Late summer 2000 NYC: I was working as a designer and was an integral part of a team that had just successfully launched an iconic fashion house’s women’s clothing line. Previously the brand had been known for shoes (which I loved, and wore with passion) and accessories. In my younger days as an assistant designer I would eat the same $1.10 bagel and cup of coffee over and over again just to save money for this brand’s shoes. So you could say having a senior role in this launch was my dream job. After working for some of the biggest (and craziest) brands in the fashion industry, I finally found the job I thought was a keeper.
Around the same time, my dream guy also dropped in out of thin air, He was cute, funny, down to earth, spiritual and was and investment banker on Wall Street. Now, he was not perfect. His mid-western nerdy banker fashion needed some help. But that was easy for me: if he was willing, I was happy to lend my expertise. My previous m.o. on dating was the actor/model/artist type. Not the famous ones either — I dated the ones that always needed to split the check, or wanted me to pay because I had the good job and a country house. The guys that make your parents laugh and try to charm them, but then your parents pull you to the side and say “ditch him.”
Fast forward a month or so. Walking hand in hand on the hot, smelly streets of the City with Teva Guy (that’s what my girlfriends and I called him because the night we met he was wearing Tevas, that’s what bankers wear when they are not in an Armani suit, or so he said). I did not like Tevas and still don’t like them to this day. We had just been for ice cream at Serendipity and were walking past Bloomingdales on Lexington and 59th street. I was admiring the new fall windows, he was admiring me . I was wearing a cute little sundress and Steve Madden kitten heels with the little bow on the front, shiny red patten. That is when his question dropped like a bomb, “so are you the careery type or do you want to settle down and raise a family.” Insert the sounds of screeching brakes and honking horns, as the store window faded to black! Umm well, until this point I have not wanted to get married or have a family, but my mom was a stay at home mom. I guess that’s just what you do when you meet “the one.”
I did not realize with that answer I was entering into an agreement that I would wrestle with for the next 15 years. I did not really know what life as a mom was like. The women I knew, that I did life with, were New York City career women or starving artists. When I did see a mom in the city, she was waving her nanny and baby good bye as she scrambled for a cab to get back to work. Although the thought of doing my own thing, at my own pace, making my own schedule (like weekends that never ended) … that sounded really appealing to me. To get out of fashion, where on a regular basis in the office screaming is the background music, you stay on your toes to dodge the occasional rage-thrown stapler, violent firings are the norm and just general lying-through-their-teeth is an accepted/expected strategy to get ahead … well, the Mom thing did seem to have its appeal in contrast to my “dream job.”
But then there’s real Mom Life: mounds of laundry, meal planning around varying pickiness that begets pleading to “just eat it” that begets the never ending dishes, and shuttling little bodies back and forth (mom-taxi) rather than moving your own body. “I have to feed these kids and actually work to keep them alive” is a very different 24/7 than the 24/7 of a NYC career-life. Add on top of that the isolation, the madness of homework left at school and the classroom volunteer work … and the attendant sense of inferiority when you glance over to see Super-Mom: running the school, carefully crafting play dates to make sure her kids were aligned with the right kids, having her house spotless and dinner home cooked from Pinterest with produce and meats she just got from the farm that day. Is it any surprise “Bad Moms” grossed over $100MM?
It took me about six minutes in on that snowy March day in 2005 to realize this adorable sweet baby girl was not just a dress-up doll – her life depended on me. It turns out I was a much better career lady, flying to the hinter lands to source and design fabrics, than I was a mommy. I soon realized how much I had loved working for a paycheck and its freedoms, the affirmation of great reviews and the daily praise for a job well done. Way more validating than baby music class, baby gym, baby library hour. New mom validation was spit up on my Lilly Pulitzer and stale puffs and cheerios crusted around a sticky pacifier in the bottom of my Coach bag and constant sense of feeling like I sucked at housework (btw, that has not changed).
My desires for perfection turned into a realization that now as a mom I will be constantly underperforming … especially when it comes to housework. I would say I love fitness and a healthy life style, but what I really love is trying out the latest diet that promises a skinny me, and whatever the latest exercise craze is. All while trying to raise my children not to become ax-murderers. Or obsessive like me. My daughter now is old enough to see it and son #1 rolls his eyes and says “Mom you’re on another diet?” No, honey this is Mommy’s lifestyle choice. Ugh I really have to stop lying to my children … they see through it anyway. Hopefully I won’t lose all credibility with them and scar them for life. Trusting the Lord everyday for that!
For more fun/crazy stories about my time in the fashion industry, struggles with motherhood and a pal among the journey, check back here!
Coming soon ( I would love to hear comments on your interest level)
30 Days of Static Wardrobe –taking the capsule wardrobe to a whole new level
30 Days of adventures with Rent the Runway
Going from fashion Powerhouse to Momtreprenuer
Is athletic apparel the new parachute jogger?
How to go from sweaty gym gear to the grocery store in style
Skin care for the busy mom
Insane stories from 7th Ave
and much much more