Lauren Alter | Another Mother Her Way
I met Lauren Alter shortly before she became a mother but she put out a confident maternal energy even then, somehow simultaneously still having a sharp city cool factor. Now she's a mother to two happy, equally cool, little people, Arden and Axel, while working part-time as a clinical educator and lecturer at New York Medical College and maintaining her private practice in speech therapy. When I was navigating early months of motherhood and finding my version of balance, I looked to Lauren, who is consistently committing herself to being a hands on mother while creating a path to keep herself connected to her work and self. Lauren shares an honest take on self-doubt, self-care and constantly making changes and choices about work or daily routine to allow her to be the best version of herself for her family.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
I've probably changed in every way imaginable. I was always maternal before having my babies but I worried it would feel different bringing my own kids into the world. Fortunately, I was lucky to fall in love with my children the moment I met them, and our bonds were tight from early on. I’m enamored, frustrated, worried, and steadfast all in the same moment--and that is still a change I’m getting used to. I'd say that a big change is my perspective on how my words and actions impact and influence my children. From something simple, like the vibe I put out early in the morning, to the more complex, like the words that I choose when I'm happy and/or stressed. Several parts of my personality have become amplified since becoming a mom: importance of family time, planning ahead & prepping for things (meals, trips, activities).
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I changed how, where, and when I work. I closed my office and opted to see patients in their homes (when most convenient for my kids' schedules), and I've scaled back the days I work & teach to 2 days. I've been trying to balance work & mom time; and most days it works...other days I email & take calls during Axel's nap and while watching Arden practice ballet and hip hop. I've been working on getting comfortable with not doing "it all" and that is a process for me. The most recent adjustment has been to my morning routine...to make sure I get everything done and everyone out the door with smiles, I wake up about an hour before and get myself ready for the day. Some mornings it's a struggle, but it really makes a big difference in terms of having a happier and less stressful morning, so I've stuck with it. I’m banking on the fact that I will catch up on sleep during elementary school.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Grateful, Fulfilled, Hopeful. The kind of mom I would love to be is the one that my kids can always talk to about anything, the kind of parent that will (more often than not) find calm in the chaos, and the mother who is able to teach my kids to be good and kind to themselves and to others. I want to teach them to find the happiness in their hearts, know their worth, and be proud of who they are. I'm sure my expectations of them will shift as they grow into who they are...but ultimately, I want to be the mother that they can turn to but at the same time the one that teaches them they can trust themselves and go out into the world and be/do anything.
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
Ummm, do date nights and girls nights count? The kids go to bed early, so Adam and I have time at night to connect and then get some stuff done. I don't really consistently get to do much outside of motherhood but I love getting together with friends, having girls lunches/dinners, and also going out with other couples. Weather-permitting, I run outside along the reservoir , which is a quick half-hour of "me-time." I also use my commute as time for myself. Basic upkeep (hair color, cut, manicures) are my opportunities to carve out some time for myself. It doesn't happen often at all, but I know it will as the kids get older.
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
I'm incredibly lucky to have such a tight-knit family surrounding us. Adam is always so supportive and really champions every decision I make. Also, my parents, my 2 amazing brothers, and Adam's parents have been so involved & helpful. Our nanny & our house-keeper have been life-savers on many occasions too! We are also very lucky to have great friends who are truly like family... our village has helped us stay as sane as possible, and also keep us laughing.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
To be completely honest, I’m always working on maintaining balance on every level: spending quality time with both kids individually and together, leaving work at work, being a better wife, daughter, sister, and probably an important one--being happy with myself and my decisions at the end of every day. One major goal right now is staying up past 10pm to watch a show with Adam for longer than 3 minutes before passing out.