“In the Spotlight” – More Than You’ll Wanna Know About Kat
I was interviewed for Macaroni Kids’ “SPOTLIGHT ON MOMS” earlier this week. Below, you’ll find more out about me than you’ll ever wanna know. Info I would likely not have divulged otherwise. Here goes:
Kat and I could very well be twins separated at birth. We have discovered over the past several months that we have scary amounts in common. One of the biggest commonalities: we both have four children and face the challenges that come along with that as far as balancing all of our roles. Below is my Q&A session with Kat of Today’s Cliche.
Q: Tell us about Kat:
A: Where to start? I exaggerate, a lot. But it’s always the truth — or a version of it. You may find me stretching the truth just a smidge, but always in an effort to obtain a reaction.
I love popping and squeezing — just about anything.
I love seeing results (which both popping and squeezing typically warrant). But my obsession with results hits home in my professional life (and my personal life– which hubs would probably label ‘wanna-be-perfectionist-but-that’s-impossible-with-four-kids-and-a-job-so-stop-trying-now-no-one-cares-as-much-as-you-do-about-x-y-and-z’).
I love my kids’ naked tushies (see ‘squeezing’, above).
I pray. A lot. But it always wasn’t that way — I used to turn to my peers for advice and direction. Then I realized my parents actually did have all the answers. Now, I hand all of my worries, fears, and frustrations over to God in prayer; He always delivers.
I am grateful. Beyond measure. Grateful to my mom and dad for the first 27 years of my life until hubs took over my ‘care’ (aka: had to deal with Madame freak show). I hope my past and present friends, parents, sister, and brothers (4) realize that I am well aware I wouldn’t be 1/1000th of the person I am without them. Oh, and hubs, too.
I eat solely with my fingers: from Filet Mignon to Cheerios with milk. It’s very upsetting and embarrassing to those dining with me. Not my problem.
If someone even says the words “Plantar Warts” I get the ebbeee-jeebees and throw up in my mouth. Picturing a black seed-like thingy in someone’s foot is friggin’ disgusting.
I spent my 21st Birthday, literally, on the Great Wall of China. I rode an elephant in India. I laid on China Beach (remember that show?) in Da Nang, Vietnam. I watched a lion and a tiger mate in the Serengeti Desert after a 5 am hot air balloon ride over Kenya. Seriously.
I partied in Brazil’s Carnivale. I slept in an orphanage in the remote, remote village in southern India. I took a bullet train in Kobe, Japan. I went through the Panama Canal before it was handed over, and slept in Hong Kong before it became communist Hong Kong. I was on an overnight sleeper car train in Kenya when it broke down and burglars hopped in and went from car to car stealing passengers’ stuff (I quivered under the covers in my bunk holding only a Swiss Army knife that I didn’t know how to use). A few weeks later, I lost someone who became my best friend on a bus that I was supposed to be on, in India.
I have done voice-over work for FOX-TV, was a news anchor on a few small TV broadcasts, and had my own TV channel onboard an international cruise line.
I interned at Johns Hopkins (no, I’m not a M.D.).
I met my husband on Match.com. Yes, really.
BUT, none of those items identify “me”. They’re just a few patches that make up the quilt of my being.
Something I’m not proud of but is a large part of who I am is that I worry wayyyyyyy too much about the things I can’t control; primarily my kids’ safety. When they walk out the front door, I worried they’ll get hit by a car.
I don’t worry as much anymore about more trivial details — i.e. germs and Purell — as I did after having just 2 kids (4 kids definitely makes you ‘pick and choose’ the things you obsess over). However, my home grown OCD as a parent focuses on some of those things for which I don’t have much control: the house going on fire and me not getting to the kids in time; them dying on a roller coaster (yes, I have issues); them getting stolen by a stranger at Walmart when I lean down to tie my sneaker for a second. I’m what they call a worry wart.
I expect a lot. However, I give a lot. I have cultivated vast friendships that are unspeakable and unmatched at the mere age of 35. For that, I am forever grateful.
I seek first to understand before trying to be understood — a key to life-long and life-altering friendships.
Q: How do you juggle all your responsibilities? Mom, Wife, Entrepreneur, etc?
