Fri | Sep 20, 2019

Michelle Gordon opens up about motherhood

Published:Sunday | May 12, 2019 | 12:07 AM
Michelle Gordon and her children, Christian-David (left) and Amanda-Mae.
Michelle Gordon and her children, Christian-David (left) and Amanda-Mae.
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Motherhood, the ultimate life transition. While it is often met with much fanfare and anticipation, the reality of the journey ahead anchors moms-to-be. Beyond pink and blue gender reveals, streamers and cakes, life awaits. To be entrusted with the responsibility of loving, moulding and developing a human life is one of the greatest privileges for those who consider it be so.

Changing times and evolving definitions of family have given rise to some of the most multifaceted women, ‘momagers’ and ‘momtrepreneurs’. Balancing family life, work, school drop-offs, PTA meetings and career demands. On this day, and all others, we salute the women who have mastered the balancing act.

1. What does it mean to be a mother?

Many things, but I’d say that the most significant is that I’m responsible to raise, shape, and mould two humans who will ultimately impact others. They’ll become friends, colleagues, spouses, and parents to others. So it’s pretty important to me that I lay a solid foundation with the values, morals, and thought processes that will help them to be functional and emotionally engaged in the friendships and relationships that they form.

2. How has motherhood changed your life?

Nothing teaches you to relinquish selfishness as quickly as motherhood. I will be the first to admit that I am a naturally self-centred person. So the process of learning how to NOT be consumed with me and my needs, is an ongoing one. I am a firm believer that when mommy is happy and satisfied, she’s in a better place to be a good mommy. The change from ‘ME’ to ‘WE’ is something that I embrace each day.

3. You wear many hats. What is a typical day for you?

I’m usually up at 5 a.m. and I enjoy a cup of black coffee and an hour of ‘me time’ before the children wake up and the day’s noise starts. Breakfast, combing my daughter’s hair, arguing with my son about why he needs to go to school ... . Then, I’m usually on one project or the other. So the phone calls start, the emails, the meetings ... . Sometimes I’ll do school pick-up, but for the most part, my father is on duty there – God bless him! If I’m out on a shoot, or event – my village is activated, so that the children are covered. Mummy, sister, friends, stepson.

There are some days when I only get to connect with my children briefly in the morning and at nights. When those busy periods come, I usually try to schedule our time for the weekend or for an upcoming holiday.

4. How do you manage to be a career mom, juggling motherhood and work?

Fortunately for me, most of my work includes children. So, very often, I turn to mine for advice. When I’m doing events, or writing, I ask them what they think. Their input helps me to stay ‘up-to-the-times’, and it also helps them to know that their opinions matter to me, and just how much I value them.

5. What advice would you share with aspiring moms?

Read, research, and then trust your instinct. There is a plethora of information out there that can help moms-to-be to prepare for the journey, and then our God-given intuition will help to make sense of it all.

6. Any tips for moms out there finding it difficult to cope with work and motherhood?

Build a strong ‘village’. You need ‘peeps’ who can help you to find that balance. Drop what I call ‘parenting pride’, and call on people whose values and practices align with your own. Ask them to help you, and if they are unwilling to help, then you know that they don’t belong in your village. Simple. Then you keep looking for village members. Neighbours, co-workers, relatives, fellow parents.

7. How has your own mother influenced you? Or who is your role model as a mother figure?

My mother is the proverbial tower of strength that I believe a mother should be. Now that I am a mother, and though our parenting styles are vastly different, I have come to understand my mother, and more important, I have come to understand her journey. I am very proud of her, knowing that the limitations of fear that captured her generation were not strong enough to hold my mother forever. She has helped to make me fearless.

8. You have children; names and ages?

Christian-David, 14, and Amanda-Mae, 11.

9. There is no handbook on parenting. Do you and your husband collaborate on raising the children, or do you handle most of the responsibilities?

I’m divorced and the children live with me; so yes, I handle most of the responsibilities.

10. Your most fulfilling moment as a mom.

Ha! Probably when I receive compliments on my children’s behalf about their behaviour when I’m not around. I take it that my influence is not falling on deaf ears as I sometimes think.

11. Any major hurdle you have had to overcome to have your family or children?

No specific hurdle, really, to have children or a family, but I’d say that the demise of a marriage is always a setback. You don’t get married for it to end, so when it does, there are challenges that have to be overcome. There’s the emotional stress of separation, and then the adjustment to doing things differently.

12. What is the mantra you hope to instill in your children and hope that they live by?

There are so many things that I want to instill in them, but I try to operate from a place of priority. If I were to die today, what would they need to survive without me? My answer: Know your Source, so that when things go wrong, when plans fail, their faith won’t fail along with it. I’ve taught my children how to pray. And secondly, I want them to NEVER give up.