The first time you hold your newborn in your arms, their skin against yours. That first nighttime feeding, filled with exhaustion and complete devotion. That first wide-eyed smile they give you that says “Hi mama!” Those first tender moments with your baby are priceless and make it all worthwhile.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, we’ve interviewed a few of the new mothers at the cabi Home Office: Abbie Patino, Field Communications Coordinator; Jeralyn Cottam, Director of Training and Development; Karise Murayama, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis; and Emily Sanders, Director of Brand Messaging and Content Strategy. These hard-working women are integral team members who were recently tasked with the biggest project of their lives: raising a little one! We’re in awe of how they devote their time so lovingly to their two families—cabi being the other one, of course!
Read the full interview below, and watch the exclusive video featuring these wise new mothers. Hear directly from them about how special those first few moments of motherhood are. From us to you, Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there!
My daughter’s name is Gloria Grace. We call her Gigi. She just turned one. She was actually named after both my grandma Gloria and my husband’s grandma Gloria. I can already tell that Gigi is funny. She makes us laugh every single day. She even cracks herself up. She’s just constantly smiling, giggling, and she’s just always super happy, which makes us happy, too.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
Abbie: What has surprised me about motherhood is, when I was pregnant, I heard from so many different moms, “Brace yourself. You’re going to get no sleep.” It’s really hard for the first year. Of course it is. It’s very hard. There’s no sleeping. But, I feel like it’s so much better than I thought it was ever going to be. Both my husband and I, we worked together as a team, and it’s just been amazing. I wish I could relive the whole year, actually. Of course, there’s those hard times and no sleep, but it’s just been awesome.
Did you always know you wanted to be a mom?
Abbie: Yes. Growing up, I always knew that I wanted to be a mom. Having my mom as a role model was something that, she just made it look so easy is the thing. Now that I’m a mom, I still call my mom every day because she helps me so much with advice. I ask her, “How did you make this look so easy?” Because it’s not easy.
How has being a mom changed your life?
Abbie: Being a mom has definitely changed my life, especially being a working mom. I’ve learned to prioritize my time. When I’m at work, I’ve learned that I have to focus on work. That’s how I get things done. When I’m at home, I’m solely focused on Gigi and my family. I’ve learned to prioritize my time, and I definitely have to multitask a little bit, but it makes it so much easier on me and my family when I’m focused on either Gigi or work.
How has your style changed since becoming a mom?
Abbie: I have learned that since Gigi wakes us up in the morning, I need to have my outfit ready to go or else I’m probably wearing pajamas to work because she is right under my feet. She’s going through all of my makeup. She is just really busy right now. Unless I’ve picked out my jewelry and my outfit, I’m going to wear a pretty relaxed outfit the next day. My style is definitely more about comfort—more flats than heels these days, but I think that now, she’s one, I’m getting used to having her. I’m going to step up my style game a little bit.
Do you have any favorite pieces from the Spring 2019 Collection that really fit in with your mom style?
Abbie: A couple of my favorite pieces from the Spring 2019 Collection are the Radcliffe Cardigan, I love it. You can just throw it on over anything and head out the door. I love the Expedition Jacket…it’s another piece that I can just grab if we’re going to the park or going on errands, and then my third favorite piece is the Skipper Tee. It’s just very simple but cute with the bell sleeves.
What did you do for your first Mother’s Day?
Abbie: Last year was my very first Mother’s Day. I think the whole day, I was just in awe or in shock. Maybe that, “Wow! I’m the mom this time! It’s Mother’s Day for me.” It honestly made me appreciate my mom so much more, and it was just such a fun day. All I wanted to do was be with Gigi all day. That was my only request. We went to the park, and I was just with her.
Do you have a favorite mom podcast?
Abbie: I have two podcasts that are my absolute favorite. I actually look forward to getting in my car every morning so I can listen to them. One is called Motherly, and the other one is called Get Your Glow Back. Both of these podcasts have amazing interviews with mothers and just stories they tell about their experiences that I can relate to.
What’s something that you hope to shine through your life to her, something she would take with her through life?
Abbie: I want Gigi to know that—it sounds a little bit cliché, but—she can really do anything that she wants to do. If she wants to be a writer, if she wants to be a dancer, if she wants to be a teacher, she can do anything that she wants, and her dad and I will be behind her every step of the way.
What’s the best part about being a mom?
Abbie: The best part about being a mom is life is just so much more fun, whether it’s celebrating a holiday or just going to the grocery store, I’m seeing life through Gigi’s eyes, and it’s so fun.
Do you have any advice for other moms out there?
