Full Heart with Clara Te'o – Solly Baby

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Full Heart with Clara Te'o

Full Heart with Clara Te'o

Our favorite thing about Solly Baby is you—the community of moms and dads doing the beautiful, messy, important work of raising little ones. In our weekly Full Heart Series, we're sharing stories from our Solly Community that resonate, inspire, and remind us we're never alone. Join us as we savor these everyday moments that leave our hearts full.

Mother, father, and two young sons, sit on beach and smile

Let’s start with a quick introduction. Tell us the facts.
Name: Clara Te'o
Children: Va'a (2 years), Amoleka (9 months)
Location: Carlsbad, CA
Job: Homemaker, child wrangler

Woman standing on beach smiling wearing baby in a Solly Wrap

When and how did you get connected with Solly?
Not sure the exact date—I met someone at church who wore Solly Wraps last year. She always looked so pretty with the wrap above her church dress, and my baby carriers looked inelegant next to hers!

Favorite thing about your Solly Wrap?
I've had a lot of experience with baby wraps and carriers that buckle. What I love about a wrap is how it so easily distributes the weight so that I'm not carrying all the it on my back and I don't need to constantly adjust straps. It's just the way a wrap works! What I especially love about the Solly Wrap is the quality of the material. It is so soft and gentle on baby's skin. The fabric is breathable and not too hot for the summer, and yet very durable. It has been perfect for doing skin-to-skin with baby—I wouldn't even try that with other wraps because I didn't feel like the fabric was gentle enough for the baby.

What’s a time in the last week when your heart has felt full?
Last night I was counting my blessings and felt so grateful just to be able to recognize how blessed I am. Sometimes we are swimming in blessings, but think that we are drowning in problems. I am so grateful to be a mom and know that I am lucky to have the title "mom-mom-mom-mom-mooooooooom.”

Mother, father, and two young sons smile on beach

How do you define your role as a mother?
I am the protector of my children's spirits and nurturer of their self-esteem. I keep away scary movies, evil bugs, bad dreams. I kiss away owies, and am awed by everything that I am presented when I hear "Look, Mom!”

What’s something about motherhood that has surprised you?
That it would be so fulfilling. I thought I would be sacrificing my dreams to put them first. The opposite is true—putting them first is my dream and whatever I have to do to keep my career breathing is the sacrifice I make to be able to spend as much time with them as I can.

When do you feel at your best as a mom?
When my kids are covered in dirt at the end of the day. I don't get down on myself when I don't parent as perfectly as I believe I should. If I said the wrong thing, or wasn't patient enough—that's ok. I'll learn and be better. But if my kid doesn't need a bath we did something wrong. I want them to be covered in mud, dusty with chalk, shaking off sand, and sticky from watermelon. 

Walk us through a typical day in your life.
We wake up and the city of Carlsbad gets a tornado warning. My goal is to bake something, clean something, and study something before we go on an outing in the morning.

Instead, I usually take five days to make and clean up breakfast. Then it's nap time. The baby sleeps in the wrap while the 2-year-old plays in the driveway with neighbors. I talk with the other moms about how we're going to the beach for lunch.

We talk for two hours and then it's time for lunch. (We never made it to the beach.) Then we eat at home, the boys nap, I get some computer work done, and we go outside again to talk to the neighbors about how we are really going to the beach this time.

The 2-year-old plays with his buddies, the babies eat dirt, and then we go to the beach. We get there about the time that I'm supposed to start making dinner. We rush home again, eat...something, have a few meltdowns, boys go to sleep (baby falls asleep in the wrap cause I can't get him to sleep any other way), then the hubs and I watch Jeopardy like we're 75 years old and scoff at the trash kids are watching these days.

What would you do with an extra hour in the day (other than sleep)?
Read EVERYTHING. I would have a cozy armchair in a quiet place with a peaceful view of something beautiful and read everything from classic novels to “do it yourself for dummies” books. 

Where was the first place you took your baby (other than the pediatrician’s office)?
Probably church, but I can't remember. (I was having trouble sleeping at the time. I have no memory of the first five months of that kid's life.)

What’s something you loved to do before baby that you still do or would like to start up again (eventually)?
Kite surfing. Motherhood brought with it a fear of death. Maybe when I believe my boys are old enough to care for themselves should I pass on, I can try extreme sports again.  

First thing you ate after giving birth?
Hospital food...so cardboard, I think?

What’s something about motherhood that you wish people talked about more?
How fulfilling it is. We hear about it being a huge sacrifice. It is, but that's part of what makes it so wonderful.

Tell us about your journey to motherhood.
I got pregnant with my first son while serving the military stationed in Spain. I had just gotten out of the military a few weeks before I gave birth. Lots of people have a hard time transitioning out the military. Having my little boy made me feel like I had nothing to regret about starting a new adventure.

2 women stand in a hospital hallway. The one on the right is in a navy uniform and the one on the left is wearing glasses and scrubs.

Can you share more about your time in the military?
I served five and a half years active duty as a nurse/officer in the Navy. I just completed three years of reserves last December. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for three years, then did two years in Spain. I worked at the hospital in-patient units and in the ER as a SAMFE (Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examiner).

Team of medical professionals smiling together

Serving in the Navy was a wonderful experience. I'm so grateful I got the opportunity to serve our country and work with the best people from all over the United States—those I served with are truly my brothers and sisters! I had considered staying in for another tour but I would have to be separated from my spouse because he was contracted to play rugby for a team in Utah and there were no duty stations there for me. Becoming pregnant with our first son sealed the deal—I did not want to parent alone if I didn't have to! It turned out to be the best choice for our family and I wouldn't change our circumstances for anything!

What was the fourth trimester like for you? 
With the second baby so much easier! And carrying baby everywhere has made a huge difference. With baby one, I didn't use wraps and carriers as much. This time I kept baby on me almost all the time and it made it so much easier to get things done and spend time with my other son. 

What are three things in your motherhood starter pack?
A Haaka, 5,000 muslin blankets, and a beautiful, high-quality Solly Wrap!

What Solly pieces(s) do you have? What's on your wishlist?
I have the Basil Wrap. On my wishlist: The Solly Dolly. My son puts his stuffed animals in his shirt and pretends to carry them around like I do in my wrap. It is just so cute. It's on my to do list to knit him one but I keep putting it off. Then I saw the little Solly Dolly Wraps and my heart melted imagining him using one to be a little dad to his furry friends!

How about a round of rapid-fire favorites…
Indulgence: Chocolates and peanut butter on a spoon
Podcast: Advisory Opinions on the Dispatch
Children's Book: You are Special and Maniac Magee
Mama-time activity: Perusing money-making schemes
After bedtime snack: Popcorn—extra salty for Jeopardy night

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