when i walked into the brosnan home, dee was mixing up a hazelnut pastry cream, melting chocolate for a ganache and flipping dozens of crepes… all while her newest addition (little rosie, 3 months) rested contently on her chest. up in new york city, i’m always hearing snippets here and there about dee and her three girls (rosie, francis and thea clare). i had come to consider her a sort of super-mom… and this birthday cake/baby multi-tasking episode was clear evidence of it. being the oldest of three girls myself, we talked a lot about girls… how to instill confidence in them, how to best navigate the tricky adolescent years, how to cultivate a deep mother/daughter bond. being in her home just a couple of hours, though, i know she has nothing to worry about. her growing family has deep, strong roots. her girls are kind, sweet and thoughtful. it really is an honor to share her story on this mother’s day.
you’re running out the door, what do you grab for yourself?
my chapstick. it’s the thing that i’m always conscious of. if i’m out and i don’t have it, i’ll likely pull over for one. i have 30 of them. it’s burt’s beeswax, by the way.
what’s your beauty go-to?
wait, a special thing or like brushing my teeth? because most days that’s considered a luxury. [laughs] well this is new… i’ve never worn lipstick. but in this last pregnancy i wasn’t feeling it… wasn’t feeling pretty at all. i bought a lipstick for a wedding and then one random day, at nine o’clock in the morning, i put it on. and i loved it. it’s called tiger. it made me feel like i’d tried.
what’s on your to do list that you never get done?
thank you notes. sewing projects. i used to sew and i never do anymore. it’s the kind of you have to commit to… you can’t just pull it out for 10 minutes.
what do you love about raising your girls in austin?
everywhere they go, they know someone. we never go to the grocery store without running into someone. i love the diversity of their experiences. they go to school with a really diverse group: musicians kids, kids just learning to speak english. they come home from school wanting me to put black girl braids in their hair.
describe a typical lazy saturday.
it always includes tim going on a run at 6am. that’s how we start our “lazy” saturdays. and then he’ll make pancakes. on weekends the girls are allowed to take food/drinks and sit in front of the tv to watch cartoons (usually they have to sit at the table). tim and i will sit and drink our coffee. at this stage, they play pretend a lot. so they’ll go play school in their clubhouse. at some point, we’ll work in the garden.
do you have any family traditions?
there’s a birthday banner we pull out on every birthday. and we do birthday pancakes. we have a lot of
christmas traditions. and on saint patrick’s day we have “brendan mcfiggen’s,” a leprechaun, who pees in our milk and makes it green. and we have family friday nights together. we’ll order pizza and watch movies. [“and don’t forget group showers on tuesdays!” laughs tim.]
…and what about santa?
we don’t do santa claus. we just never told the girls that he was real. but we did have to have a talk this year, so they wouldn’t tell other kids. looking back, though, i don’t know if we made the right decision. it’s really good for kids’ imaginations and their creativity. hopefully we provide them enough other opportunities for them to have that. i didn’t have a problem lying to them, it was more about the focus of it all.
what’s your favorite part of the day?
i really like after naps. because they’re both super snuggly. they’re the snuggliest they are all day. francie wakes up in the morning at 7:30… i really like that time, too. because it’s one of the only times it’s just me and her.
having three girls, what are you most excited about?
the thing that excites me most, is imagining them when they’re grown, college-aged women. i’m always thinking about this. i have this scenario in my head of visiting where they live and me taking them out, us drinking wine together.
and what’s the one thing you’re terrified of?
besides the obvious hormones all striking at the same time… i’m terrified of their first heartbreak. i’m also scared of competition between them.
what other life moments are you excited for?
i’m really excited about the “rights of passage.” we do “date nights” where we’ll take them to do something one-on-one. at christmas, i’ll take one of them out for a fancy date. we’ll go downtown and look at the lights. i tried to get francie to ride in a horse-drawn carriage. all she ever talked about was seeing a horse. i
made a reservation, we got there and she would not go anywhere near it.
what do you do differently with rosie that you didn’t with your older girls?
i was telling our midwife today, the addition of rosie is a lot easier than the addition of francis. i have perspective to know that, if something is hard, if she’s up crying all night, i’m not thinking, “ahh, this is how my life is from here on out!” the things i worried about with thea clare, i don’t with rosie.
how are you going to navigate computers/facebook/etc?
tim and i talk about this all the time. we started a family rule… if anyone in our family, in any point in time, asks you, “will you put your phone down?” you have to. anytime one of the girls is trying to get my attention they can ask me to put my phone down. it’s hard to imagine what the internet’s going to be like… seven years from now. we tend to have a more unplugged approach to life. but i don’t ever want them to be the weird kids… without a tv. it does terrify me, though. as if middle school isn’t bad enough… throwing in social media?
how do you instill confidence in your girls?
i let the girls dress themselves. trying to let go of certain things… my mom told me how important it is not to worry about your kids. it affects them if you’re worried about how what they’re doing will make you look. i try to not apologize for them in front of people. i want them to have the confidence to make their own decisions. to develop their own style.
have you gotten any gems of advice along the way?
well, yes. it’s interesting, i started to identify several families in which i love how the parents and children interact. when i see them, i think, “how did they do that? i want to talk to those parents.” and inevitably, every single family that i’ve talked to say, “we prayed for our kids.”