I’m a Cool Mom! Artist Alicia Mersy On Baby-Work-Life Balance

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I’m a Cool Mom! is a new column for Vogue where we explore how moms get dressed, what’s in their diaper bag (or if they are anti-diaper bag!), and how their style has developed while having kids.

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Mersy / @aliciamersy

With her mane of curly black hair and large blue eyes, it’s impossible to miss Alicia Mersy. The new media artist is known for telling deeply personal stories through her art, which typically mesh Y2K aesthetics, meta kitsch, and vintage tech. A Canadian of Lebanese and French descent, she’s spent significant time in the Middle East, both in Israel and Palestine. In her latest film Nobody Owns the Sea, Mersy spends time with two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank’s Ramallah and chronicles their daily life.

When she’s not traveling and making art, Mersy spends time with her partner, chef Loren Abramovitch, and her two children, four-year-old Zohar and eight-month-old Sinai. Seeing the family together is truly a beautiful moment. Mersy is often dressed in something artfully baggy, like her partner’s pants or a camp shirt, while Zohar is in a rotation of dresses. For his birthday this past week, he wore an icy blue tulle princess skirt and a crown. Talk about a family with taste!

Here, Mersy shares how her style has changed and the beauty of being a mother.

How did you see yourself as a woman before and how do you see yourself now? Before I was a free child just thinking about myself. Now, I still want to be a free bird but I have deep responsibilities and I need to share my body with my new son and my clothes with my three year old. I need to divide myself into parts so I’m practicing multi-tasking.

What have you learned, style-wise, from being a mom? Wear things you are not afraid to get dirty or rip. I never liked the pregnancy gear and I always rather wear my partner pants, baggy things, and sweatpants.

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Mersy / @aliciamersy

What’s your day like? How do you balance your schedule? I just called four friends to ask them for some guidance on how they get balance. This week was really tough. I like to pray and go for a walk before I open my phone. I cannot stop being who I am because I love my work so much, so a lot of times I take my kids on my art trips.

Lessons from your own mom? Rest. That should always be your priority otherwise you are tired and you can hurt yourself.

What’s your diaper bag? Fruits, wipes, Zohar’s dresses, masks, lip liners, mermaids, and unicorns.

Who is your motherhood style inspiration and why? I met a woman named Odelia from a small village in Galilee, Palestine/Israel. I met her when I was 22. She made me want to be a mom. She always wore big dresses and had black curly Yemeni hair and 4 kids running all over her body. Her spirit is so strong and when you sit in her tent you never want to go.

How has motherhood changed how you think about your personal style? I’ve learned how to detach myself from the few fancy things I own and accept that they can break because I let the kids play with them. On my way to an art show yesterday, my new son vomited all over me. I got out of the car full of vomit. I had to take big breaths so as not to collapse on the floor. Thank God my friends saw me and came to my rescue.

What have you learned from dressing a child? Everything is thrifted. [My son] Zohar is almost 4 now and he is really precise about his style. He either wears dresses or my tops as dresses. The first two years [for kids] is fun because you can style them and then you have to start accepting they might be into things you don’t like and let go!

Photo: Courtesy of Alicia Mersy / @aliciamersy

What life-saving mom gadget did you invest in that was worth it? I was lucky to have a special mom friend with older kids. All the good gadgets come from her. Also a lot of floor mattresses for new babies so you can cook and do things without being afraid they fall off the couches. But honestly the book I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is what keeps me grounded and helps me go through motherhood.

What do you recommend to a new mom, fashion-wise? Wear very comfortable things and try to adopt stains as a part of your style. You don’t have to buy extra stroller accessories, just use what you have already at home.

What are some misconceptions about motherhood and style? People think you need to wear mom clothes, but you can still stay a kid and you don’t need to change the way you dress. Maybe in the beginning with breastfeeding on the street you should wear something you feel comfortable in and something that protects you.

What do you wish all non-moms knew? For me, giving birth and becoming a mom has been the deepest blessing. I healed so much of my past through it! Don’t be afraid, I promise you can still be you and live your passions. Behave the same just bring in the kids in your life. You will meet those negative people at the playground, but don’t get offended. Bring them in your light.

What did you take on and toss? My son grabs and eats my hair, so a good way to stop this is to braid my hair. I wear clothes that have a lot of pockets, I don’t take two hours to get dressed anymore, and I take 30-second showers.