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Nicky Hilton on being a ‘strict’ mom and why sister Paris ‘will be in for a rude awakening’ if she has kids

Welcome to So Mini WaysYahoo Life’s parenting series on the joys and challenges of child rearing.

With two daughters under the age of 6, Nicky Hilton is hardly a novice when it comes to motherhood. But the pregnant fashion designer admits that she is feeling a little out of her comfort zone when it comes to the upcoming arrival of her third child. Not only will she and her husband James Rothschild be outnumbered — “definitely a little scary” — but they’ll also add their first boy to their brood.

“A lot of my friends have boys, so I’ve definitely been asking them for advice, but I am the girly girl,” Hilton, mom to daughters Lily-Grace, 5, and Theodora, 4, tells Yahoo Life’s So Mini Ways of having a son. “I have two girls. I don’t know much about a boy. So, you know, it’s gonna be a new adventure, but I’m very, very excited because they do say boys love their mothers. Everybody says that they just worship you, and the love is just another kind of love.”

For now, she’s enjoying watching the sisterly bond that Lily-Grace and Theodora, aka “Teddy,” share. That bond is especially meaningful given Hilton’s famously close relationship with her own sister, Paris Hilton.

“I love the bond of sisterhood — it’s unbreakable and you have a built-in best friend for life,” she says. “And I love seeing my girls look after each other and play with each other. They are each other’s biggest cheerleaders and I love that.”

Nicky Hilton talks her pregnancy style, Paris and introducing a boy to her brood.  (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Nicky Hilton talks her pregnancy style, Paris and introducing a boy to her brood. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Big sister Paris, who married Carter Reum last November, has spoken publicly about her hopes of becoming a mother. Hilton is all for it — but she adds with a laugh that the transition from cool aunt to full-time caregiver may take her sister from ella by surprise.

“Paris has always had small doses with my girls, so I think she will be in for a rude awakening to see how this is a 24-hour job,” Hilton says with a smile. “But I think she’ll be an amazing parent. I think this is something she’s wanted for a while, and if how she treats her pets is any indication of how she’ll be as a mother, I’m gonna say it’s gonna be pretty fantastic.”

When it comes to fashion, Hilton sees similarities between her daughters and her and Paris.

“My girls are exactly how my sister and I were,” says Hilton, who just launched her sixth Nicky Hilton x French Sole footwear collection. “The older one doesn’t really care either way; she’ll wear whatever. But the younger one, like me, loves her fashion. Oh my goodness. I mean, if she’s not wearing her Elsa and Ariel princess costumes, she has picked out something and she will not wear anything else. I hope it’s just a phase, but she’s a fashion girl for sure.”

Fittingly, the proud mom’s six-piece Spring 2022 collection — the first to feature 100% sustainable materials — includes a nod to her mini fashion plate with the sparkly Theodora flat. As a busy mom who’s on her feet de ella all day long — and pregnant — Hilton notes that the classic French Sole flat strikes the perfect balance of “comfort but cute.” Though her her Instagram feed often finds her in colorful floral-print frocks, she’s been spending much of her third pregnancy in simple tank dresses from Hatch and A Pea in the Pod, or L’Agence maternity jeans paired with oversized sweaters.

“Becoming a mother has definitely influenced the way I dress and the way I design,” she says. “I am all about no-fuss simplicity. … I love a ballerina flat; I think they’re the perfect combination of comfort and elegance. And I love loafers with skinny jeans. I’m running around to meetings, pick- up, drop-off and playdates, so I really need something comfortable. So a lot of the shoes I’ve designed have extra padding for that comfort.”

Her heels may be low, but her standards are high — both as a fashion designer and a parent. Hilton describes herself as a “pretty strict” parent, adding, “I have my rules and if you break them, I’m going to get mad.”

Many of those rules are about good manners. Hilton says she’s teaching her girls to say “please” and “thank you,” make their beds, take their dishes to the sink and practice other considerate acts.

“Manners are a big, big priority for me,” she says. “Implementing and laying those [values] at a young age is really important.”

She’s also exposing her kids to philanthropy, something her mom, Kathy Hilton, instilled in her and her siblings from a young age by taking them to serve meals at a Los Angeles rescue mission. Ella Hilton hopes her girls will share her passion for giving back through age-appropriate volunteer opportunities.

At home, she’s also trying to model self-care — something that’s become easier now that her girls are both in school.

“I definitely do make time for myself because I think that is important,” Hilton says. “And if you’re so tired and burnt out, then you’re not going to be the best version of yourself in front of your children. So it’s important to prioritize yourself as well.”

The Theodora style for Hilton's French Sole collection is a nod to her younger daughter.  (Photo: Courtesy of French Sole)

The Theodora style for Hilton’s French Sole collection is a nod to her younger daughter. (Photo: Courtesy of French Sole)

The 38-year-old has been candid about wrestling with mom guilt.

“I think mom guilt, or just parent guilt, is a struggle for everybody,” she says. “And how do I make peace with that? It’s really giving each child that one-on-one special time, which both my husband and I do with the girls.”

She cites an article she recently read. “It was like, they’re babies for, like, four years. You have those four years and then they’re kind of grown up. So you just really want to soak up every minute. Be there and try and not miss anything .”

She credits her “great husband” for helping her divide and conquer the demands of raising two—and soon-to-be three—children. Hilton admits that she was surprised to find out just how tiring parenting can be, and she is grateful for the post-wedding advice she received to make the most of that unfettered time as a couple before rushing into starting a family. Now that she has a family of her own, she wouldn’t change a thing.

“It’s very full-on,” she says of raising kids. “There’s no breaks. You have to be there. You have to put the time in — and I love it. I think it is the greatest gift that I have ever been given. And I feel so lucky, so blessed. I love being to mom.”

—Video produced by Stacy Jackman.

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