Yes, it’s FRIDAY and I am having a Maven feature. I decided to feature one “Maven” a month and switch up the questions each time. My plan is to feature women that I look up to and ask them the questions that I have always wanted to ask them. So without further adieu…
You and your daughter were recently photographed by Justin Hackworth for his 30 Strangers Project. How was that experience? What do you think he was able to capture in the photographs of you two?
I had a fantastic time getting photographed by Justin. It was stressful at first because I originally asked my mom to join me. I didn’t want to cause unnecessary fighting (is there such thing as “necessary fighting?”) among my four daughters over who got chosen to go to the shoot. When my mom cancelled at the last minute, I panicked. Justin was so kind and calming, though. I chose my third daughter because I’m a third daughter. Plus, she’s six and has a haircut that often gets her mistaken as a boy. I wanted to make her feel special and loved. She was perfectly happy about it. Justin captured her spunk and her sweetness. I felt a bit odd about being in the photos because I’ve been the one scheduling photo shoots for other women for the last three years. Justin made me (and my daughter) feel at ease, though. I think he has some magic snake charmer voodoo or something.
As the mother of 4 girls, what is your top tip for raising girls?
My daughters are Sophia (15), Lucy (12), Ava (6), and Jane (18 months). I think God gave me four girls because He knew I needed some polishing in the rock tumbler of feminine angst. Raising daughters requires a strong self-confidence and resilience. Girls are emotional and, as a mom, I’m easily drawn into that drama. As parents, we speak our mind. So, my older daughters aren’t very tactful with me. I’ve had to work on being okay with who I am, what my body looks like, and where I spend my time. My top tip for raising girls would be to be very aware about how you speak, act, and dress, because not only will your daughters mimic you, they’ll use it against you to justify their speech, behavior, and outfit. I watch myself closely and try to exemplify the traits I want my daughters to have. I’m working on the two tough “t’s:” temperance and tolerance.
Is spending time with sisters or girlfriends important in your life? What do you take from those relationships and how do you develop or maintain them as a busy mother, wife and provider?
I really enjoy spending time with my sisters and girlfriends. I feel as though I’ve been restored to who I am at the core after being with them. As a working mom and wife, I’ve learned the art of planning in advance, then rolling with the crazy, unexpected changes that require rescheduling. The friends I spend time with have core beliefs in common and are women I look to for inspiration and a good belly laugh.
When did you take up biking, running and triathlons? How have you been able to fit exercise into your life and come to enjoy it?
I have a deep-rooted fear of being fat. I gained 70 lbs with my first daughter and that was a rough time for me. I have always enjoyed exercise and competition and had to work really hard to get back into shape. Now, I can’t let myself get too far out of shape because I know all the work it will take to get back. About eight or nine years ago, my brother and I decided to do a triathlon together. I had a mountain bike with slicks on it and I didn’t know how to swim laps to save my life. The only thing I knew I was okay at was running. Since then, I’ve learned how to swim (it’s actually my best event of the three), I have a decent road bike, and I had a triathlon coach last season. I fit in exercise and training in the early morning. That’s one thing about daughters: They like to sleep! I can usually get in a run, bike ride or master’s swim class before anyone notices I’m gone. Lucky for me, my oldest two daughters are okay watching their younger two sisters if I’m gone longer. I tell myself I’m instilling good habits in them by setting the example. Either that or I’m developing their adult aversion to exercise.
Prior to becoming the Marketing Director for BabySteals.com, KidSteals.com, ScrapbookSteals.com, and KidCrawl.com, you were the editor for the regional publication Wasatch Woman magazine for years. You’re active on Twitter and Facebook and blog at That Damn Pam. How do you think social media has impacted your life in a positive way?
Social media has introduced me to incredible people, given me amazing opportunities, and even landed me my current job. My mom always described me as the social butterfly of the family. I love to meet new people and get to know their stories. That’s why journalism works so well for me. Social media has also brought out my weaknesses. It’s too easy to waste time online. I’ve had to learn to shut it down before dinner and spend time with my family.
How long have you been married to your husband? Women have so much going on in their lives. How do you make time for your marriage? What has worked for you?
My husband Carl and I have been married for 17 and a half years and we’ve had our ups and downs, like any marriage. One of the things we’ve always shared is our sense of humor. He makes me laugh. When we only had two kids, we did improv together. We watch shows and movies we could laugh at — it all started with Bewitched on Nick at Night. Now, we like to watch The Office and Outsourced, rewinding and re-watching the funny parts (thanks to DVR). We like to go hiking together (usually with one of our babies in the backpack) and attend spinning class. We like to take short road trips together and enjoy eating sushi when we can get out. We’ve developed a signal for each other when we’re freaking out on the kids and the other person sees it’s getting to be too much and needs to stop; we touch our chin with our forefinger. This preserves our “unified front” for the kids and helps keep the peace. Kissing in front of the kids has been a good way to get them to stop fighting, too. “Eeewww, gross!”
We’ve run a business together and found that wasn’t so good for our marriage. I think we realized that when we were talking about clients while in bed. What has worked for our vocations has been to support each other, but not compete with each other. We have grown to understand that when choosing what to do with our time and careers, if we listen to our hearts we are much happier. It’s not always that easy, but we’re still working on it.
What would you say over this past year has been one of your favorite “Motherhood Moments” with your children?
My older two girls (12 and 15) got scared one night and crawled into bed with me. That hasn’t happened in a long time and I really loved it. Knowing that they still thought of me when they wanted to be comforted was reassuring as a parent. Even though raising teenagers is hard, there are these moments where you feel that you’re on the right track with them and they love you. My oldest daughter put notes all around my room one evening when I was feeling pretty cranky. They said things like, “You’re a great artist!” and “I love you!” Those are still on my mirror to remind me how blessed I am to have her.
What is your favorite place to go to dinner in Utah?
If I’m in a romantic mood, the best place to go is Cafe Martine, downtown Salt Lake City. The portions are artistically small, but the ambiance is amazing. I always feel like I’m in New York City when I’m there. In Provo, the best Italian place is La Dolce Vita…amazing. E molto buona!
Where is your favorite place to travel?
Before I had my babies, Carl and I traveled to Bali. It. Was. Spectacular. I would live there if I could. In fact, I look into it about once a year, so maybe it’s on the horizon for me.
What is your favorite “guilty pleasure”?
My favorite thing in the world is climbing under my down comforter with a book and reading until I can’t keep my eyes open. Pure luxury.
I think I am really enjoying this new way of featuring my different Mavens and thrilled that Pamela was my first feature this way. She has been on my list for a long long time. Thank you Pamela!
Tags: pamela baumeister