Magazine article Working Mother

We Are Family

Magazine article Working Mother

We Are Family

Article excerpt

A COLORFUL LIFE

Jenny Taylor, 39, co-owner of CFL Art Services, Brooklyn, NY; mom of Isaac, 9, and Malik, 5

According to Isaac and Malik Ford, each member of their family is a different color: "Malik calls himself golden, and his older brother is tan," says their mom, Jenny. "Daddy is brown, and I'm pink."

It's only when they travel away from their home in Brooklyn, NY, that Jenny Taylor and her multicultural family feel at all conspicuous. "We're something of a curiosity, and the boys are bound to hear some comment." But on their home turf, things are pretty copasetic. "Many of our friends are also part of biracial families, so the circles that the kids play and learn in are comfortable." It's what the boys know, and so far there's little discomfort for them when it comes to the fact that their dad's African American, their mom's European American, and they are a beautiful mix of both.

Jenny co-owns a small art shipping company, which serves as a liaison between galleries and people who buy art. Officially, she works about eight or nine hours a day, but, as she puts it, "I'm on the phone all the time, everywhere. My kids have gotten pretty blasé about it. I sometimes think I'd be a better mother if I worked less, but I don't see myself cutting back anytime soon." Jenny's husband, Niles, 48, is a choreographer; when he's not traveling, he does a lot of the child care.

Not surprisingly, the family is excited about Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. "We think that he and other biracial people represent the future of our nation," says Jenny. Even so, Jenny and Niles know that the boys need to be prepared for racism. Jenny says their school has really helped in offering black history lessons about topics like slavery, as well as programs with the premise that black and white are just colors. "We tell our kids they are a hybrid and the wave of the future. I like to believe that someday, everyone will be such a blend of races that there will be no name-calling based on skin color."

OLDER AND WISER

Christine Paris, 48, management consultant, Pleasant Hill, CA; mom of Michael and Daniel, 11 months

Nothing has challenged Christine Paris's type A personality quite like her infant twin sons, Michael and Daniel. "I like to plan and schedule and finish things, but babies don't always cooperate with this mindset," says the first-time mom and management consultant, who lives in Northern California, with her husband, Don Arnaud, 44, and the babies. "So I just have to chill and deal when one of my sons is napping while the other is screaming because I left the room."

Christine has wanted kids since age 30, and at 40 began trying (unsuccessfully) to become a single mom through both sperm donation and adoption. In 2003, when she was 43, she met her future husband through the Internet site Tickle .com. Within two weeks they knew they wanted to get married. "At that age, you kind of know what you're looking for," she says. Don, who has a 21-year-old daughter from a previous marriage, loved being a dad and wanted more children. The couple wed in 2004 and conceived the twins after two cycles of egg-donor IVF.

Christine looked forward to changing her priorities. "I'd already done most of the things I wanted to do in my life," she explains, having traveled internationally, explored diverse relationships and established a long and successful career. "I'm really ready for this phase of my life." She now works part-time as a contractor for the consulting firm where she used to work full-time so she can devote more time to her sons. A caregiver also helps with the twins.

"Being older has allowed me to accept that I need to scale down what I try to accomplish every day," says Christine. "When you have babies, getting anything done that doesn't have to do with them is a miracle." While she worries a bit about her older-mom status, she's ultimately optimistic: "I hope to live to 100 and be fit and healthy sol can see the twins get married and have kids of their own. …

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