Do you know Angela Santomero? You might not. But I bet you know her work, especially if you’re a parent. Blues Clues? Super Why? Peep and the Big Wide World? Angela created these characters and more. It has been years since my children enjoyed those TV shows, but I’ll always feel a fondness for them. In a very real way they accompanied my early years as a mother. In addition to being the producer responsible for such great television hits, Angela is also the mother of two daughters. She lives with them and her husband in Connecticut.
I was hugely honored when Angela agreed to participate in How She Does It (thank you to Samantha Ettus for putting us in touch.) You can learn more about Angela, her work, and her thoughts on parenting at her website, Angela’s Clues.
Tell me about the first hour of your day? (I often describe mine as being “fired out of a cannon”)
My husband does the heavy lifting in the morning. We get up and get our two girls out the door for school and then I get ready for work. I had started meditating for 10 minutes in the morning and have my “morning pages” journal by Julia Cameron on the side of my bed. But alas, as school started I have yet to do those things!
Do you have a work uniform that you rely on for getting dressed? What is it?
For the Fall it’s usually a dress and tall boots!
How do you and your spouse reserve conflicts about scheduling?
The same way everyone does — we debate. But we debate Italian style!
Do you second-guess yourself? What do you do when that happens?
I have to remember to always trust my gut. My best decisions are the ones that I make from my intuition. I’ve always said that I studied and read every book about child development and then just “threw them away” and started writing from my gut. The truth is I need to be prepared and then to write from my passion.
What time do you go to bed?
Do you exercise? If so, when?
I love yoga. I tend to go to more classes on the weekends than during the week.
Do you cook dinner for your kids? Do you have go-to dishes you can recommend?
We make a mean veggie stir fry! Varying the veggies and protein and sauce changes it up!
Do you have any sense of how your children feel about your working?
I know they feel proud. They have been to some of my talks where I get to thank them. And they love to see the entire production process and help out in it. My girls are 14 and 12 now so they have helped to give notes on scripts, storyboards, animation, and have even lent their voices for voice overs! They love seeing a bit of themselves on screen! I also know it’s hard when I travel or work late. FaceTime has been a godsend– I’ve been face timed out of meetings to check on next day outfits or haircuts or to hear the latest news in their lives.
What is the single piece of advice you would give another working mother?
Make your own rules with regard to your own kids and how you parent. Don’t follow anyone elses. And the best advice I was ever given was “you are the best parent when you don’t care what others think.” Also, as a working mom, the ability to be flexible is key for me so I can be at as many things as possible.
And, inspired by Vanity Fair, a few quick glimpses into your life:
Favorite artist? Greg Santomero, my husband and Traci Paige Johnson, co creator of Blue’s Clues
Favorite jeans? AG
Shampoo you use? Kerastase and switch off with Peter Thomas Roth
Favorite book? The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron.
Favorite quote? “Play is the work of childhood.” – Piaget
“Education is a dress rehearsal for life that is yours to lead.” – Nora Ephron
Favorite musician? Listening to a lot of Taylor Swift these days!
Favorite item (toy, clothing, or other) for your children?
My 12 year old: her sewing machine
My 14 year old: her collection of Broadway playbills.