Tulsa Moms Dish on Their Lives
In my nine years of motherhood, I have noticed that many mummies you meet can be roughly delineated into a few categories.
There are the ultra-competitive mummies, who must be superior to you – richer! Harder abs! Better looking! Or their kids have to be better than yours: they constantly ask not-so-subtle questions - “Is he potty trained? Is she reading Flaubert? She is drinking JUICE OUT OF A BOTTLE? Is he playing that Mozart concerto yet?” Then there are those sweet, earnest, mothers who wax rhapsodic over Junior’s latest finger painting, and want to dissect sleeping habits, organic pureed pea feeding schedules, poopies, and the nuances of Gymboree’s pants sizing, and find all of these topics simply FASCINATING.
And then there are the mummies you actually want to hang out with, the mummies who leave you feeling not drained and vaguely despondent, but who inspire you with their outlook to get back into the trenches and soldier on, diapers, doo doo, doldrums and all.
So here is a small sampling of fantabulous Tulsa women who inspire me on those dreary days when I am not terribly fond of my spawn, my hair is lifeless and I feel bloated. All of these women share one crucial characteristic: whenever I talk to them, no matter what is going on in their lives – a sick kid, a crushing schedule, a husband traveling – they are always upbeat and leave me feeling like my own little problems are eminently solve-able. In essence, all these moms share that defining essence of hip mom-ness: alacrity in the face of …well, poop.
Noreen P., mother of four (boys!) and recent marathon runner (she qualified for the Boston Marathon – twice!):
HM: You started running seriously when your youngest was still a baby. Training for a marathon, and actually running it, requires a lot of mental toughness. How did you muster the discipline to train?
NP: As moms know it is hard to get “me” time in so running is an outlet for me - it’s my escape, my exercise, my sanity. I actually looked forward to training for my last marathon because I could run with friends, listen to music or just enjoy the silence! I always come home after a run decompressed and invigorated - ready to face the family with a smile again.
HM: Do you ever suffer from a mom funk, and if so, how do you lift yourself out of it?
NP: Absolutely. As much as I adore being a mom, sometimes you just need a break. I find a cup of coffee or glass of wine helps me regroup and face the world again!
HM: Do you have any vices you care to disclose?
NP: I don’t consider it a true vice (although my husband does) but I do have an affinity for all things celebrity like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and People or Us Magazine. I can live vicariously through the lives of the carefree and glamorous!
Carrie H., mom of three and full time pharmaceutical sales representative:
HM: You juggle a demanding, travel-heavy career; a happy marriage; and three gorgeous kids. Dang you! Seriously, though, do you have a secret weapon, besides a lot of mental gymnastics and hard work?
CH: Ha! You make it sound so glamorous! Well, I would have to say all the support and help we have from my in-laws and our nanny make it all run smoothly. It takes a lot of communication and juggling of calendars (his, mine and the kids) to make it all happen. I must say I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful husband who cooks, helps around the house and is very hands-on with the kids. What truly keeps me sane is exercise. Working out is plugged in to my calendar every day just like any appointment would be. This is my time, my de-stressor, my therapy. I need it!
HM: What is the most important cosmetic on your counter?
CH: Lipstick is number one...I always need lipstick on whether it’s just a gloss or color (I tend to go for a neutral color most of the time). Another product I like is Garnier Ultra-Lift anti-wrinkle eye roller (have to keep those wrinkles at bay!). Lastly, I love MAC’s Fast Response Eye Cream to keep those puffy under eye circles from lack of sleep under control.
HM: Say your kids are at the grandparents and your husband is out of town; you have several hours all by yourself. What do you do?
CH: Well, you would think I’d want to curl up with a book or take a nap, but I love having alone time to organize. Oh, and of course I would never give up the opportunity to exercise in my free time.
HM: Do you have any vices you care to disclose?
CH: My addiction to exercise (maybe a good vice if there is such a thing?). OK, I can’t believe I am disclosing this to you but one real vice of mine would be cool-whip and hot chocolate packets!
