NBC's Today Show Producers Share Advice For New Moms

   By drodriguez  Jun 26, 2009

It’s always nice to hear that you’re not alone.  Two producers of the Today show, Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo share their personal stories and advice about being first time moms in a new book called Today's Moms.  They have also included hilarious anecdotes and wise words from colleagues like Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Meredith Vieira, Ann Curry and more. 

Recently SheSpeaks had the opportunity to get the inside scoop on the new book when we spoke with the writers of Today’s Moms, Mary Ann Zoellner and Alicia Ybarbo.

SS: What inspired you to write a book like Today’s Moms and what made you decide to solicit opinions and anecdotes from your friends and colleagues from the Today show?

MA: We feel so blessed to work with so many talented people who all have the same thing in common--Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira, Al Roker and Ann curry all have children. So there was no question in our minds that we wanted to include them!

AY: When I was pregnant with my first child there were very few (colleagues) who had babies.  Now, six years later there are dozens of us who are on our second and third children. With the mini baby boom going on in our office we found ourselves sharing everything - from stories to secrets to swapping baby and maternity clothes.  We wanted all women out there to have the same kind of support group that we did. 

SS: What were some of the greatest joys you experienced as a first-time mom? Additionally, what were some of the unexpected challenges along the way?

MA: The greatest joy for me was definitely seeing my husband be such a great dad.  I always thought he would be but to see him actually with our little infant daughter took my breath away.  The challenging part for me was my post-partum.  I definitely wasn’t expecting it and it was not a pleasant thing, to put it mildly!

AY:  I had a very hard time breastfeeding.  It was the biggest hurdle for me.  It was painful, it was frustrating and it wasn’t getting easier... That is, not until a house call was paid by a lactation consultant.  She reintroduced me to the various feeding holds, helped me get the baby to latch on properly and shared tips on getting my breasts to heal quicker (catching 30 minutes of sun on my patio - with my top off!!!!)  Bottom line, get a number of a great lactation consultant BEFORE you head to the hospital to deliver the baby.  Hopefully you won’t need to use the contact, but it will eliminate the stress of having to find one down the line.   

SS: Did you find it hard to juggle your time between a busy career and child rearing? Any tips for our readers on how to find a good balance?

MA: Yes it is hard, and that is one thing we stress in the book. There is never going to be the "perfect" balance but know there will be some days that work is a priority and other times that family wins--so just keep that in mind. I’ll give you a good analogy that Jean Chatzky gave us about getting babies to eat their vegetables-- it is not what your kids eat in a given day--it is what they take in over the week.  I think the same formula could apply to parenting!

AY:  The work/life balance is not always equal.  One day work will take priority, the other day your child will.  It’s okay either way.  Perfection is not the end result.  Our colleague Rachel Burstein received the greatest advice from her mom when she was having a particularly bad day.  Her mom said, "The best thing about being a mom is you get the chance to do it over again the next day."

SS: There is a good deal of humor in Today’s Moms. We all know how important it is to have a good sense of humor when raising children. As a successful working mom, dealing with everyday stress and pressure, how do you keep it light?

MA: We laugh a lot and if we’ve learned anything from our jobs it is not to take ourselves or the moment too seriously.  My favorite expression when things aren’t going well is "this too shall pass."

AY:  It also helps to have a husband who can laugh about it as well... and after the kids are put in bed, wine sometimes helps me laugh more, too!  haha.

SS: What is the overall message that you would want your audience to walk away with after reading Today’s Moms?

MA: I must buy this book! It will save my sanity and my life!

AY: We’ve gotten so much feedback from other moms about how comforting and casual the tone of the book is.  We want the new moms to know that they have a friend in this book.  There is someone’s story in the book, from one of the on-air talents, to the contributors, to our colleagues who has probably gone through exactly what they’re experiencing.  

Does Today’s Moms sound like a book that you or a friend would want to read?

Do you have any anecdotes you would like to share here about being a first time mom?



Make a Comment

joya08 by joya08 | MUNDELEIN, IL
Oct 15, 2010

exxpecting my 4th child this december and would love to know how to balance evrything in my life.

AlexLogan by AlexLogan | Taylor, MI
Jan 27, 2010

What i notice is that no one talks about the crazy stuff about being a first time mom or how super hard it will be all the nervesness and or the bad things that make you wanna pull you hair out im expecting my first child im 19 scared and happy and my husband is the same but i believe its differnt for people who get married then have kids thats what me and my husband did then single moms and i truly sont believe you should work and have day care or someone else take care of the child you made but thats my opion and also i would never read this book!!! they want you to find a friend in it please really that was just silly

BadgerBride by BadgerBride | Champaign , IL
Dec 22, 2009

Sounds like a great book. I think I might get it for a couple of my friends who are expecting. We are a few years out from having kids but I already think a lot about if I want to work or not after I have them.

momagarry by momagarry | MILWAUKEE, WI
Oct 10, 2009

I am expecting a baby girl in December 2009 I need this book:)

carbernet by carbernet | Swartz Creek, MI
Sep 09, 2009

Motherhood is a gift and and women need to be ready for what is the most important job of our lifes...

tiggrsmom by tiggrsmom | Bucksport, ME
Aug 16, 2009

I wish they had written this 20 years ago when I had my first child! It would have come in very handy, I'm sure.

createabalance by createabalance | Evanston, IL
Jul 08, 2009

I encourage all new moms to be sure to find time to take care of yourself and to carve out time to spend alone w/ your husband.

noreincali by noreincali | Chesapeake, VA
Jul 07, 2009

As someone who is planning to start a family very soon, I would love to read this book! I am already struggling with the thought of potentially balancing work and family and could use some words of wisdom from someone who has already recently experienced this internal battle.

EwenWifey by EwenWifey | TAMPA, FL
Jul 01, 2009

Being a first time mom & going back to work is a very hard and personal decision. When I had my first I went back to work fairly quickly. It was a good stress reliever believe it or not. To be able to get away from being mom and just be an adult with adult conversations. However with my second my husband & I decided for me to stay home. There are days when I miss bringing home that check, but I wouldn't give up my time with my kids willingly this go round. So, as I said before, its all a matter of personal preference. Enjoy it either way! Make the most of it!

JoyHappy by JoyHappy | Redmond, OR
Jul 01, 2009

I am tring to get pregant right now, only been tring for about two months but at least im tring. I can decide if i want to work at all, i love working. I am an accountant and i love everyday i work. I technically dont have to work but i think i want to, one way or another. Its just so hard to think about what it will be like after i have the baby since it will be my first baby.

mommy2be by mommy2be | Smyrna, DE
Jun 29, 2009

I am expecting in a few months and don't know how I am going to come back to work after the baby is born. I would love to read this!

Normamay by Normamay | Miramar, FL
Jun 27, 2009

I think I will buy this for a friend of mine who just had twins. After having my first of three I always welcomed advice and stories from other parents who had been through the same thing. It's also great to mix in some humor...otherwise we'd never get through those first years LOL!

cvarano by cvarano | BROOKLYN, NY
Jun 27, 2009

For sure, I would love to hear some tips on how to juggle a career and motherhood! We're trying right now to have our first and am overwhelmed just thinking about how I'm going to manage both. I do want to try though.