Smart + Stylish Mom Spotlight: How to Plan Exciting Mommy & Me Adventures
Today’s smart + stylish spotlight is on cultural enthusiast, Anjali Da Victoria Lobo, who's a 39-year old Policy Analyst and Strategic Campaigner for Labor Unions living in Washington, DC with her husband, Arv Moorthy, and son, Elan (22 months).
I met Anjali last summer, when we were part of the same play group. We bonded over homemade baby food and honest conversations about the beautiful (and crazy!) art of motherhood. Yes, it’s definitely an art, and although everyone’s canvas is different, it’s amazing how much we all have in common at the core. Anjali’s calming spirit and down-to-earth vibe were refreshing to me as a fellow new mom who was more interested in engaging in real conversations than boring surface-level baby comparisons or annoying one-upmanship (I'm sooo over those, by the way).
Speaking of babies, my daughter, Riley, loved Anjali too. This is kind of a huge deal since Riley is very particular about who she likes—you either get the “death stare” or the smile, there’s no in between. With Anjali, it was/is ALWAYS the smile. I’m not even sure if I can fully describe it in words, but Anjali has this magnetic maternal presence about her that draws children to her. And as much as they love her, she loves them too, as if they were her own.
Each week, I was always intrigued by the reports that Anjali would share with us about the interesting things she did around DC with Elan during the previous week. Instead of limiting herself to completely “kid-friendly” destinatations, she selected activities that she found interesting too. I love this concept—mommy gets to enjoy and baby gets to explore—a total win/win for everyone. Everything from museum exhibitions, to outdoor festivals, to hidden gems, you name it and they were there—Anjali made the entire city of DC a living classroom for Elan.
In our interview, Anjali shares with me why exposing her son to a rich palette of culturally diverse activities is a critical part of her role as a mom:
Riche: What’s your favorite part of being a mom?
Anjali: Bearing daily witness to the pure joy and innate gratitude and love that a child feels and expresses.
Riche: What motivated you to start exposing your son to such culturally rich activities at an early age?
Anjali: My number one goal is for Elan to be a happy and caring citizen of the world—this means to me understanding the world and all its nuances, respecting and enjoying its different cultures, understanding his privileged position, and feeling empathy for others, especially those disenfranchised, marginalized and in-need. To that end, I think DC offers us so many great activities and ways to engage responsibly while still having fun!
Riche: What's the smartest decision you've made since becoming a mom?
Anjali: To not sweat the small stuff and to show Elan that making mistakes is good—the real learning takes place when you dare, misstep and then get up and keep going with a smile on your face and your head held high!
Riche: What's your favorite thing to do with your son?
Anjali: Sitting in bed with him between me and Arv (my husband) reading; or, turning on Michael Franti and dancing like mad.
Riche: What's your favorite thing to do when you have some much-needed alone time?
Anjali: Catching up on my serious reading—journal articles, political news etc. or meditating.
Riche: How would you describe your mommy style?
Anjali: A lot of black items that are easy to wash!
Riche: What's your secret to being a great mom and looking great too?
Anjali: Wearing red lipstick and laughing a lot!
What fun ideas can you give to other DC moms who are looking for new adventures with their bambini?
Anjali: We love, love going to the Portrait Gallery and all of its kid activities (art, music, running through the water); doing volunteer work, especially meal services for the homeless; playing drums with Baba Rass; and hanging out in DC's great libraries. If the weather is particularly bad, we head to DCA Airport (a fab idea from another urbanized dc mum and good friend), watch the planes and chat with people from all around the world (while mummy gets to either have a glass of wine or cup of coffee!) And, if the weather is good, we head to the zoo to pet the farm animals or to the park to play with neighborhood friends. As Elan grows older, we hope to take more advantage of the Smithsonian museums, our lovely neighborhood of Petworth (Jazz festival and all), and to just be open and welcoming to this journey of life and all the fabulous adventures it entails!
Here are a few links to check out:
- Smithsonian Kids: http://www.si.edu/Kids
- Smithsonian Events:http://www.si.edu/Events
- DC Library Events:http://dclibrary.org/calendar
- WaPo's Kid Friendly Guide: http://www.washingtonpost.com/gog/dc-kids-activities.html
- Bloombar: http://www.bloombars.com/event-calendar
- KidFriendlyDC: http://kidfriendlydc.com/
- DC Tots: http://dctots.com
- Red Tricycle DC: http://redtri.com/dc-kids
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my toddler boss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious baby + toddler gourmet creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWare!
- Riche Holmes Grant