Welcome to So Mini WaysYahoo Life’s parenting series on the joys and challenges of child-rearing.
Beauty mogul Kristen Noel Crawley is no stranger to the world of glitz and glam. From gracing American Apparel billboards, attending some of the biggest designer shows as a friend of the house and launching an Allure Beauty Award-winning skin and lip care brand that has partnered with the likes of Bape and Champion, the 36-year-old is well-versed in the upper echelon.
But beyond her enviable wardrobe and luxury partnerships, the KNC founder is most passionate about giving back. When the mom of three found out the stats on diaper insecurity in the United States, she immediately wanted to get involved. One in three US families struggle to provide diapers for their children, often resorting to using T-shirts as makeshift diapers, something that shocked Crawley.
“I can’t even fathom not being able to provide my baby with a clean diaper or, you know, having to use a T-shirt. I didn’t know that a lot of families turned to use a T-shirt, or a cloth washcloth or something like that,” she tells Yahoo Life.
To bridge this gap, Crawley has partnered with Huggies to design three T-shirts to help new parents “Take back the T-shirt”; 100% of the proceeds will go to the National Diaper Bank Network.
“It’ll be really great to be able to help all these babies,” Crawley says.
Giving back to the tiniest members of society hits incredibly close to home for Crawley, who just welcomed her third child, Aya, to the world in September. The luxury influencer also shares two sons with her husband, Don C: 12-year-old Don and 6-year-old Luc.
While Crawley never had to deal with the harsh reality of being unable to provide diapers for her children, she recalls being shocked as a new mom by just how messy things could get during diapers and feeding time.
“Just always being covered in something. You know, with my boys, it was like, getting peed on while changing diapers,” says Crawley, who has learned one trick to combat this. “My number one diaper tip is to rub a baby wipe above the diaper line before you change them. That will make the baby have the urge to pee and so they’re not peeing all over the place while you’re trying to change the diapers.”
Though she’s now a parenting pro, the mom of three says she was unprepared for the depth of love she felt for her children so quickly.
“No one really prepares you for how just in love you’re gonna be with your child,” she says. But even with this unmatched admiration in mind, Crawley by no means lives in a parental fantasy land.
“There’s also ups and downs; there’s days where I’m like, ‘Why did I do this?’ ‘How am I going to get through this day?’ But motherhood, in its essence, is like the biggest blessing of my life and I’m trying to juggle working and having a personal life. It’s always a struggle, but it’s totally worth it,” she says.
And work she does. Her Huggies collaboration is not the first time the beauty maven has married her knack for design with her desire to pay it forward. Following the 2020 summer of racial unrest, Crawley teamed up with Revlon to launch the KNC school of beauty, a series of virtual educational courses designed to inform and enrich the next generation of BIPOC beauty and fashion entrepreneurs.
This has been great for her children to witness, remarks Crawley, who says her kids are “like sponges” and have adopted her giving nature over time.
“Anything that you’re putting out and exposing them to they’re going to pick up on whether it’s directly or indirectly,” she says. “My oldest son is extremely empathetic and very caring and we do things like volunteer around the holidays at soup kitchens and food banks and things like that, just so that he can see a different kind of environment.”
It also helps that her oldest son seems to have an actual interest in the creative ventures his parents partake in.
“He’s also very interested in my work and his dad’s work, because he sees us working a lot,” she says of young Don. “So I’m always telling him ‘I’m doing this,’ ‘I’m doing that,’ so he was very interested in the Huggies collaboration and when I got the samples, he wore one of the shirts to school.”
Crawley credits the COVID-19 lockdown period for her shift in perspective on quality time.
“Before the pandemic, I would sometimes put my work first, and travel and [attend] fashion shows and things like that,” she says. “Then when the pandemic hit, it really kind of was a wake-up call for me — like, ‘hey!’ At the end of the day, all this stuff is cool but these are my people; these are the people that are going to be here with me forever.”
Crawley had her first child when she was 23 and her youngest at 36, a considerable gap that she says has been filled with wisdom and perspective.
“It’s evolved a little bit,” she notes. “For example, coming from a Black household we were disciplined a lot and [had] a lot of physical discipline, so I’m trying to kind of stop the cycle on that.”
She is also quite the health nut but, says she has been like that from the beginning.
“I’ve always been a pretty crunchy parent. I am very granola when it comes to raising my children. Me and my husband are dairy-free, kind of vegans and so we’re trying to raise our children to eat very clean — we’re taking sea moss gummies and spirulina in our smoothies and stuff like that,” she says. “I breastfed all of my kids, I stayed home with all of them until they were like 2 years old. I even tried to homeschool my first child.”
This form of parenting isn’t everyone’s style, and Crawley says it’s important that mothers don’t fall into traps of comparison or critique.
“Being a mom in general, I think, is all about giving yourself grace. There’s a lot of judgment when it comes to motherhood. ‘Are you breastfeeding?’ ‘Are you doing this?’ ‘Are you doing that?’ And I think a lot of it makes us feel bad, because it’s impossible to be the perfect parent — a perfect parent doesn’t exist. So I think that motherhood is really about doing the best that you can, and giving yourself grace and not beat yourself up too much.”
Wellness, parenting, body image and more: Get to know the who behind the hoo with Yahoo Life’s newsletter. Sign up here.