Journey To Motherhood, my first year being a mama...

January 25, 2013

Today’s journey is with a bit of a twist. We always cover moms after their first year and thought why not ask someone who is in the midst of their first year?! Who better then a mom who chronicles her first year as a mom who lives right in our hood on her blog Williamsburg Baby.

Name: Sarah Horne Grose
Hometown: I was born just outside of Manchester, in England. I was mostly raised in Washington, DC, but went back to Scotland for university. 
How long have you’ve been living in Brooklyn? It will be 10 years this fall. I moved to Williamsburg after living in France, where I was a ski bum and worked as a chef on a Belgian family’s old wooden yacht. When I first moved to Brooklyn, I lived in a loft on Kent Ave. and then a duplex on N. 11th Street with 4 roommates (one of whom is now my husband.) 

Occupation: Freelance editor and writer

When Did you first Become a Mother? Axel was born on August 6, 2012. We drove to the hospital in the midst of an epic summer storm, which had rained out one of the concerts on the waterfront. As I looked out the window in between contractions there were millions of people milling around the streets, dripping wet. It was surreal. We had a wonderful experience at NYU, and I think I was on a high for months afterwards. 

Before becoming a mother, what did you know about motherhood? Was the
reality close to your personal image/idea? I wish I had known how fun it would be. For ages, the idea of having kids felt like this enormous precipice. My husband and I were together for 8 years before Axel was born. Of course I relish all that freedom that we shared together, but now we want a tribe, and I half wish I had started earlier. It’s such an emotional and physical roller coaster you go through when you are pregnant, and it’s daunting to think of going through that several more times (in my 30s.) But we are a bit baby mad now. It just feels very natural that he’s here with us. 

How would you describe this first year? We’ve been lucky to have a very easy, sociable, happy baby. Though Axel has a benign cyst on the back of his head which will require surgery in the next few months, and that’s been a worry. In a way, having a serious concern has allowed us to be more relaxed about the little stuff. When I worry, I remind myself that little babies go through things like heart surgery, and that pediatric surgeons are really remarkable people. We often joke that we are trying to raise our first born like a third or fourth child. I don’t know if we’re managing, but I do feel like he’s a very mellow fellow most of the time. We try not to fall into the rabbit hole of parental anxiety and I think maybe he senses that positivity. 

Do you have support such as family or friends? We don’t have family nearby but living in Williamsburg as new parents has been amazing. I was initially skeptical about the idea of joining a mother’s group, and sort of felt like it would be awkward, filled with earnest types I might not click with. But it’s been brilliant. Our Summer 2012 moms’ group gets together at places like Spritzenhaus and Modca ever week, and I’ve met some tremendous women. In the early months I was anything but isolated, and I loved that there was a meet up nearly every day. I’ve seen a bit less of these ladies since many of us went back to work, but we chat via Facebook and run into each other when we’re out and about. 
Tell us about your blog Williamsburg Baby? I started the blog when I was pregnant, and was oddly reluctant to tell anyone about it at first. I guess I felt I needed to find my voice. But it’s been lovely to be able to record the tiny moments of Axel’s first year and to have a place to share my happy moments. I hope it’s something of a resource for other women, whether they live in the neighborhood and are looking for tips on local classes or whether they’re just curious about what it’s like to raise a family in a big city. I am a voracious reader of other mother’s blogs too. It’s always interesting to see how stylish, thoughtful people approach motherhood and to peek into their lives. 

How do you juggle writing assignments and your blog? I often do short term stints at magazines and newspapers, and when I am working full time and on deadline it can be pretty brutal. Media is an ‘it’s done when it’s done’ kind of industry, so 9-5 it isn’t. When I first went back to work, just before Hurricane Sandy, I was often at the office ‘til 9 and it was horrid getting home after Axel was in bed. I’d check in with my blog once in a while during the day as a way of sort of connecting with him from afar, and reminding myself that I had this other life at home that was what really mattered. Now my schedule is a little more freewheeling, and I work a few days a week from the neighborhood, so you might see me skulking at spots like Black Brick, updating my blog one minute and filing a story to an editor the next. 
Tips for new moms? I’d say get out of the house as much as you can. We took Axel to brunch at Enid’s on the way home from the hospital, and I was out for coffee with him from that first day home. Don’t let the fear of germs or logistics scare you into feeling cooped up, because a little jaunt is often exactly what both you and the baby need. Fussiness always seems to magnify when it’s just you an an infant at home. My policy is usually to say yes…to travel, to dinners out, to a coffee date with a friend. If I sense Axel is needing more time at home or more of my focus, we just readjust. I think the longer you delay things like the first flight or big trip, the first meal out, the first night away from the baby while he’s with a sitter, the harder it all becomes.