Ali Fedotowsky On Her One Big Year of Change

Lovable former Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky had a baby and got married since we spoke to her last. We asked her to be honest about what being a mom is like—and she didn’t hold back.

Ali Fedotowsky In Jean Jacket Sitting Silja Magg
When Ali Fedotowsky was on our cover a year ago, posing with friend and fellow Bachelorette alum Catherine Giudici, she was near the end of her pregnancy. “I’m ready to have a baby, but I’m also aware that I have no idea what that entails,” Fedotowsky told us at the time. Now, she and hubby Kevin Manno, a television and radio host, are proud parents to adorable Molly, who turned 1 in July, and they’ve had a chance to learn what parenthood is all about! It’s been amazing, the 32-year-old reports, though there were months of sleeplessness before she and Manno found their footing. Pregnant ladies, take field notes from this busy mama, who also runs her All Things Ali Luvs blog, stars on her own digital talk show, Love Buzz, and guest-cohosts the Hallmark Channel series Home & Family

Babies are magic

“Here I am, almost a year in, and I still look at Molly and think, ‘I made you.’ It’s still shocking to me that she exists. And I feel like I’m going to have that same sense of awe when she’s 18. It’s mind-boggling.” 

Romance vs. reality 

“Motherhood, in every single aspect, is harder than I thought it would be. Kevin and I knew it would be a challenge, but we had this very romanticized version of how it would be. Like, ‘Oh, we’ll have this beautiful little human who’s going to look like both of us who we’re going to love so much.’ That’s true, but I don’t think I sat back and thought about how hard it is being a parent. Everyone tells you, ‘Your life is going to completely change,’ but no matter how many times I heard that, I couldn’t have possibly prepared myself.”

Behind the Scenes of Ali Fedotowsky's Cover Shoot

Taking on too much

“For the first eight months of Molly’s life, we never had anyone else watch her—not even a family member. After months of no breaks and little sleep, I legit had a mental breakdown. I remember I was in our kitchen, crying to Kevin on the phone, saying,  ‘I can’t do this anymore. I need help.’ I was holding Molly. She was screaming. I was screaming. It was like out of a movie—I lost my mind.”

Problem solved

“We learned to ask for help, whether it meant leaning on friends or calling our moms and asking them to fly out and stay with us for a week. And now we have a part-time nanny who comes once or twice a week.”

Date night is different 

“We absolutely still struggle in that department. We need to make more time for ourselves and schedule more date nights. Once, when Kevin’s brother babysat, we went to dinner and spent the first hour watching videos of Molly on our phones, saying, ‘Look at how cute she is!’ I’m not even kidding. Finally we said, ‘Do you realize what we’re doing? We need to put our phones away!’ But Molly is the great love of our lives. And we’re okay with that.”

Coparenting IRL

“When people ask, ‘Does your husband help?’ I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ Why do people assume the baby is Mom’s job? I say, ‘No, he’s her dad. He parents her.’ Kevin and I are a 50/50 team. He tries to be there every step of the way. Now Molly comes to me for nurturing but she looks to Daddy to make her laugh. Oh my God, Daddy makes her laugh!”

But balance? LOL

“My work/personal life balance is just terrible. If anyone knows how to have balance, please let me know because I have not figured it out yet. I am constantly running from one thing to another, saying, ‘Kevin, can you hold her? I have to do this on my computer.’ Then, Kevin will say, ‘Oh, can you hold her for a second? I just have to do a couple things.’ It is nonstop all day long, every day.”

Running a biz

“I’ve worked since Molly was born. I run my website from home and now I’m doing more TV hosting. I understand how hard it is for moms who have to go back to a nine-to-five job after maternity leave, and how it’s almost impossible to find time to pump, explaining to your boss, ‘Oh, every three hours I need a break.’ That doesn’t always fly, especially on a TV set. I feel for moms.”

Zzz’s struggle is real

“Molly did not want to sleep! I expected that with a newborn I’d be up every three hours. But when she turned 6 months, 7 months, 8 months, and she was still waking up every three hours, we got a sleep coach. We learned that she was overtired, and because of that, she wouldn’t sleep. It was a horrible cycle. Sleep training was the best thing we ever did for her.”

Ali Fedotowsky and Daughter Molly Laughing Silja Magg

Body bounce-back

“I feel like such a jerk for saying this, but losing the baby weight was easy for me. I know a lot of women really struggle. Maybe I’ve subconsciously realized the power of my body, so now I treat it better. Or I’m making better choices in everyday life. I’m not sure! I don’t go to the gym, and I’ve only made a few yoga classes since becoming a mom, but it could be from chasing Molly around. I’m just one of those women whose body got better after pregnancy, and I know that I got really, really lucky.”

Nursing works for her

“I’m still breastfeeding. I don’t know how long I’m going to make it. I barely had any pain when I started, and I always had a great supply. Every time I breastfeed Molly, I’m famished afterward. I feel it’s like a workout. I’m afraid when I stop breastfeeding, I’m going to gain a bunch of weight.”

Early education

“We’ve done some sensory classes with Molly. In one of them, I painted her skin with non-toxic, washable paint. It was fun. We did another one where we put her in a baby pool full of beads and smooshy things. It’s all about encouraging your baby to touch and feel. There’s another class I want to try where you put your baby in a tub of cooked spaghetti. It’s called a pasta party!”

Time for #2?

“We definitely want to have a second baby. We’ve always said two. I don’t know if it gets harder when a second child comes into the mix. If it does, please help me. A lot of people say it actually gets easier because the children keep each other company. I hope that’s the case, because, if not, I’m in big trouble.”

Raising a girl

“We live in Hollywood. Here, people value the way you look. That’s just the way it is. When I lived in San Francisco, people valued how smart you were. So it scares me that Molly may grow up here. It will be super important to me to teach her that she’s so much more than how she looks.”

Being bossy

“I hope that I set a good example for Molly by being a business owner and an entrepreneur. I hustle every day to support my family. I’m the higher earner in our family and I’m not shy about saying that. I want her to know that’s okay. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, that’s commendable too. But I want her to know that there are options, and one of them is to be a boss lady.”