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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

SPOTLIGHT: A Conversation With Marcy - A Story of Finding Glamour as a SAHM


Welcome to another installment of MWOB's Spotlight Interview Series.  If you're a stay-at-home-mom who has ever struggled with your decision to uh, stay at HOME, then check out this conversation. Chatting with Marcy was eye-opening for me because I'm one of those moms who still clings to my "career identity" even though I've realized staying at home with my kids is where I really want to be.  


Marcy hails from the world-famous OC where she mingles with The Real Housewives of Orange County (maybe that's a stretch) and heads up every important school organization there is (okay maybe only the PTA but you get the idea). She's a wife to The Husband, a mom to Jack, 10, and Tucker, 8, and she's a self-aware Type A personality who knows how to make things happen.  She's an impressive woman and I loved our chat. I'm the one in orange as usual.


So first things first, are you a mom with or without a blog?

Okay. Here goes. Is there anything in my teeth? No. Good. Lets get started. 

I am a mom with a blog. Actually I have a whole Association built on the mockery of being a homemaker, wife and mother. You, know The Glamorous Life.

And how did this whole glamorous idea come to you?

The same year that I was married, I gave birth to my first son and then moved cross country for my husband's new executive career. Those early days of motherhood with the sleepless nights, endless laundry and burnt dinners left me feeling very under-whelmed at my choice to be a SAHM. 

As I began to express my feelings at my local mommy playgroup, it became clear that I was not alone. This whole mom/wife gig is way harder than anyone let on. And yet, the outside perception was that we 'had it all', we were living the 'American dream' or the favorite 'living the glamorous life of a stay at home mom'. 

Because I belong to the church of Comedy and Sarcasm...The Glamorous Life Association was born. First a playgroup (with cocktails) and now a blog.

I wish I had found your cocktail/playgroup when I had my first kid.
So...give us the facts...who made you a mom?


I met The Husband when I was on a business trip to New York. I was a serial dater at the time we met. But 10 minutes with him and I knew he was the guy I had been waiting for all my life. We got engaged a week later and were married a year after that. 

The whole point to getting married for me was to have children. So we didn't waste anytime. My first was born 9 months after our wedding...and it was awesome. 

And yes, Motherhood changes you. Sometimes by force.

How come it only took 10 minutes to know this guy was "the one?"

This is hard to answer briefly but I will try. I've been married 11 years and I have never put this into words......

He was confident.
He had the best eye contact I had ever experienced
He was not intimidated by my success (we met in a business setting). He seemed generally impressed by me and that was thrilling.
He ordered his vodka straight up with two olives (just the way my dad did) so I took that as a demented sign that he was a good man.
He was a great audience.  He liked my jokes and stories and offered a warm hearty laugh in return.
It was immediately apparent that he was well-educated and brilliant.
He is old school - he opened doors, stood when I left the room, made sure my glass was full at all times etc. It was stunning.
And of course, he revved my motor - in his suit and tie and Italian leather dress shoes. 

And the briefcase. Ooohh, I love a suited man with a briefcase.

But basically it was that he was already 'cooked'. I was living in Hollywood at the time and meeting people who were 'on their way' to being this or that. They were 'going to be' something or somebody...but The Husband was ALREADY who he wanted to be. And that is sexy.

What kind of success were you having that he was not intimidated by?

When I met The Husband in New York I was 26, and I was already a VP of a multi- million dollar textile design and manufacturing corporation in Los Angeles. I owned my own renovated home, fancy car, Armani suits and all the other bells and whistles that come from lots of disposable income. 

Soon-to-be husband was also in the apparel business but on the brand side and I actually went to meet with him about a business partnership regarding a new textile fiber innovation I had been helping to create in France. 

I was pretty full of myself at that point in my life. I had had one success after another. I was climbing the ladder and FAST. I was a 'mover and shaker' and I knew it. I played hard ball. I was ruthless. Nicknamed the 'Bulldog' by colleagues. I played with the 'big boys'. I was a tough-cookie.

And I loved every minute of it.

So you were a big mover and shaker - pretty full of yourself...playing with the big boys, having all kinds of successes in your career and then you met Mr. Italian Shoes, had a kid, and it all stopped? Wham? Life takes a major slowdown? Now you're a SAHM? Explain a little bit about THAT transition...

Yeah, it was SHOCKING.

