Stefanie Schoen is a fashion & travel enthusiast and shares her passions through her blog The Style Safari. She is running a retail consulting business and brings 10+ years of Retail Management experience in Buying and Merchandising with 8+ years in Social Media and Influencer Marketing. She lives in Marin, CA with her husband Jeff and their daughter Marina, 2 years old. She is currently expecting baby #2 and is sharing about the highs & lows of quarantine life.
1. Current state of mind?
Honestly? Struggling. I am a self-motivated person who thrives when I can work towards new ideas and projects, but right now I am so busy taking care of my two-year-old that I have very little time to manage my businesses or my health. I feel very trapped, both physically and mentally, and I’m learning that being mentally trapped is far worse!
2. Due Date? Boy or Girl?
June 5, baby boy!
3. Have you picked up a name yet?
We have a contender but both my husband and I are hesitant to say ‘it’s the one’. We struggle with deciding if we want to go more traditional or unique for this little guy’s name, which makes me think it will be a last-minute call!
4. Is your second pregnancy different from the first?
It feels different in every way! I knew this was a boy early on because my symptoms were so very different than they were with Marina. I was much more tired and sick this time in my first trimester but had zero acne, something that plagued my entire first pregnancy. Also, I’m carrying the weight this time more in my bump as opposed to the first time where I swear I was fuller EVERYWHERE. I am also much less prepared for a baby this time around than I was for the first baby; I’m sure it’s probably typical for many second-time moms, but I have no idea where this baby will sleep, I have bought nothing for him and of course, I have no name yet. By 20 weeks last pregnancy I had everything already planned out!
5. Are the birthing guidelines from your hospital different because of COVID-19? Have you thought/plan about how you will manage your postpartum journey?
We are lucky in that although we are in the San Francisco Bay Area, Marin only has a few hospitalized COVID-19 patients right now. The current restrictions allow my husband to be with me for the delivery, but no additional guests at the hospital, which means Marina and our families will have to meet the baby when we come home. I’m sure we will spend as little time in the hospital as possible this time in order to get home to Marina, but our hope is that my parents will be able to help out with her by then so that my husband can spend as much time with the new baby as possible.
6. How was your breastfeeding experience with your first child, Marina?
Marina had borderline IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) so when I was induced at 40 weeks she was very small, 5 lbs 12 oz. Because of this she had a really hard time latching in the early days, so I was pumping from day 1, and then we were feeding her with a syringe until she was able to breastfeed or take a bottle. I actually loved breastfeeding once she was able to latch, but found I wasn’t making enough for Marina as she grew. We supplemented with formula around 6 months, and Marina started swatting me away at 10 months which is when she eventually gave up on the boob altogether. I don’t really judge around ‘breast is best’ or whatever… I just found breastfeeding easier because I didn’t have to pack up or clean anything afterwards!
7. Is your stress level higher during the COVID-19 crisis and being quarantined while pregnant?
My stress is definitely lower because the expectations of me are lower. I actually don’t mind a bit of stress because that means I’m usually working on an exciting project. However my anxiety (which I don’t usually have) is much higher because I feel so unsettled, exhausted, unfulfilled and directionless most of the time. I am particularly anxious about giving birth right as the shelter-in-place restrictions are about to lift; I feel like I will have spent my entire third trimester stuck in the house, and then I will potentially have my entire fourth trimester spent that way as well. I don’t want to resent being home, not working, in sweats with my new baby, but I already feel like that will happen.
8. How are you handling the quarantine life with your husband and daughter? Have you found some ways to adapt to this new normal?
My husband and I have worked out a daily schedule where he takes care of her for lunch and dinner and I have her the rest of the time. It works, but that means that I am pretty exhausted by lunch and her nap, and I’m not a great mom by the afternoon. She is at an exhausting, demanding age, and has too short of an attention span for screens even if I shove them at her. I typically hate buying new toys that just get pushed aside after a few weeks, but during this quarantine. I have found myself purchasing a new toy or activity for her every week just to keep the monotony at bay!
9. Is there a moment or a routine you’ve created during this time that you look forward to?
I love fashion design and sewing but have had a hard time finding the brain capacity and time to design anything since this pandemic started. So instead I’ve taken up drawing to practice my rendering skills and although I’m not a great artist, I’ve realized that it does satisfy that creative aspect of designing clothing. It’s also quite therapeutic to color and to know that I’m still designing, even if I don’t have a physical final product.
10. As a fashion enthusiast, do you make an effort to feel “put together” at home or have you given in the sweatpants trend?
If you look at my feed, I have been into fashionable sweatsuits for YEARS, so I was already well equipped for this trend. So yes, I probably throw on one of my sweatsuits every morning but by the afternoon most days. I have probably changed again into something more fun. I find that it doesn’t really matter what I wear as long as I change out of my pajamas!
11. Are you being able to offer your consulting services to retailers while managing childcare around the clock?
Yes, I have still been consulting during this tricky time and actually have signed new clients during it! It can be really hard to manage responsibilities since you never know when your colleagues are online or when is a good time to set up phone calls to catch up. I try to write comprehensive ‘wrap up’ emails at the end of every week just to highlight any new initiatives I am working on, progress made on existing ones, and new ideas that I have seen in the market that are relevant to my clients. I find that this is a nice way to help keep them in the loop on what you are working on so that no one worries whether you are pulling your weight or not. And when do I do them? Always, always, when the toddler is sleeping!
12. It’s a very challenging time for everyone and even more so for small businesses. Do you have any advice for small retailers?
Yes. Now is not the time to sell. I know that’s counter-intuitive because you need sales to survive, but the only real way you will come out of this on the other side is if you have a strong community behind you backing up your product. That means now, more than ever, get onto social media + email and build that community. Engage with them in a real way. Start engaging with other local businesses and shoppers who have already bought your product and remind them why they loved you. And you tell them why you love them! Utilize product reviews, old images, polls, and current at-home behind the scenes to relate to your customers so that you are top of mind as soon as you can make it out of the house again! Or, email me at Stefanieschoen@mac.com and I will show you how ;)