Dana Waldron | Another Mother Her Way

Creating space comes in a variety of forms and for Dana Waldron, it meant a change both in home and work. Her experience is a reminder than motherhood brings about a recalibration on several levels. Dana has a warmth, gratitude and honesty as she talks through the upside of moving close to family, the learning curve in working for herself, and the reality of changes colliding into one chapter.

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HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?

Before I had kids, I had time for brunches, workouts, tequila shots, bar-hopping — and for some reason, I can't remember having any challenges at work, although I'm sure they happened. I think I’ve stayed the same old me, but have majorly adjusted my priorities. I’m more productive with work and everyday tasks in order to remain sane and happy for my family and myself. I still have fun, but I'm more balanced now.  

I’ve always wanted to be a mom, so seeing my two great, healthy kids is a constant reminder that things are going well. Going through a miscarriage before our oldest, Nell, was born, created a sensitivity to the preciousness of a child and what a gift we’ve been given — twice.

In the end, motherhood has pushed me to try new things and challenge myself to be a better mom and individual.  

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WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO CREATE SPACE FOR MOTHERHOOD?  WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?

After our first, Nell, was born, I kept the same full-time job but left at 5 p.m. on the dot every day — which is considered “early” in New York City. Like many moms, I was rushing constantly to keep up. While pregnant with Annie, our second, we decided it would be too much to keep living in New York.

North Carolina was the best option for us. Dan suggested it, I’m from there, and was thrilled that our kids could grow up close to where I did and near cousins their age. Like many young families in NYC, I knew it was only a matter of time before we left, but once we settled on when and where, I started considering the opportunity of transitioning my career. I thought about seeing the family more and hoping for the opportunity to make my own schedule, also terrified and nervous to go at it alone. I was currently working at an Interior Design firm in Manhattan and thankful to continue consulting with them as I began the steps to create Murphy Waldron Interiors. Working from home was a huge adjustment (still working on it), but after some time and a renovation to the backyard Studio, things were more comfortable… and I got used to just seeing a couple neighbors during the day, instead of millions of people. It is nice to work on my own time. Along the way, there have been a lot of learning curves including IT headaches, accounting, time management; for example; I’ve always followed an office, sports or school schedule so creating a week by week calendar took some getting used to. I love working this way now as its made me more efficient. I’m excited to continue to grow as a business owner and grow the company itself, in that doing something that my girls can hopefully look up to. For me, the reward of being able to accomplish a project and be happy and present with my family, is a great feeling. So even though I was pregnant and starting a new company, while we were house-hunting and moving to a new city, it was all more manageable than trying to commute into work and leave on time to grab two kids in Brooklyn. (Also, paying for childcare in New York City is stressful, too.)  So yes, I’d do that again, and my husband Dan often says we should have moved to North Carolina years earlier. We love Durham!

DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS.

Fun. Comforting. The Boss.

I want them to know they can always come to me with anything and that mom’s always in for having a good time.

HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?

I see how my mood impacts the girls' attitudes. I think it’s so important to take care of yourself first because then everything else falls into place. Postpartum was tough for me, but now that I'm feeling healthy and organized again, I'm excited to be an example for my kids to follow.

I love to run so the best way for me to stick with it is to sign up for races. Having that training schedule has kept me on a good track, physically and mentally.

Dan and I also keep date nights on the calendar. When I was growing up, my parents always did lunch together every Tuesday, and they still do it. Making a habit of spending time together as a couple helps to manage my time and look forward to what’s coming up.

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EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?

Now that we’re living closer to my family, it’s nice to have help from them. We also have a good sitter in Durham. My husband and I are truly 50/50 with parenting, and I can’t imagine anything less — I really am lucky to have him. And great friends are a major plus, which is another reason we love Durham — the people are awesome!

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?

I’d like to remind myself to enjoy each little hurdle my kids go through instead of thinking about what we need to do next. It’s great to see how they’re constantly evolving, and in such different ways.

QUICK CHIT CHAT

Favorite product, tool or app for parenting life: Sleep machines, ABCmouse.com, Phil&Teds Lobster high chair.

What are you reading/watching/listening to: Jenny Mollen’s book - Live Fast Die Hot and the website A Cup of Jo.

Wellness ritual you swear by: Running and the best face cream is UltraLuve Hydrasoft Lotion.

Ideal date night (location or activity): Dinner alone together then bar with friends.

Family travel destination you loved: Park City and Smith Mountain Lake.

A mother you're inspired by: A best friend who is a stay-at-home mom. She was born to be that, loves it so much, and is unapologetic when asked what she does for a living. It makes her happy and she’s very creative with things for her kids to do.