Courtesy of LaTonya Yvette

Stylist LaTonya Yvette Is Over The Lie That Motherhood Means You Give Up Your Self

Ad failed to load

When I reach LaTonya Yvette, she was listening to her "getting-settled-after-drop-off" music. That morning, it happened to be "Ritual Union" by Little Dragon. Yesterday, the social media influencer was out from morning until night, but today, her plans are cozier: work a bit, clean up the house, stir up a soup in her Brooklyn home.

LaTonya Yvette is a busy lifestyle blogger, stylist, and writer, who started her career as a freelance stylist. She's also an activist, committed to honestly representing women and mothers across social media. Her Instagram is one of the best I've ever seen — nailing the balance between the strikingly inspirational and the decidedly real.

It all began after Yvette's daughter River was born, when she was just 21. Being a young, ambitious, literary mom left her wondering where she fit in. She wasn't feeling the stay-at-home life and bristled when others told her what to do. So she started a blog, documenting her experience of young motherhood, while continuing to help women find their personal style. From closet cleanses to post-pregnancy wardrobe revamps, Yvette "wanted to work with women, no matter where they found themselves."

Ad failed to load
No, I’m not hopping around taking my kid to music classes. That’s not happening. Because I need to work. I need to take care of myself, to take care of them.

Six years since her blog became a hit, Yvette, one of Romper's 2017 Made It Award honorees, has over 45,000 Instagram followers and is sponsored by Mustela USA. Her style is impeccable, she lives in a gorgeous Brooklyn brownstone, and her two kids — River, 6, and Oak, 3 — are about as charming as kids can be. Nevertheless, she's passionate about authentic representation, and my favorite photo of Yvette doesn't come from her Paris series, or highlight her pitch-perfect interior decorating. Instead, it features Yvette standing next to a yellow school bus, holding up a homemade sign that reads "representation matters." (She still looks awesome.) "Women are so layered," Yvette tells me, and finally that complexity is getting some acknowledgment and appreciation. "I feel like when you looked at media representations of women six or seven years ago, it wasn't like that."

Courtesy of LaTonya Yvette
Ad failed to load

Yvette is also vocal about something all working moms know — that #momlife isn't a sparkly crystal kitchen:

Yvette's work speaks to women who feel the pressure, after having a baby, to follow a prescribed path. For her, images of an idealized motherhood do more harm than good. "No, I’m not hopping around taking my kid to music classes. That’s not happening," she tells me. "Because I need to work. I need to take care of myself, to take care of them."

Ad failed to load
The lifestyle blogging world is saturated with white women. We're not allowed to branch out, or think outside the box, because we have to keep it all together.

When she first came on the scene, Yvette didn't feel like her experience of work and motherhood was represented. Even today, "the lifestyle blogging world is saturated with white women," she explains. The reason? Women of color often feel immense pressure to play it safe. "We're not allowed to branch out, or think outside the box, because we have to keep it all together," she says. While many of her Instagram followers are white, Yvette finds that women of color are the ones who thank her on the street.

In essence, Latonya Yvette documents her life to show that motherhood isn't monochromatic, but rather, a riotous symphony of color. Her work paints a picture of a self-made woman — an ambitious writer, a loving mother, and a determined advocate in one. She embraces her many sides, and her advice to women who want to start a business or find a new path is to do the same. "Motherhood shouldn't be at the sacrifice of your own self," she explains, and that's a truth she lives, and works to represent, every day.

Ad failed to load

To get to know Yvette better, check out her Romper Screenshot below:

Ad failed to load
Courtesy of LaTonya Yvette

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack