Parenting

Allison O’Connor

A full house calls for creative parenting and a roll-with-it attitude.
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“One day, one child at a time” is Allison O’Connor’s approach to life as mom to 11-year-old twins Henry and Amanda, 8-year-old Robbie, and 6-year-old Caroline Clarke, a.k.a. CC. “Bottom line is, I try to be a loving and relaxed parent as much as I can.”

O’Connor works part-time as a real estate agent, and with four kids and three different schools, she and her husband, Huck, a fund manager (“and surfer and coach,” O’Connor adds), find that peace and quiet aren’t in the cards—which is just fine by them.

“We avoid getting caught up in comparisons,” says O’Connor, 44, who lives in Northwest DC. “You have to do what works for you and your family. Every kid, and mom for that matter, develops at his or her own pace.”

That kind of pragmatism is likely born from having twins first. “It was strictly keeping my head above water,” she admits. “I didn’t even realize how much I loved babies until the other two came along.” By then, she was a pro. “Anticipation is worse than realization. I find that thinking about something is often scarier and harder than when you’re in it, actually doing it.”

O’Connor’s daily commitment with each child has helped to let her kids shine in their own unique way.

“Henry loves hockey, animals, and surfing—like his dad. Amanda is fond of trying new things, like singing in the chorus at school, being an acolyte at church, playing ice hockey, tennis, or sailing. Robbie is our laid-back guy, also big into hockey, swimming, and surfing.” The youngest, CC, is the free spirit. “Questions like, Do cows have eyebrows? are swirling around in her brain.”

O’Connor does her best to keep up. “We’re in the process of ‘redesigning’ to accommodate them, the dog, and tons of sports equipment. My kids refer to it as a ‘renovation,’ but I’m the general contractor, painter, and designer. It’s very much a work in progress.”

O’Connor approaches it all with a laugh—and isn’t shy about enlisting friends when she needs a quick hand, or a dose of escapism. “The best advice I would give to a new mother: When people offer to help . . . let them!”

Photographs by Kate Warren.

Mom Code

Meal I Make That My Kids Love:

Takeout Chinese. Does that count?

Signature Scent:

Fracas by Robert Piguet.

Favorite Date-Night Restaurant:

The family room in our basement.

Favorite Restaurant With The Kids:

Cactus Cantina.

Local Family Activity:

Capitals hockey games.

My Friends Would Say I’m:

Down-to-earth.

Lipstick:

Chanel Glossimer.

Guilty Pleasure:

Naps.

Before I Had Kids:

I planned everything.

Now That I Have Kids:

I roll with it more; we often have more fun on the “detours.”

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