July 2010


Dana Wood has been a magazine journalist for 20 years, including stints at Cookie Magazine and W. She was also Assistant VP of strategic development for the luxury products division of L’Oreal USA. She wrote the Momover blog when she was 43 and pregnant with her first child. The book Momover: The New Mom’s Guide to Getting Back Together evolved from there. (Interview by Annmarie Ottman)

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  1. 1. What inspired you to write Momover?

    Momover, the book, sprang from Momover the online column, which I launched in 2006 while I was the health and beauty director of the now-defunct Cookie magazine. I had just had my daughter, and the column was really just an excuse to get back out there and try a bunch of post-baby beautifiers. So I had electro-shock therapy treatments on my “kangaroo pouch”, salon deep-conditioning treatments to help my hair look a little better until it grew back in, tried seaweed appetite suppressants and tracked my steps from with one of those clip-on pedometer thing-a-ma-jigs. But while the column was superficial and mostly humorous, the book is the real deal. It’s still funny, but it’s also wall-to-wall girl power. There was so much more I wanted to say, and so much more I wanted to learn about recovering my sense of self — and my confidence — after having a baby. I wanted to package a ton of crucial mind, body and spirit info into one book.

  2. 2. What would you tell a new mom who is discouraged by her image in the mirror?

    Baby steps! Don’t “go global” and start picking yourself apart from top to bottom. It is IMPERATIVE that we speak to ourselves in a loving manner. But at the same time, self-discipline and hard work are the tickets to regaining our health, energy, beauty – you name it - post-delivery. New moms need a game plan that’s broken down in small, easily do-able steps. As in, “Today, I’m going to work out for 15 minutes with that new post-natal fitness DVD I just nabbed from Amazon, and I’m going to make sure I have five servings of fruits and vegetables and four glasses of water.” Also: Write it down. Motivation builds on itself. The better you do, the better you want to do.

  3. 3. What is the best and worst advice you ever received as a new mom?

    Best: To nap when the baby is napping. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so it was hard for me to resist the urge to do household chores and laundry when my Diapered Darling conked-out. But I’m glad I did. The chores can wait! Worst: To avoid the epidural at all cost. But that’s my fault for attending a natural childbirth prep class. Delivering without pain meds is undoubtedly a beautiful experience for some moms, and I really tried to hold off for as long as possible. But 18 hours into labor, I just couldn’t take it anymore. And I felt needlessly guilty, which I’m not thrilled with myself about.

  4. 4. If a new mom has only 10 minutes to spare on primping, what would you recommend?

    First, I would definitely suggest evening out your complexion with concealer and or a little foundation – that’s the quickest way to look really pulled-together. So after moisturizing with an SPF lotion, cover up any pesky redness around the nose, undereye circles, etc. (FYI, I prefer a stick foundation, specifically Bobbi Brown, because the coverage is amazing and it stays put. But I don’t use it all over – just where I really need it.) Then, depending on your complexion, you may want to dust on a little bronzing powder and blush. (I typically use both, but generally opt for a crème blush.) Next, liven up your eyes a bit with liner and mascara. Curling your lashes always makes you look peppier, too, so don’t skip that step. Last but not least on the makeup front: A swipe of gloss or lipstick. In all, that shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Your natural texture and the weather are the key variables as to how you’ll style your hair quickly. I’m a major fan of longer hair for new mothers — the opposite of the standard, cliché “mom chop” — because I think it’s easy. When you’re in a rush, just pull it back in a high pony or a bun, and you’re out the door. But if you want to put a little extra effort into your hair, I would recommend a few things when you’re short on time: Dab or spray dry shampoo on your roots (TRESemme has a new one that’s getting good buzz and is very affordable) rather than starting from scratch with the full lather, rinse, repeat routine. And use styling tools, such as a blowdryer or straightening iron, only on the front of your hair. Trust me, no one is scrutinizing you that closely from behind! Finally, regarding fashion: Try to mentally plan your outfit while you’re taking a shower. Or at least the core building block, such as a particular skirt or top you want to wear. And consider stocking up on dresses - those are real time-savers.

  5. 5. What is your best beauty secret?

    Without question, deep, restful sleep is my number one beauty secret. It’s the key to both physical and mental wellbeing, so I’m constantly yammering about it. (I even devoted an entire chapter in my book to this topic.) In my opinion, if you’re not rested, you’ll appear stressed. And stressed is most definitely not a good look!

  6. 6. You recently left your “day job” as a fashion editor at W magazine. What will you miss most?

    I was surrounded by a group of smart, super-funny people, so I’ll miss all the daily office chatter. And this will sound like the ultimate cliche, but I’ll also miss the shows. There’s something magical about watching great clothes trot down the runway accompanied by kick-ass soundtracks!

  7. 7. Which celebrity mom do you admire most?

    I think it’s probably a toss-up between Jennifer Garner and Jada Pinkett Smith. Jennifer because she just seems so real and genuinely self-confident - whenever I see paparazzi pics of her with her kids, they just look relaxed and not like they’re trying waaaaay too hard to be decked-out to the nines in perfect outfits. As for Jada, she’s got some powerfully talented children, so there’s evidence of a real work ethic there, which I greatly admire.

  8. 8. What advice would you give a woman (mom or not) who wants to look fabulous but has limited financial resources?

    A lot of what it takes to look truly great costs very little: Sleep, exercise, fruits and vegies! Those are the building blocks of beauty, so my advice is to invest time, not money. Arrange your schedule and your life so that you’re making time to work out, to eat well and to hit the hay early. Regarding what I call the “bells and whistles,” we all need to prioritize our beauty and fashion budgets. I don’t like having roots, so I have a standing monthly hair color appointment. But I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I’m all about basics in solid colors, which I gussy up with good jewellery, handbags and shoes. What’s most important is that your clothes fit really, really well and flatter your particular body. Skip the trends and invest in classic pieces.

  9. 9. What do you do to relax?

    I’m a big reader, and I’m happy to report that I’ve been plowing through stacks of books lately. I meditate. I go for walks in my ‘hood because we live right on a massive river. In the winter, I’m a big fan of hot baths chock-full of aromatherapy oils. And I snuggle my four-year-old daughter while she tells me hilarious tales about her school day, her play dates, etc. She’s pretty delicious.

  10. 10. Who/what is your favourite ...

    Chick lit author: Candace Bushnell, big-time – I think she’s all that and big bag of chips. She’s funny, talented, great looking – the whole smart-girl package.
    TV show: Does reality television count? Because I’m obsessed with The Real Housewives of New York. Other than that, I’d have to say more Candace Bushnell fare: Sex And the City on DVD, and Lipstick Jungle, which only lasted for what? A season and a half? Too bad! I’m sure these don’t qualify as actual chick lit TV, but I also adore PBS adaptations of girly classics, such as Pride and Prejudice, Middlemarch, etc. Anything involving Colin Firth, basically!
    Movie: Again, these may not fall precisely into the chick lit genre, I swoon heavily over both of Sofia Coppola’s films: Lost In Translation and Marie Antoinette. So, so, so brilliant and gorgeous cinematography.

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