FIVE X FIVE: Yael Cohen Braun
The Tot FIVE x FIVE invites inspiring mamas to answer five questions on motherhood and curate five products they can’t live without. Here we talk to Yael Cohen Braun, Founder of F Cancer, Motherlucker and incredible mother of three.
Image by: Dennis Gocer
Mama of three, Yael Cohen Braun is the best friend/ mentor/ boss/ mom you wish you had. Born in South Africa, Yael is known and celebrated for starting the non-profit, Fuck Cancer, after her own mother’s cancer diagnosis in 2009. With accolades like being named in Forbes 30 under 30 list for marketing and acting as a Senior Advisor for Bumble, it’s no surprise that on top of her charity work and entrepreneurial ventures, Yael also runs the unapologetically honest parenting website, Motherlucker, where she provides a space for parents to share the good, the bad and the Instagram-worthy ugly.
YAEL ON MOTHERHOOD
- What’s the most challenging thing about motherhood? Balance. Your life changes in an instant and for me personally it took me a second to figure out my new normal. I struggled to balance motherhood, work, friends, and being a wife. I can’t say that I’m there yet, but I’m a lot closer than I was. I actively work to make sure I am as invested in being a great wife as I am in being a great mom, that I find time for friends and that I don’t feel guilty when I work. All of these things make me a way better mom and a way happier human.
- How have you changed since becoming a mother? I see so much more beauty in the benign. To see the awe in your child’s face over a firetruck or the moon lets you appreciate things so much more. I’m weirdly grateful to people who put up Halloween or holiday decorations, because they give my children so much joy. Mostly I’m better at saying no, because I’d rather say yes to time with my kids than any social engagement.
- What’s the most important piece of advice your mom gave you and do you have any advice for your kids as they grow up? My mom has given me all my best advice, she is everything I want to be as a mother and I’m so grateful to be able to learn from her as a mom and a woman. She told me when JJ was first born (and I was maybe not making that much time for my husband) that I was a wife first, and it was important for me to still make time to make my husband feel loved. For kids to grow up in a home and see their parents love each other is one of the best things we can give/show them.
- What are three key attributes you want to impart on your kids and why? I want them to be kind, curious, empathetic, and resilient. I know it’s 4 but that’s hard enough! I think leading with kindness is always important, it means we give patience and grace in our interactions. Curiosity means the kids will always ask questions and keep learning. They will think for themselves. Empathetic, because this world needs a lot more empathy. Resilient because life won’t always be easy or simple and I want to raise children who get back up and figure it out.
- With such a busy life and so many career hats, what are your absolute non-negotiables to keep you and your family centered? We show up for each other. Nothing, and I mean nothing is more important than each other. Than being there to support and love each other. I am present when I’m present, meaning my physical presence is not enough, my mental and emotional presence is what’s important. It’s easy to think you’re in the same room so that’s enough but it’s not, kids have to feel seen and important. I always let me kids know that they are important, their thoughts are important.
YAEL’S TOP PICKS FOR BABY
- Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair – Storm: This high chair is a dream! It grows with your little one so you only ever need one high chair. It has a baby attachment with tray, grows to toddlerhood that can be pulled up to the table and the kids can climb up and down themselves. It’s simple, so it fits easily into most decors. It’s easy to clean, which is so important with toddler eating!!! I love the Stokke products, I find they’re well made and work really well.
- Kyte Baby Sleep Bag: I’m a big fan of sleep sacks/bags because it keeps the boys from climbing out of their crib! It buys me another at least 6 months of keeping them trapped! This one is so nice and big so they don’t feel confined. It’s also crazy soft and is the nicest wearable blanket I’ve seen.
- Baby K’Tan Baby Carrier: I live with my babies strapped to me when they’re tiny, this lets me use my hands and have peace of mind that my little one is safe and happy. This is my favorite carrier as it slips over your shoulders and is so easy to get in and out of solo. It’s washable, packs tiny and feels so soft but secure on your babe. This isn’t for hiking, but more for around the house and running errands. I have one upstairs, one downstairs and one in the car, safe to say I’m obsessed!
- BabyBjorn Balance Soft Bouncer: Anything that lets me put the baby down happily for a few minutes is my best friend. I love this bouncer because it’s a safe space to plop baby down and keeps them at a great angle for reflux and so they can see what’s happening around them. It’s light and easy to move, it’s easy to clean and folds down tiny for storage.
- Medela Symphony Breast Pump: I rented this from the hospital and loved it. It’s strong but gentle and really got the job done! I love Medela pumps because it’s easy to get parts everywhere and they are really user friendly.