I met Anna De Souza more than 10 years ago while working in the PR Department at QVC. Anna is a digital and broadcast journalist, producer, and editor covering beauty, style, technology, and lifestyle. Most importantly, she is a mom to identical twin girls who are four years old and a seven-month-old son.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, she now resides in Philadelphia with her husband and little ones, the sweetest ever 13-year-old collie, and many, many plants. Surely a lot of things to keep alive!
Today, you can catch Anna as a weekly shopping host on Inside Edition. Read what she has to say on motherhood and managing the juggle. Xx Nikki
- As a working mom, what does your typical day look like? How do you manage the juggle?
While I relish routine, I'll be honest, when there are three kids rolling around it's impossible for things to move in a perfect linear fashion every day. As early as I could, I've given the older girls some autonomy on dressing. I've paired down their wardrobe to most items that can "go" together (well, loosely enough for toddlers, that is!) so that most of what they mix, and match can work for school or play. Now that they don't stain and grow out of clothing so quickly, I can be more thoughtful with better-made options that wash well, so we're able to be a bit more earth conscious as well.
I label and partition off sections in their dresser for tops, bottoms, dresses, pajamas, and more and I can't tell you how helpful it's been! During the school year they choose their outfit the night before and it's been a game-changer. I roll each piece so that it's instantly visible and accessible - it definitely cuts down on the mess and makes decision-making easier.
We love our last-forever pajamas from Clover, of course!
I also batch food as much as possible, we always have rice and pasta in the fridge and can toss a protein into the air fryer for a few minutes. Lilliana is our salad master and loves to toss veggies together with yummy dressing. Adding purees for the baby has been a new adventure - it's been a while! It's hard to find the happy medium of batching while also wanting to serve something super fresh. I haven't nailed down the exact science yet - but I'm working on it!
While I'm not one for cleaning messes all day, all the fun kid things are super messy, gah! (Play-doh, painting, and slime, here's looking at you!) I joke that one day when a statue is erected in my honor, it'll be me, butt-in-the-air, picking up cold pasta and mini Legos from the floor - glamorous, no?
If it's an activity that can get pulled off in the bathtub, we are all for it. Shaving cream paint, sensory bins, etc. Quick-clean activities help to keep you slightly saner – you can often find me on my laptop on the bathroom floor. Whatever works, right? Even switching to a clear kids’ toothpaste has helped keep our bathroom sink neater - it's truly the little things.
- What piece of advice did you wish you heard before having twins? And what was it like going from twins to only one baby!? As you know, I took the opposite route. 😊
Having the girls was a complete whirlwind. My husband and I were struggling with IVF ups and downs, transferred one embryo and discovered it had split into two, ushering us into a more high-risk pregnancy - all while my mom was incredibly ill, passing away several days later. It'll go down as the hardest, most painful, time of my life. Knowing that we couldn't share these littles with my best friend, my heart will forever ache.
Losing a mom before having children is a heartbreak that's tough to verbalize - sadly Nikki understands, too. While I know how hard my mom worked and struggled to raise me as a single mother, I wish I had asked her more about her day-to-day life. Her mom guilt, her juggle, how she coped with my toddler tantrums, what she resorted to when I was a picky eater. I always offer the same heart-to-heart to friends who are looking to have kids and are lucky enough to have parents who are well. Ask all your questions now, the minutiae of it all. Try to cover all life bases, just in case. What it will feel like when your kid tells their first big lie, comes home after their first breakup, when they officially move out.
And yet while she never verbally divulged a flow chart life of advice, it's funny how when I come upon a unique problem, I don't have to search hard to know what she would have said were she here. So, in a beautiful way maybe she did tell me everything I needed to know - I just have to read between the lines.
As far as going from twins to one baby - vacation, baby! One kid is one kid, two kids is like five kids, and three kids - well, you're at two, so what's one more at this point? They begin raising themselves, well sorta, ha! While having one first would have better prepared me for twins, stamina depletion is no joke! Four turned out to be a sweet spot for the girls to welcome their baby brother. They are incredibly caring, and I love watching them introduce him to the world - from flowers and butterflies to warm towels fresh out of the dryer and their impression of a charming T-Rex, this kid is getting schooled by the sweetest-ever girls.
- What excites you most about motherhood, and what terrifies you?
I'm in awe of how much 3- and 4-year-olds can understand! I love spending time with them, making up songs as we're running errands, eating a whole bag of chips together in one sitting in the car (they giggle and find it hilarious!).
Frankly, on the other hand though, most everything terrifies me. I am my mother's daughter. While she always gave me the freedom to do, and try, and roam, I know she struggled with the anxiety that goes along with that. From trying to buckle three kids into the car while living on a busy city street, to panicking every time they are eating and I hear a cough, I think moms are preprogrammed to anticipate and react to worst-case-scenarios - which is what makes us all amazing nurturers and need-anticipators. Most days I feel like I teleported to my days of being a lifeguard, counting bobbing heads repeatedly to keep everyone alive.
There are so many things that have also surprised me about being a mom. I think I never knew or thought about how much I'd be chatting all day. Hear me out - I have a job that requires me oftentimes to pull off 25+ media interviews in a row. We're talking five hours of straight talk - exhausting. Still, being home with the kids is akin to a full-time anchoring gig with a standing lunch break of cold rice! I never knew I'd be saying and repeating the same things over and over - and I know you can all relate. We've all heard of being "touched-out," is there such a thing as "chatted-out?" It's real, right?
- Do you struggle with mom guilt? And if so, how do you cope?
Always! I'm on the verge of calling it a day on pumping and just nursing once or twice a day - and the guilt can feel paralyzing! I'm worried this will throw off my supply and I'm stressed out about the girls going back to school in September and the baby getting sick. He was born a few weeks early in December and somehow hasn't succumbed to one fever yet - and of course my mind jumps to conclude it's due to breastfeeding. Surely the guilt will hit once he does get sick - moms always find a way to walk down that guilt spiral.
I have been giving myself a bit more grace though – everyone in this house is healthy, happy, and well - but it’s all a work in progress and taking a look at the big picture more often is key!
- Tell us about an exciting project coming up!
Right now, I'm cooking up a "mom efficiency" series - very excited to crowdsource the very best tricks to help parents live a fun, happy, and productive life - where loading kids into cars and conning them into brushing their teeth becomes more manageable. More to come soon, very excited!