Brianne Manz’s frankness is a breath of fresh air. As a blogger, writer, and mom of three living in New York City, her life is what enviable Instagrams are made of. It’s hard not to compare yourself to the array of put together, no-hair-out-of-place moms on your feed, but Brianne isn’t about the perfect or the polished. She believes in making space for joy and giving ourselves space to open up about our obstacles. Brianne’s vulnerability and willingness to pull back the curtain on motherhood has won over many fans around the world, including us!
A graduate of FIT, Brianne made her dreams a reality as the owner of a successful fashion showroom. When she was pregnant with her first child, she decided to sell the showroom to be a stay at home mom, but was left itching for a creative outlet. That itch became a blog and that blog grew into a top parenting destination regularly featured in some of our favorite outlets: Time Out, Parents, and HuffPost. Ten years later, Brianne has a full house, and is showing no signs of slowing down. We caught up with the mom of Ryder, Siella, and Gemma to chat about her journey with Stroller In The City and learning to trust herself as a parent.
Recognizing When You Need Support
When Brianne started her blog a decade ago, it was just to share the joys of her new life as a mom with family and friends. It was lowkey and under the radar, until a friend recommended that she join Twitter. There she connected with a blogging community that changed her life. Soon there were events, press, partnerships, a growing readership and before long Stroller In The City was a full-fledged business.
“By Gemma (baby number three) I was taking conference calls in the hospital. It was kind of insane,” she recalls. This was her new normal. “It’s hard. It’s definitely a balance.” Between managing her platform and raising three kids, having a handle on both means having a baby-sitter. Between managing her platform and raising three kids, having a handle on both means having a baby-sitter. Knowing how to support yourself is part of what empowers us as parents.
Vulnerability On Social Media
We love that we can count on famous moms like Chrissy Teigen and Busy Philipps to post about the oh-so-relatable realities of raising kids. But when Brianne started blogging, these mainstream examples of normal motherhood weren’t online, so she put herself out there and marched to the drum of her own beat. By opening up about her day-to-day life as a mom, she found that there was a community that was super responsive and thankful for her vulnerability.
Despite her success, Brianne has also experienced her fair share of judgment and mom guilt, which she admits isn’t always easy. In spite of this, she strongly believes in showing all sides of her family life.”You feel things and you’re like, ‘Oh God, I don’t think I should share.’ And sometimes you just share it, who cares what the nay-sayers or the trolls are going to say. It’s real life,” she affirms. “I think that it’s good for people to see not always perfect.”
Traveling with Kids
Part of Brianne’s lifestyle? Travel. And she hasn’t slowed down on hitting the open road with her children. She gets candid with us when we ask what it’s like traveling with kids: “We take trips, we don’t take vacations.” Brianne advises that no one should expect to completely unwind with the kids in tow, but she shares that there are ways she makes the journey enjoyable for them at every step. She makes sure she has tricks up her sleeves to keep them entertained, including coloring books, charged electronics, a variety of little toys from 99 cent stores to reward for good behavior. Plus—and who could forget the most important part—a lot of snacks.
She reassures too that it’s okay if the schedule you’ve made for your kiddos gets out of whack for a few of those vacation days. “I think you just have to lower your expectations, like, your child may not sleep in the hotel room, you know what I mean? They’re not used to their bed. Or maybe they missed their nap because you were at the beach. It’s okay.” What’s important is embracing the irregularity, because the memories you make together will be completely worth it.
Be an Advocate for Your Kid
Brianne spoke with us about her experience finding out that her son, Ryder, has dyslexia and attention issues. When she sought help after noticing he wasn’t hitting certain milestones, she faced stigma from friends and teachers. Not everyone can understand what you’re going through, but that’s ok. They’re not the best advocate for your child, you are.
Seeking help is normal, and Brianne wants more mothers to be empowered to believe in their own intuition. She stresses that, “…you have to pay attention to it. . .you have to be aggressive just to get them the help that they need.” She added that, “If your instinct is strong, you have to trust that. You can’t listen to anyone around you. If you think that your child needs to be tested somewhere, go get the test.”
There isn’t a playbook to being a parent. “You have to go with your gut,” insists Brianne. Real life is messy and hard, beautiful and rewarding, and she isn’t shying away from sharing all parts of it.