Brenna Huckaby knows something about grace under pressure. The Paralympian gold medalist snowboarder is a mom of two, a model, and happens to be the first Paralympian to ever appear in the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated, NBD. Did all that prepare her for having to quarantine with her kids this year? Not quite. But it certainly showed her she’s a badass who can roll with whatever life throws at her.
These days, Huckaby is partnering with Aerie as one of the brand’s Role Models, in hopes of showing the world — especially her two daughters, Sloan and Lilah, with husband Tristan Clegg — that all bodies are beautiful, and that mainstream beauty standards need to die, stat. We caught up with Huckaby to see what else she’s teaching her daughters: Spanish, reading, bike-riding, how to be a “Rebel Girl,” and of course how to jam out to Lizzo any old time. Plus, she shares her top picks for her own daily #momlife essentials, from beauty buys to hiking-trail fashion.
The podcast I’m currently plugged into
“We love Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls. It’s a perfect mix of kid-leveled entertainment, inspiration, and the episodes are short enough to keep my three-year-old’s attention. If we are being honest, I also learn a lot from this podcast.”
The book(s) my kid are obsessed with
“My daughter LOVES the Dora The Explorer books. I feel like I have them memorized at this point. She also has learned many Spanish words, and it’s pretty special to see her learning so much so fast.”
What I’m reading for myself
“I love to read, but now that I have two kids and one is older and active, I don’t have the time to read. I have been following Aerie’s REAL Reads on the #AerieREAL Life blog to get suggestions of books I would like to start, and I have recently been listening to a ton of Audibles. I just finished the book Educated by Tara Westover, and it was phenomenal. I had to sneak away from the family a few times so I could get a few extra minutes of listening in, it was so good.”
The snacks I always keep on hand for my kids
“The more under-the-radar, the better! When we aren’t eating fresh fruits and vegetables (I am super lucky my kiddo loves those), we like to snack on the Island Stretch fruit leathers. I and my husband may eat the majority of them because they are so tasty.”
The beauty product that’s always in my bag
“I use Supergoop sunscreen like it’s my job. It has such a pleasant texture and absorbs into the skin nicely. I like how it also doesn’t have a smell, and you can apply makeup on top easily. Plus, sunscreen is so important in skincare, so I make sure to wear it daily.”
The apps that make my life as a parent easier
“I have no idea how I would parent without the Daniel Tiger Parenting app. It offers tons of songs from dealing with emotions to trying new foods. The songs are catchy, and I find myself using them on myself! We have both learned so much from that tiger!”
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It’s only taken me 3 months since quarantine to figure out a routine for us but I can successfully say we stuck to a routine full of yoga, learning, outside play, bike rides, and healthy foods for a whole week. Maybe going to the lake was therapeutic for us 😝 Also not that anyone asked but I’ve been off social media for a few weeks now. I post, check in, but 20 min a day is all I can give. My mental health, productivity, and outlook on life has been drastically better. If you’re stuck in a rut I recommend unplugging from your virtual life and deep dive into your real one. Sending you all lots of smiles and love this week!
The parenting accounts I love to follow on Instagram
“I follow Taking Cara Babies for all of my parenting concerns. She shares information on sleep tips, tricks, and hacks. She is a neonatal nurse, certified pediatric sleep consultant, and a wife to a pediatrician, so I feel like her information is reputable.”
The non-screen activity that keeps my kids busy
“We go on bike rides every single day. We taught my oldest to ride a bike without training wheels, and since then we have biked everywhere!”
The TV shows I actually enjoy watching with my kids
“We like the show Green Eggs and Ham on Netflix.”
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People have been asking me lately if I swim with my prosthetic on. The short answer is no. While some prosthetics are waterproof swimming in them is just dead weight. For me, my prosthetic does not help me in the water. It feels unnatural and uncomfortable. I can’t move around as fast and boy does it hurt to kick with my real leg. The cliff jumping video without my prosthetic on is like that for many reasons. When jumping at that height it freaking hurts to hit the water even when you land straight so adding a prosthetic that can’t point it’s toes would probably really injure me. Plus, I just prefer to swim in my natural state. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I am comfortable taking my leg off to swim in public. Yes. People will stare longer and more than when you’re walking around. Yes. It’s uncomfortable. Yes. It brings up feelings of insecurity or even trauma. It can feel like a reminder of what you went through and how different you are now. But I’m here to tell you living your life is way more freeing than being afraid to live because you’re afraid to be looked at for being different. We each hold a story. We are all different. But at the same time, we have A LOT of similarities. So whatever your prosthetic is in this scenario. Be it a leg, chair, or a two piece swimsuit you want to wear but are afraid to, I promise it will feel better to just do it. Your life is worth living, so live it.
The kid-friendly music I don’t hate playing around the house
“We play adult songs without cuss words, so that’s pretty much a win for both of us. We both love Lizzo!”
My favorite kids bath/skincare pick
“We are obsessed with Lush bath bombs. They make bath time exciting and the products are clean and safe for sensitive skin.”
How I keep my mom wardrobe on point
“I LIVE in Aerie clothing. I love clothes that are super cute, comfortable, and versatile. As an #AerieREAL Role Model it was important for me to partner with a brand that made me feel good as well. When I wear Aerie, I am not only photo ready but I can also go straight up a hiking trail with my kids right after. My favorite items right now are the satin dress paired with a knotted T-shirt.”
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I read this comment a while back about how to talk to our kids about disability and it is something I’ve been using in my family since. Kids are curious. Kids are also completely unaware of social norms and will ask LOUDY about someone’s disability. Parents, this is okay. Honestly I’m not really judging you as a parent if your kid asks, and I’m not judging you as you respond because it’s a hard, on the spot topic I’m sure you weren’t prepared to explain today BUT here is the advice that has changed my life as a parent when explaining adversity. Flip it back to normal activities they see all the time. For instance, we were in public recently and there was a wheelchair user around lilahs age. Lilah asked me “mom why is she using that chair” and I answered “to get her from on place to another like you. You use your legs, she uses her chair”. I feel like this response is age appropriate and really normalizes disability at a young age. We both went about our day and at some point I will fully explain disability to her when we little mind can handle it. This has been my experience and what works for us. I’m completely open to dialog on how you feel about this approach. Let’s normalize opposing views and conversations 🙌🏼
The under-the-radar kids brand I love
“Burt’s Bees Baby is a staple in our home. We use everything from body wash to baby clothes. I think their products smell so fresh and the baby clothes are super cute and cozy.”
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