On the clock: Adrienne Rowsome, Team Pro Online's mama
Here's the situation:
You're on the bubble of a tournament with thousands of dollars on the line. You've just bet your two pair out of position on a dry board. Your opponent shoves all-in and has you covered.
What do you do?
Wait! Don't answer, because at your feet there is a blood curdling scream, one that cuts the night, the darkness, and every bit of concentration you've amassed over the past four hours. What's more, the source of that scream is depending on you and only you for its very survival. And now that honking PokerStars time bank is running out.
Try to manage that.
If you can't imagine it, you might want to have a chat with Team Pro Online's newest mother, Adrienne "talonchick" Rowsome.
This week, we're talking with some of PokerStars' busiest and most successful players about how they manage to do amazing, time-consuming things and still have time for poker. On Monday, we talked with Vanessa Selbst about how she managed to earn a Yale Law degree and millions of dollars in poker winnings at the same time.
Today we go in-depth with with Rowsome about how's managed being a brand new mom and a member of Team Pro Online.
First of all, for those people without kids, explain how much time it takes to care for a new baby.
Rowsome: During newborn days every waking moment is spent holding or attending to newborn's needs. Breastfeeding and nutrition were of utmost importance to me and my family, and we were dedicated to make it work from the beginning through a healthy pregnancy and drug free delivery. Breastfeeding is something that is very easy to give up on in the early months, so lots of time was spent seeking support through various groups and people--midwives, mother's groups, pediatrician, lactation consultant, online, et cetera.
There wasn't a specific delineation of roles for child care other than the obvious, breastfeeding. My husband assisted with diaper changes, dressing, bathing, feeding support as necessary.
Have you managed to continue to play poker after having the baby?
Rowsome: An attempt was made early on to give each parent two hours of dedicated work time. This was quickly abolished due to the inconsistency of a newborn's schedule. During the first three months after birth, there was little balance in this area. During this time, babies' needs are so high and the bonding opportunity is so important, we made him the #1 priority. This was the expectation and it was made possible by putting in extra volume beforehand and setting clear financial goals.
Since becoming a parent, my VPP accrual slowed greatly. This was anticipated (although not quite as dramatically as it ended up being) for the first few months as I learned to become a mother and care for a newborn. Now that the baby is 4 months old, I expect my volume to increase as he settles into a more static routine. I will be taking advantage of being able to play on a laptop but more importantly from smaller mobile devices like an iPad or iPhone.
I am supported by my husband primarily, as when I play, he will be the primary care provider so as to allow me to focus. Will also be supported by our son....who will sleep and follow a schedule as we hope! Right!?!?!?
When we talked with Vanessa Selbst, she stressed the importance of maintaining a social life. How do you manage that?
Rowsome: Activities we have participated in have been more home based--dinner parties, playing games, watching movies--rather than going out and having to adhere to a schedule. We do go out for meals with our son, as so far he has been manageable in restaurants. If we are going somewhere that requires us to drive, we are sure to drive ourselves in case we have to make an exit.
We have a number of visitors each year, especially in the summer. In the past we have made many efforts to entertain and maximize their vacation times, filling them with local knowledge of touristy activities.
We get supported by my friends in their willingness to consider other activities for leisure. Our visitors also didn't expect to be catered to this summer!
Your Team Pro Online sponsorship requires quite a bit of your time, too. How can you fit that into your schedule?
Rowsome: Most of the tasks required for my Team obligations are surrounding playing, blogging, and social media usage. Fortunately, while breast feeding, I have generally been able to manage social media tasks ,as they tend to be brief in nature. With regards to blogging, my husband will help with taking notes or expanding on blog-type ideas if I request him to. We both tend to brainstorm ideas for competitions or interesting posts for social media. I'm supported also by other Team Online members and our manager as necessary.
I partake in Facebook and Twitter mostly. These activities tend to be quick and I can do them during quiet times when our son is breastfeeding or otherwise occupied. I don't have a schedule set for them at this time, but seem to get adequate time on both. Through conversation with friends and family, I stay connected to what is happening on both those social media outlets if I have been to busy to check up myself.
All my recent interviews have been done in an e-mail type format which has allowed me to respond at my leisure, within reason. I completed an interview during the night time while my son was up and feeding. Generally interviewers have been understanding and compassionate with regards to the difficulty of scheduling an interview. Again, I am supported by my husband during any live--whether via Skype or in person--interviews.
Does this leave you any time to work on staying healthy?
Rowsome: Initially this was been a neglected area of health due to other areas being a higher priority. Walking the baby in a stroller was the main form of activity, and has been increasing over the last couple of weeks. In the coming months I am going to make an effort to do a yoga subscription class via our smart TV and use the exercise bike while husband takes on the role of "first responder."
Do you sleep?
Rowsome: Since the baby was born there has been an effort to optimize sleep, by taking naps when able and co-sleeping with baby. This has been the #1 priority as sleep is the most precious asset as a parent, and now the effects of sleep deprivation are minimal. After waking and feeding in the morning my husband would take the baby for an hour or so to allow me to get some restorative sleep undisturbed.
What has been the biggest help in letting you juggle all of it successfully?
Rowsome: These were all activities that I partook in before I became a parent. Now, being a mother, I have the added responsibility of parenting, and that supersedes all other tasks. By having a strong foundation laid before our son was born, I have been able to transition over the last few months to having him be an addition that compliments my life rather than takes over my life.
Without a doubt, the support of my husband has been instrumental in making this transition possible. I am fortunate to have him at home with me during the days when many other mothers would be left to manage alone, We both can focus on ensuring the needs of our son, physical and emotional, are being met. I am certain that there will be many changes as he gets older and more demanding, but I'm hopeful that we will be able to continue along with the goals we have set based on our values.
On Friday, we'll chat with Andre Akkari about how he manages to be one of Brazil's most beloved poker players while also running a successful business
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging