Once upon a time, in the swirl of NYC’s brightest lights, Chloé Jo Davis rose as a nightlife world staple, replete with the high heels and sass that served as the signatures of a late ‘90s and early ‘aughts glamazon. Today, Davis is still every bit a powerhouse, but she now stands at the helm of a very different type of empire: she’s the founder of the GirlieGirl Army that covers everything from vegan recipes and thoughtful parenting choices to chic green fashion. Plus, Davis also collaborates with About.com, hosting “glam green” videos, always touting elegant and eco-conscious options.
Just as curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism once guided her toward adopting veganism, Davis followed an instinct about attachment parenting.
Alongside her booming site, Davis runs another crew with equal edge and aplomb: her family—with attachment parenting at the crux of her approach. Just as curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism once guided her toward adopting veganism, Davis followed an instinct about attachment parenting all the way into the heart of her three-child home. Now she wouldn’t have it any other way.
BWB chatted with the Upper East Side maven to find out more about why she believes adamantly in attachment parenting and veganism for her children (Panther, five, Freedom, three and Kingsley, 10 months), her DIY parenting hacks and easy recipes for vegan kids.
BWB: What does ‘attachment parenting’ mean to you, and why is it right for you? Why do you think it might be helpful for other parents?
Attachment parenting is keeping your children as close to you as possible, like mammals in the wild: they don’t let their young go off without them. It consists primarily of co-sleeping, baby wearing and breast feeding, which all keep your children with you. I don’t do nannies or babysitters, for example.
Because of this, some people think attachment parenting is only for hippy, rich women, but I think it’s the opposite, especially with more and more people working from home like I do, and telecommuting. The practice ranges from movie stars to people in villages.
BWB: How would you describe your overall approach to parenting?
In the movie Waiting for Guffman, there’s a song that says, “Never stopping working and playing,” and I hear that in my head constantly. I push myself. It’s an Olympian’s state of mind. Perhaps you couldn’t think of doing it, but then again, you couldn’t imagine childbirth, right? It’s like the thought that a plane that stays in the air, and I’ll never fully understand it. That’s how I feel about parenting.
How do you get through the day? You have to relinquish other things. I used to be the height of a glamour girl, and I wouldn’t be caught dead without fake eyelashes. But, there’s a time and place for everything.
Something I realized after my first child is that you don’t need all the extra ‘stuff.’ Really, you just need yourself.
BWB: What are your tips for parents interested in stepping into this approach?
First, read Mayim Bialik’s book, Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way. She comes from a mother’s vantage point, but also a scientist’s, too.
Second, something I realized after my first child is that you don’t need all the extra ‘stuff.’ Really, you just need yourself. And finally, as all the lactation specialists told me, stop socializing, go in a room and breastfeed. The trick was focused attention. And remember, everything with children happens in phases. Your kid getting up at 4am: don’t worry, that’s a phase.
BWB: How do you maintain your relationship with your partner when your kids are always around in such an extreme way?
With your partner, it’s a matter of creativity and energy. And remember, a lot of regular parents don’t have energy to have sex, either. So, I’d say we have intimate time about the same amount as ‘normal’ parents probably. There are bathrooms and closets and couches! I’ve been with my husband a decade, and we’ve had ups and downs. Through parenting, we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level, and we’ve grown up together. The fact that he works from home allows us to have check-in moments. We are in touch with each other’s feelings and physicality, and that’s how we maintain our connection.
We don’t go on dates. And that’s an interesting duality: there is still romance, but we also really did up the romance thing at the beginning. We miss it sometimes, but we also know it’s coming later in our lives. It goes so quickly: you blink and they’re doing homework.
People raise their families how they think is healthiest and best for them in general. So my children can make their own minds up as they grow up.
BWB: What do you think raising your children as vegan offers to them?
I think veganism makes for a deeper connection to life in general. The kids understand the idea of mother earth, of harming and not harming.
People raise their families how they think is healthiest and best for them in general. So my children can make their own minds up as they grow up: there are no rulers to hit knuckles here.
If sometimes they want a cookie they see, I explain what’s in it, and if they want it, they can have it. In a few instances, they’ve tried it, and it’s not a big deal. But at the base of it, they understand what they’re eating. That’s the essential part. Being puritanical doesn’t help anyone. It used to be that if I was near someone with a fur coat on, I’d die. But now I feel everyone is on their own journey. We all do our best.
I always say that lentils are cheaper than beef, and have all the amino acids you need.
BWB: What are some helpful tips to eating vegan with your children, both from a budget and time perspective?
I always say that lentils are cheaper than beef, and have all the amino acids you need. Frozen vegetables are so helpful, too. Keep things basic, find discounts and remember you don’t need the artisanal version of everything. Peanut butter on apples, seaweed snacks, flax crackers and homemade hummus and cashew cheese are great choices. Homemade smoothie ice-pops are my saving grace in getting the kids to eat their often-maligned greens!
BWB: What are the noticeable effects of veganism on your family?
My kids very rarely get sick; they’re just healthy. Perhaps a lot of that has to do with DNA, but when my six-year-old got his blood work done, the doctor just said he had healthy blood. So maybe a combination of both.
For more easy vegan recipes, check out GGA’s options, like these: