Missy Rayder, Mother Of Luka, 15 Months

What do you and Luka love doing the most?

Luka loves to dance so we play music every day at some point and go for it. I suppose children teach you to be less inhibited because they have no sense of ego at this point. In other words, I wasn’t much of a dancer before he came. We also go to the park nearly every day and play ball. He is a typical boy in this sense. We take him to the museums, gallery shows, restaurants, he does much of what we do.

What are your favorite childrenswear brands?

Shopping for boys is more fun then I imagined it would be. J Crew has great boys clothes. I also just bought him a winter jacket at a store called Yoya in the West Village that has beautiful things.

How did you get back in shape after pregnancy?

I gained 60 pounds while I was pregnant which is definitely more than they suggest, but he was a very big boy! I wish I could say the weight just fell off but it did not. I had to sort of kick start my metabolism and my mind and started jogging 5 days a week for three months. I also cut down on sugar and carbs but not completely. That being said, your body goes through so much after giving birth that one must be careful on how to go about losing weight. I say listen to your body and not to anyone else. Like pregnancy, getting your body back is such an individual process. Now that he has started running around, I don’t do a thing besides chase him.

Did you use any creams or products?

While I was pregnant I used the french brand called Mustela to minimize the appearance of stretch marks. I think it definitely helps to use certain creams but so much of what happens to your body is genetic. Either thank your mother or curse her!

What was your day to day look? Did you purchase any maternity clothing?

My favorite things I wore while pregnant were large vintage dresses and American Apparel stretch paints. That’s it. I lived in them. For me it was not about putting any effort into dressing. I couldn’t even fathom it. And forget about trying to squeeze into the shoes you wore before. My feet were so swollen that just observing my former shoes was painful!

I did purchase a couple pairs of maternity jeans but even those didn’t fit once I got to 7 months.

What’s a typical day like for you as a mom? How do you juggle work and family time so well?

A typical day now starts at around 9 when Luka wakes up (yes, he is a night owl like both of his parents.) We have breakfast and head to the park. The rest of the day consists of a nap, playing, and more meals. I must admit planning the meals gets tiresome! I use to just pick something up whenever I was hungry. Nowadays there is structure and thought to every meal. As far as juggling work and being a mother it is not always a simple task but it has worked well so far. I have a part time nanny and Luka’s father is able to help more when I am away.

What are your go to spots in New York? Any favorite places to de-stress?

I like to go to an Italian restaurant next to my apartment called Sotto 13. We always sit outside and order a brick oven pizza. They are amazing with Luka and don’t mind if he has a break down every now and then. When I have the night off I will go out with friends or Marko, either a movie or a restaurant. I tend to go to the same places I have been going to since I moved to the city in 96′ – Bar Pitti, Cafe Mogador, Mezzogiorno. I always try new things but end up with the old.

What tips can you share for moms traveling with their kids?

Tips for traveling mothers….For me Luka was a dream to travel with until he turned one. When they are babies they sleep more and are less aware of the stimulus of the surroundings or at least the way in which they respond to it is different. My flight or I should say boat, then plane then another plane back from Croatia to New York with just Luka and I taught me a very important lesson: You cannot plan a sleep schedule because they may surprise you and stay awake for 18 hours with a half an hour nap. I’m not going to lie, it was brutal, it was painful. I felt like I had been tested on every level. Would I do it again? Probably. Being a mother triggers a certain amount of masochism :).

Do you miss Wisconsin?

Do I miss Wisconsin…It has been so many years since I have been there. That being said I did grow up there and like many others I suffer from nostalgia and have moments of romanticizing cows, cheese curds and endless corn fields, but that doesn’t mean I am going back. The imagination is often greater then reality.

What’s the best thing about being a mom?

What I love most about being a mother is watching this creature grow and develop in a completely individual way. The whole process is very mysterious. Knowing that however difficult it may be it is the most important, brilliant decision I have ever made. I am indecisive by nature so it is quite a feat to now be so certain of something. I suffered from bouts of anxiety throughout my pregnancy and he fought with me the whole way. He has a very strong character!

Last but not least, what advice can you share to mothers-to-be?

The advice I can give other mothers is listen to your instincts. Pay more attention to your internal process rather then someone telling you the way it should be. I know it may sound cliché but every child and every situation is very different and you have to go with your unique case. The biggest mistake is to take advice that doesn’t suit your circumstance. Carl Jung says “The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.” I find this to be very profound.

Missy Rayder and Luka photographed by Ethan James Green


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