Mother's Day IssueViolet Gaynor, Founder of The Glow
I'm lucky enough to see my mom almost every day (durning normal times), so on the actual day of Mother's Day she is usually at her beach house on Fire Island and I spend the whole day with my husband and kids, and then visit my 102-year-old grandmother at the end of the day. Because my work centers around motherhood, this is always a busy time of the year and getting to that Sunday of Mother's Day always feels like such a triumph. One year, after a particularly busy lead up to Mother's Day, I decided to get up super early and drive, by myself, a few hours outside the city to Brimfield Antique Fair. It felt indulgent and a bit selfish to leave, but it was what I needed in that moment, and I was back in time for dinner. And I also snagged a gorgeous vintage Turkish blush and ivory stripped rug for Plum's room. Sometimes listening to your own needs as a mom can be tough and fall to the end of the list, but it’s the most important thing to maintain sanity and put on your oxygen mask before helping others. This year, with the world in such a state of crisis and upheaval, I am hoping for the littlest things to brighten my day: sleeping past 6 AM, a family walk around our neighborhood, endless coffee, an hour alone to mediate and exercise and read, handmade cards from my kids, and an ice cold drink with my husband at the end of the day.
The major silver lining of quarantine has been the intense family time we've been given. I really try to think of all of this as "I get to…" (fill in the blank), rather than "I have to…." Meaning, I try to approach each day thinking, I get to be home with my kids all day while they're still so little and sweet and cuddly and they still think their parents are the coolest people in the world. Instead of, I have to be home all day stuck in the house with my two small children, one of whom is constantly falling off the sofa and drawing on the walls.
“The major silver lining of quarantine has been the intense family time we've been given. I really try to think of all of this as ‘I get to…’ (fill in the blank), rather than ‘I have to….’”
These days, it’s distilled down to the bare minimum. My baby usually wakes up around 6 AM and the two of us read and play until my daughter wakes up. Some mornings, my husband will wake up early and take the baby out for a walk. Which means I get to wash my face, put on a little makeup (which makes me feel human) and meditate before they get back. Then I’ll make breakfast for all of us and get Plum ready for online school at 9 AM.
So many things. If I could pick one, it would be to let go of the idea that the newborn phase is going to be blissful (like so many women are made to believe). It is for some and it is most certainly not for many others. I was convinced that the moment my daughter was born, I would be instantly head over heels in love and 100% bonded within seconds and that I'd somehow be a natural earth mother who happily nursed my baby all day while gazing dreamily into her eyes. My experience was nothing like that. And that's OK. If I had more realistic expectations at the time, I would have felt so much more prepared and gentler on myself. My daughter is my soul mate and best friend and (other than her scary four days in the NICU) I wouldn't change one moment of our journey together so far.
Excuse me one moment while I laugh hysterically at the thought of getting anything, let alone everything, done these days! While I'm currently writing this, my one year old is crying for me to pick him up, and my six year old is playing the role of second mom and trying her best to distract him while I sit at the computer and desperately try to concentrate. There's a stack of clean laundry to be folded, and many more meals to be made and a long to-do list that I will not scratch the surface of until the kids go to bed. One thing I have really tried to embrace during this time is taking a few moments every day to do something valuable for myself. At the very beginning of quarantine, I read something that has really stuck with me: We should not come out of this experience the same people we were when we walked in. Through the fear and challenges and heartbreak, there is also opportunity to deepen our own self-awareness and emerge even a tiny bit more enlightened. For me, the three things helping me gain some perspective are meditation, reading, and exercise (this last one has really only happened a handful of times to be honest, but I'm hopeful that I'll get better at incorporating it more regularly).
Cuddly, chaotic, cocktails
Mom's Best Advice
Buy vintage whenever possible. It really does stand the test of time. I’m lucky enough to have a handful of her old dresses from the Forties and Alaia from the Eighties that I still wear to this day.
She never wears a stitch of makeup so I guess her best advice, by example, is that I’m beautiful just the way I am. We are such opposites though! I feel best with makeup on and my hair done.
Hard work and heart are always the answer. She has had a very interesting, fulfilling, self-created career path that has been 100% fueled by the mantra that hard work and integrity and believing in yourself will get you where you want to go.
My mom was always such a natural mother, from the moment my sister was born, two years before me. While I did not have the same experience in the beginning when I first became a mom, I have been lucky enough to grow into the role withy own mom as my guide. She teaches me something new about motherhood almost daily, but one of my favorite pieces of advice that I use constantly is to always get down to your kids' level. I mean to physically get on your knees and speak to them eye to eye, rather than standing over them and trying to get through to them. There’s something about shifting your body so that you’re speaking to them, not at them, that really enables your words to get through in a more powerful and effective way. I also have an amazing mother-in-law who has a super close relationship with my husband (even through the teenage years they were close!) and I love to ask her a million questions about how she raised him because it would be my dream to have that same closeness with my kids. I also learn from my close girlfriends and my amazing sister every day. And my aunt, who is incredibly close with her daughter, is a great source of inspiration to me. I am profoundly lucky to be surrounded by inspiring moms.