Bachelorette Ali Fedotowsky-Manno: It took a skin-cancer diagnosis for me to think seriously about sun safety for me and my kids
- Ali Fedotowsky-Manno was on "The Bachelorette" in 2010.
- Now she's a mom of two and prioritizing sun safety after a skin-cancer diagnosis.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Ali Fedotowsky-Manno. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I was a child of the 1990s. I used to bake in tanning beds and not think twice about a sunburn. When I thought about skin health, I was focused on reducing wrinkles and looking youthful. But about five years ago, I noticed a spot on my stomach. It turned out to be skin cancer.
I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma, a very common and highly treatable form of skin cancer. It sounds silly to say I feel lucky to have had cancer, but I do: I caught it early, when the cancer could be removed during an outpatient appointment. After that, I started using my platform to teach people about the importance of skin health. Most recently, I've partnered with Banana Boat to make sure that everyone knows how to protect their skin.
Now I'm meticulous about sun protection for me and my kids. On the rare occasion that I forget to apply sunscreen, my 6-year-old, Molly, will remind me before we leave the house. I love that she's prioritizing skin protection from childhood.
As women, we're often focused on how our skin looks. But at the end of the day, if you get skin cancer you might not have the pleasure of being able to age and get wrinkles. It's a gift to get older. I want my skin to look great, and more importantly, be healthy. That starts with applying sunscreen.
We're outside in the sun a lot
Sun protection is important to my family because we spend a lot of time outside. Want to know the secret to how influencers keep our homes so clean? We keep the messes outside!
Molly and her 4-year-old brother, Riley, love to play simple games. Recently we filled a tub with water, and I gave them each a cup and placed two pails at the other end of the yard. They spent hours running with their cups, seeing who could fill their pails first.
Right now, I'm at this magical parenting stage where I've passed through the physical exhaustion of the infant years, but I'm not yet at the mentally taxing preteen and teen years. I want to savor these moments.
I don't try to enjoy every moment
Of course, spending quality time with kids isn't always easy. Especially during the pandemic, moms spent a lot of time coexisting with their kids. We're getting through the day together, but we're not necessarily having fun.
I'm not going to lie, I keep some CBD on hand for the more challenging days. And I don't pressure myself to enjoy every moment. Instead, I focus on quality, not quantity. You can never be fully present with your children at all times. We can't enjoy every moment together, but I make sure to create little pockets of fun and laughter that get me through the less picture-perfect parenting moments.
Ali Fedotowsky-Manno is an entertainment journalist, influencer and former Bachelorette. Follow her on Instagram @ali.manno.
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