Parenting Spotlight: Aly McKnight

Each month, In The Know by Yahoo gives everyday parents their time to shine in our exclusive Parenting Spotlight.

This month, we’re featuring Utah-based Native American artist Aly McKnight!

As a Shoshone-Bannock mom with self-described “Big Indigenous Energy,” Aly is passionate about teaching her 2-year-old daughter, Paoakalani, all about her Native American, Hawaiian and Samoan heritage.

A self-taught artist, Aly celebrates Indigenous life through vibrant color that emphasizes the beauty of her people and the land. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, Aly was chosen to reimagine the Yahoo! logo, inspired by her life experiences.

“It is a dream of mine to someday pass on my artistic and cultural knowledge to our younger generations so that they have the tools to call attention to the importance of our histories and our ongoing journey,” Aly says.

What’s the parenting tip that everyone loves, but you think is overrated?

“Let your kid cry it out” or “tell them to stop whining.” When we as adults are feeling angry because of work or sad because summer is gone, it’s horrible when our feelings aren’t validated by our partner, family or friends. The same goes for our kids. They need to know that what they’re feeling is okay to feel and that support is always there to help them through it.

What’s your best parenting advice?

“There’s no such thing as too much love.” Your child isn’t going to be spoiled because you express your love for them often. They’ll learn to express their feelings better because you showed them how, and they’ll always know you are their safe place to turn to during their saddest, happiest and everyday moments in life.

What would be the title of your memoir?

“I Am Indigenous: Hear Me Roar!”

What’s the weirdest thing you plan on saving from your daughter’s baby- or childhood?

I have all of my baby girl’s old worn moccasins. She’s worn the crap out of them, and they’re not in a state to be used again for any more children, but I love seeing her little foot imprints on the soles.

Which apps could you not live without?

Instacart and Spotify.

Grocery shopping since the pandemic was insane to do with a little one, and Instacart has saved my sanity. It has helped me stick to our weekly grocery budget because I can’t see all the random new products that Costco stocks, and I just buy what is needed for our weekly menu.

Spotify is used daily in our house. We have it linked to our Google Home Speaker and always have music playing in the background, whether it’s Beethoven, Disney, D’Angelo, etc. Anything to diversify the type of music we are exposed to.

What’s one parenting product you wish you’d bought years ago?

Kids Crocs. I was vehemently against Crocs (doesn’t go with my personal aesthetic), but we finally caved this year and bought Paoakalani a pair. We now have a pair in the next two biggest sizes, so we already have them on hand as our baby girl grows out of her current set.

What’s one life hack you wish you’d learned years ago?

Saturday doughnuts. Every Saturday, we go as a family to pick up doughnuts from our local bakery (they have the best maple bars in Utah County), and it’s just something exciting we get to look forward to every week.

Who are some of your favorite celebrity/influencer parents? 

@emilykewageshig / @moonandcheeze / @sweetmoonphoto / @jamiegentrydesigns / @cecemeadows / @kaharahodges

Are there any parenting terms you wish you could retire? (e.g., “Momtrepreneur”)

SAHM (stay-at-home mom). It’s annoying that there’s such a generic and lame term for moms that literally keep the universe from falling apart.

What is one “mommy win” you’re super proud of?

My baby girl knows everyday words in English, Shoshone and Hawaiian (thanks/oose/mahalo, eye/bui/maka, water/baá/wai, etc.). Our Ancestral languages are incredibly important to us, and we are working on developing our knowledge of them as a family. We just need to work on Samoan (from my husband’s patriarchal side).

If your daughter were an emoji, what would she be?


(Editor’s Note: Responses have been edited for length and clarity.)

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