Meet local Mom of two, Amanda Parrish Morgan – Author and Fairfield University Professor.. She just wrote her first book; Stroller, which is on sale at the University bookstore and many larger national stores!
Where are you originally from and how long have you been in Fairfield?
I grew up in Westport and moved back to Fairfield County in 2008 for a job teaching high school English at Ludlowe. I loved Fairfield very much and when we had kids in 2014 we decided to move to the beach area.
Tell us about your Family!
My husband, Nick, is a high school physics and computer programming teacher. I have two kids, Thea and Simon who are in third grade and kindergarten at Sherman.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you?
People who know how much I like to run sometimes think I like sports in general. This is not true.
One thing you wish someone would have told you about motherhood?
It’s possible to feel completely like the most honest version of yourself with your kids. You don’t have to be a “mom” that requires adopting a new persona.
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Fairfield?
I love being able to walk so many places. I swore I’d never live in the suburbs so after years of living in cities (Chicago, DC, Philadelphia) being able to walk or bike around my neighborhood and to/from school was really important to me. We walk or bike to school, the beach, the library, the bookstore, and although I’m usually running too late to swing it, I have on occasion walked to work at Fairfield University.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
Do whatever you can with your kids with your kids even if it takes longer (grocery store, for example) and save childcare/nap time/sleeping time for stuff you really can’t—work, adult time, a long, hard workout, etc.
Tell us about your business, and when & why you decided to create this business!
I started freelancing a bit while I was still teaching high school English, and when I had my daughter in 2014 I decided to take leave for the rest of the school year and see how freelancing/parenting/tutoring/teaching part-time/coaching (I’d coached HS cross country and track for more than a decade and kept doing that after I stopped teaching fulltime) went. It was a good balance for me, and I had in the back of my mind that if I’d like to feel fully transitioned to writing by the time my youngest (whenever that might be) was in kindergarten. The year Simon was in PreK (five mornings a week) I started teaching part time at Fairfield U and signed my contract to write Stroller, which both felt like measurable, concrete ways to feel like I was a “real” writer.
Tell us about your background:
Before teaching high school English, I worked for the Kerry campaign the summer and fall after college graduation. I worked as a grant writer for an education nonprofit, whose mission I loved but where I realized that a desk job was 100% not for me. Then I went to grad school for literature and writing in Washington DC and started teaching high school, something I’d wanted to do since I was a high school student myself, right after graduation. Even though I stopped teaching full-time after I had kids, I loved my work as a high school teacher so much. My students, especially the ones I met during my first few years, were such an important part of helping me understand the kind of parent I wanted to be.
What is your most memorable moment in this industry?
My book launch felt like a magical, long-dreamed about celebration of my book but also of the people who’ve supported me over the years.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable MOM GUILT handling a career and raising a family?
A good friend of mine, whose kids are about 15 years old then mine, told me that she always felt like she was recalibrating. Adjusting to work more and then to be home more and that it almost never felt “perfect” – this has been really useful to keep in mind.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom that you are today?
My own mom who showed me that being a mom could mean having wonderful adventures with my kids and didn’t necessarily mean giving up what mattered most to me, my high school students who showed me how important it is for adults to meet and accept kids for who and where they are, and my own children who are so fierce in their sense of kindness and right and wrong that they inspire me to hold myself to their standards.
What advice would you share with a new mom or other moms?
Don’t spend time with people—other moms or not—who aren’t honest about motherhood (or other aspects of life). We all pick our battles (variety of food eaten is 100% not mine) and have things that really matter to us as parents. It’s totally fine and healthy to have friends who have different battles and priorities, but I’ve found it really toxic to spend time with other people who are trying to impress one another rather than be vulnerable and real.
We love supporting local businesses – favorite places in Fairfield to…
Have Dinner with Family: Centro — love letting the kids run around on the green while the adults linger over conversation
Grab a Drink with Friends: in a friend’s living room, sitting on the couch
Have a Date Night: We recently got a gift certificate to Don Memo in Westport and I thought it was delicious!
Spend time together as a Family: we usually have dinner with my parents on Sunday night, and it’s my favorite night of the week
Outside Activities: we love to hike in the Aspetuck Land Trust or just hang out in the backyard with a bonfire in the fire pit
Grab coffee: I am a need-coffee-the-second-I-wake-up person so I usually have coffee at home, but I love the pastries at SoNo Baking Company and The Pantry