Abbie: I learned early on during my maternity leave that you can’t do it all. When I was home with Gigi for three months, I had a schedule and I thought, “I have to get the dishes done. I have to go to the grocery store. I need to be with Gigi. I need to take a shower.” Sometimes, the only thing that you can do during the day is just hold your baby. My husband would come home and say, “What’d you do today?” I said, “I hung out with Gigi.” Sometimes, that’s the only thing that you can do, and that’s okay. I was feeling completely overwhelmed, like all moms are in the beginning, and I think if I could go back and tell myself, “It’s okay if you don’t get everything done,” I would be a lot more calm and happy. That’s my piece of advice.
My son is James Michael, and he turned two in January, so he is fully into toddlerhood now. We actually call him Jumbo James, and we call him Jumbo because he started life at 10 pounds 3 ounces. Yes, I did that naturally, and he’s just continued to be giant his whole life. He continues to be off the charts in his height. He’s jumbo all around. He has just been such a happy guy his entire life. He started smiling in his first week and never stopped. He’s always just been so full of joy, and he talks a lot. I always say he’s chatty like his daddy. He’s quite the talker.
What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood?
Jeralyn: I think the most surprising thing about motherhood for me is actually how much I have loved every single stage that he’s gone through. Particularly in those first six weeks, when I was just expecting to be in survival mode, and looking back, it’s actually my favorite time. There was just something so precious and rare about getting to know who he was and all that bonding that happened. I actually loved the middle-of-the-night feedings when it was just him and I, and it was that one-on-one, skin-to-skin time. I missed it when he stopped nursing in the middle of the night. I really miss that bonding, connecting time with him. I think that’s what’s been really, truly so exceptional about motherhood and James is just how dang fun it’s been the whole time.
How has being a mom affected your life or changed your life?
Jeralyn: In so many ways. The one that’s been so surprising is how emotional I am now. I don’t know if anyone else has experienced that, but I always thought that I was pretty strong, and I cry at everything now. I cry at commercials. Forget chick flicks…I am just a sobbing mess. I actually watched one the other day, and my husband had to look over at me and say, “Are you okay?” I am very in tune with my emotions since becoming a mom.
How has your sense of style changed since becoming a mother?
Jeralyn: My sense of style, I think, has become a little bit more bold, which I think is actually because I’m so much more appreciative of my body now than I think I ever used to be. I’m a lot more forgiving of it. I’m a lot more focused on making wise and healthy choices. I am a lot less focused on trying to hide things that I don’t think are perfect. I’m just really grateful for what it’s done and what it was created to do, and I’m in awe of that. I think it’s enabled me to wear things that I never would have in the past because, “Oh, I didn’t like this or that aspect of my body, and that’ll show it off, so I need to cover it.” That’s been fun. It’s been a fun change. I feel like I’ve been able to play a little bit more with my sense of style than I ever used to.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the Spring 2019 Collection?
Jeralyn: My favorite-favorite piece is the Chance Wide Leg trouser. They’re gorgeous. They make everyone look like a supermodel. You feel like you’re in your yoga pants, so you’ve got to love that, and I, of course, love the Dream Dress. It is just one of those pieces that makes you feel like a pretty princess every time you’re wearing it. I really love it. I love to wear it over jeans. I’m not typically a dress girl, but I have found that I love dresses over pants and jeans, so that’s been really fun.
What’s something that you hope to shine through your life to him, something he would take with him through life?
Jeralyn: I don’t want him to live out of a place of fear, which I do. I’m really trying to empower him to be bold, and to be brave, and to experience all that life has to offer, which is often terrifying for me because I just want to wrap him in bubble wrap. But, it’s so cool when you get to see him explore the boundaries a little bit and become more confident and more strong because of it. I hope I have the constitution to keep encouraging that kind of bravery, but I really want him to be brave in this world.
What advice would you give to other moms?
Jeralyn: Be gentle to yourself. Being a mom of any kind, whether you’re working outside or inside of the home, comes with so many expectations that we put on ourselves or that other people put on us. You want things to be a certain way or you want them to be perfect, and I just think we have to be kind to ourselves and gentle to ourselves, and realize that your best is good enough. The most important thing is that your family feels loved, and if the house is messy, and the laundry’s not getting done, dinner’s not fresh on the table every night, that’s okay so long as you’re focusing on the things that really matter, like making sure they feel valued and loved.
What do you love most about being a mom?
Jeralyn: I love being a boy mom! It’s really fun, which is funny because I always thought I only wanted girls. I grew up in an all-girl household, so the idea of having boys was pretty terrifying. I just love that intense love on both sides. When he just grabs me, and I just grab him, and I think there’s this sweet, powerful intensity that comes with being a boy mom, and I love it.