It is a bit like always wanting to go on a cruise. You look at friends' photos of their cruises. You read cruise pamphlets and you begin to yearn to go on a cruise. You dream about it. You can see yourself ON THE CRUISE. And one day, after waiting longer than you expected - WHAM! - you are handed a golden ticket to take a cruise! You walk on, not realizing YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO GET OFF. And even though it is everything you expected and more, it is SHOCKING!!

So how did you come to terms with the fact that you were never getting off the boat?  That jumping ship was NOT an option?

The first year after becoming a mother my life and body and whole existence had changed drastically and The Husband? Not so much. He still went to work every day. He could still pee when he wanted. He slept through the night. He owned clothes that were not machine washable. He still had a LIFE. I was bitter and resentful. And I let him know it. 

Then one day in the middle of my pouts he said to me, "Isn't this what you wanted?" and SNAP! It was all clear to me. 

He had given me everything I THOUGHT I had wanted. He gave me everything I TOLD HIM I wanted. He didn't do this TO me, I asked for it. 

From that moment on I reveled in my new 'position'. I was a mom and I took my job seriously. Slowly, I learned to appreciate the upside to being a stay-at-home mom. Eventually I went back to work as a consultant for a few months at a time. But I was never able to balance the guilt of knowing of being away from my kids and the guilt of not giving 110% to my work. So about a year ago I fully committed to SAHM status. 

I can relate on the whole guilt of working thing and yet I myself have trouble committing 100% to feeling at home - I'm always feeling torn...

So are you good at being a SAHM?

Wow, that is tough to say. I am TOLD I am a good mom, but you know because I'm Type-A, I always think I could be better. 

I used to use a tagline "A supermom using her powers for good and not evil" which was funny- but it had really big significance for me as well. I felt like by committing to the whole SAHM thing I would be using my 'talents' for something positive (making a home and world for the humans I helped to create) instead of out working in the world (which can be an evil never-ending pursuit of money and position). 

I take being a mom seriously. I thinking being a good SAHM goes beyond laundry and making Betty Crocker meals. I think it means looking for every opportunity to teach your kids about the joy of life. In my house we sing, we dance, we make videos, tell jokes, take family field trips and on many occasions act plain stupid. Life is a great thing- and I want my kids to learn to find joy no matter what life has ahead of them.

Marcy - that was a killer reply. Love it. The more I hear, the more I like. 

So....was there like a specific moment where you finally committed 100% to being a SAHM? A revelation of sorts?


Well no. Actually I have to recommit to it every single day. 

Everyday I wake up and face the PTA meetings, the laundry, the grocery shopping, the taxi driving to music lessons and more. And I have my moments of doubt.

Maybe I wouldn't doubt if I hadn't 'seen the other side'. Maybe if I had married at 18 and all I had known was wife and momdom I wouldn't give it a second thought. But because I know what it is like to have an identity other than being a mother...it crosses my mind more than once a day. 

And each day I walk myself thru it, and recommit to my CURRENT job. And it is a JOB. It is not all fun and games. It is not as 'glamorous' as those who have never lived it believe. And the pay is not nearly as good! But the importance of it is so far more significant in the grand scheme of things, that I continue on the SAHM path.
 
What one thing do you miss the most from your previous glamourous life?

A tangible sense of worth and accomplishment. You know every time you get a paycheck you feel like someone is telling you 'you are worth something to us.' You feel you have something to offer, that you are contributing to goals and resolutions in a tangible, measurable way. You get a promotion, a raise even someone passing you on the hall with a 'good job on that'...and feel like how you spend your time matters. 

Switch over to SAHM status and well...that all disappears. Heck, there are plenty of times I am embarrassed to even admit to people I am a SAHM. Because I know how it is perceived. Most of the world thinks it is the 'easy way out' and that we sit around eating bon-bons all day.

Dude - you're speaking my language. 

So now that you've traded career glamour for the glamour of a SAHM, what advice can you give other struggling SAHM's about how to find some glamour in the middle of a typical hectic day?


SAHM Survival Kit -  "Its a war. Be prepared":

1. Connect. The most overwhelming issue facing SAHM is isolation. So get into one of those cliche mommy groups. You don't have to love everyone in it...but it just helps for a few hours every week to see that you are not the first mom on the planet. And the issues and struggles? Trust me you are not the first mom to secretly hate your husband when you are up doing a feeding and he is deep in REM. You are not the first to loathe dinner time. You are not the first to wish you adopted every time you look at the 40lbs of baby fat you are still carrying. You are not alone.

