Sidewalk Talk with Alexis Bryan Morgan
Name: Alexis Bryan Morgan
Occupation: VP Creative at Rent the Runway
Children: Freya (6), Ada (8)
What’s your favorite kid-friendly brunch spot in your neighborhood?
We go to Brado’s pizza almost every weekend. The pizza is so good!
Favorite playgrounds in your area?
We treat Brooklyn Bridge Park like it is our backyard. We basically live there on summer weekends, day to night. My husband plays beach volleyball in the mornings, we hit tennis balls on one of the piers, have picnics on a grassy hill with the most amazing views of the city and Statue of Liberty, and BBQ on the grills there for dinner. The park has been an awesome addition to our lives. We also like Warren Park because we like to try restaurants in the area and always end up stopping by the great gift store Exit 9. My girls also love Pierrepont Park which often involves a trip to Häagen-Dazs.
What are your children’s favorite activities?
Two foods your little one(s) are obsessed with?
I recently learned an old Italian recipe which is basically meatballs and sausage in a tomato sauce. There are plenty of steps the girls can help me out with and we make a huge batch that lasts us the week. It tastes more delicious as the week goes on! I don’t think there is ever a time of day or situation when my girls would turn down ice cream. If there is a boring errand we need to do or a place my husband and I want to go to on the weekend that may not be all that interesting for the girls, I just find an ice cream spot nearby and make the adventure about trying out a new spot to get ice cream. My children also like sushi and we often sit at the bar at our favorite place Ani Sushi on Montague on Sunday evenings.
What three things do you always pack for your child when you go on vacation?
Sunscreen, toothbrushes and this aromatic relaxation oil I bought at City Chemists on Montague. We have this little ritual that we call “relax oil time” where the girls get in bed with me and I put a few drops of the oil on the palms of their hands and they rub their hands together and then we put our hands to our face and take deep breaths. They really seem to enjoy it and it is the perfect thing to do when energy levels are getting out of whack or if we are in a rut and want to get motivated to switch gears.
What are you most strict about when it comes to parenting?
Being kind to others.
Favorite quick kid-friendly dinner recipe?
Quick quesadillas - place tortillas on a buttered pan and throw on some shredded cheese. Fold the tortillas and voilà!
Who is your biggest mom crush?
Family friend Miranda Brooks. She is one of the most relaxed parents and she really lets her children figure out a lot of things out for themselves. I generally feel like I am a pretty stressed out and worrisome mom which probably isn’t good for anyone in the end. Working on that!
What’s your favorite way to unwind?
Hot baths and laughing with my girls. My daughters are really into stand up comedy and one of our activities is to do ridiculous skits for each other. A lot of them involve imitating and poking fun of each other and it gets pretty hilarious. I also enjoy an occasional vodka martini.
I don’t know what the exact quote is, but I heard something early on about parenting that helped me a lot in different moments which is “everything is just a stage.” It is so easy to get worked up about something when you feel like the situation is going to be forever, but just keeping in mind that so much will change so quickly with your children helps keep perspective.
What does a day in the life of you and your children look like?
The mornings can be hectic, but fortunately I am a real morning person. The first thing I do is squeeze fresh juice for everyone. My mom did it for me and I think it is a great way to start the day. I also have a fantastic citrus juicer made by Breville. It has taken a lot of work and trial and error with different strategies but we are finally at a place where my girls will get themselves completely ready for school before coming in for breakfast. I drop them at school at 8:20 then I head to the subway to the place I work in Soho. My girls have a few after school classes during the week and I am at home by 7 for our evening routine. We almost always loosely talk about our “rose" (best thing that happened today), "thorn" (worst thing that happened today), "seed" (thing we are looking forward to) and "root" (something we learned today) before bed. I talk about mine too. I am surprised by how fascinated they can be hearing the seemingly mundane stories of things that go on during my work day.
Favorite rainy day activity…
I feel very fortunate because my girls are crafty like me. We do a lot of painting, coloring, making little books, and knitting.
Funniest thing your children have said to you...
My 8 year old does a hilarious imitation of my walk. I crack up every time.
What is your favorite part about being a parent?
The feeling of how much I love my children. I had no idea I had such a capacity to love until I became a parent!
One thing you miss about your pre-parenting life...
Not being in a constant or semi state of worry.
What do you do when your children go to bed?
The first thing I do is to check my phone to see if there is anything going on with work I need to deal with, and then I tidy the apartment so the mornings feel less crazy. Last but not least, I try to spend some quality time with my husband which usually involves completely vegging out on the sofa watching some true crime TV.
Favorite bedtime book...
For my kids, we really enjoyed “The Stories Julian Tells” series. They are just the right length and have some nice lessons.
How did you come up with your children’s names?
“Ada or Ardor” is the name of my favorite book and I always said if I ever had a daughter I would call her Ada. My husband and I both have Scandinavian grandparents so we looked at a list of Nordic names and we thought Freya was beautiful.
One thing you'd tell your pre-parent self…
The best is yet to come!
How do you keep your cool as a parent?
First of all, I am really not a cool parent and definitely not a naturally chill person so I have lots of strategies to deal with this. The main thing that is helpful to me is to just try and focus on being present in every moment.
Best tantrum tactic...
I never figured out any. Lol. Tantrums happen…
Favorite parenting reads...
I don’t really read a lot of parenting material. It has the effect of stressing me out more, by reminding me of things I should be doing. I did read one book that was really helpful to me called “Setting Limits with your Strong Willed Child”. I got a lot of great tips from that book that brought more sanity to our home.