Totum Mum Crush: Amy Eldon
Welcome to the Totum Mum Crush Series
Our first Totum Mum Crush is on Amy Eldon. Amy and her mum started Creative Visions Foundation to honor the legacy of her brother Daniel, who was killed while using creativity to fight for freedom in Mogadishu, Somalia. I met Amy in 2012 at a meeting about a work partnership to support other filmmakers making impact through their work. I was bursting-pregnant with our first, and Amy welcomed me into motherhood by sharing her story and even setting up a preschool tour for me at the school she loved for her sons. Fast forward some years, and we were reconnected through my chance encounter with her stepfather, who calmed my daughter's tantrum in the pharmacy line at CVS. While he comforted my then 2 year old Arabella, he shared that he had a granddaughter named Arabella and shared her last name. Long story short, I reconnected with Amy about that coincidence and now enjoy her monthly "Spark" meetings for women in the LA area and play dates with our Arabellas.
Amy is truly a world changer. But what I love most about Amy is her humor, confidence, generosity and directness. Somehow I come away from every encounter with her feeling half an inch taller and better about myself and life in general. Without further ado, here's Amy's response to our Q&A. Enjoy the belly laugh to come with this read.
Totum Mum Crush: Amy Eldon
For you, what has been the biggest surprise about becoming a mother?
I had no idea how time-consuming parenting is. There’s not a moment for self-reflection. Now I get what CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour said when I interviewed her for a show on motherhood, “You can do it all, but not at the same time.”
It’s a real struggle juggling all aspects of your life when you have kids. Something has to give. Still, I try not to beat myself up about the things that slip through the cracks—like exercising and cooking gourmet meals. Or any meals.
The other surprise for me has been the assortment of children that popped out of me -- each with his or her own character. It has been interesting, actually baffling, as I learn to handle each personality type, knowing I need to model Mr. Rogers when he said, “I love you just the way you are.”
I am certainly learning on the job, although I know I should/could be reading the parenting books that sit on my bedside table that reflect the latest issues I’m dealing with.
What highs and lows did you experience as you transitioned to motherhood? Were they related to a specific experience like recovery, breastfeeding, sleep, or the question of working outside the home?
Lack of sleep has been my biggest challenge. Our three-year-old is still in our bed (how do I not have this down after three kids??), so I am tired all the time. Even before I go to bed I’m already getting wound up about not getting enough sleep. Without rest I get very emotional and stressed out — so right now I am very emotional and stressed out. I keep trying to remind myself that "this too shall pass," but it is so hard to believe that it will ever end.
As you faced the enormous changes in your life after giving birth - physically, emotionally, added responsibilities and lifestyle shifts - in what areas did you feel supported? And where/how would you have liked more support?
I feel so lucky to have an amazing circle of girlfriends who support me and don’t judge me for occasionally flicking my kids off behind their backs and forgetting to pack their lunches. You need good friends who make you laugh because a lot of the mothering job is boring. Registering for things online and reading the same book 100 times is not exactly what I envisioned when I was dreaming of little booties and mobiles.
I have an incredible baby sitter from Indonesia who literally looks after all of us. She has had my kids out of diapers by the age of two, riding a bike by four and eating hot sauce by seven. Without her I would have lost my marbles (like more than I already have.)
And finally, I have my mother who is the antithesis of an anxious Westside mother. She keeps me from getting too neurotic and encourages me to relax and enjoy the journey.
What has motherhood meant for your relationship with your partner and/or your other significant relationships?
I miss my husband now that I mainly just bark orders at him as we pass in the hallway. We do make a point of getting away together every six months or so and it is always such a relief to find that I still like him. He makes me laugh.
So many people tell me that this period will be over "in a blink of an eye,” so I feel lots of pressure to enjoy every minute, but much of it is hard and frustrating so it’s really important to have a partner who has you back.
Did your central values change or shift in some way that you'd like to share?
I don’t think my values have changed, in fact I believe I have had to double down on them. I have to walk my talk because there are all those little eyes watching me. Now I can’t jam my cart into the curb at the supermarket because I have to live by example. Bloody annoying.
Totum Mum Crush
Totum Women is excited to feature some moms who inspire us in a series called "Mum Crush." Listen, though: every woman finds her own path as a mother, so our hope is that these women uplift and inspire. We know that sometimes features like these can lead to some comparison thinking that hurts more than helps, so we choose women who exemplify our brand values of being real and whole in their approach to womanhood and motherhood. Women who make us feel stronger because they're full of love and keep it real.