Mom: Abbie Oswalt / Mom to Oliver and new baby Vera

Julia Bunch
Carter Rose
April 2016 in
March 28, 2016
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Abbie Oswalt is one busy mother of two. Abbie O Events, the event planning company she owns; Smart Barre classes, where she’s an instructor; and two little ones — Oliver, 2, and Vera, 4 months — keep this Southern Methodist University graduate and Fort Worth native’s calendar full. Luckily, she has help from her husband, Dawson, a self-employed financial analyst, and both sets of grandparents, all of whom live around the corner from the Oswalt clan in Berkeley Place, the same neighborhood where Abbie grew up.

Did you choose to find out the genders of your kids when you were pregnant?
[Yes.] That’s the planner in me. I don’t like to leave anything to chance. If there’s something to know, I want to know it. I had a good time designing both of their nurseries, so it was important to know what sex they were so I could decorate accordingly.
How does being the mom of a girl compare to being the mom of a little boy?
You have to get used to things being a mess when you’re a mom of a boy. The part of me that needs everything organized has had to let that go out the window with Oliver. With Vera, it will be fun to have someone who is going to grow up to be my best friend — not that boys can’t do that too — but she’ll probably want to do girl stuff with me. With Vera, I’ve gotten to dress her in my old baby clothes because my mom kept them.
What have been some of the challenges transitioning to a family of four?
What aren’t the challenges? Just getting out the door! It’s tough with the two different ages because everything that Oliver needs isn’t what Vera needs. They both need diapers, but that’s about it. Coordinating feeding and napping schedules is tough. The evenings are busy getting both kids fed, bathed and in bed.
Any surprises about this new phase of motherhood?
It’s very emotional. I feel guilty that I can’t spend time with Oliver when I’m feeding Vera. I’m tending to her so much more. That will better over time, but right now it’s hard. When she’s napping, I want to spend time with just him so he gets my attention. When you have your first, you don’t think you can love anyone more than you love that child, but then your heart just gets bigger with the second.
How is Oliver taking to his new role as a big brother?
Seeing the way Oliver interacts with her is darling. I heard horror stories about kids saying, “Send the baby back,” but it wasn’t like that. He wants to give her kisses all the time.
Has the parenting philosophy changed at all from one to two?
I’m more relaxed. I was very by the book with Oliver. Now I’ve learned that stuff gets figured out on its own now. I’ve learned to relax and know that I can do it, even if I’m really exhausted.
How has becoming a family of four affected your marriage?
We have to work a little harder to make time for ourselves and go on dates. We just have to make sure that we do things by ourselves and spend time not talking about the kids. He was home for six weeks after Vera was born and that was amazing. He got to really be involved in her life so much more than when Oliver was born. He was only off about a week and half after Oliver was born.
What’s the secret to the life/work balance with two kids?
You have to make decisions based on your priorities. I’m lucky that my business books so far out, so I am able to say no to things  — and feel OK about it —because I know I want to focus on my family this year. Plus, child care. I value child care.
Anything you know now that you wish you had known with your first?
Relax. It’s not going to be perfect. Babies don’t do what you want them to do. You have to listen to their cues. Let them show you how they need to be taken care of.
What advice do you have for other moms with growing families?
It’s important to spend one-on-one time with all kids. Try to get your older kids involved in day-to-day activities and caretaking of the younger ones. Oliver is not as resentful towards his sister because he feels like he’s helping her.
Any plans to expand the family further?
My husband wants a third, but having two has changed his mind a little. We’ll see. I’m not saying no to a third, but I’m happy where we are right now. I’m so excited to see the man that Oliver grows into and the woman Vera grows into. 


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