Making it WorkMaking it Work

Barrett Prendergast Is Making It Work

Barrett Prendergast isn’t just making it work, she’s making life as a serial entrepreneur and mom of three looks absolutely charming. For the Valleybrink Road founder, rituals—pesto-fueled family dinners, books in bed, self-care moments—make balancing business, busy schedules, and recovering from childbirth a little easier. Prendergast’s website is equal parts style guide and earnestly open (and often hilarious) advice column, so it follows that her newest endeavor is a lifestyle brand inspired by motherhood. We chatted with Prendergast about how she’s making it work and how postpartum recovery is different now than it was seven years ago.      

Anya Mama getting it done

6:00 am: Bruno, our five-month-old, usually starts the day off for everyone—he’s the alarm before our actual alarm goes off. We get up, change his diaper, get him into a new little outfit, and feed him his bottle. We’ve actually been very strict with his sleep schedule, and I’ve weaned him from night feeds so he sleeps from 6:00 to 6:00 right now, which is incredible. We didn’t do that with our other two, but Bruno is our third, and won’t survive if we don’t have him on a good routine.

6:30 am: My husband Andre gets right on the coffee. While he’s making us cappuccinos, I start the day with a glass of water with four droppers of Anya Energy Tonic. It’s so easy to include in my routine, always makes me feel better, and I can literally prep it while I’m holding the baby. As new moms, we just don’t have any bandwidth to think about ourselves, but what I love about Anya’s products is they make it easy to take care of yourself without overthinking.

7:00 am: The other two boys wake up and we make them breakfast. Maybe it’s cereal, maybe it’s avocado toast, but it’s definitely nothing too crazy because we gotta head out for school. Getting the boys dressed, brushing teeth—this part of the morning happens fast. Then whoever is handling the carpool throws on some clothes.

7:40 am: We take Costa to school first, and then drop off Paolo at a different preschool. Andre and I kind of alternate carpool, so whoever’s not driving is at the house with the baby until our nanny comes and we can get ready to start the workday.

8:00 am: After the wild morning rush and breakfast routine, our nanny arrives and Bruno usually goes down for a nap, so I’m able to start getting ready for the day. Right now, Anya lactation tea is part of my morning ritual. I love the thought that’s gone into the ingredients in this tea. It takes two seconds to make, and I add a little bit of manuka honey. It’s so soothing and really makes me feel good.

Anya goodies

When I had Costa seven and a half years ago, there was no conversation around what we, as moms, could do to heal, recover, and be the best parents we can be. In these early months, whether it’s your first time or your third time, or your fifth time, small moments—like taking a few minutes to sit and have a cup of tea—can change the whole feeling you have for the day. Oftentimes we don’t feel like we can, but try to allow ourselves to!

8:15 am: I have five minutes to shower before I throw on some sweats because that’s the uniform right now. Anya makes the most deliciously creamy body butter, so that’s really the only thing I’ve been using. It’s super nourishing and absorbs quickly, so I can get dressed fast. This was my third time having a baby, and I’ve noticed the effects of using something so nutrient-rich and healing. It’s helped a lot with skin elasticity on my stomach and other areas that had a lot of stretching. I was bigger this time than I was with any of my other children, and considering what it’s gone through my skin looks really great. I attribute that to self-care and the Anya products that I’ve been using this time around, for sure.

8:45 am: If I didn’t eat with the kids, I’ll have a quick smoothie. I take my vitamins and prepare a big cup of water to take with me. Sometimes I add a little more tonic—I’ve been using Energy or Recovery interchangeably throughout these early months postpartum. Sometimes I take both in one day, sometimes only one. I just love that I can just add them easily to my big water bottle so I’m staying hydrated and feeling good.

Anya tea

9:00 am: I head to our Valleybrink Road warehouse for the first part of my day. I’m over there dealing with orders, clients, and fulfillment and making sure everything’s running and running wel.

10:00 am: Andre and I run Valleybrink Road together. He tackles the product photography, website, and a lot of logistics. We work both from home and at the warehouse, and we’ve been lucky in that we’ve structured our lives so we can carve out time to do carpool runs and homework. I feel very blessed that we’re able to have that time every day to share with our kids.

12:00 pm: I usually pop home and make a meal for myself, see Bruno, and hang out for a little bit.

12:30 pm: I’m actually about to launch a new business! It’s a lifestyle brand inspired by motherhood called Mamamoods, so I spend the second part of the day working on that and wrapping up any Valleybrink Road work that has to be done.

2:30 pm: Our nanny leaves, so Bruno is my companion. That means the workday is pretty much over. We do the carpool run to get Costa. He’s in first grade, so it’s nice that I can sit and do his homework with him, have a snack, and talk about his day before Paolo comes home. I try as much as possible to get one-on-one time with him, although it’s hard right now since the baby is still so little.

3:30 pm: Andre and I balance taking care of Bruno in the afternoons so we can each have a little time with Costa. When Andre takes the baby, Costa and I will go for a walk around the block, ride bikes, or get afternoon juice from the cute little juice shop on the corner. He loves it—he’s always like, “Hey, can we just have a little mom and Costa time?”

4:30 pm: We head over to pick Paolo up from preschool, come back home, and the wild nighttime routine starts.

5:00 pm: I love to cook and so does Andre, so dinner is a big part of our daily routine. Oftentimes we cook as a family, or sometimes one of us takes care of cooking while the other one hangs out with the kids for some playtime. We eat a lot of pasta—everyone likes it, which means no tears at the table! The kids love basil pesto with spaghetti so they can slurp up the pasta noodles. It feels like a real win when you’re like, “Oh my gosh, everyone will eat this tonight.”

Costa and Paolo are definitely moving into a much more picky phase, but we still encourage them to try new things and get comfortable with food. Hopefully, because it’s such a part of our everyday, eventually our love for food will transfer to them.

5:45 pm: Bruno goes to bed either right before dinner or right after, depending on how quickly everything comes together.

6:00 pm: It’s really important to us every night to sit down as a family and have dinner. We always sit at the table, and we go around and discuss the best part of our day. If there was something that was difficult or hard, we always share that too. That’s our little dinner routine.

I hope it creates a safe space for them to talk about it when something doesn’t go well, or their feelings are hurt, or they are just bummed. So often those things are just sitting inside us, and our goal is to create an environment where we can share those feelings and tackle them together if we need support.

6:45 pm: With Bruno down, we’re able to have a little more time with the older kids. We do bath time and play for a little bit. Costa and Paolo each pick a few books, and we read all cuddled up in bed together.

7:30 pm: Hopefully the older boys are in bed by now…

8:00 pm: They’re definitely in bed now. That means we finally have a little time to unwind. I always have a cup of the Anya Calming Tea at night, again with just a little bit of Manuka honey. It’s a really nice relaxing ritual, especially right now.

8:30 pm: I try to go to bed as early as possible because I am tired, depleted, and trying to allow myself some time to recover. The whole “sleep when the baby’s asleep” thing is definitely not happening for me during the day, so right now I’m going to bed very early so I can get a long stretch of sleep.

Andre is a night person, so when he finally has alone time, he’s usually listening to music or reading or something, and he really needs that kind of time by himself. But my goal is to capture the moments when I can get real, deep sleep. Setting up a routine and these little rituals throughout the day to help me achieve that goal has really, really helped this time.

This article was written in partnership with Anya.