Honoring My Daughter This Mother's Day - Ellen Dolgen

Honoring My Daughter This Mother’s Day

Sarah Chairing Operation Smile event in NYC

This Mother’s Day, I want to honor my daughter.

On August 8, 2014, Sarah became a mother to Aviva or as she is now calling herself, “V”! I became Grandma EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Never in my wildest dreams did I understand the explosion of love and joy that watching Sarah mother Aviva would bring to my life.

Today’s parents do have the Internet and even apps to help them prepare for and cope with the responsibilities of parenthood. But no website or app can teach you how to love your child. That simply comes from within. The flood of love and tenderness that is unleashed with the birth of a baby is beautiful to watch.

Sarah is a SAHM.  This was a new term to me.  It stands for, Stay at Home Mom. It is a choice and one that was discussed in great detail together with her husband, Sol.

I too chose to be a SAHM. In 1980 smack in the middle of the women’s movement, I chose to resign from my job as Deputy Treasurer of the Carter Re-Election Campaign. David and I chose to leave a very successful life in politics in Washington, DC. and move to Tucson, Arizona where my family lived.  I had no idea that in doing so, I had “betrayed” the women’s movement. Women were furious with me. I had successfully achieved a very high-level job in a man’s world – how could I give up my career to stay home with my first born?  Apparently, it was a cardinal sin! Who knew???

My definition of the women’s movement can really be summed up in two words; freedom and equality. I want to be free to choose the best course of action for me and I want to have the same human rights as my male counterparts. I never allow myself to be confined by any pre or existing notions of restrictions that society may have placed on women.  I unbuckled those shackles as a young girl in college. I decide what is best for me. This is how I chose to live my life.

Sarah had quite the career. She always marched to her own drummer. Not a follower, but more of a trailblazer. While attending a performing arts high school, Sarah decided she wanted to model. As a young girl, she would design clothes. She had a seasonal collection which was tacked proudly on our kitchen walls. This love for fashion along with her love for dance morphed into her desire to model.  She was signed by the Ford Agency in Scottsdale and then quite quickly was signed by Elite Modeling in NYC and abroad, leaving a conventional high school setting in her junior year to model in NYC and Europe.  Living with family friends of friends of ours, she learned French and traveled Europe all while finishing her junior and senior year in one year!

It seems hard to remember a time when everyone didn’t have access to a portable phone, but twenty years ago, they were few and far between. I insisted that Elite provide me with a cell phone number so that I could check on Sarah when she was on a location shoot outside of Paris.  When I called, invariably, she would be found studying between photo shoots.  The modeling agency always seemed puzzled by her commitment to her studies.

Sarah moved back to New York to go to NYU. She started working for Saturday Night Live while waiting for the college year to begin.  She continued her job at SNL when her classes at NYU began. I marveled at how she balanced work and a full load at school.

After school, she did some work for a very well established PR/Event production company, while also donating her time for NYC charity work. I remember proudly flying into NYC to attend an Operation Smile Event that she chaired at the Whitney Museum.

Then moving back to the southwest, Sarah was instrumental in helping me kick off the PR for my first book.  That first book was a family affair.

Push forward, eventually, Sarah decided she wanted to be a licensed endermologist and open her own studio, BodySculpt by Sarah, where she did treatments.Then…………………. she met Dr. Sol Shaftel!

They fell in love and she moved to Seattle where Sol began his two-year fellowship. Apparently my thighs, arms, and cellulite took second fiddle to this love affair. I miss my BodySculpt by Sarah treatments!!!!

Knowing that she was only going to be in Seattle for 2 years, Sarah did not feel it was a good business decision to start a new business, but rather, she did treatments out of their rental home.

Aviva was conceived in Seattle!  Contrary to popular belief, not everyone is sleeping in Seattle.

Apparently, blogging is in the genes! During her pregnancy, Sarah created, SmilesCurlsandBaby where she shares tips on pregnancy, recovering from a C-section, healthy eating tips for Mom and baby, the real life of a SAHM (stay at home Mom), and much more all delivered with as she puts it, “No BS”.

I marvel at the no-holds-barred words in her blogs! She delivers every time!

Sarah has always followed her heart looking for the joy and happiness in each day.  She loves being a SAHM. She works 24/7 at this wonderful job. As Sarah said in one of her blogs, “We must rise above what we’ve been programmed to be or what society tells us we should care about and just care about happiness.”

