The responses to our Journey To Motherhood post series have been a-ma-zing, we are happy to hear that people love them. Big thank you’s to Aria Newton of arianewtonthephotoproject for sharing her journey with us and offering a 20% discount to our readers on her photo shoot packages, here is her website of her beautiful photography. Happy Friday!
Name: Aria Newton
How long have you been living in Brooklyn? I moved here 7 years ago. My husband and I live in Fort Greene with our son. I love it here.
Occupation: Photographer and Photo Retoucher
When did you first become a mother? My son Nico was born during a heat wave in the summer of 2010 in New York City.
Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/ idea? I thought that I knew a lot about being a mother before I had Nico, then I actually became a mom and realized that I didn’t know that much. It is such a major transition, that it is hard to actually anticipate how new and exciting everything will feel once it happens. I come from a big family and have 3 nephews, so I had a fair understanding of the struggles you have to go through the first year when the baby is so young. For me the biggest shock was not sleeping. There is no way to do a test run of what it will feel like to be woken up all night and then need to function in the world the next day. Coffee became my very, very close friend. Te quiero mucho café.
How would you describe the first year? We slept so little that first year, but it was pretty amazing. I completely fell in love in a way that I couldn’t have planned. I felt like I joined a secret society of people that hang out at 7 am and always have food on their clothes. I took more pictures than I can ever remember taking that year and still felt like I wasn’t capturing this incredible time with enough tenacity. Each month was so different and special. I had always been close to others with young babies and was used to photographing their lives. It changed everything when it happened to us though. The first time that I photographed a newborn after Nico was born, I felt like I finally got it. I knew which pictures those women would want. I knew which ones they wouldn’t care about. It all went by so quickly. All of a sudden we were drinking champagne at Nico’s first birthday, high fiving that we made it through the first year. I think that everyone should drink champagne at their kid’s 1st birthday. It’s a big deal. Take a picture of yourself doing it too. And wear a pretty dress. You won’t regret it.
What helped you get through it? Starting a new business in this first year was a challenge, but it was what got me through it. I am a photographer by trade, but had worked in retouching studios since moving to the city. Working with fashion and advertizing deadlines often meant that I was at work until 10 pm. Starting my own company meant that I had more flexibility with my own schedule, but that I needed to be in real control of it. When I wasn’t working, I made a point of spending a lot of time with friends.
Did you have a support system near you? My family is in Boston and my husband’s family is in New Zealand. Being far away from family meant that our friends in the city really became like our family. Even though it is hard to not have lots of family around, once you deal with some of the craziness of being a mother you feel like you can do anything.
How do you juggle work and family? It’s all about the naps in our house. I transitioned Nico to one long nap before most of my friends with other babies did. The two naps didn’t give me a big enough chunk of time to work. Just as I was getting started on something he would wake up. I don’t do anything but work while he is napping. I don’t pick up the phone or respond to emails unless they are work related. Knowing that I have 3 uninterrupted hours during the day when I am fresh, caffeinated and able to work has really improved my time management skills. Most nights, I also work when he is in bed too, but it’s that nap time where I get the best work done. My husband and Nico have lots of special things that they do on the weekends together so I can also shoot and finish up whatever I couldn’t get done during the week.
Tips for new moms? Meet other women with babies. It is so important to have a support system of other women in your same situation. I was really lucky and had a friend that had her daughter 3 weeks after I had Nico. Before you have a baby, it is hard to listen to someone talk about breastfeeding and dirty diapers for 2 hours, so you can’t expect your friends without kids to do that. Go to playgroups and just talk to other people in the parks and coffee shops. All new parents are looking to make new friends. They’re all in the same boat as you. Don’t be shy. It can be kind of awkward like dating to meet new people and make plans to hang out, but it is really important.
Photo, Aria Newton
Like Christine I also started out as a wardrobe assistant and then supervisor so I know what working on a set is like. To be working on 3 shows and running a business is doubly impressive! More of a reason I adore her line for boys Stinky McGee
which can be found online and at My Brooklyn Baby
and Caribou Baby
. I know she is busy , so thank you Christine for taking the time to share your Journey with MB!
Name: Christine Ryan
Hometown: Maplewood, NJ
How long have you been living in Brooklyn?: 15 years: Williamsburg (8) and then Clinton Hill (7)
Wardrobe Supervisor at Sesame Street, Wardrobe Stylist, dresser and tailor for three TV shows. AND Owner of Stinky McGee,
an accessory company for boys.
When did you first become a mother?: September 8, 2010.
Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the reality close to your personal image/idea?: I’m the oldest of 5 kids so I had some kind of idea about responsibility, rules and manners. But I had absolutely no concept of how much I could love another human being so purely. I have such a ridiculous amount of new found respect for my mother, but also an understanding of her that I never could wrap my head around before. She was very strict with me and I always found it suffocating. But I swear to my husband now that our son will be known throughout the borough as the boy whose mother walked him to school til he was 18. Seriously.
How would you describe the first year?: Not bad. I had a really terrible time with my son’s delivery so I think everything after it seemed much easier. But that was also something that became very clear to me very quickly: labor and delivery was just the tip of the iceberg. The real meat of it is (obviously) afterwards. I didn’t have much control with my delivery and so I tried to steer things the way I wanted afterwards. No one told me how much nursing would hurt- even when you’re ‘doing it right’- some people are just a bit more sensitive. I remember crying, my husband rubbing my neck and nursing every 15 minutes with a boob that was not pleasant looking. BUT you push through it, there’s a sense of responsibility for this little creature that, if you’re nursing, is just humungous. It’s overwhelming but awesome too.
What helped you get through it?: My husband was and is fantastic. I went back to work, shooting Sesame Street, after my son was 4 months old. I’d pump, pump, pump, run off set, watch the monitor, look at pictures my husband was sending that day so my milk would come in, pump, pump, pump, then run home, feed/eat and pass out. And my husband was home- cool, calm, changing diapers, dispensing bottles and playing with our son. My mom cooked a lot of food for us and I have two girlfriends with kids that were absolutely fantastic to bounce things off of. Also, the beer garden in my hood was a great way for me to feel a bit more a part of a bigger community of parents- not just moms.
Did you start Stinky MGee before or after kids?: After. Stinky McGee was purely a reaction to the lack of options for my son. Kids clothing shops seem to be 3/4 girls and 1/4 boys with some polos and khakis and, if you’re lucky, a little banker’s tie. I think boys are just as interested in accessories as girls.
How do you juggle work and kids?: It sounds trite but my husband and I are a team. I say to him: GO TEAM RYAN! And the poor man hides. So so so important to have a partner in crime. We really split the time with our son and then once the babe is down for the night, a glass of wine and sewing.
Tips for new moms?:
- Watch out for rocket poo. It tends to only want to hit the mom.
- Use a carrier for your kid. I still do and he’s almost 2 years old. It has them learning faster, you can nurse incognito ANYwhere and you can kiss them easliy all day long!
- Support your local momma/baby shops. They are there for you and have a lot to offer.
- Don’t take everything so seriously. It’s so easy to. Have fun with the little one. Remember to laugh :)