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Rossignol—who professes that Carrie Bradshaw has “nothing on her shoe collection”—went from being a successful, confident Marketing Director to doubting her decisions “on an hourly basis,” after becoming a new mom.
Now a freelance Brand and Marketing Strategist, and mom-blogger at Fashion Forward 40 (http://fashionforward40 NULL.com), Rossignol discovered becoming a mother 6 months shy of her 40th birthday meant a “serious adjustment.”
Almost overnight, her life transformed from having previously managed a staff of 7 to “doing it all” herself on “little or no budget.”
“You go from being this ‘put together’ woman who can move mountains in her career, to a tired woman wandering the mall,” recalls Rossignol.
Looking back, with her son “Lil T” now 3-years-old, she admits that the first year of motherhood was a struggle.
She had gone from being a confident, self-assured professional who could pack everything she needed for a week-long business trip in one carry-on suitcase, to the uncertainty of “no longer having years of experience” to base her decisions on.
And previously, she’d enjoyed all the “perks” that went with success and the “good life”—from pilates classes to pedicures. Now, she’s having to “fight harder and work smarter” to keep up with her peers in dedicated, full-time careers .
“Probably the hardest change after motherhood was rediscovering who I was,” says Rossignol.
But despite the challenges, it was during that early struggle she became certain that having her son later in life was the right choice.
She continually asked herself how women in their 20’s could ever have had the patience or sagacity for motherhood.
“I’ve never been a patient woman,” she says, “but I’ve learned to have more patience as I’ve aged.”
She adds that, while she also didn’t “know herself” very well in her 20’s and was still “figuring it out,” in her 40’s she feels “comfortable in her own skin.”
As an older mother who knows her own strengths and limitations, Rossignol is confident enough to ask for help when it comes to parenting.
“I’m okay asking for advice and appreciating others can add great things to my son’s life that I cannot,” says Rossignol.
But it was the colossal impact that being a mother in her 40’s had on her body, her budget and her hankering for fashion that resulted in her determination to seek a balance.
“The hardest adjustment to my self-esteem was my boobs”, she admits. “That line from Seinfeld, ‘They are real and they are spectacular (http://www NULL.youtube NULL.com/watch?v=lqyg0_aWAgU),’ comes to mind.”
Having made a painful, but successful, adjustment to breastfeeding, Rossignol became resigned about her breasts: “After I had Lil T, they were no longer my own and were forever changed.”
“While I loved being a mother, I didn’t feel very attractive”, she says, “and my closet was a mad collection of former professional clothes, maternity clothes and stuff that just didn’t fit me anymore.”
But years of problem-solving business experience—including the sense to hire a professional when you can’t do it yourself—came to her rescue.
“I had a stylist come over and do a wardrobe intervention,” she says, “and I gave myself permission to have some time to myself.”
And while she can no longer afford the Sex-and-the-City lifestyle, Rossignol regularly treats herself to a trip to the hairdresser.
“I always feel like a million bucks after I have my hair done!” she says.
According to Rossignol, it is these small efforts to enhance her self-confidence and self-esteem that make her a better and happier mother.
Today, she hopes her blog Fashion Forward 40 (http://fashionforward40 NULL.com/)—“rediscovering my style after 40”—will be an inspiration to other mothers over 40.
“Just because we are over 40, and the fashion world has forgotten about us, doesn’t mean we can’t have style or fun,” she is quick to point out.
And balance? Tracey Rossignol’s lifestyle is about as good as it gets.
“Before I met my husband, I had a disposable lifestyle, where I had a cleaning lady, dropped off my laundry to be washed and folded, and my groceries delivered.”
“Now I’m a mom who embraced cloth diapers, washing them myself, and grows broccoli in the garden.”
“But as soon as I can afford it”, she adds, “that cleaning lady will be back on the payroll!”
Tracey Rossignol, freelance Brand and Marketing Strategist, and founder of Fashion Forward 40 at http://fashionforward40.com (http://fashionforward40 NULL.com/). Tracey@fashionforward40.com (Tracey null@null fashionforward40 NULL.com)
Angel La Liberte is the founder of the website Flower Power Mom—The Truth About Motherhood After 40 (www.flowerpowermom.com), where she blogs regularly about later life motherhood. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org (editor null@null flowerpowermom NULL.com).
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