Sarah Ofner: Time Together

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Sarah Ofner
D10 Houston
Director of Marketing (Pasta & Noodles)
Riviana Foods

Let's start with work. How have you been affected?
Work has been really interesting. Pasta and noodles are shelf stable products and have seen a significant rise in volume. Consumers have flocked to the pasta aisle to stock their pantries in record numbers, and we’re close to meeting our annual forecast only five months into the year! Bringing new consumers into our brands has been a key marketing objective, and we’re achieving that as people are cooking more at home. We are observing that consumers turn to their comfort foods during times of national angst, and what is more comforting than spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna? 

For me personally, I’m working from home in my closet that has now become my office. I have a surprisingly good setup, and it’s the only room in the house that is just mine. 

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How are you and your husband tackling parenthood?
My husband's an attorney, and he's also working from home. We have preschool-age twins, so we've been dividing and conquering on the school and childcare front. One thing we are doing now that we had never been able to properly schedule is eating dinner together every night. 

Overall, I think the kids love it. We're doing more things with them.
We now have more games, puzzles, and books than ever before. We recently got tandem bikes that are really fun, and we've biked all over the city with them. The kids have not once asked to go back to school. 

Other than biking, what have you been able to do for a fitness regimen?
I have been running more, and I’ve even started swimming laps now that pools are opening up. On my own I will begrudgingly do some burpees. I'm more active than I normally would be, and one of my favorite things that I've recently rediscovered is the biking trails in Memorial Park, bordering Buffalo Bayou. In addition to biking, you can run and hike the trails. Even though they are in the middle of the city, you’re in nature, not many people are around, and you can’t even hear cars on the road.

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Any relaxation tips you care to pass along? What do you do for an escape?
I've been reading more, and my husband and I put the kids down early to have a date night every Friday. We’ve just started having front-yard happy hours with a small number of friends.  

In addition, my husband ordered a Nintendo Switch, and, surprisingly, I have been playing it more than anybody. I occasionally break it out at night after the kids have gone to bed, and I’m proud to say that I finally beat Super Mario Brothers, which I never had been able to do while growing up. I had not played in I don't know how many years, and it’s been fun to experience a sense of nostalgia.

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If there's been a silver lining in all this--other than rescuing the princess from Bowser's Castle, of course--what would you say it was?
Two summers ago, we went to Legoland on vacation; it was the first time with just the four of us. It was a magical trip. We were gearing up for a family ski trip this year, which was cancelled at the last minute due to the pandemic. A silver lining is that we’ve been able to have the uninterrupted family time I had been longing for since our last vacation. Anxieties have been higher than normal with everything going on, but we’ve had a really good time together as a family.

I know my kids better, we’re more in sync, and we’ve had that time that we were craving.