René SylerProfession: René Syler is an author/TV personality who after many years as one of the co- anchors of the Early Show on CBS, now blogs from her closet, the only place most moms know they can truly be alone!
Web Site(s): Good Enough Mother
Marital Status: Married
Spouse's Name: Buff
Casey, age 12; Cole, age 10
Q: Why did you decide to become a mom later in life? What factors precipitated this decision (or dictated it)?
A: I was married to my career for many, many years. In fact, I did not get married until I was almost 31 years old. I had Casey at 33 and my (13 years older) husband and I knew that if we wanted another child, it would have to be a pretty quick turn around. So of course, right after I got down to my pre-pregnancy weight, BOOM, I was pregnant again! I had Cole a few months after turning 35.Q: What do you love about your career? What is most challenging about your work? How long are you doing it? What did you do previously? Where do you see yourself heading? What prompted you to write a book on motherhood, and the particular subject you chose? Was it based on your upbringing or relationship with your own mother? What is your next book and when is it being published?
A: Well, I am relatively new at this phase of my career/life. I do believe in the whole “life is a journey” thing and that this is just another stop in the reinvention of Rene. I was a straight news anchor for almost 20 years before being hired as co-anchor of The Early Show. While I was there, I thought “this is the perfect job for me with the mix of hard news and features.” Well I was fired from my perfect job (which I discovered had some less than perfect aspects to it, namely I was working all the time and being away from my children a lot) which led me to my REAL perfect job, blogging about motherhood. My goal was to show that while it is a great gig, the reality is mommies get frustrated too. I actually came up with the idea for Good Enough Mother after talking with a friend of mine who thought I had the whole work/motherhood thing figured out. After I stopped laughing, I explained to her that it wasn’t about being perfect; that sometimes good enough would have to do and voila, my philosophy was born.
Regarding my next book, the words are still swimming around in my head. When they make their way out and onto paper I will let you know.Q: What have you experienced through motherhood that has also helped you in your work or personal life?
A: I feel like I really came alive when my children were born, like somehow, all of a sudden, I was comfortable in my own skin. I knew that while I didn’t have all the answers on how to be a good mother, I knew I was smart enough to figure them out. And that is one of the messages of Good Enough Mother. We are smart, and be it your first baby or fifth, you can figure out how to be a good mommy. What gets us in trouble is when we start listening to what everyone else says about what makes a good mother and trying to live up to those standards. I say we need to pay attention to the people who really matter… our children!Q: What is a typical day for you like, managing both work and home life? Do you work from home? If so, how do you find that? Have you worked more or less since you became a mom? Do you travel a lot, and do you take your family? What do your children think of your work?
A: Well, since I work from home, I work all the time! A typical day for me begins with a 5:30 am workout because that is the one time I know I won’t be interrupted with someone else’s needs. I think this is VERY important to us as women for good physical and mental health. Then I take my husband to the train, kids to school, shovel down a healthy breakfast and get to work. Some days that’s blogging all day form my closet, which I call Good Enough Mother world headquarters, other days it’s meetings or appointments. Kids come home, and we have a snack, and then it’s off to music or what have you. We eat together, and it’s some sort of heat and serve thing as I am a horrid cook, then a little relaxation (finish homework), then off to bed. I love our evenings together because sometimes we just watch stupid TV shows. They still think it’s cool to hang with me, and I love that.Q: How do you think being a later in life mom has affected your experiences as a parent (share both good & not so good)? Has anything about being a mom surprised you? What did you or do you most try to teach your children?
A: My husband and I are both “later” parents. He was 50 when my son was born. For me personally, I think being an older parent has been an advantage because I was totally ready. I had concentrated on my career for all those years, had a chance to be really selfish and was prepared to share myself with a baby. I also think there was a quiet confidence that came with having been around the block a time or two before they got here. The downside is, well, I am older than a lot of their friends’ mommies. (but I don’t look it, dangit!) I guess I probably don’t have as much energy either but I am still pretty much a kid at heart, willing to try new things. One of the things I work really hard to teach my children is that everyone makes mistakes and no one is perfect, two things that are consistent with the philosophies of Good Enough Mother. Listen, I make a ton of mistakes as a parent, but when I do, I give a heartfelt apology, and we move on. I can look them in the eye when they were right and say “you were right, mommy was wrong, and I am sorry.” They are really good about not rubbing that in, perhaps because I do it so much. But I want them to see me as a human being who is imperfect, not held to some parenting standard that they themselves as parents will never be able to attain.Q: Where do you or did you turn for support as a mom? Do you have a support network and community outside of work? Others in the entertainment field? How important do you think it is to connect with mom peers? Do you consider yourself a role model for other later moms?
Well, first and foremost, my support comes from my husband, but honestly, he and I are many times on the opposite ends of the issue. So I turn to the mommies in my community (www.goodenoughmother.ning.com) for reinforcement sometimes. But the ultimate authority/reinforcement comes from me. Parenting is a visceral, fly by the seat of your pants operation. You will make mistakes, and you have to be comfortable with that fact. Having said that, I do think it is important to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will support your decisions…or have the guts to tell you when you’re way off base.
There are some people who say I inspire them or I am a role model for them…quite frankly, that scares me! I’m just doing the best I can.Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life?
A: I would say follow your heart. If you think you are ready to undertake this challenge, then by all means, go for it! Do not let anyone tell you that you are too old or your time has past or any other of the myriad things people say. This is a deeply personal decision, one that is between you and your partner or maybe just you. I would say, don’t let anyone stand between you and the joy/heartache/thrill/pain/unbeatable happiness/unbearable sadness that is modern motherhood!
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