I spent over fifteen years as an editor at fashion and beauty magazines. I met designers Valentino and Paco Rabanne and celebrities like Kate Winslet and Kate Moss (I met both of them within a couple of days, flying from Paris to Marrakech to fit into their individual flight paths). It was a high that I rode throughout my 20s and 30s. I always knew this momentum would change once I became pregnant, but one moment that really nailed it for me was when I turned down a trip to Paris to meet Karl Lagerfeld during my first trimester. I was so tired and nauseous; I was worried I would throw up on him.
For almost six years after I had my daughter, I really thought I had the whole work/life balance thing figured out. During my full-time job as the editor-in-chief of Glow magazine, I worked nine-to-five and I didn’t answer emails on evenings and weekends. I made dinner when I got home, did laundry, went grocery shopping, organized the house, dealt with tantrums and took advantage of teaching moments whenever I could. Every minute of the day was accounted for and dutifully parcelled out to work, home, family and friends. Everyone but me.
Then, I fell down a flight of stairs. I just got up and got going as soon as I didn’t feel dizzy anymore. A couple of weeks later I noticed I couldn’t turn my neck. I also had a headache, dizziness and a constant buzzing in my ears so I finally went to the doctor who I should have seen as soon as I fell. After a vascular ultrasound revealed I didn’t have any circulatory issues causing my pain, I visited a chiropractor, acupuncturist, RMT and an osteopath and eventually found out I had a compressed neck, rotated shoulder and all the muscle pain and misalignments that come with that. It took almost a year to heal.
The on-going pain was more than an inconvenience. It was a wake-up call that told me I had to start taking better care of myself, and it eventually led to a major life decision.
Since the babe was born, I always knew I wanted to freelance and spend more time with her, so I finally did something about it. Nine months after the tumble, I cut the cord to my career and began working from home. Around the same time, the pain in my neck and shoulder finally started to go away. However, It still acts up and aches when I’m working on the computer or driving for too long; I’ve discovered my body is really good at reminding me to take it easy.
“Since the babe was born, I always knew I wanted to freelance and spend more time with her.”
I don’t prescribe this kind of change for everyone, though. The real lesson to learn from my experience isn’t to quit your job and start over. Instead, learn to take care of yourself and listen to your body when it’s talking to you. You’ll be surprised to hear what it inspires you to do.
4 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ME
My favourite vacation: We like to save our money for travelling. One trip was to Paris when my daughter was 3. We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment that was in the Marais, next to the subway and the Siene. We saw the marionette show in Luxembourg gardens, visited the Ménagerie and the Musée d’Orsay, where I sent her on a treasure hunt to find a painting with ballet dancers (Degas), stars (Van Gogh), a couple dancing (Renoir) and lily pads (Monet). And FYI, if you arrive with a stroller, your family is brought to the front of the line. We also bought her first scooter there, so she could wheel around like so many Parisienne kids do. It was our best purchase there; it keep her busy while we took long strolls and checked out the scenery and shops.
Where we’re going next: Havana. I want to show the kid a culture that doesn’t have all the perks of North American life. I’ve schooled her that there won’t be any Shopkins or Beanie Boos at every corner, Netflix won’t always be online and for meals, there will mostly be local food with few options (so no dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, boo-hoo). Let’s see who’s more uncomfortable sans these modern parenting conveniences—her or me. I’ll let you know how it goes. (Click here to see how much we loved Havana).
My go-to recipes: I look for recipes that don’t require a high culinary IQ. I just tried this pasta recipe from Jamie Oliver and it was a hit. The sauce is made with sausages, passata and fennel that melt together in the oven, and I used store-bought pasta (versus his suggestion to make it from scratch). Another winner is brined pork tenderloin with a honey glaze; both recipes are from finecooking.com. I just add roasted potatoes and a leafy salad. I also make this French apple cake from davidlebovitz.com. It’s loaded with sugar and butter, but so worth it and easy to make. And guests are always impressed with this flourless chocolate cake from Martha Stewart.”
The most useful link I’ve read recently: I’m a sucker for life hacks that are easy to remember. This article, Want to Be Happier? It’s as Easy as 2, 5, 11, 15, 20, 43, helps me get motivated when I’m too lazy to get it together.
MY FAVOURITE THINGS
What I used to wear to work: Silk dress, Diane Von Furstenburg; sandals, Manolo Blahnik.
What I wear now: Comfy yet cool. Vest, Zara; sneakers, Adidas; jeans, JBrand
#Momtruth: The dress I wish that still fit. An M Missoni dress I bought when Intermix first opened in NYC.
Now that I don’t have a beauty editor’s closet at my fingertips, I look for affordable products that aren’t too hopped up with chemicals.
I’m still hooked on a few luxuries: Clarins Compact Bronzer; Hermès Un Jardin Sur La Nil eau de parfum; Fresh Crème Ancienne Honey Mask; and Joy by Jean Patou parfum.
At home, I buy what I love and mix it with what I can afford. Painting by Jack Greer; vintage Lotte lamp; cabinet, Ikea; vases, Frank Gehry for Tiffany & Co.
This is a vintage bordeaux from 2009, the year my little was born. It will be her birthday present when she turns 18.
The Robert Laughlin drawing (bottom left) of his signature “brute” was a gift to my husband from a friend who’s a gallery owner in New York. And the painting is by a student from Texas, Hannah Dean, that we found on saatchiart.com. My husband bought it for me last year for Valentine’s day. It’s called L’Candies Evening Out: Act Two (After Renoir) and like so many artists do, she effs up a famous iconic image. I love how both are so bold and unapologetic.
We love to travel and we collect snow globes to decorate the babe’s room with.