Danila Davidson on Her Journey to Motherhood -- Times 5!
Danila Davidson, the NYC Mom, was born and raised in Italy, where she earned her MBA before taking on corporate roles in the energy and technology sectors -- roles that allowed her to travel and live around the world, but which were ultimately not very compatible with her journey into motherhood.
After becoming pregnant with her third child, Danila decided to hit pause on her full-time career and refocus on her three children under the age of 4. It was then that she stumbled into her "village" -- a legion of other moms who had also decided to take a step back from their careers to focus on their families and figure out "what's next."
Now expecting her fifth (!), Danila talks to us about her journey to motherhood as an expat in the United States; the role she never anticipated having; and how she manages to focus on her best even when she can't do it all.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and the current season you are in as mother, wife, digital creator, and so much more! What was your path to this point?
Danila: Let me begin by saying that I’m extremely grateful for where I am right now. I was born and raised in Italy and never in a million years I thought I’d be raising 4+ children in NY one day! Before settling in the States I traveled the world and had the chance to work in some of the most beautiful cities, a journey that I don’t take for granted. Now - my home is where my family is. My kids and husband are everything to me and the way I value / view my *time* has def shifted so have my priorities. I’m very grateful for my digital creator “role” which has grown alongside my motherhood journey allowing me to 1. discover and nurture my creative side which I love 2. Has given me the flexibility I needed as a mom of young children to keep working but “on my own terms” and on projects I truly enjoy and find very rewarding.
The term “matrescence” refers to the motherhood journey and the process of becoming a mother. You’ve had a number of pregnancies. What have you learned about yourself during pregnancy? How has each pregnancy differed from the others? How has your motherhood journey changed from your first child to now your fifth?
Danila: I didn’t really know what to expect when I became a mom 8 years ago. Most of my friends didn’t have children yet and as an expat I don’t have any family around which isn’t ideal, maybe? But this special situation also enabled me / gave me the chance to shape my very own journey to motherhood. Each single pregnancy of mine brought me endless joy and a renewed confidence in my own body and what I can achieve as a woman AND a mother. I love being pregnant, I truly believe our bodies are incredible and as somebody who was diagnosed with PCOS as a teen I don’t take anything for granted. I am an incurable optimist, I tend to view life through pink lenses which I think is a strength. Things didn’t come easy to me. I’m a “self made woman” whose parents are divorced and weren’t always (if at all) the best “role models” but growing up and later on as a mom - I kept focusing on the positive. I’m pretty chill with my children and tend to be very loving and playful. Given my 4 (almost 5) children are close in age I don’t feel like I’ve changed that much over the past few years. If anything I cherish each single milestone and little memory we make because I know already how fast it goes by. I’m very proud of how my little ones get along too. They are a real team and I think that doing family activities and fun stuff together has really strengthened their bond.
Each single pregnancy of mine brought me endless joy and a renewed confidence in my own body and what I can achieve as a woman AND a mother.
Tell us about the fourth trimester and how you first acclimated to being mama. How did you change, and how do you continue to change? How did your family dynamics change after each child?
Danila: The 4th trimester is undoubtedly a critical time in a woman’s life. Luckily I had all uncomplicated vaginal births (up until now) which allowed me to recover fast and get back of my feet. I’m not saying we should “bounce back” that’s NOT the goal but for me, given I didn’t have any help / support postpartum, my physical recovery helped me from a mental health standpoint. I do think women should advocate for themselves. Our pregnancy / postpartum experiences are different and unique, so are our needs and situations. We should not be afraid to speak up and ask for help. It’s this “western” attitude / mindset. In some Asian countries new moms are taken care of / supported for the first 30 (!) days after delivering while we are expected to be back at work in some cases. It’s mind-blowing! Luckily my kids love this *big family* thing and up until now they have easily adjusted every time a new siblings has joined. Not sure what I “do right” but we haven’t had negative experiences or big jealousy issues so far! Keeping my fingers crossed!
Did you set out to be a content creator/Instagrammer? How did your page start to take off?