2. Humor. Find the funny. After cleaning up the high chair for the millionth time baby decides to throw up all over you and have a blow-out all at once? Feel like crying? Don't. Laugh it off. Sometimes things are so insanely bad....they are funny. Finding the funny not only will benefit you and your blood pressure- but it will benefit your children in a million ways.

3. Don't limit yourself. Don't think that there is anything you can't do because you have the kids now. Go to your favorite museum. Take a trip to the zoo. Travel by plane, car or train. Visit friends. Eat in restaurants. Do everything (short of bar hopping) that you USED to do before kids. You will soon learn that the fun and enjoyment is not diminished.....it is multiplied. 

4. Cut yourself some slack. You are not June Cleaver. You're not Betty Crocker. You are not the super nanny. Do the best you can. But if you don't get to the store for a week and the kids are eating cereal and pop tarts for dinner...THAT IS OKAY. Who cares? No one but YOU. So don't make the job harder than it already is by holding yourself up to some insane TV version ideal. 

5. Chant. When you're overwhelmed chant this: "The days go by like years, and years go by like days."  Some days will feel like HELL but remember before you know it, it will be OVER and you will actually miss it. 

Okay so as we are wrapping up - next question - your blog is gonna be made into a movie - what's the plot in a couple of sentences and WHO is playing you??

Girl is born and grows up certain great things are meant for her. She gets education, she meets boy, she has kids. Girl ponders her identity and searches to find the 'great things' meant for her. Girl decides to bloom where she is planted. And the great things meant for her? She had them all along. Which I guess is like "The Bodyguard" only without the singing and bad outfits.

Okay but who is playing YOU? What actress?

I don't know. Maybe Julia Louis Dryfuss? Or the wife from "Everybody Loves Raymond"......that is the hardest question you have asked so far!

Do you have an ultimate vision/goal for your blog? Or a mission
statement of sorts?


Ultimately, the purpose of my blog is to entertain. I do not use my blog as a daily diary or a dumping ground for all my deep feelings or past baggage. I have always been an 'entertainer'...wanting to please people and make them laugh. And so my blog is an extension of that. I want every visit someone makes to The Association to be worth the trip.

Let Marcy entertain you! Check out The Glamourous Life Association.
 

13 comments:

  1. Wow. What a great interview!!!

    And it's so true about trying to be June Cleaver. I find myself trying, and trying, and trying to be perfect. The harder I try, the more mistakes I make...If I'd just relax, love my kids, love my husband and most of all love myself, it'd be okay.

    Right?

    RIGHT?!?!?!? ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Then one day in the middle of my pouts he said to me, "Isn't this what you wanted?" and SNAP! It was all clear to me.---EXCELLENT POINT!

    And I love the daily re-commitment; that you feel that your SAHM job is so far more significant in the grand scheme of things." So true.

    And I'm printing out the Survival Kit...no kids in sight yet, but I don't want to be searching for these words of wisdom when I need them!

    ReplyDelete
  3. WOW this was such a huge thrill to see my interview here...and I was surprised to hear I have a son named Hunter. His name is actually Tucker....he he he he......close enough!

    Besides I was INterviewed! SO HAPPY! Lee you really rock!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love that girl! What a great interview!

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  5. Wonderful insightful interview

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  6. Way to go, Miss Marcy. Great answers to great questions!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Marcy, you are an inspiration!

    You have so clearly painted your picture and I think we can all relate to your story. At least, I know I can.

    I can't wait to be "entertained" by you. I'm on my way over to The Association right now for a little laughter ...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for sharing, Marcy - so many things I can relate to in your words and experiences - you have a real talent for reaching the soul of what motherhood is about. I wouldn't change one day of my 3 1/2 years at home with my 3 yr old. She's blooming even if I'm a little more rough around the edges!
    I think my older girls have completely forgotten that I actually used to work in television for a living - they just know me as the strange, lovable, sometimes grumpy lady who gets them breakfast, washes their clothes and hugs them when they're sad.
    A movie out of your blog, Marcy - wow! Big time. Congrats on that and please keep us posted!
    Great interview, Lee.

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  9. Oh this was wonderful - just what I needed today. Especially the laugh when you want to cry...

    isn't that really hysteria? I'm so all over that. Em

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  10. I get caught up in trying to keep up with the perception of a stay at home mom and I always end up feeling like I'm just no that good at my job.

    It drives me crazy when people try to say that being a stay at home mom is easy.

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  11. I also like the "recommitting every day." So true. Great interview. Marcy makes me laugh and everybody needs more of that - an entertaining entertainer.

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  12. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Joannah

    http://2gbmemory.net

    ReplyDelete

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