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'No one will ever question a stay-at-home mom again': How the pandemic changed Paola Alberdi and Chriselle Lim's worlds

Kerry Justich
·3 min read
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Paola Alberdi and Chriselle Lim are best known for their massive social media platforms, where each of the women share their incredible sense of fashion and lifestyle tips as modern women and entrepreneurs on the go. As the pandemic put dressing up, traveling and all things that were "business as usual" on hold, however, Alberdi and Lim were forced to pivot and focus solely on maintaining their brands from home with their husbands and children — a shift that came with pros and cons.

"Before the pandemic I feel like I was super nonstop. I suffered with mom guilt all the time," Alberdi — a mom to a 3-year-old boy Enzo tells Yahoo Life. "So when the pandemic hit, I felt like I definitely hit a pause button, which was actually pretty amazing."

The founder of the fashion platform Blank Itinerary even admits that she was often "too hard" on herself when trying to juggle everything on her plate. Although those parts of her life didn't come to a halt, Alberdi explains that the balance amongst them definitely shifted.

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"It took the pressure off of me a little bit," she says, as people grew to understand the stress that came with working from home as a mother with a young child. "We definitely had to get a little bit more flexible and also a little more creative."

Lim, the mom to 6-year-old Chloe and 2-year-old Collette, experienced a similar shift — although she leaned into it in a different way by utilizing the changing dynamic of families stuck at home as an opportunity for a new business venture.

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"When the pandemic first started happening, we're like, 'OK, what are we going to do now?'" Lim says in reference to her daughters no longer having in-person school. "That's how BümoBrain was formed, which is an early childhood education platform for early learners ages one through seven."

Lim was also inspired by her experience of parenting through a pandemic to expand the Bümo brand to cater to childcare and create a network for parents sharing similar struggles.

"I'm just grateful that I have other mothers like Paola that are just friends, that we could all kind of share notes and lean on each other," Lim shares of her ability to adapt as a working mom during the pandemic. "We've had to really just reset our expectations of what we can accomplish in a given day. And it's OK if your to-do list is not completely checked off and that's something that I've had to kind of come to terms with."

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Alberdi adds, "No one will ever question a stay-at-home mom again, because literally it is a full-time job."

And while both moms praised their "hands-on" husbands, they share how mothers experience unique pressure as parents.

"Women have a tendency to kind of keep everything in right until like we blow up," Lim says. "I think it's really important that we have that space for ourselves as mothers to really take care of our mental health."

Luckily, that self care is something that they preach to their online audiences as well. "I feel like we're both very, very real to our audience," Alberdi says. "Just like you want to inspire them to do good or inspire them fashion wise, you also want to be a positive reinforcement for them."

Despite the many highs and lows of the year that Alberdi and Lim have spent at home, with their families and growing their businesses, Lim expresses the simplest source of pride. "Surviving," she says. "Just the mere fact that my kids are alive and my husband and I are married, we've thriving...that is an accomplishment in itself."

— Video produced by Katarina Vasquez

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