Teresa StrasserAge: 40
Marital Status: Married
Residence: Los Angeles
Children: Nathaniel, 16 months
Profession: Strasser is the author of Exploiting My Baby, Because It’s Exploiting Me: A Memoir of Pregnancy and Childbirth, the unflinchingly honest, always hysterical, and surprisingly heartwarming collection of essays about being a mom for the first time at 38. Strasser’s unique and candid take on motherhood is certain to open up a more honest dialogue between moms everywhere, and is a refreshing entry into the mom-oir world.
Experience Strasser in action, both on television and over the radio, on her website, and her blog, ExploitingMyBaby.com. She is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the news anchor for the wildly popular Adam Carolla podcast, which is the most downloaded podcast on iTunes, as well as the news anchor for the Peter Tilden Show (KABC-AM Los Angeles), and the “hip mom” correspondent for the nationally syndicated Dr. Phil Show.
Q: Why did you decide to become a mom later in life? What factors precipitated this decision (or dictated it)? Tell us what your road to parenthood was like.
A: It wasn't so much my decision as it was fate's. I didn't meet my husband until I was 36, and until I met him, I never really thought seriously about being a parent. After meeting my husband, I was suddenly intent on starting a family. It dawns on me now that the best thing I ever did for my kid I did before he was born: I chose that kid an awesome father.Q: What do you most love about your work? What is most challenging about it? How long are you doing it? Where do you see yourself heading?
A: As I writer, I've come to believe that we are all pretty much alike. I mean, we like to think of ourselves as the red pebble on the beach, but we aren't. In other words, if I'm silently thinking that guy at the party is pretty weird, or the teach at baby gymnastics seems like she might be on meth, it's likely everyone else in the room is thinking the same thing. Thus, when I write something about pregnancy or motherhood that makes me feel isolated, alone, strange or terminally unique, it's likely masses of women feel the same way. When I write something and I know it couldn't possibly more true, and that I've expressed it as honestly and concisely as I can, and 100 people tell me, either by email on Twitter or however, "YES! I feel that way, too" - there is no better feeling. Writing - especially memoir style - is most gratifying when it proves my thesis, that we're mostly alike and when you can see and feel heads nodding, you don't feel alone. Books have always done that for me, so if I can do that for other moms, I'll be thrilledQ: What have you experienced through motherhood that has helped in your work or personal life?
A: When I was writing my book, I was still nursing. So, I would get a few hours of help every single day and go to the library where I would have to pump breast milk in the car every hour using a portable pump, car charger and small cooler for the milk. This was not exactly being Virginia Wolff with a room of one's own - more like a Honda. Sitting there next to homeless dudes rifling through the USA Today, I didn't have time to agonize over every sentence. I became much more confident as a result; I had chapters to write, deadlines to meet, sitters to relieve, and I had to get the words out. It changed my style to a faster, more muscular and certainly speedier way of doing things. No time can be a good thing for a writer, because the first version is often the best.Q: What is a typical day for you like? Do you do any work from home? If so, how do you find that? Have you worked more or less since you became a later mom?
A: I work in morning radio in LA, on the air from 6-9 a.m doing the Peter Tilden show on KABC 790 AM. After that, some days I shoot a show called "This Week in Mom" for Yahoo's mom platform, Shine. Other days, I may write in the afternoon or have meetings, and I pick up the baby from daycare in the afternoon. After that, I do anything and everything to entertain that little guy. He never, ever, stops moving or looking for things from which to fling himself or trying to scan the ground for chocking hazards. I'm on constant vigil to keep that keep from hurting himself. So, I spend the first half of my day reporting the news and the second half trying not to become it.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 do you most want to teach your child? What influence, if any, has your own mother had in your life and in your parenting?
A: My mother and I were not close; this is the major arc in my book. I was so nervous that being a mother would be one long, joyless, soul-sucking bummer, because that's how my mom seemed to feel. In the end, having a baby made me feel like a baby. I needed my mommy, and though she wasn't much a mom, she has really come through as a grandparent. It was a shot at redemption and she took it. As far as being an older mom, I think everyone feels the same thing - we are wiser and have more resources, but physically, Jesus, some days I feel exhausted and wish I was 25.Q: Where do you turn for support as a mom? How important is to connect with mom peers? Do you consider yourself a role model for other later moms or aspiring later moms? How so? How do you think an organization like Motherhood Later…Than Sooner can be helpful to later moms?
A: I am always desperate for mom friends. The yogurt shop, Ralph's Supermarket, Target, the park, I don't care where you are ... I will hunt you down and get your number and force my friendship on you. I think any support groups or organizations like yours are essential. I had no mom friends before, now I need them. Every day presents new questions. Do I know all there is to about Aquaphor or Butt Paste or Triple Cream or Desitin? No. But maybe another mom does, and I like to find moms that seem to know what they're doing and pry information out of them.Q: What words of wisdom would you most like to share with others contemplating becoming a mom later in life?
A: If not now, when? Think of it this way: if you have a boy, he can carry your luggage for you. If you have a girl, she can tweeze your mustache hairs when you're in a home.Q: When you became a mom, did your own mother or mother figure share any particular sentiments or advice that really resonated? Or do you recall anything from your own upbringing that really stuck with you and you’d like to pass on to your child or other moms?
A: Whenever I worry about a milestone, my mom always remind me that he won't be doing whatever it is that I think he should no longer be doing "at his prom." This is an excellent guideline and puts things in perspective. It's almost like a fortune cookie thing -- you know, how you put "in bed" after every one and it's funny? Well, it works with baby stuff and the prom. As in, "he probably won't be using a pacifier ... at his PROM." Or "I'm pretty sure he won't be crawling to the PROM." Or, I'm pretty sure he won't be flinging food from the table "at his PROM." Try it, it's fun.
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