SEPTEMBER #MAMACRUSH: TATIANA
September, 1 2018
This month's #MamaCrush could also be called #DadCrush. We had a chat with Tatiana, a fellow Park Sloper, a successful HR executive at a large media holding company, a mom to two adorable girls...and the primary working parent in her family. Tatiana is one of those women who instantly lights up the room with her effortless charm. She possesses a great deal of positive energy that she generously shares with people around her in a subtle and gentle way. We had the chance to talk to her about kids, work, family, things that matter, and about fashion, of course. She shares how she found her way back to a demanding full-time career after being a stay-at-home mom for 5 years. And how this was made possible thanks to the commitment she and her husband made to take turns being the stay-at-home parent.
Tell us a little bit about your kids. What are their personalities like?
They are both such big personalities.
Madeleine (soon to be 8 years old) is my inspiration – she is spirited, embraces new experiences with zeal, and sets a high bar. She is a bookworm, Harry Potter aficionado, animal lover, and budding artist.
Victoria (5 years old) is my lovebug – she is empathetic, loving, thoughtful, and intelligent beyond her years. She keeps us entertained with her storytelling and insights.
What is your favorite thing about being a mom?
Being my daughters’ biggest cheerleader and coach; encouraging them to be strong, smart, and independent as they tackle milestones and challenges.
How has motherhood changed you?
It has made me realize that I can handle more than I thought possible and makes me want to be a stronger role model. I want to inspire these little humans as much as they inspire me.
It has also made me notice the passage of time more acutely and appreciate it more.
Going back to work after raising kids full-time for a few years is not an easy transition for many women. How did you manage to do it?
After 5 years, I was so ready to return to work, but also anxious about being able to juggle it all. Luckily, I kept in touch with my professional network and was offered a temporary role covering for a maternity leave. It was the perfect segue for me. It gave me the courage to commit and led me to my current role.
Of course, as with most transitions, it wasn’t entirely smooth. The shift to two full-time working parents ratcheted up demands on our time and created more stress around unexpected contingencies. It didn’t help that Victoria developed an ear infection my first week on the temp job.
As our family navigated through this transition, we adjusted our expectations and routines. We got more flexible about what constitutes a home cooked meal or a clean home. The hardest part was the delicate negotiation of who would relieve our nanny when job demands sprung up.
Having frank, open conversations with my husband, Michael, was key. He was – and remains – incredibly supportive of my career.
You and your husband chose an unconventional way of sharing the load of full-time parenting. Tell us more about how you made it work for your family?
Michael lost his job last year and decided his next role would be as a “stay-at-home” dad. Aside from the difficult decision to let our wonderful nanny go, it has been great.
It has alleviated the time crunch on our family. I’m able to focus on work more fully, and I love that my daughters get to spend so much with their dad. It’s a great opportunity for them to see that parenting is not disproportionately a woman’s job. Plus, I think he is better suited to this than I ever was! The girls benefit from his joyful spirit, wisdom, and immense patience.
Did you find it difficult that your husband would be spending more time with your children than you?
Having been a stay-at-home parent allowed me to watch Michael become the go-to parent without envy or remorse.
Has going back to work changed you as a mom? If so, in what way?
Returning to work has increased demands on my time. On good days, this makes me appreciate spending time with my daughters more. On bad days, it makes me less patient with them.
On the flipside, being a mom has certainly changed the way I approach work. I’m more focused on making the most of my time away from my kids and more discerning about the type of work I’ll commit to. I’m fortunate to have a job I enjoy, which makes it easier to leave in the morning.
Do you have any rituals or self-care practices that help you balance your life at work and home?
I make time for running, occasionally pamper myself with a mani/pedi, and stay connected with friends.
We always look for ways to help moms on their breastfeeding journey, and not just with clothes. What’s the best advice you received that you can share with new moms?
For something so natural, it takes a lot of work. And it can be painful (at least initially). But stick with it. It’s one of the most amazing things the female body can do.
How important is fashion and maintaining a sense of personal style to you?
When I first became a mom, I fell into the mindset of practicality over style and fell into a funk. Since then, I’ve allow myself to indulge more in fashion. The right outfit has helped carry me with confidence into many business meetings.
What are some of your fashion must-haves that take you from work to play?
A dressy, flirty top paired with black pants. I take off the blazer, add some playful accessories, and (voilà!) I’m ready for cocktails. I also have a version of the quintessential little black dress that is a favorite go to.
We are always looking for cool spots to hang out in Brooklyn. What are some of your favorites to go with the kids?
We love Prospect Park (especially the zoo), JJ Byrne playground, and the Botanic Garden.
What about on a date night?