I believe that Sarah will pass down these wise words to Aviva and watch her daughter create her very own best life. I look forward to watching the baton being passed from one generation to another and hope that with each generation freedom to follow your own heart endures.


37 thoughts on “Honoring My Daughter This Mother’s Day”

  1. What a lovely way to acknowledge the Day! It’s a twist on how we usually look at the holiday and I can only imagine how much your daughter loves and appreciates this. And you.

  2. You really nailed it on the head of what the definition of the women’s movement should be. It’s all about choices. I was also a SAHM who did freelance jobs on the side and I don’t regret it either. You do what you feel in your gut is right for you. Congrats on becoming a Grandmother.

  3. Cheryl Nicholl

    Two things: 1) the ‘women’ of the ‘Woman’s Movement’ of our youth really weren’t very flexible and 2) Brava to your daughter! I’m sure having you as her role model didn’t hurt.

    1. Actually Cheryl, you are right……the Woman’s Movement was not very flexible. I am happy that Sarah is following her heart! I know she will pass this on to Aviva!

      1. Cheryl Nicholl

        Ya know it takes a few ‘trys’ to get anything right. I think we’re at that point now. Except- I didn’t like the ‘shaming’ that’s been put forth from women in regards to voting for Hillary. Shame on them. But that’s another subject… (see you got me going. HA!)

  4. Helene Bludman

    I love learning more about your amazing daughter. You know, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

  5. What a lovely tribute to your daughter. I agree with both you and Cheryl there was absolutely no flexibility at all. Your daughter sounds like a lovely woman just like her mother!

  6. It is so wonderful that Sarah doesn’t just march to the beat of a different drummer, she picks up the drumsticks and drums not just for herself but for others to follow her! I am so honored to know both you and your spectacular daughter and so grateful to share in your joy! Thanks to you both!

  7. I am Ellen’s husband David.
    I have had a front row seat to watching Ellen throughout our 40 years together, helping to break the glass ceiling for women in politics, philanthropy and business, and then changing field directions, and once again, choosing to do something unconventional in being a SAHM. The results speak for themselves. We have incredible children who were taught how to allow kindness and goodness in their lives, and to express all that they have within themselves and their capacities. The discussion of Jack is for another day, as the subject of today’s Menopause Monday’s is about mother’s day and honoring Sarah.
    Many of you have mentioned the apple and tree saying. True…their is a lot of DNA action going on in regard to the similarities between Sarah and Ellen (a compliment to them both). But Sarah is beyond all that, a most unique and special person, life force and mother on her own right. There is this unleashed and unbounded love of being a mother and a nurturer that she has. It is indeed fortunate for her that she and Sol have (with great sacrifice….but also great joy), been able to allow Sarah to be a SAHM. Neither Sarah nor Ellen accept other’s projected definitions of themselves. They walk to the sounds of a different drummer and to their own beat….their heart beats. They move and do what their hearts tell them to do. We see the results in little Aviva. She is a love blossom, watered, fed, taught and cared for by her beautiful and unique mother. It has been a joy to watch the ripples wash over the sands of our lives as the waves Ellen made years ago, have created splendid human beings and in turn, Sarah has created her own waves and is helping to shape this beautiful grandchild of ours. Keep it up Sarah, you are doing the best work anyone can find. POPOP

  8. Estelle Sobel Erasmus

    I love the story of Sarah’s journey, and congrats to both of you on little Aviva!

  9. Congratulations to you all! My daughter became a mum 2 years ago and I fell in love with a new little man! I love that our daughters have the choice these days of doing what feels right for them. My daughter has gone back to her career but she is just as caring and loving as a SAHM and it was just the right choice for her. Enjoy this wonderful time with your darling daughter and delightful ‘V’ x

  10. Exactly Ellen! My son-in-law is very hands on and even took 6 months off to bond with his son when my daughter returned to work after maternity leave. It works for them and that is what matters. Have a beautiful day 🙂

  11. CathyLynchLawdanski

    What a lovely tribute to your daughter. I was a SAHM, as is my daughter. I agree – women have the right to make decisions that are best for them and their families.

  12. what a wonderful tribute to your daughter – My daughter-in-law just had our first grandbaby – a little girl, last week and now I get to experience the joys of being a Nana – I just wish they lived a bit closer to home.

    1. Welcome to the club! It is so WONDERFUL being a Grandma! I know it is hard to be far away. Sarah, Sol and Aviva lived in Seattle the first year of her life while Sol finished his fellowship in eye plastic surgery. We found ourselves on a plane often! These grandbabies are addictive!

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