Short Answers From Yael Cohen Braun
If you ever feel totally alone and isolated in this whole parenting thing and opening Instagram propels you into a spiral of how the f**k all these people making it look so glamorous and easy?!, Yael Cohen Braun totally gets you.
She was so put off by the bullshit and judgment from other moms after having her sons (Jagger is 2 and Levi is 4 months) that she decided to launch Motherlucker — the antidote to the whitewashed, the-glass-is-half-full parenting resources out there. She told us,
“We wanted to give a more authentic and vulnerable perspective on motherhood and infuse it with some much-needed humor.”
Motherlucker wasn’t her first entrepreneurial venture, Yael co-founded the game-changing nonprofit F Cancer 7 years ago after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She also happens to be one half of one of Hollywood’s biggest power couples with her music manager husband Scooter Braun, of discovering Justin Bieber fame (yep, the Biebs performed at their wedding, along with Carly Rae Jepsen and Ed Sheeran).
Chatting with Yael is a blast. Her passion for both work and life are palpable, and she’s a total badass (we’re talking about a woman who put the big bad F-word in the name of a charity) who also happens to be incredibly charming.
Read on for her hyper-relatable take on momlife, a brilliant dinner and bath time idea we’ve adopted that makes it actually fun (seriously), and how she stays connected to Scooter (Scott to her) with their crazy-busy schedules.
Take it away, Yael!
On Launching F*ck Cancer
People have been so stuck in their ways about how to stop cancer: For years, we’ve been raising money, assuming that the single best approach is research. And that still needs to be done — research is incredibly important work. But the billion dollars that have been raised in 50 years hasn’t done as much as smoking cessation education. Teaching people not to smoke literally has had a bigger impact in some ways. What does that tell us? We need to put the trust in people, in communities, and telling them they are important and valuable and intelligent — that we want their minds, not just their money.
When you get diagnosed, everybody focuses on your body (rightfully so to some extent), but we sometimes forget how it affects your heart, mind, soul, and relationships. FCancer focuses on early detection and education with free screenings in low income areas, but we also offer the psychosocial support people desperately need when diagnosed (like how do you tell your kids and your family).
On Launching Motherlucker
When I became a mom, I felt a lot of the similarities I did when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both are hyper-emotional experiences where you have a lot to learn really quickly. You need information and you want to have a voice in the process. There are a lot of great parenting resources out there, but a lot of them fail to acknowledge that it’s really f*cking amazing and really f*cking tough. We look at parenthood from all different perspectives — blended families, adoptive moms, later-in-life moms, single moms, divorced moms — to give a well-rounded experience.
2 Under 3
The transition hasn’t been quite as bad as I expected. Maybe that’s because I was such a mess with my first: I really struggled getting my footing as a parent, so I expected to go back to that craziness, to feel just as anxious and isolated. But this time I know what to expect, so everything is just that little bit calmer, and I have a toddler running around, so life has to go on!
Excellent Parenting Advice
You do you. There are so many opinions and judgements, and someone always wants to tell you what to do with your kid. Judging is for the Olympics and assholes. We need to stop judging each other and ourselves.
Best Relationship Advice
My mom said to me, ‘you were a wife before a mother.’ You have to make time for your husband and marriage, because happy parents make for a better environment for the kids. Scott will gently remind me when he needs more of my attention. We recently had a 12-hour day date. We went to the beach and played beer pong (of all things!) — it was magical.
I look up to my own mom so much. We moved a lot growing up and had very little money, but my mom made everywhere feel like home for us, and I never even realized we were struggling financially. She would stay up all night so the new house was set up when we woke up, and she would find communities where we could make friends. At one point, we lived really far from our school, and she would wait in the car at school all day and just read. She did it all with such love and joy. She’s the definition of strength.
The things where I get to call my folks and share exciting news — going to the White House, speaking at the UN, being asked to be a fellow at Stanford — showing them all their sacrifices were worth it.
Before kids, I defined my success by my career. After Jagger was born, I had to refocus my priorities. There are these events in life that make us realize what is important. The parties, the dinners, even the work events that you felt that the world would end if you missed them — they become non-events. Suddenly you just don’t want to miss a minute with your child. There’s no shame in it — those parties and dinners and work are still going to be there in a few years. But when your child is young, you don’t get that time back.
The Baby Weight Struggle Is Real
The second time, you know what goes on, must come off. With Jagger, I enjoyed too much cake and too many bagels, and I struggled postpartum with the baby blues and 20 pounds to lose. I didn’t feel like myself. I made better much better food decisions this time. And I have been training with Nathan Mellalieu for 8 years. He’s the best, he’ll seriously show up at my house if I ignore him. He’ll come over, wear the baby, and shout at me what to do. I’m really grateful to him (for the company and guidance as much as the ass kicking!).
The Parenting Juggle
Scott works and travels a lot, so I often put the kids to bed and get up with them. But when he’s home, he’ll often come home just for bath and bedtime and go back to work. He sits in traffic for an hour to give the boys bedtime kisses! It’s unbelievable and impressive.
Mom Friends Are The Best Friends
I’m a huge fan of community dinner and bath time with mom friends. It keeps it from getting isolating. Finding your tribe is so key when you become a mom — you have to put yourself out there in a way you haven’t since grade school. Mom dating is hard, but finding parents that have a similar view of the world and you enjoy being around is so worth it.
I am always obsessed with Zara jeans. And Joshua Sanders sneakers — I own 3 pairs, and they are the only shoes I wear.
Originally published at news.rocketsofawesome.com on April 11, 2017.