Samantha Lasry | Another Mother Her Way
Samantha (Sam) Lasry is who I would want to run for public office and represent women of today. She's incredibly smart and equally direct and graceful about her choices and lifestyle. She's a UPenn alum with a graduate degree from the London School of Economics and a breadth of experience in politics and advocacy. After having worked to put Hillary Clinton in office the first time and then in the Department of State, Sam joined a not-for-profit committed to better maternal health before having her first daughter, Lake. Finding herself at a crossroads at her workplace while pregnant with her first, she took a pause to decide what would come next and transitioned into a two day a week consulting role to allow herself the mental space to be focused on her daughters, Lake and Tabitha (Tibi), while keeping herself connected. In person or below, Sam is introspective and honest about that choice - enjoying motherhood more than she imagined and getting comfortable with not being a "girl boss" at this moment though I would argue she already is.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Big question! I think the way I changed most after my eldest, Lake, was born was that all of the sudden I was completely consumed by thinking about someone other than myself (and occasionally my husband…) As John said after Lake was born, “I didn’t expect you to like this so much” and I think I surprised myself too by how much I enjoyed being a mom, and enjoyed being so engrossed in everything she did, from what time she woke up, how much she ate at every meal, if she enjoyed her classes etc. I think that novelty wore off for me when Lake hit the six month mark, but my obsessive need to know everything about her day (and now also her sister, Tabitha's day) has not waned. I have also had to become a lot less selfish in terms of how I use my time- something that I really didn’t think would happen after having children. I assumed that I would have my kids fit into my life, and while I have tried to maintain some semblance of my life pre-children I have definitely molded my life more to their needs than vice versa.
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I had been at a job that I didn’t love when I was pregnant with Lake so it was a convenient excuse not to go back after she was born. I wished that I had been somewhere that wanted me to stay and was invested in my growth, but that wasn’t the case. Prior to having children I NEVER thought I would put my career or personal growth on hold to try out the whole stay at home mom thing - I have a master’s degree in Gender Studies and Judith Butler would certainly not approve. But so much of what I learned in Grad School did not prepare me for the real-life choices I faced after giving birth: did I want to try staying home with my kids? What type of job and hours would work for me? How much of my pre-self was I willing to give up? I found that I wanted to ‘stay in the game’ but still have flexibility, which is no easy feat. And while I have a wonderful part-time job now, if I am being honest, this was not where I imagined I would be…I think the choices I made worked for me and my family but there is still a part of me that wishes I had found something that I felt I couldn’t give up, that I wanted to make work, and was willing to sacrifice my time at home a bit more for.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Fun, Loving, and Thoughtful. I would like to be a mom who actually follows through on her word or doesn’t let her kids eat pizza for dinner multiple nights a week and I always wished I was better at creative play…but alas we do what we can, as well as we can, and I guess re-enacting the scenes from Moana verbatim is almost as good as coming up with our shows!
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I spend a lot of time with my girlfriends and family, try to travel for a couple days here and there (even if it’s a work trip I relish in the fact that I am not responsible in the morning for anything other than getting myself to where I need to be), watch a lot of bravo tv, read books that have NOTHING to do with parenting (currently reading The Sympathizer and What Happened) and I LOVE a massage at the nail salon- which is literally the most amazing thing ever. My husband and I also try to go out for dinner as often as we can so we have time to ourselves.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
I am extremely lucky that my parents and sisters live in NYC and that my brothers are both only a plane ride away. My in-laws, while based in Chi-town, are in NYC often and are always willing to stay with the girls if John and I have to go somewhere. We also have an incredible nanny who loves our girls like they are her own and knows that I do not remember anything so she is my savior on things like when Lake has school or doesn't or when Tibi’s class is canceled - I would be lost without her. My friends - they have all shared in the good, the bad, and the ugly- they know so much about my girls, are always willing to lend a hand, sing Disney songs, and sit through countless meals with toddlers…which is hard even for me! And obviously John- although I feel like that should go without saying. John is especially good at taking the girls out on Sunday afternoons and giving me a little peace and quiet- even though he is just as exhausted!
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
Hmmm- I think somehow finding that place where I feel like I am giving and taking the right amount. The hardest part of this journey so far has been figuring out how to feel less guilty- whether it be when I’m home feeling less guilty that I am not at work, and when I am at work feeling less guilty about not being home. When it comes to being a mom, a friend once told me that it’s ok to give in and I have been working on that a lot. It’s hard to be in control of molding these little babies into real, live people and not feel this awesome sense of responsibility but also not take it so seriously all the time. I am learning that sometimes when Lake or Tibi cry and I have said NO for the 10th time, I’m not screwing them up for all of eternity by saying YES the 11th time (every once in a while). As a woman, I think it’s just accepting where I am in my life right now and knowing that I will ultimately figure it out, make it all work one way or another and that I don’t need to feel so guilty that I am not yet a ‘girl boss’- maybe one day!