Real Mama: Victoria Trudel

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Victoria, a 33-year-old (eep!) working mama to a very fun, sweet and happy 11-month-old little boy, Brady. I grew up in a suburb of New York and have been living in Manhattan and working in public relations since I graduated college in 2001.

My husband and I met six years ago at a bar in SoHo. He is originally from Massachusetts, but moved to New York several years after he graduated college. Almost one year — to the day— of our first wedding anniversary, we found out we were expecting. Now, life is pretty hectic… to say the least.

Image by Max Flatow Photography

Where is home?

Home is New York City.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a working mama?

My career is very fast-paced, and often requires late nights and connection to e-mail when I’m not at work. It took me several months of struggling to find balance between a nearly non-stop professional life and my new family life.

I finally realized that I’m not the same person I was before I had my son, so I couldn’t offer the same commitment to my career and make him my top priority. So, I set different professional expectations and goals for myself and let my employer know.

Just recently, I started my own consultant company with my former employer as my first client. This allows me to accept work that I know I can complete, and spend more quality time with my family.

I’m also very lucky to have a very involved husband – also known as the “man-mom.” I’m not saying that I don’t still have my moments of feeling overwhelmed but I think I’m at a point where it’s manageable.

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, that you’ve given as a mama?

I’m not sure if this is advice or more of a motto. Someone told me, “Each day as a mother feels like a year, but each year feels like a day.” When times are tough – and they often are – I remind myself of this, and it helps put things in perspective for me.

If I had to give a mama some advice, I’d say… family, friends, neighbors and complete strangers all have an opinion. So, here is mine: listen to what everyone has to say. Understand their motivation for telling you something, respect it, and graciously thank them. Then, go ahead and make your own decision because at the end of the day it’s your kid and you’re in charge. You may take some of the advice or you may throw it all completely out the window. It’s up to you.

As time goes on and you become the “pro”— go ahead and give a newbie some advice. But, try not to judge when she does things her way. Just like having kids, it all comes full circle.

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

I never really imagined what I would be like as a mother. However, I did have a vision of what I thought my family-life would be.

When I was a kid, I thought “the city” (Manhattan) was a place that people went to work. I really had no idea people actually lived there. I thought kids lived in houses with their mom and dad. They got to play tag in the middle of the street and they jumped in their neighbor’s pool on a really hot day. It sounds very close-minded, but I had a happy childhood in a nice suburban neighborhood so I guess I imagined that everyone had (or should have had) what I had.

As I went off on my own, I was exposed to other people and their experiences, and it opened my eyes to other visions of family-life. Right now, my family lives in a “cozy” one bedroom apartment in NYC. We spend our time together exploring the neighborhood, going to play groups or walking around Central Park.

It’s not at all what I would have imagined for my family, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Image by Max Flatow Photography

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I don’t even know where I see myself in a year. I’m enjoying today because I really feel like this is the best time in my life.   

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

My superpower would be the power of transport. I would snap my fingers and Brady would be sitting on his great-grandma’s lap in Massachusetts — then later in the day I’d click my heels and we’d be in Delaware playing on the swings with his cousins… while he was busy with family in Delaware I’d wink my left eye so I can get in a quick workout at the gym. I could go on and on with this one.

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

I was a nervous wreck throughout the early days. I barely slept for weeks because I was obsessed with watching him breathe at night. I called every experienced mama I knew for advice on bathing, feeding, sleeping habits, etc. The first time my son spit up, I had to be talked out of bringing him to the emergency room. Now, I’m much more relaxed and confident — thank goodness! I laugh at my350lly first-time-mama concerns. 

Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

When times are tough, I make a promise to myself to allow for alone time when the day is over. After the baby and my husband are asleep, I stay up extra late and watch marathons of Teen Mom or Law & Order SVU, or a similar guilty pleasure. The other night I took a long, hot shower at midnight. It gives me a break to look forward to, and uninterrupted time to feel carefree.

Late at night I’m not a mama, wife, PR girl, housekeeper, dishwasher, organizer, etc. I’m just a girl sitting on a couch vegging out.

Is there anything else you wish to share with the Mama Say What?! audience?

I assume the Mama Say What?! audience is made up of mamas — so I’d like to say, THANK YOU! I had no idea what a supportive and helpful community I was joining when I became a mother. I don’t know how I would have gotten through the newborn phase without you!  

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