"Mommy Talk" is series of interviews between ESSENCE's own ChicBusyMom and everyday mothers doing extraordinary things. Meet Shanelle Rein, an editor who has three children—the oldest in college and the third-in-line still in diapers.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What do you do for a living?
SHANELLE REIN: I'm the style/features editor for PEOPLE.com's Moms & Babies channel. In a nutshell, I cover the style of celeb moms and their kids. I also edit and write feature galleries for the site.
CHIC BUSY MOM: How many children do you have?
REIN: I have three children. My daughter, Amhara, is 19 and a sophomore in college. My son, Masai, is 12 and a 7th grader. My baby, Dayo, is 15-months-old. We decided to take another stab at parenthood.
CHIC BUSY MOM: You have a daughter in college and a baby who is under two. What made you and your husband decide to go back to the well now?
REIN: Our oldest two children were well past the little kid stage and pretty self-sufficient and both my husband and I were approaching 40 so we thought, why not see if we could have another baby. Not long after trying, we were pregnant and expecting our son, Dayo, who is an absolute joy even though he tires us out every day.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What are two biggest challenges you’ve faced since having your third child?
REIN: The biggest challenges have been mostly maintaining the energy level necessary to look after an active baby. Our son is into everything and both my husband and I have less energy than we had when we were younger. We really feel it after a long day or a late night with the little one. The other challenge is re-learning everything about raising a baby. Since it's been so long, there were so many things we'd become unfamiliar with e.g. teething, when to introduce solids, etc.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What are the three biggest rewards?
REIN: The biggest rewards are despite the lack of energy, we do feel younger. When people see us, they think he's our first kid. We had our other kids pretty young, so we're actually more in line with our friends now, which is nice because we can bond more with them re: raising younger kids. Dayo also brings excitement to the house. Our family unit was operating more independently for a while and now we all have more reason to bond together. I definitely think he's brought us all closer.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What are you doing differently this time around?
REIN: I'm being more Zen about being a parent. I'm a pretty laid-back person, but I did tend to get anxious about certain aspects of being a mom. Now, I know that trying and doing your best is all you can do so I'm more patient. I don't get as upset about messes or things being in their place. I'm just rolling with it and enjoying the ride as I go along.
CHIC BUSY MOM: Does motherhood physically feel different this time around?
REIN: As for my strength, no. Holding him, carrying the stroller, etc. aren't difficult tasks for me. I'd say just the energy level is different. There are a few more aches and pains that just come with aging, but I don't really feel it's a drastic difference from before.
CHIC BUSY MOM: Give us two mommy secrets/tips you can share?
REIN: I wish I had secrets or good tips. Friends ask all the time because they claim I make it look easy, but the only thing I can say is just enjoy the process and don't let it stress you out. Everything happens for a reason and will work out. Every time I find myself worked up about something kid-related (where they're going to go to school, will we find a babysitter, am I reading to them enough), I'm always amazed at how it just falls into place. And I don't beat myself up. If I want to watch a TV show or enjoy "me time" or a date with my husband, they'll be okay. They're good kids and I'm doing the best job I can do and that's all that matters.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What do you do for ‘me time’ and ‘we time’?
REIN: Sadly, a lot of my "me time" includes watching TV shows that I'm obsessed with and I'm obsessed with a lot. I also like to read. I actually enjoy riding the train because it's 30 minutes of uninterrupted reading time. We don't have as much "we time" now that the baby is here, but when we do, we go out to eat or to a movie. My goal for next year is to plan a really nice trip for the family and one for just the two of us. I do need to do a better job of getting out and experiencing what the city has to offer for kids especially now that I have another little one in the house.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What is your guilty pleasure?
REIN: Watching bad reality TV shows. I know it's bad. And shopping, which I mostly do online.
CHIC BUSY MOM: What are the top 5 things on your bucket list?
1. Become a full-time fashion stylist
2. Buy a beach house
3. Travel all over the world with my family
4. Volunteer to help abused kids
5. Write a TV show
CHIC BUSY MOM: What is the one piece of advice you would impart on a mother sharing a similar journey?
REIN: Keep your head up. No really, having kids so far apart has been really fun on a lot of levels. I would advise someone in a similar situation to really enjoy all the moments because it goes by so quickly. Having a 19 year old seemed so far away and now I'm here and I can remember staring at her while she slept as an infant. Just try to live in the moment as much as possible.