Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama... August 10 2012

Today we have Anna, owner of Yummy Time  where she teaches kids to cook (and have fun!) in the kitchen. Check out Anna’s blog to learn more about Yummy Time. If you like to be added to Anna’s newsletter you can email her at anna@ouryummytime.com


Name: Anna Harrington
Hometown: Washington DC and The Hague, Netherlands
How long have you’ve been living in Wiliamsburg/Greenpoint:
Since 2001, when Tim and I got our first apartment together on Skillman by Kingsland, now we’ve been 10 years in the same apartment on south 2nd street.
Occupation: Product developer, designer, creative director, teacher, chef.  Deadly Squire, Anna Harrington Consulting, Yummy Time!
When did you first become a mother? I gave birth to my first son, Benjamin Bo Lars, September 13, 2006.  I had my second son, Casper John Magnus 2 and 1/2 years later, April 12, 2009.
Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood and what was your idea of what you felt your life would be like?
I always loved kids and babysat a lot growing up.  I taught children aged 1-13 at the Children’s Museum of Art and Church Street School of Art for a few years in my 20’s… my biological clock was going bonkers around all of those cuties.  But, as much as I wanted children, I was scared I wouldn’t cut it as a mom since I was such a night owl… I thought I would never wake up in the morning of take care of my kids!!  Ha! now it’s hard for me to sleep past 7 even if I am away from my kids.  Really, I didn’t realize how much you give up in the early years of your child’s life… you are not the center of your own world anymore. 
How would you describe the first year?  I found the first year really challenging, exhausting and isolating.  I was running my own business with my husband, Tim (Deadly Squire).  We were insanely busy and I went back to work 2 weeks after I gave birth… I realized 8 months later I still had not recovered my strength… I was beat.  I was one of the first of my close friends to have a child so many of my girlfriends were enjoying life, and late nights and their independence while I was trying to fall asleep at 9pm so I could wake up 2 times with my child at night and then function the next day… I didn’t know moms in the park or neighborhood so I felt kind alone.  I really started getting a great community of neighborhood moms once nursery school started.
How did you get through it? My mom came and helped us for the first 2 weeks (although this was sometimes more difficult than helpful), my husband is very hands on, and at 1 month, we hired a wonderful part-time caregiver for 3 days/week… she is very relaxed and had been through everything with her own 2 children and 2 families (who were friends of mine) so it was a great help to have someone experienced to help me through.
Do you have close friends or family near by? Did it help having a family member/friends close by?  My best girlfriend, who was single, lived above me… that was great in some ways but hard in others… I loved that she was able to spend so much time with my kids in their early years, and it was great to be able to have a casual glass of wine together after work, but it was hard to see her enjoying her independent life (as i know it was hard for her to see me married with children)… i wanted to go out dancing until 2am too! Also, my sister and cousins live in Manhattan, many of my friends from DC live in NYC and I went to Columbia undergrad so I actually have a very extensive support network… almost all of my girlfriends have kids of their own now and it is really special to see my children playing with their children…. I think in general, I am extremely fortunate.  That first year is such an adjustment and so personal and people in NY are so busy that even having wonderful, loving people surrounding me, I still managed to feel isolated.
You’ve been a mother for 6 years now, what lessons have you learn?  Ben is turning 6 in September! I cannot believe I am the mother of a 6 year old! A real big kid!  Once Casper was born, time just flew by… with 2, everything became a blink.  The main lesson I learn over and over again, is that most things with my kids are just a phase.  My husband and I freak out about something then it tends to get resolved in a few weeks without that much effort… or at least a lot less than we feared.
Tips for new moms?  Don’t let people bully you into be a certain type of parent.  People are extremely opinionated, in blogs, in person… everyone feels they have the right to tell you how you should feed your child, where they should sleep, what equipment to use…. Everything about being a parent is extremely personal - figure out the system that works best for you, your partner and your child.  I am a nerd, so I read tons of literature throughout my first pregnancy and the first 2-3 years of Benji’s life… I never found a book I 100% agreed with, but I found it really helpful to pick-and-choose from each… to read other people’s opinions helped my figure out what my own were. 
Thank god children are by nature so adorable, creative, funny, loving and inquisitive!  It is amazing how quickly my boys can go from driving me up the wall to having the best time of my life.