Mary Pflum Peterson is a multi-Emmy-award winning producer for ABC News/ Good Morning America. Assignments have taken her to New Orleans to cover Hurricane Katrina; to Rome to cover the death of Pope John Paul II; to Los Angeles to cover the Oscars; and to London to cover the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton. Her proudest production has nothing to do with TV – it has to do with her three amazing sons: Roman (just-turned-four), Creedence (just-turned-2) and Baby Augie (9 months). Pflum Peterson is married to husband Dean. They reside on the Upper West Side.
BCM – How did your life change when you became a mom?
Mary – How did my life change? Perhaps a simpler question to answer is how *didn’t* my life change?! Virtually everything about my life changed overnight when I had my first son. No more sleeping in. Far fewer nights out on the town. No more being able to get on an airplane without packing stacks of diapers and onesies and a small library of children’s books (does anyone remember how much easier those airport security lines were before you were having to show a TSA agent your breastmilk and before you were having to break down your Bugaboo in 30 seconds?) But while my life became more complicated overnight, it’s also became far more wonderful and fun than I’d ever dreamed possible. I think when I became a mom I really felt much more complete – and much more appreciative of so many little wonderful things. My sons always remind me to stop and smell the flowers – by taking a closer look at the world around me: squirrels in the park, holiday lights on trees, fresh snow.
BCM – What has been your most memorable moment (s) as a mom?
Mary – I think my most memorable moment as a mom came a few months ago. We were on a family road trip to the Midwest (where both my husband and I are from) and were living out of suitcases for a total of ten days. The boys were all so small: ages 3, 21 months, and 3 months. It was insane – and insanely wonderful – juggling the little guys and their needs and wants as well as a packed car and a constantly-changing schedule. My husband took a photo of me on that trip that shows me in all of my Mommy Juggling glory: I was seated at a picnic table, breastfeeding the baby, while simultaneously handing a cup of juice to my 3-year-old with one hand, and handing a toy to entertain the 21-month-old with the other. I laugh when ever I look at the picture. It reminds me of how insanely crazy, demanding AND wonderful motherhood is (all at the same time).
BCM – What has been the biggest challenge for you in motherhood. Any advice for new moms?
Mary – The biggest challenge for me in motherhood has been figuring out how to wear so many hats at once ; how to be a super Mom to three little ones AND a still –competent television journalist and wife. I had to learn to accept that I’m not going to be perfect all the time (translation: I know now that there are going to be days that I show up to work with some spit-up on my suit! J) . My advice to new NYC moms is two-fold: 1) Try to keep everything you need to do within easy walking distance to your home (keeping my pediatrician, my OB, my dentist, my hairdresser, my favorite mani/pedi folks within a few blocks of my apartment has made for a far saner existence as a New York City Mom; I spend less time away from the kids and have more time to spend on the appointments without worrying about scurrying home); and 2) Go easy on yourself! We moms beat ourselves up over – and worry about — EVERYTHING –and it’s so unnecessary. It’s taken me a while to realize our kids don’t care if we’re not perfect. They smother us with sloppy kisses on both our perfect and not-so-perfect days – and probably, truth be told, love us even more when things aren’t so perfect.
BCM – How do you manage your work/life balance?
Mary – Like anything else, it’s a constantly-evolving process! My schedule as a producer for Good Morning America can be a rather hectic one, especially when there’s a big assignment or breaking news. But I’ve been fortunate to be able to still be able to helm the crazy assignments and oversee breakfast time, helping parent days at school, bathtime and bedtimes for my kids. Oftentimes, for the big stories, I need to work overnight and very early morning hours. That can be an advantage in that the kids don’t realize once they’ve been bathed by mommy and safely tucked into bed that mommy is actually back at work burning the midnight oil. When I return from a late night or an early morning shift, they’re often just getting out of bed and ready to hit the ground running. It’s hard on my body – and I wind up losing out on a lot of sleep. But I’d much rather lose out on sleep than lose out on precious time with the family.
BCM – What types of activities do you like to do w/ Roman, Creedence, and Augustine (aka Baby Augie)?
Mary – With Roman, I love to be involved in his activities at school. He attends a co-op preschool, so there are a lot of Helping Parent and Swim Parent days that enable me to roll up my sleeves and kick off the high heels and enjoy all that preschool has to offer: painting, drawing, music class, snack time. Creedence is my little athlete and aspiring artist. We love to do art projects together – and dig into PlayDoh. Baby Augie is our zen baby. He exited the womb smiling and dancing . He and I go to Music Together class on weekends and dance around the house during the week. As a family, we love to take part in all of the wonderful things New York has to offer: bagel runs at H & H on Saturday morning, excursions to Central Park (we love the entire park: the carousel, the playgrounds, the Swedish Puppet Theatre!). During the summer, we spend a lot of time on the Hudson River. We also love to take day trips. A favorite activity is to take the kids on the Staten Island Ferry. It’s free and the kids love it! They get both a subway ride and a boat ride out of the deal, as well as great views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline. What more could you ask for?!
BCM- What has been your favorite Big City Moms event to date?
Mary – I’ve really loved the Biggest Baby Showers. I attended when I was pregnant with both my second and third babies and loved them. I think they’re so well-organized and so much fun!!
I’m totally obsessed with…
Mary – scoring really great designer baby clothes at 70% off at Daffy’s. Who knew Daffy’s would be the place to find gorgeous little seersucker suits and Baby Prada duds?
My biggest influence is…
Mary – my mom. She died very suddenly two months ago. Like most daughters, I think my mom was the greatest mom ever. There’s not a day that goes by now that I don’t think of her. If I can be half the mom to my boys that she was to me, I’ll be thrilled.
My favorite drugstore buy is…
Mary – tights! They’re remarkably reasonable at Duane Reade and CVS. And tights are such a great way to feel comfy and stylish on cold winter days when you’re chasing around little ones.
Products I can’t live without…
Mary – Aquaphor baby wash. And Clorox wipes. Especially at this time of year, when, it seems, everyone is sick, I wipe everything in the house down with them!
My guilty pleasure is…
Mary – SoapNet and People Magazine. We moms are always going a mile a minute, trying to take care of everyone– It’s nice to indulge in some junk tv and some mindless reading when the kids are asleep.
Mary – Little Owl. If you haven’t been, take your significant other and go! It’s wonderfully romantic, has great food, and is located in an adorable neighborhood (the heart of the West Village). Every time my husband and I go, I feel as if we’ve been transported to a quaint little Parisian café.