving and everybody’s home. It’s a lot, so give yourself a break.
I was really stressed out at the beginning that my kids were going to be bored, and I was like, “What are we going to do now?” At school they have all these extra-curricular activities, but all of a sudden we’re like Green Acres (a 1960s sitcom about a couple who move from New York City to a farm in the countryside) out here. …Then, I stopped and started looking at my kids, and I started realizing that they are so content with their imagination. If I get out of this mentality of having to keep them busy all the time and just let them play, they start to give me ideas and activities of what to do—you follow their interests and they just guide you and make anything magical. Their imagination is incredible. That’s actually helped me a lot.
How Are Your Kids Dealing With the Lockdown?
At the beginning Alec and I were freaked out and complaining about how no one wants to be doing this right now, nobody wants to be living like this, and Carmen goes, “I love it,” and I was like, what?! She said, “All I want to do is just be with you guys all the time and now we get to be together all the time.” And I realized that’s exactly right—all little kids want is to be with their Mommy and Daddy.
We got a bird feeder and we put it outside and we look at the birds that come by and then we’ll look up what type of birds they are—the kids get so excited. When we find an insect in the house, we do an entire project on that insect. I mean all this stuff that we think is so mundane, these are all things they want to learn and know. A lot of times we don’t have the energy because we’re running off to work, running off to this, running off to do that. Now we’re not running off to go anywhere. Now is the time to really be patient and say, “Okay, let’s learn all about rainbows or insects or anything else."