I’ve known Cynde Watson for over a decade. We met when I was working my first official journalism job at a big-name magazine. I was introduced to crazy-cool, creative people all doing crazy-cool, creative things on the regular. Exhibit A: Cynde. (And not just because of the way she spells her name!) Back then she was a makeup artist with Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Before you could blink, Cynde was named the Executive Director of Global Makeup Artistry and Education for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics. Blink again, she had taken her years of top-shelf experience and working makeup magic on countless celebrity faces and created her own beauty line: Color by Cynde Watson. I told you, this chick is the business.
Life before baby …
Back then I lived in L.A. And life, in general, was all about me. The focus was squarely on me. I’m talking manicure and pedicure on a schedule. Blow-outs on my calendar. And my friends—I remembered birthdays, anniversaries and other fun dates to go out and celebrate. Shopping was a huge part of who I was, too. I was rushing out for seasonal shopping. I don’t even know what that is anymore.
I didn’t really have any clear ideas about motherhood …
I loved children. Moreover, I had a love for children, but not a longing for children. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to ever have kids, I just never factored them into my life.
When my sister had my niece when she was 27, I thought it was the closest thing to me having a child. That was so false. Having my niece in my life was like having a baby? Please. Just delusional. I didn’t get it. It’s not the same thing at all.
Then, six years ago, came Kennedy …
I was in shock. I was definitely in love with this person, but the whole miracle of it was overwhelming. I had to get past the very big idea that I made this person. When I saw her with my eyebrows and my husband’s chin, it was like, “Wow! I made this person.”
But then the responsibility of it sets it. After all the family and the celebrating and the visitors at the hospital is done, and everyone goes home—right around that third or fourth week—you realize, “Wait, the little person is here to stay. She’s not going anywhere, and it’s all on you!”
It was difficult. I didn’t have family living nearby. Plus, we were older when we had Kennedy. I was 36 and my husband was 45. We were so used to being us. Now we had to take responsibility for this child.
It takes a minute to become a mom after having a baby. It took me a couple of months to go from a woman with a baby to an actual mom.
You change, instantly … but in the best way possible. My daughter really saved my life. I wasn’t going to have a bad life, but I would not have had as rich of a life if I didn’t have her. My life is so full with her in it.
The most challenging part about motherhood …
I wasn’t self-employed then, so I was leaving home to go to work. The hard part for me was the multi-tasking of it. It was rough. Plus, there was the guilt I felt over leaving the house and going to work each day. I mean, everything that I did I felt guilty about. But I also felt like I had to do everything … working hard and then rushing home to the relieve the nanny, and getting up with my daughter each time, etc. I had to learn to delegate and let people help me. The alternative is you’ll get burned out, and that doesn’t do anything good for your child.
Also, the sleep-deprivation is like no other! I thought I had stamina before … you know I traveled a lot with work, hopping on this red-eye and going to that early morning set, but dealing with a newborn? Something totally different. You wake up and just thank God that you didn’t drop the baby; you’re so drained.
Nobody tells you that part. But then, I don’t know if they could tell you about it because you couldn’t really process it until you have a child.
Best piece of advice I ever heard …
It was from my mother, telling me to allow people to help. She also said to make sure I take care of myself, too. You have to be 100 percent to give the baby 100 percent. Of course, it’s easier said than done. I’m still working on that.
If we could jump into a DeLorean and race back in time …
I would tell myself to get a baby nurse. Anybody that asks me about new mom advice now, I always say: Get the baby nurse! Don’t think it’s over the top or selfish. It’s not. You need those three weeks after having a baby to get rest, and the baby nurse will also help educate you about caring for the little one. But getting that night rest is crucial. I’m still trying to find those two, three weeks of sleep!
Forget giving [new mothers] all of those other useless gifts. Get them what they need: onesies, diapers, and a baby nurse.
For more on the fabulous life of Cynde Watson, check out her site here.