First-time mom cooks up efficiency as new parent
By KD Reep
As a baker, Sarah DeClerk is used to taking things with a grain of salt, and she applied this same technique when she learned she would become a mom for the first time.
“Some people love to terrify mothers with their delivery stories or lack of sleep stories, but no one shares your exact situation or child so they really shouldn’t preach to you on how parenting should be done,” she says. “It is frustrating how a lot of moms love to tell you ‘it won’t last long’ when you are telling them how great your baby is sleeping, eating, smiling, whatever. Moms should be building up those situations and celebrating them instead of trying to convince each other something not so good is around the corner.”
Sarah, who owns Ann Potter Baking, which specializes in custom sugar cookies and baked goods, and her husband Brady, a chiropractor, live in west Little Rock with their 5-month-old daughter Samantha, golden retrievers Lily and Zoe, and Oliver the rescue cat. She credits Brady with keeping her on an even keel while pregnant and in the first stages of motherhood.
“He gets the husband of the year award for sure!” Sarah says. “He has been so patient with me as I’ve figured out this new mom gig, and he takes over when needed. He can always tell when I need a ‘me moment’ and is the first to tell me to leave so I can just wander around Target or meet friends for dinner or go workout. Samantha is seriously the most laid-back baby ever, and that also has helped with my new role as a mom.”
Personality aside, Samantha is a relaxed baby because, as Sarah describes, she was not forced to a schedule the first six weeks of her life. “We allowed her to mold her own schedule. She has been sleeping through the night consistently since she was 7 weeks old—with a few nights here or there where she didn’t sleep all the way through,” she says. “I would like to attribute that to our amazing parenting skills but I honestly think that each child has their own little personality and there is little you can control with things like that.”
Sarah also credits her work flexibility with helping her family adjust to its new addition. “I really feel that kiddos can tell when you are stressed out, and they then react the same way,” she says. “Some days, it is hard to balance being a full-time, stay-at-home mom and business owner, but I have always felt I am much more efficient when my plate is full—and it is ever full these days. Now, I am super-efficient with work because I get my best work done while
Samantha is napping. The question, though, is do I get two-and-half hours of uninterrupted work or one? It is a constant race against the clock to fit in the work, but when she’s up and around, I make sure my focus is on her. I don’t ever want to look back and think I should have been more present.”
While Sarah had a fairly good idea of what to expect as a new mom, she was not prepared for just how different her life would be after Samantha’s arrival. “She is such a source of joy!” she says. “She has made me so much more patient—with myself, with others. It is impossible to rush in and out of anywhere with a baby, and you can’t rush a baby to eat or go to sleep. That has given me a completely new perspective. The things that used to worry me don’t as much anymore because my job is to care for a tiny human. It’s hard to explain how immediate these feelings and realizations took place in my world after having her, and I’m so glad they did. When we decided it was the right time to start a family, we were ready to focus on more than just us. I really believe she has made me a happier and more joyful individual—how can you
not be absolutely overwhelmed with happiness when watching a young baby laugh at her dad’s funny faces?”
When asked what advice she would give expecting or new parents, Sarah is quick to dismiss the allure of Pinterest. “Don’t fall for all those boards,” she says. “No rulebooks or pre-existing babysitting experiences are necessary to be a good parent. Nod graciously when advice is given, but know to trust your instincts on what you feel is right for your baby and family. I know Sam possesses a go-with-the-flow personality, but I also like to think that Brady and
I being laid back with her have helped that vibe flourish.”