CANDID: Cristina Alger
Cristina Alger is a New York Times bestselling author of The Darlings, This Was Not the Plan, The Banker’s Wife and Girls Like Us. A graduate of Harvard College and NYU Law School, she worked as a financial analyst and a corporate attorney before becoming a writer. She lives in New York with her husband and children.
What are you doing to keep your kids engaged throughout the day while you’re all at home, and how are you approaching your work? I have three kids, ages 7, 4, and 6 months. My husband and I trade off: he takes the kids until 11 a.m., and then I take over. This allows us both some time to focus on work while juggling the (crazy!) responsibility of taking care of the kids, two of whom are doing distance learning.
When I’m with the kids, my goal is to keep them happy, engaged and outside as much as possible. We play soccer in the backyard and take walks at the local nature preserve or down to the dock at the end of our block (we live in a quiet town, so social distancing here is fairly easy to accomplish). We do a lot of art projects, too, and the kids help me prepare dinner. They are on screens so much for school that I try not to resort to screen time until the very end of the day when we occasionally watch a show or movie together.
How are you lifting your spirits and keeping sane in the midst of this new normal? I try to exercise every day. Even if its 15 minutes of yoga in my bedroom, I feel better if I move my body.
What’s your biggest challenge right now? Balancing work and kids without the help of our beloved babysitter! My work is suffering, and that’s really hard for me emotionally. I’m trying to take it one day at a time and reduce my own expectations all around.
What is your ultimate stay at home garment that’s giving you confidence and comfort? I’ve always been a simple dresser, and I work from home, so my uniform hasn’t changed all that much. I try to resist the urge to wear sweatpants every day. I usually reach for jeans and either a simple striped t-shirt (J Crew) or white button-down (Theory). It helps me feel more pulled together.
How are you reinventing your Mother’s Day this year? We won’t be with either of our moms, which is hard. In the past, we’ve done something all together, and we all really look forward to it. My kids are very connected to their grandmothers. This year, I think we’ll FaceTime, write them letters or draw for them, and just text them lots of photos throughout the day so that they can feel like their a part of our day even when they’re not with us.
About this interview series: As Mother’s Day approaches I’ve thought a lot about the importance of shining a light on all moms, particularly in the midst of this unprecedented new normal. The world is changing, but honoring and celebrating mom remains intact. Mothers come in many forms, those who gave birth to us or adopted us; our grandmothers and best friends; and those who found us in times of need and invited us into their lives. As part of my CANDID interview series, I had the pleasure of connecting with inspiring women who are mothers, founders and dynamic individuals. They share their stories of navigating the now and how they’ll re-invent Mother’s Day this year amidst this ongoing pandemic. I will add features daily to lauraksawyier.com until May 10, and all will be featured on townandstyle.com here as well. -LKS
Laura Katherine Sawyier is a women’s personal and wardrobe stylist and founder of the SALON X LKS event series. She is based in St. Louis and New York City.