I am interviewing a diverse group of mom’s from all over the country. Each mom will share their unique journey through motherhood. These moms will make you laugh, tear up and most importantly, feel normal (yes, we’ve all cried over spilled (breast/formula) milk). I hope their stories inspire you as much as they’ve inspired me.
Pennsylvanian, Veteran Special Educator, District Behavior Coach, Ballroom Dancer & Mom!
Carrie is one of the best listeners I’ve ever met, she’s engaging and warm and will give you the advice you need to hear. I’ve gotten some of the best insight on motherhood from her. Watching Carrie with kids, it’s truly a thing of beauty. She can anticipate a situation that is headed in the wrong direction, redirect it and simultaneously hold a conversation with adults. Carrie has been teaching Special Education, specifically emotionally disturbed kiddos for 15 years. Recently, she stepped into a District Behavior Coach role where her primary job is to coach teachers on the best way to meet the unique behavioral needs of students to ensure academic success. I hope you enjoy reading about her journey through motherhood.
MomMode: How many children do you have?
Carrie: Two sweet girls, ages 7 and 6.
MomMode: What is your relationship status?
Carrie: Happily married for 10 years. I am very proud of the work my husband and I put into our marriage. We try to remember why we got together from the beginning and when things get tough we say, “time to get back to the basics”.
MomMode: What is your work status, FT, PT or SAHM?
Carrie: Full-time throughout the school year and part-time in the summer.
MomMode: How did you know you were ready to have your first baby?
Carrie: My husband and I did a lot of traveling, dancing, having fun and just living. We were focused on creating our own happiness, and being free was the most attractive option for us at the time. On the beaches of the Dominican Republic, we talked about what else we wanted to do. My husband asked me if I would be sorry down the road if I didn’t get the chance to be a mother. I was pregnant one month later. Now I can tell you that I wasn’t ready that day sitting on the beach nor was I ready when the doctor told me I was pregnant. Are you ever really ready? I wasn’t, but it was something I knew I wanted, badly.
MomMode: What is the hardest part about being a mom?
Carrie: Seeing the worst parts of my personality in my kids. It makes me sad but eager to work hard on myself and them to change it. When I’m showering and I see them sitting on the edge of the bath tub waiting for me. When they tell me someone was mean to them and I have to teach them to maneuver the situation instead of just kicking the shit out of whoever hurt them myself. Feeling sexy sometimes. Discipline – but it is essential early and will have lasting benefits – it just stinks sometimes
MomMode: What do you love most about being a mom?
When I pick the girls up at the end of the day and they run to me yelling “Mommmmmmy!” and hug me. Watching them grow as students, learning to read and how fast it happens. They’re such sponges. Giving them experiences. When they ask to snuggle. Our Friday night dance parties – they pick the music and we turn it up way too loud and everybody dances with each other.
MomMode: Anything else you want to share?
Carrie: Whatever phase your kids are in now WILL pass and another awaits you:)
MomMode: How do you balance motherhood, marriage, working, “me” time?
Carrie: Since I’m an educator, I’m blessed with the opportunity to be with my girls over the summer. I also work in the same school district they attend. It’s a unique situation that I’m so grateful for. I see them all the time. As for marriage, it’s important to me to show my girls what a happy, healthy marriage looks like. I want the same for them. Before there were ever any children, it was just my husband and I. And after our girls are adults, making their own lives, it’ll be us again. When we’re connected, we’re better parents AND partners. We schedule dates like a lot of other people, but we also set a time to “check-in” with each other. This might mean we sit down at the kitchen table with a glass of wine and talk about what’s going on in our world as individuals. We may talk about something that irritated us about the other person, parenting conflicts, work, or scheduling. It just gives us an opportunity to connect. No matter how busy we are, we make time for this. We also saw the value in our girls having “dates with Dad”. For us, it serves 2 purposes: one – I get some “me time” and two – our girls get alone time with Dad. They feel special and their dad can show them how they should expect to be treated.
MomMode: How did you decide between being a working mom or SAHM?
Carrie: I knew all along that I was going to work. I LOVE my job. It makes me really happy. I appreciate my girls at the end of a work day. I find that although I value my time with them in the summer, being with them 24/7, I start to treat each day like the one before it. Some days, we’re just “getting through it”. I don’t like or want that for them or myself. I have to stop and remind myself how valuable time is. I’m a better mother because I work. I think I’m a constant work in progress and I can always be better. To do that, I have to be an individual person, not just a mom. Working helps me keep in touch with myself as an individual.
MomMode: What tips do you have for navigating maternity leave & going back to work?
Carrie: Plan a gradual transition for both mom and baby back to work. Start half days, 2 or 3 days for a week or 2 and increase gradually.
MomMode: Spill the beans…what is your best mom hacks
Carrie: Redirecting rather then disciple or saying no during the early toddler stage. This cuts back on frustration for both baby and mom.
A special thanks to Carrie for sharing her journey with us! For more mommy interviews and tips on how to navigate mom life click here.