My daughter, she’s about 16 months old. Her name is Laine Sanders. She’s named after my grandmother who is a phenomenal woman, so I want her to be just like her. She is a sweet-and-spicy little toddler. Right now, she’s in this phase where she’s really, really friendly, like aggressively friendly, where we’ll be in the grocery store, and she’ll extend her arm and be like, “Hi! Hi!” She’ll almost lean out of her stroller until she gets people’s attention because she needs to engage with people. She’s a people person. We can tell already.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
Emily: I think there’s something really amazing about becoming part of this tribe of other women who are mothers. I feel like there’s just this newfound understanding and ability to connect with women who are so much older than me or my same age just by being a new mom, where there’s this sense of identity that can connect you to this tribe of women, this sisterhood that’s really cool, where you get a lot of wisdom from other women, and that support system is huge.
What’s been some of the best advice that you’ve gotten from that tribe of other women?
Emily: Learning from other moms has truly been huge. I think a really good piece of advice that I received is, “Don’t define your motherhood by one day.” As I’m entering the phase where discipline is becoming more of a thing that we’ve got to consider, feeling like, “Oh, if you didn’t take the right track in one moment,” tomorrow’s a new day. That is a beautiful thing. Trying to figure out what works for your kid. I think having a network of friends who are also mothers, just being able to sit across from someone and share your fears, or your insecurities, or your questions, and then be like, “Oh, I get it.” That is so normal. That is, I felt that way too, just having that sense of connection and that bond makes you feel like you’re not alone in something that can be kind of a scary new endeavor when you’re a new mom. You’ve never done it before. It’s all fresh, and it’s all new, and it’s beautiful, but it’s hard. You need that support system.
How has being a mom affected your life?
Emily: There is such a beautiful new pace. Where I am typically someone who’s go-go-go, and get stuff done, and now I’ve been forced to slow down. Lainey, she’s really tactile. She loves feeling different textures. I’ll stop, and we’ll go all around the house, or wherever we are, and we’ll just feel. What does this feel like? What does that feel like? It just causes me to take in the world in a totally new way and at a different pace, and even just appreciate the world around me through her eyes, through her little fingers, and it’s just been good for my heart to shift the pace at which I’m operating. It’s really refreshing.
What experiences have stood out to you?
Emily: Something that stood out to me about becoming a mom is that, you’re whole life, you’ve always wanted to be the best version of yourself for your own reasons. Suddenly, you want to be the best version of yourself for a fresh, new reason, to model wise living for another human, and it changes the game where it’s not about just you anymore and being the best version of yourself. It’s that you’re shaping and molding this other human, which really changes the way that you approach things. Your gut may be to do something one way, and then it’s like, “No. What would I want my daughter to do?” That’s just a beautiful gut-check in terms of how we want to approach life. Then, there’s another element. Someone had told me, I remember actually a Stylist had said to me that as soon as you have a kid, you’re living with your heart outside of your body. It is the most vulnerable you will ever feel. I definitely feel that way because suddenly you’ve got this human that’s just walking around, and you can’t control them, you can’t control what happens to them, and so there’s this vulnerability and a sense that you are no longer in control.
What is some of that wisdom that you really hope to impart onto her, that she’ll take with her in life?
Emily: Some of the things that I would definitely want to impart to my daughter are things like building the importance of relationships. I want to model for her what it’s like to be a good friend and to really value everyone around her. Right now, that manifests as, “Please don’t hit everyone around you.” I know that, as she grows, I really want her to value people and to be equipped to build community. I want her to learn the importance of the truth and telling the truth. I want her to love others well, to respect people, to respect her parents. But, there’s so much that I hope for her, for sure.
How has your sense of style changed since becoming a mom?
Emily: Since becoming a mom, dry-clean-only things are pretty much out the door. I used to love wearing certain jackets or sweaters. They’re dry clean only. Those have got to get out of the rotation, and that’s why cabi clothes are so great because so many of them, you can just throw in the washer, which is fabulous. I would say my footwear has dramatically changed because you’ve got to be able to kick off your shoes. I definitely wear a lot of slides because you’ve got to be able to just be on the go and kick them off. There are certain shoes that I wear just at the office and some that I wear at home. I have started to hide my nice shoes because I don’t want her carting those around the house like she does with many of them.
What are some of your favorite pieces from the Spring 2019 Collection?
