Home & Family co-host and former Bachelorette star Ali Fedotowsky-Manno is one busy lady these days. From raising her two kids, 10-month-old Riley and 2-year-old Molly, with her husband, Kevin Manno, to balancing her professional commitments, she is swamped. As for how she manages it all? Fedotowsky-Manno shared her best parenting hacks with Romper, on everything from soothing sick babies to traveling without kids for the first time. Spoiler alert: You'll want to write this mama's tips down.
A few weeks ago, Fedotowsky-Manno was suffering from a bout of anxiety prior to traveling to New York from her home in Los Angeles, California for work. "Off to NYC again today!" she wrote on Instagram . "It’s never easy for me to leave Molly and Riley, even if it’s only for 36 hours!"
But in true super mom fashion, she put on her brave face, got on the plane, and celebrated with a few glasses of wine at her hotel room later that evening. And now that Fedotowsky-Manno's travel anxiety is in the past, she has a few words of advice for parents who dread traveling without their kids.
"Try to keep yourself as busy as possible the days leading up because I find that the hardest of part of leaving my kids is the few days leading up to it," she tells Romper in a phone conversation. "I’m so anxious about it and it’s all I can I think about and I work myself up. But then when I actually go, I’m like, 'Oh, this is nice!'"
Fedotowsky-Manno argues that the trip itself is a piece of cake once you get over the stressful hump. "Don’t stress yourself out for no reason and then it’s a lot easier than you’d think," she advises.
Of course, it doesn't hurt that the 34-year-old has an incredible co-parent, aka her husband, radio host Kevin Manno. "It’s Kevin just being an incredible father — he’s the best dad," Fedotowsky-Manno tells Romper about her husband's parenting skills. "He wants nothing more than to be with his kids of all of the time."
To illustrate her point, Fedotowsky-Manno shares an anecdote about how Manno wakes up around 3 a.m. to get his gym time in, which he used to schedule for after work. But always the thoughtful partner and doting dad, Manno now sacrifices his sleep time for Fedotowsky-Manno and his adorable kiddos.
"That’s the kind of father and dad that he is," she says. "1: he doesn’t want to be away from his kids. 2: he wants to get home as soon as possible so I can work on my stuff and have my time... I don’t know how I could do it with anything less than what he gives me — which is everything. He’s just the best, he’s the reason I can stay sane."
Fedotowsky-Manno also makes it clear that Manno is her co-parent and not just a dad who "helps out." Opening up about this sexist trope, she tells Romper:
I wouldn’t be able to do it without him, and vice versa — he wouldn’t be able to be a working dad without me. I hate it when people say, "the dad helps." You never would go up to the dad and say, "Does the mom help?" Well, no — nobody says that to dad, so why do people say that to the mom? I think we’re co-parents though and through — 50/50. No one helps more than the other, actually — we don’t help — we parent.
Amen to that, right?
As for another thing Fedotowsky-Manno relies on to stay sane, look no further than Puffs Plus Lotion tissues. The former reality star uses them whenever her kids are sick, which is fairly often these days now that Molly is in pre-school where germs run rampant.
"It’s so important to have a really soft tissue," Fedotowsky-Manno explains. "It’s really soft on their little noses, dermatologically tested, and it’s soft. Molly loves to blow her nose. She’ll take 50 tissues out of the box and throw it in the trash. It’s like a little responsibility for her, which she loves. It’s been such a huge part of our lives."
Fedotowsky-Manno brings the tissues along whenever she's traveling with her kids, and she advises parents to do the same. Another hack for traveling with sick babies? Give them a bit of orange juice mixed with water to maintain hydration during the flight, and stock pile wet wipes to keep other germs at bay, she advises.
I think it's safe to say Fedotowsky-Manno is a treasure trove of parenting hacks, right? From co-parenting successfully to dealing with travel anxiety, this mama knows what's up.