B(e)MORE Moms // Episode 1
Anyone who knows me knows I love to talk, but more specifically I love to talk to other moms! Sharon and I work together at a local architecture and planning firm here in the city. Sharon is a senior associate in Marketing and a rock star mom of two girls! We sat down for lunch and talked about being a mom and having a creative career!
Courtney: When do you decide you wanted to be a mother? Did you decide when you were 8 playing with dolls or after you held your first baby, later on in life?
Sharon: For as long as I can remember understanding that someday I would be a real live grown up, I have known that an integral part of that journey would be motherhood. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t absolutely sure that it was what I wanted.
Courtney: Did you experience any depression, during or after the birth of your girls?
Sharon: One day, after unsuccessfully trying to keep a crying and hungry newborn from interrupting a conference call, I was so rattled that I just broke down crying, and couldn’t see my way out of the tears. It felt like I could cry and weep and wail and never be finished. I just held my daughter while sitting on the kitchen floor and wept. Just recalling it now, I can almost still sense the hopelessness I felt in that moment. Fortunately, I had been attending a newborn mom’s support group and was able to reach out to the group’s facilitator by phone and she connected my with a therapist. Support like that is key! New moms – do anything you can to find other new mom’s to talk to! No one else gets it, at least not in the same way!
"Ah birth stories! I love hearing people’s birth stories!" - Sharon
Courtney: Tell me your birth stories for your girls. What really stood out to you? Did you change anything the second time around?
Sharon: Ah birth stories! I love hearing people’s birth stories!
For Isabelle (now 17), we were home in the evening, about to go to bed, were watching ER (yep! That’s how long ago this was) and Carol Hathaway was in labor on the show. I must have felt much empathy for her, because before the show was over, we were on our way to the hospital! By midnight we were checked in and a few hours later I changed my mind about not having an epidural. I labored all night with the support of my husband Tim and my amazing doula, Sabine, and even though Isabelle was a tab stubborn and wouldn’t turn face down, she was delivered without complication at 7:06 a.m.
Grace’s delivery two years later was a little more exciting. We were almost a week past her due date and I was to be evaluated for induction at my doctor’s appointment the next day. At about 5:00 in the afternoon I began to feel labor pains while my mother-in-law was visiting. Although the original plan was for Tim to come home and get me if I went into labor while he was at work, I could tell that things were progressing quickly. So, off to the hospital in my MIL’s car we went. I will always remember her asking if she should run red lights. Ha ha! When we pulled up at the hospital, Tim was waiting at the curb with a wheelchair, which made me unreasonably angry for some reason. I pushed past him and marched up to the hospital. Upon arrival at the maternity ward I began asking for an epidural! Things were happening very quickly and I felt afraid and out of control. It took what seemed like an incredibly long time for an anesthesiologist to arrive, and then he had trouble administering the block. As soon as he finished, my doc checked me and then immediately picked up her phone. An emergency? Nope – she called her friends she was meeting for dinner and said I’ll be there in 10 minutes – my patient is having this baby now! She was right. Meer minutes later Grace was born! And about 10 minutes after that the epidural kicked into effect #perfecttiming
Courtney: How old where you when you had your girls? Would you say you had a strong sense of self?
Sharon: I had my first daughter, Isabelle, when I was 28 and my second daughter, Grace, when I was 30. At the time, I was darn sure I knew everything there was to know about myself, and that I was ready with a capital “R” for this. Well, if there is one thing being a new mom is good for, it’s knocking your ass off that pedestal of self-confidence. Never, ever had I felt more unsure about what I was doing than in those first few months. Thank goodness I had a wonderful partner to remind me of who I WAS at that time, because without that, it would have been all too easy to lose being “Sharon” and only be “Mommy.” With support and time I was able to figure out how to be both, but it was not easy!
...if I could go back to being worried about potty training instead of being worried about things like date rape . . . - Sharon
Courtney: Work life balance. How do you do it, marketing is pretty demanding? Do you think times have changed?
Sharon: I sometimes feel guilty about this, but honestly, much of my ability to have a reasonable work-life balance has been a combination of luck and privilege. I initially went back to work full time after Isabelle was born, but once Grace came along, I very much wanted to cut back my hours. My employer at that time could not accommodate part time, so I was able to find a job that did. And, because of my husband’s salary at the time, we were able to make it work financially. Very few people are that lucky. I still work slightly less than 40 hours a week. Believe it or not – teenagers need their parents almost as much as infants do! You know that saying – small kids, small problems – big kids, big problems? Well I’ll tell you, if I could go back to being worried about potty training instead of being worried about things like date rape . . .
Courtney: What do you think is a common misconception about Marketing? Misconception about women in Marketing?
Sharon: Somehow I feel like people view marketing as “business light” which is patently untrue. I think of our department’s job as keeping people employed. If we don’t help the firm get more work, people lose their jobs. That perspective motivates me every day! As for women in marketing, I have to say that I have always worked with some fierce women in the industry, and no one was going to relegate them to being support staff, they were going to take charge and go!
Courtney: Since becoming a mom what was your hardest day at the office? Hardest day at home?
Sharon: It’s hard to pick one day honestly, especially since I am 17 years into this mom thing. I will say though, that I have spent most of these years feeling like I am not quite a good enough employee, and not quite a good enough mom. I wish I could vanquish that self-doubt, but perhaps staying humble has some value and motivates me to keep trying?
Courtney: I’m sure you have learned a lot through the years from your girls, what is the most important lesson you have learned from each of them?
Sharon: What a good question and one I think parents often overlook. Isabelle has taught me a lot about hard work. I can’t believe how diligent she is – she has ADHD and works so so hard to cope with that and stay organized. It sometimes takes her twice as long to do her homework as it does her peers, but she is so motivated to get it done that she not only keeps up with everything, but she also excels at it. Grace has taught me to hold firm to your convictions. From her infancy Grace has done what she wants to do. As a toddler she never walked when she could run. She never easily complies with ANYTHING she didn’t want to do. Her iron will is astounding and wonderful, but also sometimes frustrating, You gotta admire it though. It’s hard to parent a strong-willed child at times, but I know that as an adult, no one will ever push her around!
... sit down and just BE a mom ... - Sharon
Courtney: Your girls are older now, one off to college soon and the other one right behind her, do you have any plans for what you will do with all your free time?
Sharon: Oh yes! Although I dread them moving on, it’s what we work and wish for, right? For our kids to succeed and leave the nest? I have wanted to volunteer at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital since first visiting there for a work project. Their time commitment requirement is more that I can currently handle, but I plan to sign up in 2020 when Grace goes to college!
Courtney: Advice for other moms or soon to be moms working in Marketing?
Sharon: I would advise new moms to really make an effort to focus on the small precious moments of parenting. Breathe in, sit back, enjoy them in the moment. When you come home after work, sit down and just BE a mom and enjoy your children before rushing and scrambling to handle all the procedural crap of dinner and cleaning and laundry, blah blah blah. And the next day, when you get to work, BE in that moment too. Enjoy your co-workers. Enjoy the accomplishment you get from doing your job well. And, enjoy being a role model to your children. You are teaching them the value of a rewarding and successful career, and that is something to be proud of.