Meet Sonni Abatta, the featured speaker this year at MOABS Orlando! Sonni is a mom of 3, wife, frequent procrastinator, and (in a past life), a TV news anchor. A contributor for popular parenting sites like POPSugar Moms, Her View From Home, TODAY Parenting Team and more, Sonni writes daily on her blog, www.SonniAbatta.com, about all things mom-related, from helpful articles on parenting, to style, beauty and more. A fan of keeping it real, Sonni believes that honesty and story-sharing is the key to staying sane in parenting.
We recently had the chance to sit down with Sonni and learn more about her. Read on to find out how Sonni balances life as a busy mom of 3 and what she misses about her job as a TV news anchor.
1. You worked in television for so many years, how did you decide to leave it? What was the moment you knew it was time to be done?
I truly loved working in TV news for as long as I did, and I feel so fortunate to have had a career that I thought truly made an impact. But the short story is, I just got to a point where I was tired. Sooooo tired. I would get up early with the kids every morning, do the whole routine of breakfast and lunch, school dropoff and pickup. Then I went to work at 2:30, came home at 7 for dinner break and did multiple bedtime routines, cleaned up and went back to work for the 10pm news. Whew!
The days were always fun—but long, so I got to the point that I wanted to slow down, not only to enjoy the kids’ younger years, but to also take care of myself. I was struggling with physical and mental exhaustion, and so I made the choice to hit Pause in my professional life.
2. If you see an amazing story on the news, does it make you miss it?
Hmm. Depends on the day. ;)
I actually do miss covering the big stories—events that impact people, where they count on the news media for information. It’s very fulfilling to know that you are helping people in a meaningful way. I think that’s why I seamlessly transitioned to writing and blogging after leaving TV. I wanted to continue to connect with people and to offer them stories, inspiration and advice, and this has been a great way to do that!
3. How is life as a mom of 3 kids?
How many words can I use to answer this? Ha! Crazy. Fun. Constantly busy. Utterly exhausting. Uplifting. And overall wonderful.
I’m not one to sugarcoat the experience of motherhood—I do truly believe that honesty is one of the best tools we can arm new moms with—but it’s hard not to come back to the realization time and time again, after every hard day, that motherhood is all so worth it. It really is the best thing that I’ve ever done. That’s probably why I can’t stop talking about it!
4. Was building a blog and your own brand something that came natural to you? Was it an easy transition from your TV background?
The blog initially came about as a way to store all my unique content that I was posting on social media while I was still working in news. I wanted a place to put my thoughts and keep in touch with my online friends that I met while working in news. It eventually evolved into a little portal, where I began to not only tell stories, but to also interview experts, post videos and share advice and tips that I had gathered along the way. In that way it was an easy transition. The blog and all the social channels are just an organic, and public, extension of all the little things that I’m going through in my life as a mother, so I figured, why not share it?
5. On your blog, you mention family being the most important thing to you, how do you make time for family while running your business?
I try mightily to achieve the often-discussed “balance,” but the truth is, it doesn’t exist. There are days I have a sitter so I can sit down and work, and there are other times when I give them their iPads for an hour so I can plunk down and write. The whole “work while they’re napping!” thing just never worked for me. So I call in help when I need it. I’m a big believer that moms should ask for help and get it in whatever way they need to feel productive in their days. There’s no shame in having some help!
6. What do you hope mothers (and dads too) get out of reading your blog?
Well first, I hope they laugh! I’m intentional about sharing some of our not-so-sparkling moments as parents (like the time I accidentally put my kid’s hand in a shark tank, or the time when I had to chop off part of her hair in a public bathroom because of slime), because I think transparency about some of those frustrating moments as parents is vital. How are we supposed to feel like we’re doing okay when we scroll through social media and are fed a constant stream of perfect images and stories? There’s a place for that, sure, but that’s not all that I want to put out there.
So I hope that parents visiting my blog get some entertainment and good advice, but overall I hope they feel a sense of community, of togetherness—knowing that they’re not alone.
The early days (months? years? Ha!) of motherhood can be so lonely, and since I found so much comfort in other people’s writing when my babies were young, I am so happy to have created a space where I hope other parents can come for some good content.
7. What does a day in the life of Sonni look like?
Get up, find at least one child in my bed with me, make breakfast and lunches for the kids, leave the kitchen an utter disaster zone, throw the kids in the van and arrive late to school, no matter how hard I try.
Then if I have a sitter that day, I will squeeze in a workout and some quick writing, and maybe shoot any pictures I have to shoot for the blog. Afternoons are for school pickup, finding a way to entertain the kids for a few hours until my husband gets home, and then crashing in the biggest way on the couch immediately after getting them to bed. Then we commence binge watching “our shows.” Lately, that is Billions and Westworld. (Billions is sooooo good, guys.)
8. You write about everything from your daily life to struggles with motherhood to even some more serious topics like the #metoo movement. How does your family feel about you sharing so much?
It’s something that I discuss frequently with my husband. “How much are you comfortable with me writing about? Did this post cross the line? What do you think about this or that topic?” He’s very honest, and his—and our—priority is to protect our family as much as we can while also building boundaries in which I can share things close to my heart.
My rule of thumb is this: If it’s my story, or something that happened to me, it’s fair game. So, for example, if it’s a story that the kids peripherally (and if it isn’t anything that’s too embarrassing for them), I will share. But I try to be respectful of my kids as their own sovereign people. I remind myself, I may have made them, but I don’t own them! One day they will want to tell their own stories through their own lenses, and I try to honor that by keeping them out of my content as much as possible.
9. What is one piece of advice you'd give a new mom or dad?
Be kind to yourself! Be patient! Parenthood is a new shoe that takes a while to break in. You have to find your own rhythms and habits and what works best for you, and the only way you can find that is with time. Don’t compare yourself or your child to anyone.
All babies are different, so get to know yours. And no matter what “they” say, it’s okay if your baby doesn’t sleep 12 hours a night the week he’s home from the hospital!
Cover the basics: Keep them safe, keep them healthy, enjoy the little moments as best you can, and laugh a lot. These are the best years of your life.
Come meet Sonni at MOABS: The Orlando Edition Friday May 11th at the Orlando Science Center.