As soon as I met Reagan Baker, a 32-year-old hairstylist at Whittemore House Salon in the West Village, I knew we’d be friends. You know how it goes at the salon: You talk about your hair for 10 minutes and about everything else for the other 40 minutes or more. Reagan gives absolutely fantastic advice about everything from friend drama to dating and is impressively down-to-earth.
So it probably shouldn’t have surprised me when I found out she has a beautiful eight-year-old daughter named Piper Jane. Mothers, no matter what their age or background, seem to have wells of wisdom that must take hold the second you create another living being.
I grilled Reagan on what changed the most for her when Piper came along, the best lessons she’s learned as a mother, and how she looks so chic when she’s—like most moms—short on time.
What books or websites did you read when you first became a mom?
Reagan Baker: I had a book called Your Pregnancy: Week by Week, and you were supposed to read one chapter for each week of your pregnancy, which would break down what you might be experiencing and developments on your baby’s growth. I was so excited that sometimes it was hard for me not to look ahead! I flipped through other books and read various websites, but nothing too consistently. There is a world of information out there for new moms!
What’s surprised you the most about motherhood?
I became a mom very young, and was honestly a little underprepared, so what surprised me the most is that everything—and I mean absolutely everything—in your life changes. You suddenly view things in a different way, with a new perspective. It’s like I’ve had two totally different lives: Before Piper and after Piper! There is also no way to expect the amount of love you feel for your child, and the mother-daughter connection we have. It re-shocks me all the time!
What’s your current biggest challenge about being a mom?
My biggest challenge is the balance of it all, mostly in regards to the amount of time I devote to Piper, work, exercise, keeping a stocked fridge and a clean apartment, and relationships with friends, family, and my boyfriend, Rory. I find I can nail it in one or two areas, and then the others I feel guilty for neglecting. I think most mothers can agree there are not enough hours in the day!
What was your biggest challenge when you first became a mom?
My biggest challenge becoming a mom was that you don’t always get to choose how it all goes. You don’t get to decide how easy your pregnancy is, or exactly how your delivery goes. It’s a good lesson for what’s in store, though. You’re going to be thrown new curveballs just when you think you have it down!
What’s the one thing nobody ever tells you about actually giving birth?
Again, you don’t get to choose how it goes down. I wanted so badly to have a serene, dreamlike natural delivery where everyone is smiling and calm, and it’s all beautiful, but I ended up having to have a C-section at the last minute, and it was all a little chaotic. The recovery was much easier than I was expecting, and I had no trouble at all with nursing, which I felt very fortunate about.
What brands did you wear most while pregnant?
I shopped all over when I was pregnant. I hardly bought any proper maternity clothes, and instead opted for dresses in larger sizes than I usually wore. I really tried to avoid shopping in maternity stores, but it seems like there are so many great options now.
Has your sense of style changed since becoming a mom? How?
My sense of style has changed more as my daughter has gotten older, and become more aware of appearance. She loves when my nails are painted, and sharing sunglasses. We do each other’s hair and match our shoes or outfits sometimes. I remember being little and thinking that was so corny, but I can’t help but love it now!
I also remember wanting to see my mom dressed up sometimes, and loving her in heels or lipstick. I’m pretty casual—hoping for cool casual, ha—on a day-to-day basis, but I love to let Piper see me dressed up, too.
Any pieces you’d never wear now that you used to?
There are things that I’d never wear now, but that has a lot to do with my age now versus then. No specific pieces come to mind, but there is a vibe that’s just different in your early 20s that I’d feel silly in now as a mom in my early 30s. That and heavier-than-necessary makeup!
What’s the one piece of advice you give friends expecting their first baby?
Try really hard to not let the noise and harsh judgments of other moms get to you. Motherhood opens up an amazing new community of women that you suddenly relate to in all these ways that you otherwise wouldn’t have, but unfortunately, there are a lot of women who also feel very strongly about how each thing should be done. This starts early on in the pregnancy and continues on to home birth versus hospital births, when or if you should go back to work, breastfeeding versus formula feeding, sleep schedules, vaccinations, and more. At some point or another, every new mom gets their feelings hurt over one of these conversations. Surround yourself with support and love and do what you feel is best for your baby and yourself.
What time-saving style tricks do you rely on?
Ponytails and buns are a mom necessity, and I always make sure mine look nice. It doesn’t take much time, but the difference between a simple chic ponytail or bun versus what you wear to the gym will make you feel and look so much more put together. I’ll do a heavy side part with a little back combing at the crown before pulling it up, and suddenly it’s a look!
I use that same rule with clothes. I’m not going to wear my nicest heels every day, but I always put a some effort even into my casual clothes. Cute sneakers, nice fitting jeans, a soft T-shirt, and a leather jacket, so it’s still an outfit—and comfortable—instead of just being in yoga leggings every day, which can be so tempting! That’s my mom uniform. And always sunglasses, especially if I’m sans makeup!
What is your idea of the ultimate indulgence? Has it changed since you became a mom?
My ultimate indulgence is a little vacation. I find I need at least a mini-getaway now and then. It’s necessary for a parent to be able to recharge and clear their head a little. It’s funny though, I always miss Piper so much when I’m away!