As an Austin native, Jamie Alter has a deep appreciation and insight into our city- and the human heart. She has been beautifully wired for the people-centric digital marketing business she runs with her husband and for motherhood- though she may have had her doubts. Read on to learn about Alter Endeavors, her favorite things to do in Austin, and the community that helped equip her for becoming a mother to Teague, her son.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I grew up in an Austin suburb, Lakeway. In fact, my husband and I started dating when we were 15-year-old sophomores at Lake Travis High School. We married at 22, right after graduating from Southwestern University in Georgetown. We have made southwest Austin our home ever since.
What is your favorite thing about living in Austin?
I love that Austin is a place for many where success is not defined by a title, a position, a certain income, etc. I think many people see coming to Austin as a way to opt out of the rat race. The culture in Austin embraces spending time outdoors, taking care of your body, eating really good food… prioritizing your family and other experiences that may not normally be aligned with “success”. I’m proud to live in a place where seeing others pursue their passions is applauded and the fact that I am going to prioritize time with my family over wealth or climbing the career ladder is even possible. And the food, did I mention the food?
What do you love to do with your family around town?
This may seem silly, but it really is the simple things. Every morning I put my son in his stroller and we go for a jog. My husband joins us a few mornings a week too, especially on weekends. I love living in a walkable area: the grocery store, coffee shop, parks, and trails are all within jogging distance. Instead of doing one big grocery shop every week, I will actually go to H-E-B several times a week and carry my groceries home, a few at a time, in the bottom of my BOB stroller. I have bought coffee, dropped off dry cleaning, mailed packages, returned and checked out library books, all with only my stroller. It really is my favorite way to start the day, get some exercise, check a few errands off my list and spend time with my son.
Tell us about Alter Endeavors, how it came to be and what you love about it.
My husband and I graduated college in 2009 to a terrible economy. I immediately went to graduate school, while my husband and I each worked four jobs while trying to pursue careers. My husband’s background included a double major in English and Communications, while I obtained a Master’s in Public History and served as a Museum Curator for two different museums in the area. In 2011, we founded Alter Endeavors Digital Creative to help brands celebrate what they do, grow their audience and drive results. It’s all about great narrative, consistency. I was still working as a curator, but in 2013, I made the decision to leave the nonprofit world to work with my husband full-time. We now have a dozen employees and I love working with clients from diverse industries and providing a comprehensive digital ecosystem to help our clients tell their stories. Our clients are all experts in something. It’s our job to communicate their brand and passion, to help them celebrate what they do to the right audience and build a community around it. We offer branding/narrative strategy, platform development and management, and digital marketing services that work together for a complete and powerful digital ecosystem.
I also love that we value and foster a company culture that embraces employees with outside passions and encourages a healthy work-life balance. We started Alter Endeavors because we were looking for the same thing, so it only follows that we would also want our employees to be happy too! The experiences our employees bring with them from their outside passions to our work and their motivation to apply newly learned skills or success at work to their own projects makes Alter Endeavors an effective company, while helping team members foster their own individual paths. Clients greatly benefit from a team that consists of individuals with outside passions because they are motivated for all the right reasons and bring incredible value to every project because they are self-disciplined, trained to look at a problem from various viewpoints and don’t have time to waste. We are extremely grateful and honored to work with such a talented team!
Are you involved in anything else within the community?
My husband and I are members of Austin Ridge Bible Church. We attended the Newborn Promise Project Bible Study class they offered and found it very valuable. We loved getting to know other expecting couples who were on the same journey as us while focusing on the spiritual foundation of our family and the new life we were creating. I attend and have lead a women’s Bible Study group at the Southwest Campus and my husband is active with the men’s ministry. I also enjoy taking my son to weekly storytimes at the library and helping to mentor other new moms, mainly via text, since we are all just trying to figure this mom thing out. In this season of life, we are creating community wherever we can find it, and however we can fit it in.
Is there something people are usually surprised to learn about you…
I very much wanted to be a mom, but I was also very scared of the overwhelming responsibility and life changes a child would bring (or so I thought). One friend described it best as whiplash, and I would have to agree.
If you met me a little over a year ago (while I was pregnant), I was a wreck, the most anxious, overwhelmed, nervous and scared first-time mom you had ever met. I’m very Type A, and I’ve always made straight As and done everything by the book. I met the boy, graduated from high school, graduated from college, got married, got my Master’s, started a business with my husband, bought our first home, made sure everything was in order, all before I allowed for us to start growing our family. I thought everything was as perfect as it could be at that point. Then we got pregnant.
Emotionally, pregnancy was extremely difficult for me. For nine months I was convinced that I was not fit to be a mom, that our baby deserved better and that I was just going to botch this whole raising a tiny human being thing. It helped that my husband, Nick was so excited and supportive, but I was only getting more anxious the closer we got to the due date.
When Teague finally came, I had no choice but to trust God, and the amazing thing was how quickly He changed my heart. All the fears and lies I had been feeding to myself vanished pretty much overnight. I absolutely love being a mom. Honestly, this is one of the sweetest and most fun seasons of my whole life. I never thought that I would love being a mom this much, but it is absolutely the best. Believe all the well-meaning people when they tell you that. Teague, my baby boy, is my greatest blessing.
How has your community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Our church helped equip us to become parents. I think all too often there is such a physical and material focus on pregnancy and creating a family that the spiritual side is left out. Pregnancy is a very physical experience as your body changes in ways you have little control over. Regularly seeing an OBGYN and preparing for birth are two must-do physical aspects of pregnancy. In our culture, I also think there is a large emphasis on material things in pregnancy, as well. Creating a registry, researching products, designing a nursery, and having a baby shower, draw us into an acquisition mode with an extensive list. While all of this is both fun and overwhelming in itself, I think there is a big piece missing when it comes to pregnancy and preparing for a new life. I think all too often the spiritual side of welcoming a new baby is pushed aside for the physical and material. Going to the Newborn Promise Project group Bible study with my husband was one of the best things that we did! It helped us meet other expecting couples going through the same thing, strengthened our own marriage before becoming parents, and most importantly, focused on the spiritual foundation of our family. Turns out, becoming parents and navigating the new roles of both mom and dad, and husband and wife, is just as hard as everyone says it is. Doing the Newborn Promise Project together was a very sweet way to spend our last months as a family of two together. Adding a third person to your family is one of the biggest leaps and life experiences! Learning how to be both wife/husband and mom/dad is challenging for anyone—no matter how long you have been together. I’m grateful that we have an amazing God, each other, and a supportive church family to help love us through it all!
I have been so blessed and want to bless others, so I also write and share my experiences about being a mom on https://www.grahamblanchard.com/.
Thanks so much for sharing with South Austin Moms, Jamie!