Rajni Jacques is forthright, confident, and down-to-earth. As the fashion director of Allure, this combination makes her a force to be reckoned with. Recently Rajni took some time to share her experiences as a mom of two with us. She shared simple tips like having conversations with your kids to help with their decision making skills, to the more challenging ones like holding on to a self-care activity that we love. During our conversation we gained insight on how she (and we) can keep it all going.
Talking Isn’t Overrated
When it comes to interacting with your kids Rajni thinks it’s important to talk to them, not tell them. “Don’t just say no, ask ‘how does that make you feel,’ so they can understand emotional nuances. Like how it’s not okay to cry because they didn’t get pretzels, but it is okay to cry because you’re sad. That stuff might be obvious to us, but not for them.” This technique, which Rajni credits her nanny for teaching, demonstrates earnest listening and care, which isn’t as easily conveyed in a one-way directive.
“Just be conversational with them, even if they’re not giving you the full answers, just so they hear you talking and understand that this is how we talk. . .It goes a long way.” Starting to converse with your child at an early age will encourage their individual personality and independence to shine through.
Rajni sees this especially with her son, Diego, who is two and a half years old. “I just feel like I want to hear more of his thoughts. I feel like that’s a way to cultivate his mind, to help him think on his own. To be like, ‘Use your words Diego. You don’t wanna go to this park because why? Tell me why.”
Hold On To What Makes You, You
A common struggle among new parents is this sense that you must give-up who you were post-baby. Rajni states that this just isn’t the case. “I still very much try to keep elements of who I was before becoming a parent.”
Rajni, who is also a painter and art collector (on top of being a fashion director and mom of two!), insists that parents should find a compromise when it comes to the activities they loved pre-baby. “Just because you’re a mother doesn’t mean you have to change everything about what you do, everything about yourself.” She acknowledges that life certainly changes, but knowing yourself and what your needs are will help keep you grounded. “I know my personality, I love doing things by myself, I’ve always been like that,” Rajni confessed. “There’s such a freedom that comes with sitting in your own thoughts.”
So next time you feel guilty about taking some ‘Me Time’ or pursuing things you love outside of your little ones, stop that thought process in its tracks. Read that book, enjoy that girls night, get that massage. It will keep you feeling like you.
Shattering Maternity Clothes Stereotypes
We couldn’t interview Rajni without talking about fashion. One look at her Instagram feed and you’ll see a gallery of bold, beautiful pregnancy shots of her wearing hot denim swim tops or curve hugging dresses. And girl, are WE. ARE. HERE. FOR. IT.
Rajni says the time of frumpy maternity clothes is gone thanks to societal changes like social media and women having children later in life. At a time when many women are more confident in who they are, the bump is on full display.
“The sophistication has bumped up. Now it’s like ‘Just because I’m pregnant, doesn’t mean I can’t wear a crop top.’ Well—actually—I don’t know how sophisticated that is,” she laughs “but, you know what I mean?”
The former Teen Vogue fashion director believes this bold shift in clothing available for women going through pregnancy may be because of a shift in fashion industry thinking. “To create clothing where, yes, there’s still a little room for your belly, but once your belly is gone you can still wear it. I think this change is about accepting that pregnancy is a part of life.”
Transitioning into parenthood is a process, but growing from one child to multiple is a whole different ball game. According to Rajni, the field can bring a lot of doubts. “I loved the first one so much, I felt like it took every ounce of love out of me, like, how am I gonna love a second? And do I have enough of that love to give to the second? But I did. And so do you.”
She also has a saying that having two children shifts you from being a mom to a parent. Don’t blow up her inbox for this, though. Rajni clarifies that it’s a shift that came from focusing on her interactions as a mom to her son to beginning to nurture the relationship between her children.
“This is their blood,” she said when talking about her son’s relationship to her daughter. “This is a person I want him to look after, and I want them to be ace in everything they do. I want them to always have each other,” she says. “
“The reason I’m saying you become a parent is now I’m parenting them together. I’m trying to teach them what it means to love each other and to really care for each other. To help them know that they’re gonna get in fights, and there’ll be bad times, but in the end they’ll always have each other.”
Chaos may seem like the ruling factor in your life during this time—and maybe it is—but chaos doesn’t mean you have to lose track of the little moments in life like talking out with your kids why they can’t have ice cream for breakfast, or finding time for yourself to go to the movies to see that rom-com no one else in your household wants to see. Our conversation with Rajni is a great reminder that it’s those moments that help us cultivate the minds of not only our children, but ourselves.