Sarah and I met a few years ago when I first started nannying. I was taking over her position with a family in Berkeley and I went on a "ride-along" with her and the two little girls I would be watching. She is a seriously talented metal artist and creative and is currently making and selling beautiful brass and wood wall hangings. Harper is 2 years old.
What did you love most about being a kid?
The first thing I think of is being barefoot in our backyard, the sun shining, and getting dirty…that carefree aspect that my parents really fostered. My parents put a lot of time and effort into making our backyard a kid’s dream, with a sandpit, trampoline, garden and a huge lawn. When the lawn needed mowing, my Dad would make crazy zigzag patterns so that we could play a lava-like tag game where you can’t touch the un-mowed areas. That game was everything for us kids. My parents were highly invested in our neighborhood, [which was] packed with young families and kiddos my age. It was like “everybody go over to the Goddard’s house!” I think of all that…being barefoot and surrounded by community.
What did you think about your mom when you were little? How have your feelings changed as you’ve gotten older?
I thought she was a killer business woman [laughs] and she still is. She has a very driven personality, which I really respect. She gets stuff done. But she's nurturing and loving too, of course. She always had the priority to be home with us after school and arranged for her job to work around what us kids were doing. She’d take us to school and pick us up; she was always present, even with a full-time job. I really value that to this day. It’s interesting growing up and then having a child of my own…I have so much more respect for my parents and especially for my mom, like, holy smokes, you did all of that for me, and you CONTINUE to do all of that for me.
Tell me about your path to motherhood. Did you always know you wanted to have kids?
When we were engaged and even dating we talked about having kids and it was always a five-year plan. And so we got married and it was still a five-year plan, and then it became the six-year plan, and then the seven-year plan…but then she was a surprise! So it became a 2-and-a-half, almost three-year plan [laughs]. We can’t imagine life without her! She’s the greatest gift.
Becoming a mom wasn’t much of a thought or priority in my life, so the surprise was really a surprise. It was the greatest surprise of our lives!
What are some of your favorite things about being a mom?
Oh man, getting to witness the blossoming of this little human; seeing her play…her creativity and her excitement for life is the best. I love having a front row seat to her world that’s growing by the day.
I have a lot of friends who love babies. They see a baby in a room and they don’t even know the person whose baby it is and they’re like give me the baby. I was never like that. It’s this age that I love and that I find myself thriving in. It’s the interaction and communication that’s just so exciting. This age and season of motherhood is my favorite (so far).
What is one part of motherhood you struggle with?
The hardest thing is the work/life balance. I’m a stay-at-home Mama, but I'm also running a business from my at-home studio. Time management and expectations of naptime work sessions have been my biggest struggle. Previously, I would expect to work when Harper was napping, but we all know how unpredictable that can be. I would find myself so bummed when she would wake up earlier than I hoped. I’m trying to learn from this by shifting my perspective and expectations, and by compartmentalizing my time. There are “Mama/Harper Days” and there are “Studio Days.” On days with her, that is our time. If she naps an hour, that’s ok, if she happens to nap two hours, that’s ok too, I wasn’t expecting to be in the studio anyway.
What have you learned about yourself since becoming a mother?
How much I need community. The first 16 months were so trying for me. With sleep deprivation (it’s real, people), figuring out the wonderful-crazy nursing relationship and caring for a beautiful little human that poops endlessly; it was really hard. Enter the people in my life that made me feel a little less crazy. They would tell me that I was a doing a great job, make us delicious food, they would hold Harper so I could focus on other things and they gave me the soundest advice. Community is huge. And I’m so grateful for mine, especially during that time.
Who do you turn to for advice?
My pals Vanessa and Britany are two incredibly wise woman that I can turn to for anything parenting related and beyond. They’re not just wise, they’re vulnerable and open. They relate and make me feel a little less alone in this wild journey of life and motherhood.
What has surprised you about motherhood?
