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Third-Time Mom: Amy Wallace Cowan

Amy Wallace Cowan is the proud mother of three girls: Aubrey Cate, 9; Colette, 5; and Laurel, who was born in May. But as a founder of Go Oak Cliff, she is also a parent of such community events as the Oak Cliff Mardi Gras Parade, Bastille on Bishop, and Blues, Bandits & BBQ.

The 37-year-old oversees three girls and several events while also running a PR and fundraising firm, Cowan Roberts. And her husband, Eric, is just as busy. He is the COO of Café Momentum, a downtown restaurant that gives internships to at-risk kids, while also serving as president of the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees.

What’s surprised you about your third stage of motherhood?

First of all, it’s totally inequitable, because the first one gets everything: your undivided attention, naps in their crib and all these things that you totally take for granted. And by the time you have a second one, it’s already a little chaotic. So once you have the third — I mean, that baby has logged some miles in that car seat, and been to soccer games and dance recitals, and she’s only 3 months old. She’s been to Florida twice — you know, you can’t cancel the big kids’ vacation just because you had a baby.

Are there ways in which you feel like a veteran by now?
Well, we’ve always been pretty relaxed in our parenting. We’ve always taken the approach that we’re not the first people to do this. And my doctor pointed out when I had my first baby, “Remember that she came to live at your house.” So that always stuck with me. But definitely by the third, you’re like, “Hey, I think I kind of remember doing this before,” and you’re going to be fine.

Are your older girls eager to help out with Laurel?
We call them “The Smother Mothers.” They are chronically in her face. They love to play with her. They compete for the number of smiles from her — you know, things like that. When it comes to the actual work of changing a diaper or other basics, that still has to come back to Mom or Dad; they’re not signing up for that work. But they’ve been really helpful. My oldest, she was not excited about adding a baby to our family at this stage, but she has just totally done a 180 and is thrilled to have her — a very proud big sister now.

Does Eric’s return home from a marathon school board meeting ever perfectly align with Laurel needing to be fed?
We have many jokes about, between our dogs and our school board schedules and our “early morning get out and block off the road so we can have an event later on today” schedules, this newborn feeding thing has really just blended in there and been a non-issue.

Eric had a running gag on Facebook about what Laurel’s name was going to be. What was your favorite?
Oh, man. They were all so bad. Axel Rose, I think that was one of the first ones, and they just trickled downhill from there. You know, when you don’t think you’re going to have a third baby, it is really hard to come up with a name that you haven’t already used or that is special. Our other kids had family names involved in their names, and we wanted her to have a little bit of that, but something feminine and something that’s not on top 10 lists. It was hard.

So is there a family name connection?
Well, her middle name is Wallace. She got the ultimate burden.

Is it safe to say this was an unplanned pregnancy?
Oh, totally. We call her a “bonus baby.” A long time ago, when Colette was 2-ish, we thought, “Oh, three kids would be kind of fun.” But it didn’t happen, and we were like, “OK, not meant to be.” And then, lo and behold, a few years later, Eric’s 44 with a newborn. So … [laughs] things are different.

You mentioned Laurel has already been to Florida twice. How many Bishop Arts District festivals has she attended?
I did Brew Riot three days before I had her, so basically I sat in a chair to make sure I didn’t have her at Brew Riot. And then she came to Bastille Day, and she just loitered on the patio at Eno’s. And then she was at the Adamson vs. Sunset pep rally, so she’s making the rounds.

Published October 2015