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Mothers who wear it well: Three Colorado women dish on how they stay stylish while juggling careers, marriage and parenthood

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In advance of Sunday’s celebration of mothers, we visited with three Colorado women to find out how they manage to stay stylish while juggling the demands of parenting, work and marriage.

Morning-show mom: TaRhonda Thomas

TaRhonda Thomas, 33, has three children, Mickey, 5, Claire, 3, and Ruby Dee, 9 months. Her husband, Mike McKee, is associate head coach of men’s basketball at the University of Denver.

Thomas has been at 9News in Denver for five years, recently joining the morning show. She says she likes the challenge of covering a range of topics and going from reporting to editing to anchoring the news.

She admits to taking her work home when she’s had a tough story to tell on-air. “Often times, I meet people on the worst days of their lives: at the scene of fires, car accidents and murders,” she says. ” I have spent many nights thinking about the people I’ve interviewed and hoping they’re doing well.”

Q: What’s the best thing about being a mother?

A: The little smiles, hugs and kisses my children give me — for no reason at all. I also love the way my children make me laugh.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?

Being busy every single minute of every single day. I’m constantly planning, cooking, organizing, cleaning. I think it’s important to play with my kids and read to them every day. With kids, work, my commitments to different organizations and my pursuit of a master’s degree, it’s hard to fit everything in. That’s how I end up doing laundry at 1 a.m. on a Friday!

Q: What do you do when you have an extra 30 minutes?

A: Thirty minutes? That’s a dream come true! If I do have a few extra minutes in my day, I like to play on my iPad. I look at it as a reward after a long day. I’m hooked on Fruit Ninja, and looking up old classmates on Facebook.

Q: Do you spend more time shopping for yourself or your children?

A: I definitely spend more time shopping for my children. It’s far more exciting than shopping for myself because kids clothes are so adorable.

Q: How do you stay healthy?

A: Exercise is a priority for me. I look at it as a necessity instead of a luxury. I want to be a healthy mom. And working out affects not only my body but also my attitude. There have been times when I have been cranky and my husband said, “You need to go work out!”

I work out almost every morning. And, since I’m on the morning show, that means I hit the gym at 2:30 a.m. I also train for about an hour two afternoons a week on my own and two afternoons a week with Chris Williamson at The Gym in Denver.

I pack my lunch every day and eat lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. I get my family in on my eating plan by cooking healthier versions of their favorite foods. I make all of Ruby Dee’s food. And, for Mickey and Claire, I do things like slice and bake sweet potatoes instead of bagged French fries. But, don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a huge sweet tooth. I’m also from Louisiana, so I enjoy anything that’s deep-fried.

Q: How do you keep balance in your life?

A: It is hard to carve out solo time with my husband. We try to go on a date every month or so. But, honestly, I just love staying at home and watching a movie with him. We also like taking the kids to places like the zoo or the museum. And we force ourselves to turn off our phones.


Designing mom: Lindsay Black Mangat

Lindsay Black Mangat, 35, is the owner and designer of Black Kite, a Denver-based clothing company specializing in boys shirts. She has two sons, Vincent, 6, and Desmond, 3, with her husband, Kishen Mangat, a software company executive.

Mangat started her clothing line two years ago and says it grew out of her travels abroad. “I saw first-hand how a spectrum of rich colors and textures impact cultures, societies and individuals. I wanted to find a way to make a mark on my boys by teaching them that color and confidence go hand in hand.”

Her tagline, “take flight,” is a way to help boys express their creativity, individuality and confidence, she says.

Q: What’s the best thing about being a mother?

A: My childhood was filled with fun times with my brothers — summer camps, adventurous trips and lots of special family traditions. I’m so thrilled to be a mom now and help create a wonderful childhood for them.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?

A: I work hard to make my family’s day-to-day lives organized and balanced with some spontaneous fun. The hardest part is knowing when I focus hard on one thing, something else slacks.

Q: What do you do when you have an extra 30 minutes?

A: Nothing rejuvenates me more than reading a good book. I can escape for a short period and then pop back into a very hectic day with a lighter weight on my shoulders and a fresh perspective.

Q: Do you spend more time shopping for yourself or your children?

A: I definitely spend more time shopping for my boys but it’s typically for things they need. It’s rare and a real treat to shop for myself, especially when it’s for something I simply want.

Q: How do you stay healthy?

A: You can find me on a yoga mat, at the climbing gym or doing errands on my bike around town. It’s natural for me to be active, so I don’t think much about it. I also love good foods and to cook. Healthy eating is a huge theme in our house. My grandmother would say, “An appetite for food indicates an appetite for life!”

Q: How do you keep balance in your life?

A:My life is balanced because I do work, parent and play. Before I started my business, I was feeling a void. My new career is my passion. I’ve always loved fabrics and textiles so working with them as a business is very fulfilling. As for family time, we spend quite a bit of time just the four of us. In the past few years we have been to India, Asia and Australia. At home in Denver, nothing makes me happier that having good friends and family over. I have fabulous girlfriends who make me laugh even in the most difficult times.


Music mom: Yumi Hwang-Williams

Yumi Hwang-Williams, 41, is concertmaster of The Colorado Symphony, a position she has held since 2000. She’s also an adjunct professor of violin at the Lamont School of Music at the University of Denver, a soloist and chamber musician. She’s married to Daniel Williams, a horn player with The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Their daughter, Ava Mi-Sun Williams, will be 1 year old next month. And the baby shows signs of inheriting her parents’ gift for music — she smiled and bobbed while a Luciano Pavarotti recording played in the background during a recent photo shoot

Q: What’s the best thing about being a mother?

A: Having a constant, renewable source of love and joy.

Q: What’s the hardest thing about being a mother?

A: Not having enough hours in a day, and being ready for the unpredictable.

Q: What do you do when you have an extra 30 minutes?

A: I actually look forward to spending that time with Ava.

Q: Do you spend more time shopping for yourself or Ava?

A: If and when there’s time for some shopping, it’s much more fun looking at little baby girl clothes.

Q: How do you stay healthy?

A: So far, I’ve tried to stay active with Ava by walking, having her in her carrier, playing with her, but my good intentions of actually “working out” have yet to come to fruition. I eat everything I want in moderation.

Q: How do you keep balance in your life?

A:I am still relatively new at this so I am learning on the job. Motherhood is like a large stove with many back burners and I focus on the front ones until something in the back starts to smoke! Ava has been a wonderful baby and a good sleeper, so once she is down for the night, Dan and I are able to open a bottle of wine and watch movies and relax at home.

We also take her everywhere, even The Philadelphia Orchestra’s European tour when she was only 2 months old. I am extremely fortunate to have my wonderful mom, who moved to Denver with me, helping raise Ava. This makes it possible for me to continue my music career fully.

Photos by Cyrus McCrimmon, The Denver Post • Styling by Sylvia Atencio
-Suzanne Brown

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