When I was asked to do this month’s Runitlikeamom of the Month, there was no doubt in my mind who I would pick: Donna Gosling (Ryan’s mom). Jk – my first thought was my good friend Jean. Jean has always runit, but she became a mom almost a year ago and now she is running it like the best of the best moms deep in the heart of Texas. Jean is the sort of person you will love even if you think you don’t want to love her. Like, say you were a young freshman in college with a crush on some goofy guy and you seemed to think this other girl from your dorm was constantly hanging around him. So maybe you started talking to the other girl in order to keep your competition close – but as it turned out, she was a way more interesting person and friend than that goofy guy could have ever been a boyfriend. Jean is incredibly intelligent, with degrees from the University of Southern California, Columbia University, and more recently, Southern Methodist University, and having studied at Harvard and the Sorbonne (because she’s fancy). Jean is incredibly witty and cosmopolitan, too, in a way that is so natural and genuine you have only the option of liking her. One of my favorite memories is what she wrote in a letter to me when she was studying abroad in France, ahem, seventeen years ago. Here’s an excerpt:
“. . . . Some bitch tried to lift my wallet on my first day on the metro, but I caught her and killed her. More culture shock: the women wear practically no makeup, there is dog-poo everywhere, the cheese never gets moldy, the men straight harass me every day, and the girls our age are wearing MONSTROUS black rubber platform high-tops! I REFUSE to put those on, I REFUSE! But I seem to be blending in quite well without them, since French people have asked me for directions a number of times. . . .”
Well, anyways, I could go on and on, but I’ll let you fall in love with her yourself:
Jean’s Runitlikeamom Run-down
* I have a boy who’s nearing one year.
* I am a freelance writer and marketing communications consultant.
* Currently I do yoga or pilates 3-4 times per week. I’m happy with my shape but I really should do more cardio.
* Short term, I’d like to add some muscle mass to my glutes. Long term, I’d like to stave off injury and death.
* The funniest thing my child has said? He’s mostly just babbling now, but the tone and timing can be quite funny.
* If stranded on an island with my son, I’d bring a satellite phone.
* My favorite indulgence is massage. It’s spendy, but so therapeutic.
Although I may have some photographic evidence that suggests otherwise, personal style is an important element in your life. What advice do you have for pregnant women and new mothers on maintaining their sense of self when it is so easy and compelling to just let yourself go?
The phrase “letting yourself go” is very telling. It’s not just about your looks, it’s your SELF, so yeah, let’s keep that. Motherhood brings upheaval. Continuity, wherever you can find it, is a lovely thing. I favor clothes that are long and flowy, so I was able to wear a lot of my usual clothes throughout my pregnancy. The only maternity clothes I bought were jeans (after the Bella Band finally quit,) leggings, and a couple of stretchy dresses. I liked stretchy knits because I wanted the world to know I was pregnant and not just gaining weight. I worked in a corporate office, and in the fashion industry no less, so maintaining good grooming and style was a professional necessity. It signals to colleagues that you’re still bringing your whole self to work. Now that I work at home, I don’t hold myself to the same dress code, which would be silly. But we all have to face people, including our partners (and ourselves!) and the important thing is to feel worthy of their (and your) respect. There’s no denying the additional confidence that comes from “making an effort.” Some days that might only mean upgrading to yoga clothes from PJs, but those two looks make very different statements after all.
Yoga is also a big part of your life. How were you able to incorporate yoga during your pregnancy and what are you up to in your practice these days?
For 14 years vinyasa yoga was my main form of exercise. That’s the style with lots of movement flowing with the breath. I gave it a rest after my first trimester because it was too much abdominal work. Prenatal yoga class wasn’t much of a workout, but it was great information. I enjoyed taking the time to slow down and reflect on what was happening in my body. And it was the best way to meet other pregnant women. After the birth, I barely practiced at all. Only once we were sleeping through the night did I feel up for a physically challenging class. I decided to try hot yoga because it happened to be convenient, and the sweat and endorphins made me feel like a new person. Now I constantly look forward to my next class.
Finally, you had a “normal” job before your son was born. Then you left that job and started your own business. What made you decide to take such a leap? And how has your transition to working mom been going?
First I was surprised by how much I enjoyed maternity leave, because I’m very career minded and I had a great job, to which I returned afterward. But the usual frustrations of the job seemed magnified when I had to leave my infant in daycare for 10 hours a day, and pump milk all day in my office, while not getting adequate sleep at night. It was not how I wanted to experience motherhood. I wanted to savor his infancy. I wanted to be present, both physically and mentally. Since I had recently finished my MBA, I felt confident that I could succeed at self-employment, and that I would land another fine job if and when I chose to. I could give myself the flexibility that my employer could/would not. Nowadays our routine is to sleep in, play all morning, and then I work while he naps. I take him to daycare in the mid-afternoon so I can work some more and maybe go to yoga. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep doing this but I wouldn’t trade the past few months for anything.
So there you have it. Don’t you just love her? Check out her business at fabulaprojects.com.