Pregnancy, Divorce, and Being Knocked Sideways — Episode #006 With Tamsen Webster
Tamsen Webster, the Executive Producer of the oldest and one of the largest locally organized TED talk events in the world, is self-described as “pattern-driven,” and likes to have a plan.
Today, we talk about her journey into parenting, and how her ideas for pregnancy (and even marriage) were very different than reality.
She dove into her first pregnancy with a plan: she would have a natural birth and breastfeed her baby, as the research suggests. Her employer was supportive, agreeing to a shifted schedule when she returned from maternity leave.
But nothing went according to plan. And later, when she returned to work, Tamsen discovered she had a new boss who wasn’t okay with the predetermined agreement.
“Once you’ve been through a series of things that are so defying of … what you thought you could handle, it resets your horizon—higher, broader, better.” — Tamsen Webster
Tamsen shares her challenging parenting journey, admitting that having her sons ‘knocked her sideways.’
I ask her how pregnancy and motherhood prepared her for entrepreneurship and why we have such a narrow view of what it means to have children. Learn how the divorce made Tamsen a better mom, and listen in for her take on doing the ‘right thing’ as a parent.
The birth of her second son presented its own set of unexpected circumstances, and having kids exposed cracks in her marriage. Tamsen made the difficult decision to leave, but the resilience she gained from surviving those challenges, and the support of her second husband, helped give her the courage to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Divorce, Pregnancy, Being Knocked Sideways
The Startup Parent Podcast — Episode #006
Quotes from the episode:
- “[My boys] are bright and curious and wonderful. I will tell you that having them … knocked me relentlessly sideways.”
- “To help guide how [my kids] learn to see the world … by inviting them to ask questions of it and seek their own answers, that’s been enormously rewarding. Also the hugs.”
- “I don’t have these beautiful birth stories, but I got two beautiful boys out of it. That piece is worth it.”
- “Having kids revealed the nature of the partnership: If there are cracks, it’s going to widen them. If there are things to build on, it’s going to strengthen those.”
- “It probably would shock some people to hear, but I am a much, much better mom as someone who is only with [my boys] part-time because … work stops when I’m with them.”
- “Once you’ve been through a series of things that are so defying of … what you thought you could handle, it resets your horizon—higher, broader, better.”
- “Sometimes you have to break some plates.”
- “We have these moments … where we’re just not sure, and to have somebody else who says, ‘I am, I’m sure about you … and I’m sure about us,’ any … entrepreneur is so lucky to have somebody like that. I know I am.”
- “If you work harder for yourself than anybody else, that’s really all you need to know… If you would get promoted for how you conduct your day—alone, working at home as an entrepreneur—you’re fine.”
- “As long as your intent is good, and you are doing the best you can in the circumstances you have … allow that to be the best, because it is.”
- “Motherhood, entrepreneurship, partnership: There is no one right way.”
About Tamsen Webster:
Tamsen Webster is a sought-after keynote speaker, ‘idea whisperer,’ and message strategist. She helps people and organizations like Verizon, Ericsson, and Disney uncover and communicate the power of their ideas. Tamsen also serves as Executive Producer of TEDxCambridge, one of the largest locally organized TED events in the world.
- Tamsen’s Website
- Tamsen on YouTube
- Tamsen on LinkedIn
- Tamsen on Facebook
- Tamsen on Twitter
- Tamsen on the Speaker Lab Podcast
- Tamsen’s Make-Sense Mandate Post
- The Barefoot Executive: The Ultimate Guide for Being Your Own Boss and Achieving Financial Freedom by Carrie Wilkerson
- ‘On Children’ by Kahlil Gibran
- Sweet Honey and the Rock
Sponsor: Meet Edgar
Thank you to the sponsor of this episode: Meet Edgar! Grab your free two-week trial of Meet Edgar, a social media scheduling tool that allows you to create content once and re-use it as much as you need, at http://ed.gr/startuppregnant.
The Wise Women’s Council is back for a fourth year
If you’d like to join our annual leadership incubator for professional women navigating career and family, submit an application by February 15th to be considered for the Class of 2021. The program is March — December.
