Folks We Love with Ellie Knaus
Atomic Moms podcast mom-in-chief and host
Below the Hollywood Sign
Who’s in Your Family? Ages? Names?
My husband Adam, our almost 3 year-old daughter Sabrina, and our two old pups: Chubs and Riggs.
What do you find most challenging about being somebody’s parent?
Some evenings it feels like our toddler is the crazy roommate we didn’t get to interview in advance. But I love the idea that she chose us to be her parents because of the ways we challenge each other to grow. One thing I’m wrestling with right now is figuring out how to be the best mother I can be to this little person I cherish while also taking the time to create a well-rounded life for myself outside of motherhood. I find mom guilt to be a total bitch. But who doesn’t love a good challenge?
What are some silly/fun things that the kids do or say?
When Sabrina was a baby in Mommy and Me class, we wrote down two words to describe our child’s essence. Two years later, Sabrina is still “Giggle Boss”.
Last night at a big family dinner, I was sharing a story when I heard a little voice interrupt me with, “And blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” It was Sabrina, gesticulating like a grown up, and full on imitating me in a very cute, cheeky way. I have no idea where she got that. She’s not even three, and she’s already making fun of me. This bodes well for the teen years.
Tell us some of your most loved ways to spend the day with your clan?
We’re total lazy bones on the weekend. Our toddler is obsessed with breakfast. So our big outing for Saturday is going out for brunch (before the lines) where she orders as much as her father. Recently we’ve been building a fort in the living room with pillows and blankets to watch the Olympics. And at bedtime, she pretends she’s her preschool teacher and ‘reads’ us books before bed.
What do you want your kids to learn about the world?
I want Sabrina to know that we are all connected. And that a genuine smile can get you very far in the right direction.
What do you wish you could have told yourself as a teenager?
Dear pubescent Ellie: Keep listening to your essential self, the weirdo part of you that everyone calls “quirky”. That’s where your sweet spot lies. Look, you’ll get wrapped up in external validation and in trying to prove your worth. You’ll be scared that things aren’t happening at your hyper-speed, overachieving timetable. But you are worthy of love just as you are, Ellie. There will never be another you for the rest of time. OH! And there’s this thing called a “podcast”. It hasn’t been invented yet. But yours will feel like the perfect fusion of all your passions: sharing people’s stories, making people laugh, and reaching out so others don’t feel so crazy or alone. By your thirties you’ll discover that to be happy in life, you need to make things and feel connected to other people.
What are 4 things you can’t live without as a parent?
1. A sense of humor.
2. Mom friends.
3. The Lotus Travel Crib by Guava– It has a side entrance that makes it perfect for the beach or late night cuddles. It’s very easy to put together, and you can carry it as a backpack. My toddler still sleeps in it on vacations!
4. Podcasts –I learn so much and I get so invested in the stories I hear. It makes time fly in traffic, or on a hike, or while washing bottles in the middle of the night. I’m completely obsessed.
What are some things you really believe in?
I believe in the power of female friendship. Scratch that. I believe in the power of mama-lion-hear-me-roar-I’ve-got-your-back-you’ve-got-my-back-let’s-kick-ass-at-life-friendship. As a teen, I prided myself as more of a guy’s gal. And then I went to a women’s college where we never washed our hair and couldn’t care less about competing for male attention. It was there that I realized that if you are open to attracting thoughtful and soulful women into your life, you can survive anything with their help. They are the family that we get to choose. They are the motivators and truth tellers. And they bring us back to who we are. It’s no surprise that I have met the most extraordinary women since becoming a mother. Actually motherhood feels a lot like my women’s college days. We never wash our hair, cry often, find mysterious puke on our sweatshirts, and support each other in every way imaginable.
What are some of your favorite life lessons you’ve grown to love? (even if learning them at the time was hard)
If I get hot flashes or feel a bit like throwing up the morning after sharing something new and creative, it means I’m on the right track. Either I’m pregnant (kidding) or I’m having a Brene Brown “vulnerability hangover” from sharing a core part of my being that hasn’t gotten out to play much. I LOVE that I’ve finally learned to read these signals properly. But I also hope my daughter will wrestle with less of these private twinges and pangs that can come with public truth-telling in her own life. I’ve reclaimed my voice. I want my daughter to know she’s always had one.
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