Reflections on Motherhood: Ivanka Trump

The cover star and working mother shares stories from parenting and family life.

Ivanka Trump: Behind the Scenes


On her morning routine with daughter Arabella:
"I got her a subscription to National Geographic kids' magazine ... and as I'm reading the newspaper each morning, she'll flip through that or sit on my lap and ask me questions about what I am reading. She's pretty verbal for a 2 year old, so she's able to engage in these types of dialogues. It is very cute. Before it was just looking at pictures and pointing; now she's able to tell me about the giant whale that she thinks is very cool."

On being a mom:
"Motherhood has affected everything in my life. From a work perspective, I'm highly efficient. I do a lot more and I've never been busier, but I can get things done in a lot less time. So efficiency becomes key ... I look back to five years ago, and I think, What did I do with all that time? ... Once in a while, I'll have a moment when I'm traveling for work. I'm in a hotel room somewhere, and I'm drinking a coffee and reading a newspaper, alone and in a leisurely fashion before my day gets started, and I'm thinking, This is incredibly civilized, but it's way more fun being home amidst the morning chaos. I kind of love it in that moment, but I prefer the hectic alternative."

On their weekend routine:
"We go to our golf club, Trump National Bedminster, during the weekends in the summer. We planted a garden together this spring, which is great. So, Arabella and I will tend our garden, if you will. She's actually very, very cute. She gets that strawberries are in season right at the beginning of the summer, before a lot of the other stuff in the garden has come out. And she was so excited by this. She has a giant basket, and she'd pick every strawberry in this huge patch. Then we'd go into the kitchen, and she'd stand on a chair at the sink washing the strawberries in a sieve, popping them into her mouth as quickly as she can wash them. It was to the point where we had a sore belly after almost every experience, because she'd eat her body weight in strawberries! And it's one of these things where you don't really want to say, 'That's enough,' because she's eating strawberries that she'd planted and picked from the land. It's like, 'Arabella, you might want to chill with the strawberries,' but it's really cute and she always asks [about them]. She's very upset that they're now out of season, but we've moved on. We have cherry tomatoes and squash and zucchini, so it's good; we spend some time doing that ... She loves swimming as well, so one of us, Jared or me, is always in the pool with her for very long stretches of time."

On nurturing children's abilities and interests:
"I think being outdoors in the fresh air and playing sports is the stuff of childhood, and that's very important. But when I think what I want for her, I want to be able to give her everything. I want her to learn and appreciate music. I have a little piano for her, one she got as a baby gift. I'd love for her to learn to play. I played when I was younger, and, unfortunately, I was the typical kid who plays at 7 and quits at 12, so doesn't really know very much. So that's something I hope to be able to expose her to. She is taking ballet classes, too, which she adores. Really, though, I just want her to have fun.

On what she hopes Arabella will say about her:
"I want to help her develop self-confidence, because I think, especially in girls, a sense of self-confidence is probably the most important thing you can facilitate. I had a lot of teenage friends who went the wrong way because of a lack of it."

On how husband Jared treats her when she's pregnant:
"He's wonderful. He's just a great husband. He likes my pace, and he's also been used to—at least so far—relatively easy pregnancies where I haven't had a lot of sickness. So sometimes I have to remind him that I'm pregnant.

On watching her daughter grow:
"When she was 3 months old, I thought it was the greatest thing ever. I'm like, Oh, now that she's 2 years old, it's so much more fun. So hopefully it keeps getting better. I'm sure there will be a peak in her teenage years, probably followed by a hopefully short setback, but if it keeps getting better I'll be happy about that! But it really is just amazing."

On how parenthood changed her relationship with her parents:
"I appreciate all that they did for us even more. I appreciate the exhaustion, the decisions. It's funny; one of the things I've learned is it's so much harder to impose discipline than it is to not. I would love to come home every night and say, 'You know what? I feel guilty about having been at work. I'm connecting with my daughter, so I'm just going to give her cookies and watch TV with her and do all the things that would make her happy. And I'll get happiness from seeing her happiness, and it's great.' But it's a lot harder to say, 'I'm going to walk into the house and feed her a nutritious dinner, and later give her a time-out because she was acting up.' That's one of the things that I don't think, until you're a parent, you appreciate—that, actually, being strict is the much harder (at least in the short run) path to go down. Ultimately, in my opinion, it's the right path—assuming you're consistent with it. But, definitely, as a parent it's the harder one."

On preparing for labor and delivery:
"I had a long-running joke/prank with my husband, where I told him the only thing he would have to do the whole pregnancy is pack the bag for the hospital. He initially thought I was joking, but I kept going with the joke and he became very nervous about it. He kept telling me, 'I'm happy to do this, but you're going to be unhappy with what I pack. I'm going to pack the wrong things; some of this stuff, I don't know what it means. You know the nursing bra? I have no idea what that is.' So I finally told him that I'd been packed for three weeks already, and not to worry about it. Come on, please, especially with a guy—it wouldn't have worked, and he is 100 percent correct that he would have packed all the wrong stuff. But I had some fun with him for a little while."

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