Most mornings she’s up at dawn, brewing coffee and greeting her husband and 18-month-old son, Jack. But at Las Olas, her mornings were a little different.
Meet Tiffany, former NYC special education teacher, surfer, and now-mom. She couldn’t wait to get back on the board, but as she tells it, “kissing my son and walking out the door was the hardest part of the trip. The internal conflict of emotions when considering one’s own children is unreal!”
How does Tiffany balance the forces in her life? Read her story below.
See you in the waves,
PS: Don’t forget, Mother’s Day is May 8th. Do something special for mom.
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I’ve gone through many transitions over the past 18 months, from being a special education teacher in the NYC public school system to a stay at home mom in Southern California. I never planned on leaving New York City, but the universe had different plans. My family moved to Southern California to be closer to my husband’s parents. It’s been difficult to be so far from friends, family, and work colleagues, not to mention the emotional adjustment of feeling so far from my old pre-baby self, motivated working gal, vivacious partner, and carefree travel buddy. I tried booking a trip when my son, Jack, was six months old, but the anxiety and fear I felt forced me to cancel at the last minute. I felt guilt for wanting to leave my son and frustration for not being able to. Was I being selfish? Was I being too overprotective? The internal conflict of emotions when considering one’s own children is unreal!
After Jack turned a year old, my husband urged me to do something for myself. I breastfed Jack for over a year and I felt both accomplished and relieved. As he grew more independent, I could feel myself relax, so I began planning. I follow female surfers on social media and read about Las Olas. After a few emails back and forth with Jackie, she suggested “Mas Olas” since I have some experience surfing. After hearing about Mas Olas and the tailored instruction, I booked and quietly celebrated. I was still nervous to leave the baby, but the excitement was growing.
My husband was able to take the week off to watch the baby while I was as Las Olas, and he did great! They truly bonded, and I didn’t have to worry about feeding anyone but myself for the first time in nearly 18 months! We both feel this experience was amazing for all of us.
Kissing my son goodbye was the most difficult part of the trip. Once at the airport and through security, with a big book and coffee, I felt at ease. My husband was already texting photos of their day and I felt my heart explode with love, gratitude, and excitement. I knew I was ready for the first solo trip I would take without my family.
My biggest hang up about surfing is anxiety in the lineup. The feedback I received from the instructors were spot on. Each tip they suggested worked like magic, and I felt more at ease in the waves. Even now, after paddling out, I hear Amanda’s voice repeating, “Look down the line!” and I immediately look up from the nose of my board, see the wave, the bigger picture, and exhale. It’s a feeling I have never had surfing before; let go of those anxieties. I have eased up on feeling anxious about other things in my life as well, and see that I will be able to get back to my career, traveling with friends, and being a partner –– not just a co-parent –– in time.
Most of my longtime friends do not have children, so I feel like I’m navigating motherhood on my own. Being a first time mom can be overwhelming and isolating at times. Meeting women on this trip like Coriander, Jenn, and Jenny was a total game changer. These women have multiple children AND are taking time for themselves, traveling the world, meeting new people, and having a life outside of motherhood. They successfully balance work, family, and relationships all while challenging themselves and nurturing their friendships. I have often read about women mastering this, but seeing it for myself meant a lot to me. I was in awe of them the entire trip, and I was able to see that there is life after baby!
Although I originally booked this as a surf trip to improve my surfing and meet like-minded women, I had no idea I would be so inspired by and feel so much love for the women around me. I don’t know if we lucked out, but we truly had THE best group of women. Our group was a mix of women in all stages of life and I felt we celebrated our accomplishments in and out of the water. AWE-some experience, hands down! (I bet everyone says that!)
- Tiffany, teacher, surfer, and mom
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Thanks to photographer Camilla Fuchs for capturing this special moment and special thanks to Tiffany’s husband Parag for his support! Swimsuit by Seea.
Bev Sanders is founder and president of Las Olas Surf Safaris for Women and editor-in-chief of Jennifer’s Journey, the online travel portal for women adventurers. She started surfing at 44 continuing her lifelong pursuit of introducing women to sports. You’ll find her and husband Chris on the beach in Mexico throughout the surf season.