Patrice Poltzer | Another Mother Her Way
Patrice Poltzer is the friend you instantly want to grab a stiff cocktail with (no matter what hour). She’s a self-proclaimed girl’s girl who is equal parts hilarious, down-to-earth and creative. Few pull that combination off with confidence, and yet she does it with ease and authenticity.
In real life, I’m pretty consistently impressed by her balance of maintaining herself and her relationships among being a killer mom. Today’s feature is no exception as she shares below about her fierce dedication to staying herself among the craziness that can be motherhood.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Being that I was never overly maternal growing up, I really didn’t think much of when I would become a mother. But one honeymoon baby later, the entry into motherhood caught me by total surprise - on not only a literal level but an emotional one as well.
Mainly, I had no idea until the summer of 2013 that it was possible to experience such unadulterated, pure love-crushing emotions...and at first sight nonetheless. (SORRY OLLY!!) You are never the same once you have a baby and that was OK with me. My son made me feel deeper, forced me to take a harder look at my relationships in every capacity, and created a new sense of urgency in making faster decisions on making sure I was on the right path to creating the life I wanted out of this lifetime.
My professional desires became more clear. My attention to not getting involved with superfluous drama whether it be friend or family related became elevated. And my identity became even more important, because I made a conscious choice to not lose it in my child.
In my new role of motherhood, I had a mantra and it sounded like, “Yeah, I am an amazing mom but I can still like to go out with friends and have fun, dance and drink too much tequila with my husband, Olly.” It was like having Jenson illuminated every other relationship in my life and made me take a more honest look at the path I was on and if that was indeed my path to happiness.
WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
I am not sure you literally accommodate motherhood. Your baby comes and it really makes no difference if you didn’t want to accommodate them because now you just have to. I look at it more from the stance of “What type of mom do I want to be?”, “What is realistic for my family?” and “Who do I want to be post-child?”.
When Jenson was born, I had a great job, worked with great people, and from the outside looked very prestigious. But I didn’t have freedom, which you never really do in corporate America. When I didn’t have Jenson, I didn’t notice it as much, but when I had him, I became obsessive over the fact I couldn't just leave when I wanted to pick him up from daycare. I grew angry when I had to be at a meeting I didn’t really need to be at.
Those were the seeds of me choosing to forge another profession, and thus, personal life path. The only things I knew were I didn’t want to stay home full-time (and to be frank, we couldn’t afford for me to do that even if I had wanted to) and I wanted to creatively work and be free in my professional choices.
The journey from corporate to me owning a business involved many peaks, valleys, tears, cocktails and celebrations...but in a nutshell it looked like me getting recruited (on maternity leave no doubt!) to help a startup with video strategy. That being a HOT disaster. But it gave me confidence that I could do my own thing, as I was at a crossroads of "Do I go back to corporate or start my own thing?".
Long story short, I decided to take a leap and start some creative ventures (some that worked out, some that didn’t). Almost two years later, I am still helping brands and startups tell better stories through video and content strategy, and am out of a traditional career setting. I also recent launched a platform called Citykin that connects city families raising kids in cities around the world. Two years after leaving Corporate America, I definitely have more flexibility, but it is so much harder than I anticipated. Running your own company is not for the faint of heart!
So yes, I would make my choices again because taking career risks is generally a good thing and looking at your life choices is healthy.
I also need to make note that I have an amazing, supportive, equal-in-every-sense (except cleaning because he cleans more than me) type of husband. I was able to make choices about not losing identity, career maneuvers and motherhood from a stance of having someone to pick me up off the ground when professional decisions went bad and telling me constantly what an amazing mom I was. It’s easier to “accommodate motherhood” when you have those things at home. It’s not that easy for many mothers around the world.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Fun. Emotional. Myself.
Overall, I like the mom I am and am evolving to be. There are things I can do better (lots of them), but I don’t feel all that fundamentally different deep down as a mom as I did before I was a mom.
I think it goes back to me choosing to not lose myself or my marriage in my kids. Above all else, Olly and I choose us because I believe that us as an aligned, in-tune couple who are doing things that make us feel happy is the best way for me to be the best mom possible for my kids.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I TRY and eat healthy (“try” being the keyword…SIGH.) But I do really start most mornings with a healthy shake and that makes me feel semi-accomplished. I work out a few times a week in my house (on a good week...)
I hang out with Olly a lot. Most of our hang sessions are super glam on our living room futon (moving problems), but at the risk of sounding cheesy and roll-your-eyes annoying, I love talking to him and having an end-of-evening cocktail after the kids go to bed.
I take a few girlfriend trips a year and talk to friends most days of the week. I also am not with my kids all week (school and daycare), so I don’t necessarily feel this great urge to be “outside of motherhood”. I have a good balance in terms of time with my kids and time away from my kids.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
I am a girl’s girl. A social extrovert who gets energized by the sheer fact of being around other humans. If those humans are creative and smart and funny...forgetaboutit. Girl crush usually comes out in creepy effect.
I have a great group of Brooklyn mom friends and Manhattan ones! I am 10-person strong on my high school group (like we still travel together) and tight with my college and professional friends. I also have a little sister who is basically my kids’ real mom sometime..#truth. And Olly. We are a true team in every sense. My mom also loves my kids more than all of her kids combined #truthagain.
I have a great village around me. The only downer is Olly is from London and I am from Chicago so we don’t have the full family support at our fingertips which isn’t always easy.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
Personally, I am working on saying nicer things to myself. I run my own business and it’s really easy to spiral. I start descending down that staircase of self-doubt, sabotage and comparison and it never does any good. I am making a more conscious effort to celebrate the small wins, to come from a more gracious place, and to think positive thoughts (it’s not always easy..) I also need to be more tidy...if only for the blood pressure health of Olly. I also really want to get back on a more steady exercise and healthy eating routine. Things are only going downhill from here!
As a mom, I am trying to be more calm around my little one, Mackln. He is a fiery, awesome piece of work. But a piece of work nonetheless and he is in the height of irrationality right now at 2.5. It’s easy to lose your cool (and I do), so I find myself talking to myself a lot during the throes of his tantrums.
I am always trying to balance that line of “I am your mom but I want you to feel safe telling me anything.” I am not my kids’ best friend (nor should I be), but I also want them to be confident they can come to me for anything. It’s a tough balance and I am always trying to figure out how to straddle that position.