Balancing Act: Q&A with Carly Kenihan

Balancing Act: Q&A with Carly Kenihan

Q: How do you manage your time with 3 children and writing your blogs / working with brands?

A: It’s a juggle! We all have the same amount of time in one day, right. I truly believe it’s how we choose to use it. For me, I am fueled by children. They give me the magic to write, and this deep desire to connect with and serve other mamas. My work does just the same. It livens my soul and fills my cup so I have more to give to my kids. There is no perfectly balanced day, however. I used to try to cram in my work into borrowed time, when the kids were playing independently together, or entertained somehow, but I found myself irritated when interrupted, and less present with both my children and my work. As hard as it is, I’ve learned to not just ask for help but accept it. And now when I have it I really try to carve out intentional time for work but with low expectations, because life happens! And first and foremost, I am mama. Kids get sick, kids still find me at my desk and so on. So I aim for structure, with flexibility. When I’m with my babies I try to be one hundred percent with them. That said, there are days there is a bit of both. Because we can’t do it all, at least not perfectly. And isn’t that the beautiful mess that is motherhood? Because I am a mother, I’ve become passionate to support other mothers. Being a mother inspires me to work! I am so honored to do something so creative and fun, yet so fulfilling.


Q: How often do you have “date nights” with hubby?  And what’s different since babies?

A: Pre-pandemic and pre-third baby we went on dates often. Now we fit it in when we can. Even if it means designating one night after the kids are in bed just drinking wine over a nice cooked or take out dinner at home. We get so caught up in the day to day, and with the quarantine it’s been even easier to get lost in the chaos. Coming home to where it began -our relationship- really grounds me, and refreshes me. We let ourselves naturally talk about the babes at the beginning of our dates but really try to stop after that. And chat about travel, more dates, and dreams instead! We are both entrepreneurs so that adds another aspect of fun!


Q: What are 3 things that have changed in your life since becoming a mom? And how do you balance it?

01. TIME
I thought I didn’t have enough time in the day before kids, but oh boy! As I mentioned before, we all have the same amount of time, no matter who we are, but we have to be intentional with it. At least I’ve learned that with 3 children I do. And with each child, I’ve had to be even more purposeful with how I spend it. That doesn’t mean I need to be productive in every given moment, which I used to put a lot of pressure on. If I had a minute to myself I’d force my self to get x y and z done. Now I think to myself, what do I feel like doing. Do I feel like getting the laundry done - will that make me feel good? Will walking to the beach solo feel good? Or will taking a shower? And when I’m with my kids, I try to make it meaningful! Even if we’re sitting on the kitchen floor building a puzzle or playing pretend animals. Which we most often are.

As a recovering “YES” person, one of the hardest things I’ve had to adjust as a mother is learning to say no. It was really hard at the beginning, but now I’ve trained myself to think about my time. My energy. And what I have the capacity to put out. I used to jump from event A to party B to playdate C. With three kids, I am much more mindful to our days, and I know the stress schlepping around too much puts on my family. We love to do things, but I really try to do one big thing a day - whether it be the beach, a “safe” playdate, or the like. Otherwise when I’m doing all the things, I feel like I'm missing the moments that count the most. The in between with the kiddos. The mundane that really matters. We love adventure and our weekends finding adventures just outside our door are usually the best :)

Grace upon grace upon grace. This is another hard one. It’s so necessary to give ourselves a pat on the back. To grant ourselves the permission to sit something out. And to offer ourselves forgiveness when we make a mistake. I truly believe we cannot love our kids and their entirety if we cannot love ourselves. 


Q: Tell us about your journey to becoming a sleep consultant!

A: My twins Slater and Zoe, now almost four years old, always had different sleep behaviors, patterns and needs. Slater was always an incredible sleeper, Zoe always needed a little more help from us. As they grew from preemie babies to infants to toddlers, their sleep evolved yet they still took on these traits! Slater would nap till he’s 8 years old if I let him! Zoe has always had her own agenda there :) It was the differences between my twins that inspired me to study and thus get certified in baby and toddler sleep. Because how could two babies, born at the exact same time, and raised the exact same way, be so different? I got certified for fun and was also pregnant at the time so I thought hey, why not learn more! It’s been so rewarding to support other mamas here and there now and give the gift of rest. More than rest, I love to support them in knowing that they are not alone in their exhaustion and feelings. And I love to help them create loose routines that set structure for their days, but also enable them flexibility to soak up all the cuddles. And remind them that is so important.


Q: How do you catch that “sleeping cue” from different babies?

A: Sleeping cues are so important when trying to create a healthy routine for babes, as you want to put a baby down for a nap before he or she is over tired, not when he or she is over tired. The number one signs I see in babies ready for bed are rubbing of the eyes, red eyebrows, and light fussiness. I always suggest that mamas start the nap routine when she notices any of these to prevent baby from becoming over tired. Once baby is over tired, he or she is more likely to have trouble going to sleep.


Q: What’s your biggest piece of advice in baby sleep?

A: You can read my top sleep tips here on my blog, but my number one piece of advice is If it’s working for you, it’s working, mama. There are so many books, rules, pieces of advice, but here’s the thing. If it’s working for you mama, it’s working. if baby is up twice a night, and you are loving the midnight nursing sessions in silence because it’s total chaos during the day with your other kiddos, keep loving it. If you want every hour of sleep and need the strict structure, so be it. Remember it won’t ever be perfect. Even if you have the best sleeping baby with the most structured day set up. Take a breath, be patient, and most importantly, give yourself (and baby) a little grace. There are moments you’ll want to “break the rules,” snuggle your baby a little longer and all the things. Do it. Even with my third baby, I’ve learned that the little guy isn’t the only one learning here, I am too. Mommy and baby are in this journey together.


Q: Any last remarks?

A: I’m so excited to connect with all you mamas here in the 10 to 12 Baby Lounge community! Stick around for a fun little giveaway we are doing in the next weeks! Thank you for reading!

carly kenihan


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