Tag Archives: stay-at-home mom

An older, wiser mom

My son Andy’s birthday is today. He’s 26 years old. The number makes me gasp.

My thoughts are pulled back to the weeks surrounding his birth. The mystery, the worry, the pain — and the utter joy. And the vague recollection of a newspaper article that appeared when he was just five weeks old.

Before I got married, went to graduate school and had my son, I was a bureau chief for the Arizona Republic. A lot of the reporters and photographers still knew me. So when they needed a photograph of a new mom with her baby for a story they were planning to run, they called me.

Photographer Michael Ging came out to the little condo my husband and I were renting in north Phoenix and took a bunch of pictures. When the story appeared in the paper on Tuesday, Aug. 27, 1985, it included this photo, which will always be a cherished favorite:

Photo by Michael Ging.

I must have read the article, but I was probably so excited about the picture — or so overwhelmed by my role as a new mom — that I didn’t remember what it was about. When memories of  the photo surfaced today, I decided to revisit the story.

So I went to my three-ring binder labeled “1985” and pulled out the yellowed clipping.

“A Different Kind of Parental Guidance,” by then Republic staffer Linda Helser, was about a resource for older first-time moms. It described a fabricated character named Rosalie, who had her first baby at 35. This professional wonder had graduated magna cum laude, enjoyed yearly promotions at her job and had married a successful guy with whom she took European vacations.

The arrival of her baby completely threw her for a loop.

“In Phoenix, there are many more older women having babies today, and they probably know less about infant care than even the young ones,” Helser quoted a local parenting expert as saying. The story described how these older, better-resourced moms were seeking parenting education with the same kind of vigor with which they’d pursued education and career training.

I was 29. Raising Arizona Kids wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye. But something about that newspaper article must have stuck in the back recesses of my mind. Because four years and one more son later, I was planning the launch of the Valley’s first monthly magazine for families. By then, I’d realized what Helser’s story meant by “mothers who are wise enough to admit they don’t know it all.”

The blossoming of a media pro

I wish I’d had a crystal ball back in the day, when Mala Blomquist first became our Calendar & Directories Editor. I would have loved to have seen her face when she looked into the future and saw herself…on television.

When Mala first joined our staff, she was a stay-at-home mom experiencing that first bit of restlessness that often kicks in for creative, energetic mothers when their children start reaching school age. Mala loves being a mom — but she also loves being busy, productive and engaged in something she really believes in.

She first came to us as a freelance writer. As she explored the Valley with her two young daughters, she wrote a monthly column we called “Going Places with Generation ‘Why?'” As the girls got older, she indicated that she was ready to do more. She started coming into the office on a regular schedule and eventually assumed the role she has today.

Mala is the person responsible for filtering thousands of emails and Web sites each month to provide a comprehensive calendar of family events for our magazine and our Web-based eZine. Most months she also must process and make sense of thousands of questionnaires she initiates to fill our print and online resource directories. She’s a master of minutia and though I often wonder when she’ll come to me and say “Enough!” she loves her job and just keeps getting better at it as she goes along.

But there’s one part of her job Mala could never have anticipated when she first came on board. For a couple of years now, Mala has appeared regularly on the Friday 1pm Arizona Midday show on 12 News. She’s there each week to share her top picks for the weekend’s local family events. Sometimes she also participates in the show’s “Coffee Talk” segments.

Mala was plenty apprehensive when this opportunity first arose — and very nervous the first few times she appeared on live TV. Now she’s a real pro.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my job as mother hen over this brood is the pride I feel when they surprise themselves and stretch beyond early self-perceptions to blossom in confidence at the mastery of new challenges and skills. I’m sure that Mala could never have imagined, when she first joined our team, that she’d face her weekly TV gig with so much pleasure and aplomb. — Karen

Today at RAK: June cover shoot at Attorney General Terry Goddard’s home in Phoenix!

In the "garden" behind the 12News studios last Friday: Mala (right) and Toni Purry, president of Purry Communications Group in Los Angeles. Toni handles the media/public relations for Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa. She and her crew had brought everything to make it look like the beach — even the sand!