June 10, 2014 10:00 AM

Kelly Stuart

Motherhood is many things. It’s beautiful. Amazing. Hilarious at times.

It’s also heart-wrenching. Extremely challenging (!!!). And sometimes very, very dirty (We’ve all had those days which require not one, but two baths for everyone involved).

The Glow: An Inspiring Guide to Stylish Motherhood, a new coffee table book featuring intimate interviews with fashionable, modern moms, captures all those things and more.

When authors Violet Gaynor and Kelly Stuart — the creators of the popular lifestyle website TheGlow.com — met with some of the most stylish and hard-working moms out there to get their take on everything from home décor to marriage, they were inspired by what they saw.

“[Julie Bowen] could not have been more down to earth and hands on with her kids,” says Gaynor, of the Modern Family star. “She was running around in the dirt in their backyard and digging for worms. It was so beautiful to see her as a real mom.”

Kelly Stuart

Dubbing itself as a parenting book for the new generation of hip moms, The Glow is full of advice and offers unique insights on parenthood from tastemakers like Alec Baldwin‘s fitness expert wife, Hilaria Baldwin, and actress Selma Blair.

All of it was procured by Gaynor, who is senior fashion editor at InStyle.com, and Stuart, the photo director at Hearst Digital Media, who say the shoots were not styled or staged, but very relaxed.

“It’s very simple. Sort of just like having coffee with friends,” Stuart says. “Just me and my camera, and Violet. We just sort of move throughout the house, very organically. Play with their favorite things, try on their favorite outfits.”

They shared these exclusive images from their L.A. shoot with Bowen. In their interview with the mom of three boys, she explains that her TV job affords her certain indulgences but when she walks in the door at home that illusion crumbles.

“Every time I get ready for work or a work event, I have a team of professionals dressing, drying, glossing … That is work mode. It’s lovely,” she admits in the book. “Home mode is chlorine-soaked hair and discovering that A&D diaper ointment is a passable moisturizer in a pinch.”

Kelly Stuart

Actress Selma Blair also had no qualms revealing her reality, she was happy to let her toddler use her as a human sketchpad.

“She wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty, she was playing with her son Arthur, drawing hearts on themselves — it was really cute,” says Gaynor, who conducted the interviews at the homes and over email.

“She was super honest and really wanted to get across to other women that it’s not easy.”

What was easy though, was the clear connection between these mothers and their children, which the book beautifully illustrates with whimsical, candid photographs.

“I think what they felt strongly about expressing in their words is just that moms each have their own set of challenges,” Gaynor says, “but that there’s always something universal that connects them.”

Amy Jamieson

Kelly Stuart

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