Danila: This is a longgg story but I’ll try to keep it short. I’m political scientist to begin with and I graduated an MBA in Italy before taking on some roles at international levels. I worked in the renewable energy field, worked in tech end ran startups for several years, and as a mom of one, then two young girls. It was tough. Loved my jobs but felt like I wasn’t spending nearly enough time with my two young daughters (back then I had a full time nanny). When I got pregnant with my third child in 2018 I decided to “tale a break” , to enjoy my young children (I had 3 under 4) and figure out what would come next Out of loneliness / because I felt the need to connect to other moms, I started an IG page where I shared not so great photos I must say :) but surprisingly it’s through Instagram that I found the village I was looking for! Slowly slowly I started to meet up with moms I had connected to through the platform IRL and realized there were others like myself out there. A legion of us! Often highly educated women who had decided to take a step back to enjoy motherhood and / or to figure out what to do next. My “career” as a content creator was totally accidental! I literally fell into a career I love without planning it. Once I saw the opportunity and realized how much I enjoyed creating content I decided to learn the basics, looked up to moms / creators who inspired me and I could learn from, and did lots of unpaid campaigns so that I could better learn / understand this world & business AND I made incredible friendships along the way.
How do you juggle it all? How do you manage creating content, mothering, being present for your friends/family, and everything else that life throws at us?
Danila: Well, the truth is, IMO, we don’t do it all. It’s (nearly) impossible. There are variables and factors that have a direct impact on how much one can get done in a day, ie number of kids, childcare support, family support, but in the end there are only 24 hours in a day. So what I do for example - I try to scale down the number of projects I take on when I know things are getting crazier then usual - like right now with the arrival of a new baby! So 1. Learn to say no (to projects / commitments / events / people) 2. Delegate whatever you can (ie if your significant other wants to be in charge of the grocery shopping, let him / her!) 3. As moms we do so much for others but we should not forget to take care of ourselves. It can be as little as a cup of coffee sipped in peace while a child naps and the older ones are in school or a facial / pedi here and there. Lastly - I know people tend to think IG creators / moms have “perfect lives” and “do it all” but actually most of us are incredibly honest and real with regard to our struggles, juggles and frustrations. I feel like IG stories are a great way to access this less polished and more messy side of our lives. A little hack: at the end of each day, instead of feeling frustrated or unhappy with what I haven’t accomplished, I take a moment trying to celebrate the items I managed to take off the list. I choose to focus on the positive and what I have achieved.
There are variables and factors that have a direct impact on how much one can get done in a day. But, in the end, there are only 24 hours in a day.
We of course have to talk skincare. Tell us about your daily skincare routine as a busy mama. What products do you use regularly? How do you evaluate and make skincare purchases? What is your all-time favorite skincare splurge?
Danila: As a busy mom to 4 young children I don’t get many “spa days,” which is why purchasing high quality skincare products is very important to me. It wasn’t always like this. I barely spent any money for myself growing up but the years are going by and our skin needs to be nurtured and protected as we age. My daily skincare routine is pretty straight forward. I try to wear little make up to begin with, unless I have a shoot or a big event coming up of course. I always remove my makeup before going to bed. I start my skincare routine by using a Vitamin C serum (antioxidant and preferably plant based) that I apply in the am under the sunscreen. I personally love a good facial oil that I apply after the moisturizing cream and before applying any makeup. I’m currently using two cleansers including a more gentle one that helps with hydration.My all-time favorite skincare splurge: my Dr Dennis Gross LED light therapy mask which stimulates collagen production. I use it daily and it takes literally 2 minutes of my time!
And now some fun stuff! Tell us:
Coffee or tea?
Who is your inspiration and why?
It may sound odd but I don’t really have a “role model” and never had one. I’m generally inspired by female entrepreneurs / moms who are changing the world for the better by speaking up, raising kind + thoughtful humans and maybe growing their businesses along the way! but deep inside I feel like each one of us is so unique and special and having the FREEDOM to explore the world / new opportunities is the way to eventually find our true selves. And that journey, the path that leads us to our “happy place” is different and unique for everyone.
What advice would you give your young self?
To always believe in myself, to trust my instincts, and most importantly to not care what others think. Also to always be kind + ready to help and support others. You want to be a light and make a difference in people’s lives. It’s all about creating *good energy*
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