Bethany Ciotola is the (absolutely gorgeous) gal behind Bethany and Her Boys. The NYC blogger shares a home with two — well, three if you count her husband, Chris — dashing heartbreakers, two-year-old Kai and one-year-old Rowan. We adore her Pinterest-worthy jaunts through Central Park and totally relatable musings on the messy world of motherhood (mama friends are a must). And that’s just scratching the surface.
In our interview, she recounts how sharing her pregnancy experience on social media started it all, the challenges of making your own work schedule, and how she changed her views on parenting once she actually became one.
Bethany Ciotola, 28
Mom to Kai (2 years) and Rowan (1 year)
The place you call home: UWS of NYC
Tell us a little bit about your day job:
I wake up with the boys around 7 am and the 3 of us have breakfast together. In the afternoon while they nap, I work, and when they wake up we go to the playground or out for a stroll in either Central or Riverside Park (we are right in between them both). I end the day with catching up on a TV show with my husband because we both need a little time to unwind from our day — right now we are watching the new season of Game of Thrones and Ozark. Some nights I’ll stay up late to catch up on work so I’m not scrambling to do it during nap time the next day and other nights there will be an event I have to attend for work. My husband is really great with helping me with the boys as soon as he gets home from work.
What do you love most about your job?
I love that I’m able to combine work with being able to stay at home with my boys. It can be especially difficult trying to get 1000x done each day, but incredibly rewarding. When I got pregnant with Kai, I planned on being a full time stay at home mom so being able to now work part time is a dream and I’m eternally grateful for each opportunity I receive.
What do you like least?
Making my own hours is a blessing and a curse. I love being my own boss, but that also means not checking in and out at a set time each day. I’ve had plenty of nights where I’m working as soon as the boys go to sleep at 8 pm until 3 am, and then I’m up a few hours later when my one-year-old starts calling me. Those next days are especially tiring.
How did you end up doing this for a career?
I started Instagram with a private account to share photos with my family and friends. When I got pregnant with Kai I made my profile public and started sharing maternity outfit looks. Some bigger accounts started sharing my photos and once Kai was born, baby accounts would share his newborn photos and my account blew up. Many of my followers have been following me since I first got pregnant three years ago and encouraged me to start a blog to show a more in depth look at motherhood. I started my blog one year ago and it’s been the most wonderful creative outlet.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
An actress, but I’m incredibly reserved so that was a pipe dream. I fell in love with movies when I was a child and every time I saw the credits roll after watching a movie, I would promise myself that one day I would see my name included.
What were your first seven jobs?
I started working at my parent’s jewelry store over my summer break when I was twelve or thirteen and babysat after school and on weekends until I graduated high school. I signed with Wilhelmina Models during my freshman year of college and also worked part time at Victoria’s Secret and Abercrombie and babysat over the weekends. During my junior year of college, I created a jewelry store on eBay, and when I graduated I opened up a jewelry store with my father in Rhinebeck, New York.
In what ways is your life the same since having kids? And in what ways is it different?
Life was completely different. I only had to take care of and answer to myself. My schedule was my own. My husband and I would be able to go to the movies several times a week and be able to take last minute trips if we found a good deal. Now I’m responsible for two little lives and their needs come before mine without a second thought. I loved my life before kids and I adore my new life with them, I wouldn’t change a thing.
One thing you didn’t know before having kids that you wish you had known:
No one thinks they are better parents than [those] who do not have kids. I too have been guilty of this. Pre-Kai I was all like, “Wow, you let your kid play with an iPad when you’re in public?” and now I’m Team “GIVE HIM WHATEVER HE WANTS IF IT MAKES HIM STOP SCREAMING! STOP LOOKING AT ME & JUDGING!! IT’S AN EDUCATIONAL IPAD GAME! HE’S LEARNING HIS COLORS! AGGGHH!!”
Let’s be honest. No one can really do it all. What do you do less of to make it work for you and your family?
Less daily cleaning and organizing. In ten years, you’ll remember the baby snuggles and experiencing all the “baby firsts”; you won’t remember how many times the dirty dishes in the sink piled up. My husband and I split up cleaning duties on the weekend so we can focus more on the boys during the week.
What do you like to do when you get a few hours to yourself?
Getting my hair and nails done. It’s become so infrequent that when I spend the day on myself, I feel like a new woman.
Do you think it’s easier or harder to be a parent in 2017 versus when you were growing up? Why?
I think it’s harder with social media. As much as I love connecting with my followers and creating new friendships, the amount of time we spend on our phones is getting a little crazy and I’m just as guilty as the next person. When I was a kid (now I’m aging myself, haha) I was only allowed a couple of hours on the Internet each week (we had dial-up where the phone wouldn’t work if you were online) and I didn’t get a phone until later on in high school. I spent my days outside, making forts in my backyard and doing physical arts and crafts. No phones, limited internet and lots more social, in-person interaction.
What do you hope is different about work and the workplace when your kids are running the world?
I hope that the workplace becomes more family oriented. I know so many families where the husband barely got any time off when his baby was born (if any) and I think that’s so sad. It’s such a beautiful time in a new parent’s life and everyone should get some time off to experience it at home with their family. Being a woman, I also hope that by the time my boys are in the workplace the idea of women and men not getting paid equally is an outdated thing of the past.
Favorite M+A Products this season?
The Abracadabra romper. I’m a HUGE sucker for rompers. I think they are the most adorable (and easy) pieces of clothing for my boys to wear in the summer.
The Gray Sleeveless hoodie. I love putting this on my boys without anything underneath and seeing their little baby “muscles” stand out.
The Old Sport Jacket in “Navy Gardens”. The print is gorgeous! This is a must-have.
Photo Credit: A. Fogarty Photography