All In The Family
"A happy family is but an earlier heaven." George Bernard Shaw...
I'm the oldest - chronologically, at least - of four girls, all born within 6 years of one another. Although my poor father wanted nothing more than a son to sit by his side in the stands at all 82 Yankee home games, he was in fact blessed with three beautiful, strong, athletic "tom boys" - and me. All four of us played every sport on offer growing up. My sisters won the medals; I wore them with a nice blouse. That is, on the rare occasion when I prevailed in our daily wars over stolen blouses, sweaters, earrings and time on the single, beige, rotary, landline, pre-call waiting telephone (its cord stretched to the limit under the door of the closet, a haven of privacy (but for that incessant pounding!)).
We were a feisty crew, to be sure. Lots of high drama and abundant hormones. Still have the scars. But when it came to the important things in life, we always had each other's back and, if I do say so myself, were a force to be reckoned with. Despite the constant quarreling, when it was us against the world, as a family - as sisters - we shared an unbreakable bond.
It's a bond that's not unique to my family, as exemplified by a family of morphmoms I recently had the privilege to interview. If you pay any attention at all to haute couture, you know that Kara Ross is an incredibly successful high-end luxury jewelry designer. More importantly, she is an amazing mother, sister, person and friend. She is one of five children who form part of a tight-knit extended family that, not unlike my own clan growing up, always has each other's back. In fact, when I interviewed Kara a few months ago, notwithstanding all her many accomplishments, what she wanted to talk about first was not herself, but the morphmom she admired most:her sister-in-law, Sharon.
In her first professional incarnation, Sharon was an interior decorator. But as this newfangled thing they called the "Internet" started to take off in the mid-1990s, she shifted gears and became one of the pioneers in the field of website design. Back then, there was no template for what she was doing and, as a result, no barriers to what she could achieve. What she didn't know going in, she taught herself. And pretty soon, she was working with the "Gadget Guru" from the Today Show. As word spread, she began to amass other clients and, almost overnight, had morphed into a full-fledged freelance web designer.
Fast forward to 2003. Sharon, now a New Yorker, meets her future husband. As it happens, his sister, Kara, is on the verge of introducing her private jewelry business to the world and needs a helping hand. Among other things, she needs - you guessed it - a website designer. Sharon, once again at the right place at the right time, jumps in and helps Kara launch her first website. (For anyone who's ever launched a website, you know how critical a good website designer truly is!)
A few years further down the road, and Kara's jewelry business is downright exploding. Once again, she's in need of help. Once again, she looks to Sharon to save the day. Ad campaigns. Graphic design. E-commerce. Social media. Welcome to the 21st century! Only problem is, while Sharon's kept a toe in the water with Kara's business, in the meantime, she has married, started a family and moved out of the city. As excited as she is to embark on this latest journey with her sister-in-arms, Sharon still has young kids at home and a life that is now - literally and figuratively - far, far away.
Problem, you say? What problem? Without a moment's hesitation Kara - a mother of four herself (not to mention beloved aunt of Sharon's little ones) -formulates a full-on, 21st century, morphmom-friendly job description: Director of Marketing for a high-flying fashion industry phenom, one day a week in the office - and the rest from home.
Kara and Sharon's story is an object lesson in what happens when we combine the bonds of sisterhood and morphmomdom. And as Kara and Sharon prove, to be sisters, we don't have to be blood relations. A potent mix, indeed. An alloy stronger than the sum of its parts. They are an example to us all of how to make it work. And if we can all just follow this model, to paraphrase one of my heroes (Dr Suess), "Oh the Places we'll go"!
Sometimes, it takes a mom who's walked a mile in those shoes to be flexible enough - visionary enough - to accommodate another mophmom's needs and to recognize that doing so may actually be the only way to get access to the best of the best. If only moms at major corporations, not just morphmom-owned businesses, could bring the same outside-the-box approach to bear. Or can they? Stay tuned ....
Please enjoy both Sharon's complete morphmom interview "Dir. Marketing / E-commerce Kara Ross" , and Kara's video "Jewelry Designer" athttp://morphmom.com/Videos.htm
Photo credits to http://www.lisaberkery.com
Follow Kathleen Smith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/morphmom1