Hilaria Baldwin Says 3 is the Trickiest Age to Parent: ‘They Have Such Complicated Emotions’
The mom and fitness expert opens up about giving birth during the pandemic, raising five kids under 7, and how she's brushing off the mom-shamers.
Giving birth during the pandemic was scary, says Hilaria Baldwin, but she also considers herself lucky because of her baby's due date. She welcomed her fifth child with husband and actor Alec Baldwin in early September in New York when COVID-19 cases in the city were significantly lower than they had been in the spring.
Of course, the fifth delivery was much different than her previous four. The fitness and wellness expert had an uncomfortable COVID test while in labor and gave birth while wearing a mask. “You see all the funny memes that moms put out there about when people complain about wearing a mask to like the grocery store and I’m like, ‘I had to deliver a baby with a mask on,’” she says. “So, you can buy your Cheetos with a mask on—you’ll survive.”
And what’s it been like parenting five kids under 7 during a pandemic? The yoga instructor doesn’t sugarcoat the experience, saying it can be difficult to have newborn Eduardo "Edu" Pao Lucas and a handful of littles one running around—sons Romeo Alejandro David, 2, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 4, and Rafael Thomas, 5, as well as daughter Carmen Gabriela, 7. Whether it’s one having a bad moment or not wanting to share, there’s “always something,” she jokes. But there are positives too, including the fact her kids always have a friend to play with.
Things could get a little trickier in a few months when her son Romeo turns 3, the age Baldwin thinks is the most challenging to parent. “I think the threes are really tricky,” she says. “They have such complicated emotions, and they are able to articulate so many things, but not able to self-regulate as well as when they get a little bit older. But you know, at the same time, they're still super cute, so we're very forgiving.”
If the challenges of pandemic parenting weren’t enough, Baldwin also broke her ankle in November while trying to avoid a speedy driver during a run, how she normally spends about 30 minutes of “me time.” Aside from not being able to take those moments to herself as she recovers, she also couldn’t carry her newborn. “I’m lucky that I eat healthy and I’m a quick healer,” says the Mom Brain podcast co-host. “So already, I’m half on my Peloton bike and I’m able to do Barre class.”
Her healthy lifestyle is something she hopes to pass on to her kids. Along with keeping them active, Baldwin focuses on her family eating a plant-based diet, which research shows has health benefits, including lowering risks of heart disease and diabetes. That’s a big reason she’s partnered with Else Nutrition, a plant-based milk alternative for kids 1 and older. Every Sunday, on the menu for dinner in the Baldwin home are green pancakes—aka veggie pancakes—using Else. “It's just a really great added benefit for kids,” says Baldwin, the author of The Living Clearly Method. “I feel much more relaxed at the end of the day that I know that my kids are getting the nutrition that I want them to get.”
Just a scroll through her Instagram and fans are able to see her big focus on nutrition and how she parents with her husband, whom she says she feels "lucky" to have—although her public life sometimes leads to mom-shaming. While Baldwin says the negative comments used to upset her, she’s learned to have compassion, move on, and pay more attention to the positive Instagram community she has. “I feel really solid in my parenting choices,” she says. “Am I going to mess this up? Are my kids going to complain to me in the future that I've done things that I could have done better? Yes, I'm sure that I'm going to get that from them. I hope that I'm raising them in a way that they'll understand that I was trying my best.”
Another thing she’s learned to feel confident about? Her need for “me time." After the pandemic is over, Baldwin says she’s going to focus on taking more time for herself whenever she can get it. “There’s so much mom guilt that we always talk about. It’s like, ‘Oh are we allowed to do that? Does that make us less of a mom? Does that make us less of a partner?’” she says. “And it’s like, no, you’re human and you are allowed to take care of yourself. And not just because it makes you a better mom. Yes, that's part of it, but because you just deserve it. Period. End of story.”