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Amanda Jones Vaughan VIP Client Relations Manager, Net-a-Porter
The kids are down, your work is done - how do you spend your “me” time, when you get it?
My son, JJ, was born right when quarantine started. So, like all 2020 new mamas, motherhood has been a bit unconventional thus far. My self-care options are different than what I had imagined (I cannot wait to get a proper facial!) but I’m grateful to be safe at home and I also think quarantine has nudged me in directions I may not have gone in. I’ve got my go-tos like reading, cooking, coffee table books and quite a few face mask marathons but I’m also painting, journaling and re-learning how to surf. I can’t quite pop up on a board like my ten year-old self could but it certainly is just as fun.
What is the thing you bought in the last three months that you have most enjoyed?
Keeping on the “me time” theme, I bought a De La Heart Lymphatic Drainage Body Tool and have been trying to put it to use after showering. Lymphatic Drainage aids in removing toxins and inflammation from the body and I was a big fan of these massages during pregnancy. When I have the time (and, frankly, if I remember), I’ll dry brush before I shower then use the tool afterwards. It’s a mini spa retreat before diving back into baby spit up and diaper changes.
What is the quality you most like in yourself as a mother?
It’s a very new gig so ask me in a year or two, but so far, I’ve been proud of myself for going with the flow when possible. I can be very reliant on structure and how things “should be” and while I think having some sort of a plan can help keep you sane during these newborn months, you also need to recognize that no day (or baby!) is the same and what worked yesterday might not work today. Babies could care less about your ten-step strategy. When things work out like I envisioned it’s wonderful, but it’s often just as rewarding when the plan gets tossed out the window, you pivot to a different solution and somehow keep your cool or at the very least, laugh at yourself or the scenario afterwards (preferably with a glass of wine in hand).
What’s the quality you most like in one or all of your children that they did not inherit from you?
My son is only 5 months into the game so I’ll have to report back, but in terms of physical features, he got his dad’s dimples and I’m pretty darn happy about it.
What’s the other career you’d most like to try out, given a second professional life?
Is being Stanley Tucci a career path?
Is there anything that quarantine forced you to change that you would like to - or will - maintain post quarantine?
Aside from the first few months in New York, we’ve been extremely lucky to be spending the majority of our quarantine by the water. Most mornings we’ll walk down to the beach with JJ to hang, take a dip in the ocean and have a few quiet moments together as a family before the day takes off. Not sure if we’ll feel inclined to jump into the Hudson every morning (or ever) once we’re back in NYC, but I’d love to incorporate some sort of morning ritual that gives us that peaceful time together each day.
What are the nicest things your partner does for you, and you for them?
The enthusiasm, positivity and support my husband brings to our marriage (and now parenting! During a pandemic!) makes it hard to pinpoint just one thing. But I’d say in the past few months, he’s simply been great at knowing or asking what I need, whether that’s stepping in with JJ, lending an ear for a vent session, cleaning around the apartment or providing a swift refill on a bowl of ice cream.
And he says he loves how I invest in making memories and traditions for our new family. Like everyone else, we didn’t imagine spending holidays (and just so much time in general) away from family and loved ones, especially during JJ’s first few months of life. Dressing up for dinners and decorating the table for Sunday brunches are small but poignant ways to lighten the mood and make a memory out of unusual circumstances. Some tequila and some guac mixed with a little imagination and you’ve got yourself a signature cocktail and horderves!
How important is routine to you? What parts of your routine are sacrosanct?
As mentioned, I do love me some structure and definitely value routine even if the day throws me for a loop. Some sort of exercise every day, even for just a few minutes, is an integral part of my day. I of course love the physical benefits, but the mental, emotional, and creative nurturing it provides keeps me coming back each day. My husband and I have also gotten into the habit of listing “3 Amazing Things That Happened Today” every night before we go to bed. It’s inspired by The Five Minute Journal and is a great way to unwind and count our blessings, even on days when nothing seemed to go right.
What are your professional goals and how do you go about achieving them?
I hope to always do something that I find joy in, even on the hard days. To challenge myself and embrace opportunities for personal and professional growth. To give back to my community and leave the world better than I found it. These objectives and how to achieve them will never look exactly the same year over year because neither will I or the world I live in. Half the battle is listening and checking in with myself, and knowing when to take risks or go outside of my comfort zone, when to put in the extra work, when guidance is needed and when to take a breather.
What are the things that make your home personal to you and your family?
Making a house (or cramped NYC apartment!) a home is something I know, love, and believe in. Renting provides its challenges when it comes to personal touches but the extra effort and creativity always feels worth it. We’ve put removable wallpaper on every surface I can manage (including our kitchen ceiling!) and when trying to avoid the move (and rent-increase) to a two-bedroom apartment because a baby was on the way, we turned our coat closet into a (incredibly tiny) nursery. Design-elements aside, we love to host and the countless holiday parties, ladies nights and sibling dinners that have filled our space over the years is truly what makes our home ours. Doing so with a sleeping baby in the next room (or closet) is a challenge I look forward to navigating!
How important is community to you, and how do you go about building and nurturing it for your family?
It’s everything. Personally, I’ve been exceedingly heartened by the unwavering sense of female empowerment and community that has enveloped me during my pregnancy and postpartum. From strangers on the street to colleagues to my nearest and dearest, a day does not go by without some act of encouragement, checking in, or advice. This is such a weird, wonderful, and challenging journey to navigate and I’m so grateful for the power of female friendship and the many badass examples of women in my life and out in the world.
My husband and I are also both blessed with incredibly large extended families and friend groups. Even at a distance, they have never felt more needed or present than during these past few months. “It takes a village” certainly applies to us as individuals and a pair, and I hope to foster the same sense of love, support, and education for my son so he can live life with an open and active heart, mind, and soul. My brother and sister-in-law also had a beautiful baby boy, Archie, exactly seven days before JJ was born. The two cousins, along with several other adorable cousins, are building quite a little community of their own!
What maternity style or clothing item could you not find this time around that you most wish FH would create?
The more prints the better! Preferably a printed dress that I could wear closed or open over jeans or a fitted dress. I had some luck with non-maternity and vintage but was always on the lookout for something that truly could grow with the bump while still providing some funk and flare.