Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile are first-time authors, have 5 kids between them and have been friends for 12+ years. Trisha Ashworth has produced advertising for American Express, PepsiCo, and Levi Strauss & Co and Amy Nobile has led public relations programs for Visa, Frito-Lay, and Webvan.
These moms are down to earth, straight-shooting, non-judgmental women on a mission to reinvent modern motherhood. Frustrated that real life didn't meet their own expectations of what motherhood would be like, they set out to interview mothers of every stripe, working, stay-at-home, part-time, to determine if they were the only ones that felt like they were really good moms — before they had kids.
Check out their books:
- I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood 
- Dirty Little Secrets from Otherwise Perfect Moms 
- I'd Trade My Husband for a Housekeeper: Loving Your Marriage after the Baby Carriage 
Congrats to Amy and Trisha for their fantastic Oprah Show April 6, 2009 appearance.
How often do you have dinner with your children? What are the last three dinners you made for your kids? Did you eat the same thing they did?
After interviewing over 100 moms nationwide, we discovered that dinner is a hot button issue for today’s moms. Even if she’s had a perfect day, dinner can somehow push mom over the edge. Whether or not we make dinner ‘successful’ — if the kids eat, making sure the food is nutritious, getting everyone in one room — makes us feel like a good or bad mom. We’ve each had to make peace with how we handle dinner and what it means to us. Some nights it’s takeout, some nights it’s mac‘n cheese — but we’re no longer judging ourselves for these choices.
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 three topics of conversation that come up frequently?
We have found that support groups are so important for moms today. We both belonged to moms’ groups after having our first kids, but found that the topics they discussed didn't give us what we really needed — they talked more about sleep schedules and baby gear and less about the issues that we were grappling with, like guilt. For moms to really get the support they need, they need to be honest about how they’re feeling. As one mom we interviewed for the book said to us, "it’s not a real moms’ group unless someone’s crying."
What is the one thing you vowed you would never do when you had kids that you find yourself doing?
We all had a picture in our heads of what motherhood would look like, and that vision was, quite frankly, very hard to live up to. For us, there were things we thought we’d never do, like put on a video in the car, or let them see the inside of a McDonald’s. We now realize that sometimes our expectations are just out of whack, and we need to ease up on ourselves.
What is your best tip for maintaining balance or at least some semblance of sanity?
It’s been a long process for us, but now we realize that after decades of hard-won progress by women before us — and an ever-increasing array of amazing opportunities and choices in front of us — this generation of moms has developed expectations of themselves that are truly insane In order to get a grip, we need to prioritize and whittle down our long laundry list of ‘shoulds’ and truly make peace with our choices. Then we will find a bit more balance and let go of some of the guilt and judgment.
What do you do when you feel totally overwhelmed?
Sometimes it’s a primal scream, and sometimes it’s a phone call to a girlfriend for a reality check. More often than not we feel overwhelmed because we’ve under too much pressure, and we need to go back and look at how much is on our plates and start to re-prioritize.
Do you feel that you have made professional sacrifices to be a more present parent?
We both feel that we made individual choices that altered our career paths and, at the time, felt a bit limiting. Trish decided to stay home with her kids, and Amy started a part-time consultancy. We constantly questioned our choices. Now we know that everything is just a phase, and it’s important to make conscious choices that are right for our families — financially, emotionally, spiritually — for that time.
Describe your worst working mom moment.
We were being interviewed by a reporter and didn’t have childcare, so we locked away all five kids in an upstairs bedroom with Scooby Doo and lollipops. At 9:00 a.m.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
See above. Just kidding! One of our favorite — but hardest — things to do is to just BE with our kids, without distraction. One of the biggest things we’ve learned is to tune out the noise and give our full attention to the kids, even if it’s for 10 minutes.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received about balancing work and family?
One mom we interviewed said ‘you can have it all, just not at the same time.’ This really resonated with us, because it seems like today's moms really do believe that we can — and should — do it all. And that’s just not possible.
What do you think about the so-called Mommy Wars?
The biggest ‘war’ raging, in our opinion, is the one inside each of us — the struggle we all feel to make the right choices and live up to the extreme expectations we have of ourselves. Instead of rationalizing our own choices by pointing fingers, why not support each other? Once we stop judging each other, we can start creating a better, more honest environment for all moms.
What do you think makes a good mother?
The definition of a good mother is different for each of us. In many cases it’s hard to live up to this image, and we need to individually redefine and reinvent what success means to each of us.
The best thing about being a working mom is . . . ?
The best thing about being a working mom is having found a path for us that feels like time well spent. This journey has given us permission to actually enjoy working!
The worst thing about being a working mom is . . . ?
The worst thing about being a working mom is the overwhelming, crushing responsibility of it all—never having control over your schedule, what to do when you have a sick child.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Do you ever have time for it?
Pedicures. And we’ve decided that they’re a necessity, not a luxury.
If you liked our interview with I Was a Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids authors Amy Nobile and Trisha Ashworth, don't miss our Working Mom interviews with The Working Girl's Guide to Babyville author Paige Hobey , Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety author Judith Warner , and Bad Mother author Ayelet Waldman .