ABOUT THE STARTUP PARENT PODCAST
We're a weekly show that releases new episodes every Monday at 5:30 A.M. Find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, or whenever you listen to podcasts. If you'd like to get new episodes delivered to you by email, sign up for the weekly newsletter with insights, strategies, and new ideas for working parents. If you'd like to sponsor the podcast, feel free to reach out. Lastly, if you like what you hear definitely leave us a review on iTunes.
ONLINE PARENT GROUPS
Our private Startup Parent Facebook Community is for working moms navigating all things parenting, business, career, and children. We also have a brand-new Linked In Parenting Group for folks of all genders to join and share resources on parenting and business. Join us in one or both groups.
THE WISE WOMEN'S COUNCIL
Every year, we gather a group of women together to talk about pregnancy, parenting, marriage, partnership, work, business, children, and all the things that come up during this challenging season of life. Applications are now open.
ASK SARAH — BONUS EPISODES AND FIRESIDE CHATS
If you’re a fan of this podcast, you’ll love the private, ask-me-anything conversations with Sarah. When you become a Patreon backer, you'll get a brand-new episode every single month. Click here to become a back and get immediate access to the episodes.
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY
The other day, I was reading an article on Time Magazine that I couldn’t stop reading. Dr. Kyl Myers, an author, had written a long-form piece about gender, sex and parenting. Dr. Kyl Myers holds a PhD in sociology and studies and speaks about gender. Kyl is an award-winning educator and a globally recognized advocate for gender creative parenting. Since 2016, Kyl has been speaking and writing about gender creative parenting and using their own parenting story to help the world learn about and embrace a new type of childhood. Kyl Myers goes by “she” and “her” pronouns, as well as “they” and “them.” Dr. Myers is the author of Raising Them: Our Adventure In Gender Creative Parenting. This is a fascinating conversation about parenting, gender, and what we can do as parents to help reduce gender violence, oppression against women and men, and create a more playful world.
In America, the word “mother” is nearly always describing white motherhood. That’s what Nefertiti, a single African American woman and the author of “Motherhood So White,” discovered when she decided she wanted to adopt a Black baby boy out of the foster care system. Eager to finally join the motherhood ranks, Nefertiti was shocked by the assumptions people had about what adoption, motherhood, and Black motherhood should look like. She realized that American society saw motherhood through a white lens, and that there would be no easy understanding or acceptance of the kind of family she hoped to build.
My friend has an almost-two-year old and she asked me “So when do I need to think about potty training?” Yeah, as though you needed anything else to consider in the pandemic. Well, I took a few minutes to brain dump everything I remembered about potty training in a quick dash Voxer message to her, all while doing dishes and cleaning up the boys’ room in our house. We both thought that these might be useful memos for you, especially if you happen to be in a similar situation. Consider this an unofficial, scrappy overview of Potty Training that will help you do a good enough job … for now.
Begin writing a post that says “Working parents are not okay.”‘ Delete sentences because no one is okay. There isn’t really a comparison game to be played here. Call your friend and realize that you’re having trouble stringing words together. Hang up the telephone because both of your children and pushing buttons on the phone and you can’t actually have a real conversation while children and buttons are in close proximity. What was it that they said? “Opening my computer is like a pavlovian response for my child.” Yeah, that.
Sarah K Peck
Founder, Startup Parent
Sarah Peck is a writer, startup advisor, and yoga teacher based in New York City. She’s the founder and executive director of Startup Parent, a media company documenting the stories of women’s leadership across work and family. She hosts the weekly Startup Parent Podcast and Let's Talk, her second podcast. Previously, she worked at Y Combinator backed One Month, Inc, a company that teaches people to code in 30 days, and before that she was a writing and communications consultant.
She’s a 20-time All-American swimmer who successfully swam the Escape from Alcatraz nine separate times, once wearing only a swim cap and goggles to raise $33k for charity: water. She’s written for more than 75 different web publications and and has delivered speeches and workshops at Penn, UVA, Berkeley, Harvard, Craft & Commerce, WDS, and more.