I was surprised by how much I would love it, almost 2 1/2 years in. I didn’t quite think about how great it would be, because she was a surprise. I almost didn’t have time to think what is this really going to look like? A year out, two years out, and beyond? We just went. And, gosh, I’m so grateful for our daughter. It is such a gift being her Mama.
Also, Patrick and I have always valued community, recognizing that if you don’t have community, oh my gosh, what are you doing? We were surprised by how much a catalyst for community [Harper] has been because you can instantly connect with other parents—and people just love kids, and they love Harper, they adore Harper. When I’m in the grocery store and she’s sitting in the cart, people can’t help but stop and talk to her and talk to me. I get to connect with people that I wouldn’t have connected with otherwise.
Are there any societal pressures on motherhood that you feel more than others?
The pressure to have it all together and the pressure to have a pristine home. But, I am definitely learning to let that go. I have some pretty rad women around me, with older kiddos, that have gone before me and have encouraged me that none of that matters. All that matters is you’re doing your best and your child is healthy. I think it’s easy to get sucked up into anything that society expects you to do, but if you have a community that reminds you to put the first things first, that perspective changes everything.
How does technology impact motherhood? In which ways does it connect us and in which ways does it isolate us?
Oh man, technology is cray. I love it for the opportunities it has brought my way— to connect with working artists all over the world and even seeing how other mothers do things. But, I definitely struggle with it taking my time and presence from being with Harper. I’m currently working on that balance.
What are some of the biggest differences between your childhood and the one you’re creating for your daughter?
I had a really really great childhood. My parents were awesome—they very much cared about our need to be kids—letting us romp around in our backyard, exploring and using our imaginations. I feel like we’re doing that. A difference is living in these artist lofts with a bunch of interesting, creative people as our neighbors. What’s really exciting about raising her here is that she gets to meet so many different people. And having a home in an urban core, in downtown Sacramento, she’s encountering all kinds of different cultures and people with different professions. It’s so varied.
How has your relationship with your mom changed since becoming a mother?
When you’re a kid, you look at your mom and she’s just your mom, but now I can say that as a fellow Mama, we’re in the same club. I realize that she also cried at 2 a.m. with a babe in her arms, she experienced the joys and pains of toddlerhood, and she knows the intense, all-consuming love for a child. We can relate on so much more.
Can you tell me a little bit about your husband? How has your relationship with Patrick changed since having Harper?
I love that guy. He is an incredible father, incredible father. He reminds me of what my dad was like with me. My dad thought that the sun rose and set on me. I definitely see that is how he views Harper, which is so so so so good for my heart. He’s very intentional with Harper and I’m just so grateful that Harper gets the experience of having a dad who thinks she’s the raddest kid. How has our relationship changed? It’s gotten better for sure. We talked about that a lot when I was pregnant, about what the dynamic would be like. Kiddos can put a lot of strain on a relationship because it’s a whole new thing and you’re having to figure it out. We definitely had that in our minds that [the relationship between us] is number one because she benefits from that. It’s not like we’re putting her on the back burner, but we have to make sure we’re good and simultaneously love her like crazy.
What are your hopes for Harper?
I hope that she is secure in her identity—that she is of great value, is loved, and that it’s not contingent on anything she does. She just is.
Patrick and I believe that everyone is created to be creative, and that it’s not just a title that a fine artist can hold, but that we all have it inside of us. It’s how we’re wired—the ability to bring things to life from our imaginations. It’s a lifestyle choice, really. We hope that she taps into that and is present in that. We hope that in tapping into her God-given creativity, she can contribute amazing, life-giving things to the world. And I hope that she is kind and continues to care about other people deeply.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? You’ll have a twelve-year old.
Errrgh! That’s crazy! But so exciting and so fun to think about. We’re only planning on having one kiddo, so I would be grateful to be living our life as a family of three and investing in her. I hope that we will continue to be creative together as a family, me with my business, Patrick with his bike building and investing in whatever Harper finds to do with her heart and hands. Is it real that someday we will have a twelve-year-old? That’s bonkers.