Meet our Amazing Moms - Laura Yost

We continue our Meet our Amazing moms series, focused on talking to amazing NYC moms that make it work in this amazing city. Next up is Laura Yost, who you can often see doing our photo booth at our events.

Tell us about your upbringing and how it shaped who you are today?

I grew up in the Hudson Valley, in the small town of Washingtonville. I was raised by two very artistic parents; my father ran the performing arts center at West Point, and was also an accomplished visual artist. My mom worked up until my brother and I were born. She wanted to stay home with us. Something I never truly appreciated until later in life.

My parents encouraged my brother and I to do what we loved. They were incredibly supportive of me majoring in theatre and photography. Having a support network who believes in you, helps you believe in yourself. I am so thankful for my parents for providing me with the confidence that I could do whatever I set my mind to.

What have you found to be the biggest challenge in becoming a mom? How did your life change?

When Kayla was in preschool she told her class about her family. “I have a Mama, a Dada and a Lolly."  In this family, I am Lolly.

When Dan and I began dating nearly 7 years ago, the first thing he told me was “I have a baby, feel free to walk away now”. He and his ex had separated before learning about Kayla’s  impending arrival, but were dedicated to co-parenting. I was signing on to date a family.

The first time I met Kayla’s mom, it was awkward as one might expect. I was the “new woman”, she drilled me (something we joke about now). She wanted to know my intentions, and make it clear that she was Kayla’s mother. I was so nervous, but I needed her to know that I would never replace her, nor could I.

Today, we have a great relationship. We co-parent as a team.

Being a mom is hard, and being a step-mom is hard. Both in very different ways. The one common thread is we both want the best for these kids.

What is the best advice you could give your pre-mom self?

This is going to be ride, a bumpy non-traditional ride. Buckle up. Also, invest in Purdue, you will be eating chicken nuggets for at least three meals a week.

This is going to be ride, a bumpy non-traditional ride.

Tell us about raising kids in New York City?

Kayla splits her time between New Jersey and Little New York City (Big New York City is Times Square). The commuting is tough. Not being able to be there at a moments notice; or even to have dinner.

A hard part about sharing custody and raising her part time in New York City is her friends, she doesn't have many here in Washington Heights.

What is the best part about raising children?

Seeing Kayla blossom into this super funny kid.

She is so mature, and offers excellent insight into situations. Seeing her have her own opinions, and sharing them makes me so excited to see the woman she will become.

What is the hardest part about raising children?

The hardest part about co-parenting and being a step-mom is the constant worry that you will step on someone's toes.

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Who are the people in your life that support and inspire you?

So many; my parents, for teaching me I could be anything, and that I should do what I love.

Kayla’s mother, because she has been gracious and welcoming. She is a smart, amazing mother, and I am so glad she has allowed me to come on this journey with her.

And on a grander scale, Hillary Clinton, because that woman is incredible, regardless of your political beliefs. She can fail with dignity and grace, and climb back up.

Tell us about your business?

Laura Yost Photography came about last year when  I needed a creative outlet from an office job. In September I made it a full time career, and have learned a lot about myself and my craft since then.

I have always loved taking pictures, and I am a believer that everyone and everything has a story, and I want to help tell it.

Some of my favorite images, are those that are candid. There is such magic to them; a child running through the leaves, or picking a flower. A father looking at his wife with awe in his eyes as she tries to calm a crying child.

I love getting to know the families I photograph, what they like and dislike. I want my images to reflect who they are.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love meeting people, I love talking to them, and I love finding out what makes them happy, what in their life is special.

For other moms working from home, I suggest setting up boundaries between your work, and when is strictly family time. The majority of my sessions take place on weekends, when we have Kayla. I used to come home and upload my images immediately because I wanted to send my clients previews right away. Now I give myself a break, I come home, I play, make dinner and put her to bed. I edit during the week, and not around Kayla.  

How do you spend your quiet moments?

I love listening to podcasts. When I am editing or in the car, I always have one on. My favorites are “The Bowery Boys”, which is a history of NYC, and “I’m terrible, thanks for asking”.