Lillian S., native of Malaysia, mom of two and former business owner:
HM: You are a long way from home, but you always seem so energetic and upbeat. Do you ever feel homesick, and if so, how do you battle it?
LS: Yes, I do get homesick, especially during Chinese New Year. I call my family to hear their voices and that makes me feel better.
HM: If you could bring one thing back to Tulsa from Malaysia, what would it be?
LS: I would bring back my father’s dining table because it holds a lot of my childhood memories.
HM: You invested and ran a restaurant business here for awhile - how did you manage the long hours and your family? Will you do something like that again in the future?
LS: My good friend and I had a wild idea and started an Asian restaurant. We thought we could take turns on hours, do something we like to do when the kids were at school and have fun working a little. While it was a good experience, it turned out we spent too much time at the restaurant and not enough time with our families. In less than a year, we sold the business for a profit.
HM: What is your favorite shop in Tulsa?
LS: The Gap!
Karen F., mom of two, tennis player and co-owner of a financial services firm:
HM: You have two beautiful kids whom you drive 87 miles to school every day, you own a business with your husband, and you play tennis weekly! How do you stay sane?
KF: I don’t feel terribly well-organized or sane some days. Really I feel like we are all just doing the best we can to do what is right for our families and ourselves. It’s a work in progress. I guess I’m old school and I still keep a paper planner. God help me if I ever lose it though.
HM: You are a born and bred Tulsan. What is your favorite thing about living here? What would you change?
KF: I do love the “smallness” of it, but that is both a positive and a negative. It can be a bit like a fish bowl. But the people here are so nice...in a genuine way. I love that you can get anywhere in about 20 minutes even with the orange cones. One change I would make? The antiquated liquor laws: Costco and Trader Joe’s aren’t here because grocery stores can’t sell wine. Ridiculous.
HM: Where is your favorite place to shop locally?
KF: I love J Spencer. There is always something new and no matter how you’re feeling in your clothes, you can always fit into a new pair of earrings.
Karen M., doctor and mom of three.
HM: You put on hold a career in medicine to be home with your three children! Do you miss practicing at all? Do you think you’ll go back to work when your kids are older?
KM: I miss the intellectual challenge, but I certainly don’t miss the schedule! I think once my three little ones are all in school, I will miss it more. At that point I will feel more comfortable going back to work in some capacity.
HM: You have twins! Any advice on how to survive the first year of motherhood with multiples?
KM: Schedule! Schedule! Schedule! I followed Tracy Hogg, (author of “Secrets of the Baby Whisperer”) and used her very loving and kind yet regimented way of putting your kids on a schedule so that you actually do have a bit of free time during all the craziness!
HM: Where is your favorite place to shop for your kids in Tulsa?
KM: I have to admit I do the bulk of my seasonal shopping at Kohl’s when I receive my 30% off coupon! When there’s a special occasion or I want something trendy, I will head to Kathleen’s Kids. My husband buys the kids each an outfit from The Gap every season. It’s a tradition they all love.
HM: What about your favorite place to shop for you?
KM: Little Black Dress, Saks, and Bella Dames.
HM: Your husband travels quite often for work – what keeps you sane when he’s gone?
KM: Try your best to stick to a routine when you’re alone...kids thrive on that, and accept a little mayhem when your partner returns (and spoils them!) For me, getting plenty of sleep and exercise helps keep me sane. I also try to get a sitter every so often and go out with my girlfriends. A girls’ night out is a great way to relieve stress!
HM: What is the most necessary cosmetic in your bathroom?!
KM: Vaseline. Really! I have been using it to take off my eye make-up since I was in high school. When I’m told I look young for my age, I give all the credit to Vaseline!
Are you inspired now? I wish I could bottle some of this mommy je ne sais quoi in a bottle, but a bit of insider information is a good start – who would have thought of Vaseline? And cripes, I guess I need to join the gym!