Emily: My absolute favorite piece is the Ultimate Blouse. I love it. The Expedition Jacket is also one of my absolute favorites. I just think it is so cool and versatile and easy to wear. The Twofer is also an incredible piece. It’s a brand new silhouette for us, which I totally love. I love the color, and it’s just perfect.
Is there any advice that you would share with new moms?
Emily: Developing some sort of system for self-care is important. Because there is something that shifts when you become a mom, where you just want to give and give to this kid, and you will get burnt out if you don’t have some way to refuel, and that’s really important. Develop a good system with your husband in terms of sharing responsibilities and duties. That’s a really cool aspect of being a mom, too, is getting to see your husband be a dad and sharing in that. That’s really special.
My daughter’s name is Kai, and she’s 13 months old tomorrow. She is just the light of my life. She’s so much fun. I didn’t know I’d have so much fun with a one-year-old, but she’s doing a lot of things. She’s a walking machine, and her nickname is CG for Curious George because she’s into everything. She just wants to see what’s going on and inspect all of her toys and things around the house, and she’s just super curious and a lot of fun, so I’m loving it.
What has been the most surprising about motherhood? What stood out to you?
Karise: What stood out to me about motherhood, I think the most, was how much I love it. I grew up as an only child. I wasn’t really into babies or even kids. I liked dogs. I was a little nervous before having Kai…about whether or not we’d bond or if I’d even enjoy it, but the minute she came out, it was love at first sight. Everyone tells you, “You’re going to just love it,” and I wasn’t sure. I didn’t really believe it, but it was true. I love every second of every day I can spend with her.
How has being a mom affected or changed your life?
Karise: It’s really made everything turn from black-and-white to color. It’s changed me for the better, 100%. I think all of the relationships that I have in my life are a lot richer because of her. I appreciated that I had a good life. My husband and I had a good marriage, and I was really happy, but after she was born, I felt like I appreciated him a lot more. Everything that he does for her—he’s really good with playing with her and entertaining her—knows how to make her laugh. I think I started to notice all of those things a lot more, or even the relationship with my family, and my mother, and my aunt. They were taking turns babysitting. They’re willing to drop what they’re doing in Hawaii and come out and help me out so I can work here. Just all of that made me see how much I have in life and how much I want to give her as well. It’s just opened my eyes and made everything so colorful, for sure.
How has your sense of style changed?
Karise: I think it’s gotten a lot more casual, I would say. It’s all about being pulled together, but still super comfortable. I have to go and run around after my daughter. I can’t be wearing something that’s uncomfortable. Picking her up, anything that I wear needs to be something that’s very Kai-friendly. I think that’s changed, but being at cabi is perfect because everything is comfortable and also pulled together, and I’m also able to get ready really quickly now. In the mornings, 10 minutes I save in getting ready is 10 more minutes I can spend with her. The good thing about cabi is that everything matches. I can grab this and that and put it together, and it looks great, and I’m ready to go, and I can spend 10 minutes reading a book or just playing, or laughing, or doing something with her.
Do you have any favorites from the Spring 2019 Collection?
Karise: It’s all the Center stuff. I love all of it. Of course, the M’Leggings, which I have to have in every color each season, but I’m loving the Center Sweatshirt and the Smooch Cami. I love that, too.
Do you have any wisdom you hope to impart on her as she lives her life?
Karise: What I hope Kai will one day learn is to be appreciative. To know that there are people that love her very much and care about her, and that she feels and understands that, and is able to reciprocate it, and just that she can grow up to be happy, and just live how she wants to live.
What advice would you give to other new moms?
Karise: The advice I would give new moms is to keep on doing what you love, but modify it a little bit. For example, I love running. I’ve always loved to run, and I can still do it…I just take the stroller with me. If it’s time to put Kai down for her nap, she enjoys going out with me in the sunshine, and she goes to sleep, and it’s a win-win. I also love drinking my glass of wine. I can still do that—just maybe at home instead of happy hour at the bar. Just keep on doing what you love, and I think that the little one will fit into it as well.
What do you love most about being a mom?
Karise: What I love most about being a mom is that smile, that special smile that’s just for me. She’s learning to talk now, so she’ll, “Mm…Mom!” She’ll do a little smile, and it’s something that is just between us, and I think that’s what I love the most. It’s the little moments between the fussing, and the crying, and the teething, and the feeding, and the diapers, that she just shows pure love for me. It’s just so special.
How will you celebrate Mother’s Day this year? Share your ideas in the comments below, and together, we’ll celebrate all the strong women we call mom! And from all of us here at the cabi Home Office, thank you for taking on one of the most challenging, yet rewarding jobs out there: motherhood.