Sloane Tanen's latest work Hatched! is a hilarious, totally original take on the trials and traumas of pregnancy and motherhood. Its inspired oddity made us curious about the woman behind these irreverent chickens. We discovered that everything about her is quite simply — cool. And by the way, Hatched! is THE PERFECT BABY SHOWER GIFT. We highly recommend you purchase a few online today and put them aside so you are prepared when the next invitation comes.
Sloane Tanen is the author of Going for the Bronze and Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same, and the children's titles Where is Coco Going and Coco all Year Round. She is a painter whose work has been exhibited in a number of shows and can be found in private and corporate collections in Manhattan, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles. She received her B.A from Sarah Lawrence College and holds graduate degrees in literary history from NYU and in art history from Columbia University.
Sloane Tanen lives in Manhattan with her husband and her eighteen-month-old son Harry.
Can you describe your job?
Hmmm. Hard to do. I used to be a painter. Now I am sort of a 3-D cartoonist — with chickens.
Do you work exclusively in the office, exclusively from home or some combination? What are the pros and cons of your schedule?
I work at a studio in downtown Manhattan. It’s a cooperative artists space. Stefan Hagen, the photographer, works next door to me. That’s how I found him. I work on all the ideas/jokes at nights and often storyboard from home. All of the photographing and technical stuff happens Monday, Wednesday and Friday when I am at the studio. It’s an ideal set-up. The only con is that I often stay up much too late working or messing around on the computer.
Would you work if you could afford to stay home? If so, why?
Yes. I think I would always want to work — part time at least. For me it’s important to have a life and an identity beyond being a mother. But I love that I get to be with Harry four days a week. I know that I am lucky and that my situation is rare. It’s really the best of both worlds. If I were in the position of either having to stay home full time or work full time it would be much more difficult. I’m glad I don’t have to make that decision.
Describe your childcare setup.
As I said, I am a night owl. I am also an insomniac so my husband does the morning shift so I can work or read at night. He understood the set-up when Harry was a baby and up half the night. That was my shift. Now that he sleeps through the night I think my husband doesn’t quite understand how he got stuck with the 6:00am shift seven days a week. But the truth is he loves it. They have breakfast together at the local diner and hang out until the nanny comes Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and the weekends I try to get up as early as I can and take over.
Do you have a formal or informal support group of working moms that you rely upon for advice/support? How often do you meet? What are a few examples of topics of conversation that come up frequently?
I have a nice variety of mom friends now. The kids are all different ages so we are always grappling with different things. I’m trying to get Harry’s pacifier away while another friend is toilet training and yet another is switching from formula to regular milk. Each passage feels so important and then it’s over.
What is the one thing you vowed you would never do when you had kids that you find yourself doing?
Singing in public to amuse him.
Do you have a date night with your spouse or partner? Do you find time to keep the romance going when you are juggling so much?
Barely . . . but we try. We have bonded over American Idol. I finally got him into it.
What do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed?
Go out with a girlfriend, smoke pot and listen to music.
Describe your worst working mom moment.
Attending my book party three days after giving birth, (Harry came three weeks early), with a catheter bag strapped to my leg. I had some problems during delivery that led to some peeing problems so I had a catheter for about a week after. I had to wear Gaucho pants . . . and they weren’t in style then either.
What is your favorite thing to do with Harry?
Read with him just after he wakes up from his nap and he’s warm and sleepy and mellow.
Does Harry ever go with you to the studio?
Harry hates my studio. I had fantasies of bringing him to work and setting up a play area. It’s too loud and dusty and dirty for him. I just think it’s too toxic for a small child.
Are you one of those perfect moms that does everything for everyone and still finds time to exercise?
No. I guess I could wake up earlier and go but I’m not that committed at the moment. I do walk a lot.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about balancing work and family?
I don’t think I have ever gotten any good advice on the subject. Everybody’s situation is so different. The baby comes first . . . after that, I try to roll with the punches.
If you enjoyed reading our interview with artist and mother Sloane Tanen, don't miss our chat with Laura Zeck , the artist behind Short Stories Press.