A: I think we all have placed that call to our Moms, you know… a few hours, to a few days, to a few weeks after you come home with your first child. When your Mom answers, you say, “Mom — oh my gosh — How did you do this? I am so sorry — I didn’t realize how much you sacrificed for little ‘ole me when I was born. HOW DID YOU HAVE “x amount” (in my mom’s case, SIX!) kids?? How did you do it??”
My mom’s reply — every time: “You just do”. Ouch; how cliche, ehh?
My reply to your question — how do I juggle being a mom, wife, entrepreneur? “You just do”. Hubby and I always dreamed of at least four children. My family is my world — those children are my angels — but balance and is key. Hubs is super supportive of me having a life outside of the role of Mommy — and I hope I do the same for him. Having other outlets only helps the parents BE better parents. You have more patience when you have time with friends; when you have time as a couple; when you have time as a colleague; when you have time to dip your foot in the proverbial waters of launching a new career. Utilizing your creative intelligence that you went to school for more than 1/2 of your life to achieve becomes something you look forward to, vs. dread.
So, you juggle because you learn that the good ‘ole “Work Hard, Play Hard” cliche is resounding. And true. And you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other.
Q: And somehow you manage to have time for your personal blog in the middle of all that?
A: Yes, I do. Because it’s important. Connecting with other women. Connecting with similar families; fellow bloggers; analogous dreamers. Almost identical over-achievers. Mommies. Daddies. Sisters. Friends. That IS what life is all about. Of course I worry (again, see “Worry Wart”, above) that my children somehow suffer because I do spend more time with both my career — and now the blog — than other women around the corner.
However, I believe that these connections with kindred spirits I mention above — make me a better mommy, wife, and role model. I’ve recently learned the importance of taking a chill pill (A HARD, HARD lesson to learn). Now that I got me a dose of said “Chill Pill”, I have much more balance. Something for which I am constantly and steadfastly striving.
Q: Tell us about the challenges of being a mom of 4.
A: The biggest challenge is making each of them feel like the sun rises and sets on — and for — them, and only them. It’s impossible to do. Ironically (and moms of a handful of children will agree), each of them — although raised by exactly the same 2 parents under exactly the same roof — are so very different.
Probably the next biggest challenge is that I CAN NOT GET A WORD IN EDGEWISE UNLESS I SCREAM AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS UNTIL THEY RUPTURE. You can not be heard unless you yell in our house. Something we’re all working on.
Q: What do you wish you had known about being a mom before your first baby?
A: That sometimes Epidurals don’t work — even after you’ve had 7 of them before the delivery of your 1st baby. Or that C-Sections actually are freakin’ nightmares… not the walk-in-the-park they’re kicked up to be. Or that a Spinal can — in fact — wear off while you’re under the knife with your 4th baby. Oh — wait — this question is supposed to be about the child, probably. Oops.
What I wish I knew was that the innocent questions that surface from your children’s lips — whether they’re 2 years old or 7 years old — will both melt your heart beyond measure AS WELL as have you believe that these little beings are Angels sent from heaven.
It is utterly shocking how your child will look up to you — literally and figuratively — to a point that you will feel as if you are not worthy of this title, “Mommy”. Your child/ren will adore you in such a way that makes you feel so undeserving, it’s not even funny. And, even after the roughest night of vomiting, fevers, and diarrhea… you will still pray that God blesses you with another little one just as soon as He believes it’s time. It is sooo worth it. And it’s so humbling.
Q: How do you keep the magic alive with the hubbs in light of family and work responsibilities?
A: Ohh… I absolutely suck in this department. Hubs is fully responsible and I owe our amazing connection and love life to him. I’m too exhausted to plan. This is the department, selfishly, where I allow myself to not be at the helm RE: planning. However, I’ve also noticed lately that just letting him know I’m sorry he had a rough day at work (as I squirm under my breath thinking, “Yeah right! I’ll switch with you any day!”), or giving him a hug out of no where makes. his. entire. week.
Q: If you could offer one piece of advice to new moms, what would it be?
A: Oh, the cliches are FLYING around my head… they’re all so true, but they all sound so generic and — well — cliche. However, if you’ll allow me to offer three pieces, here they are:
1. – Either invest in a good camera with a fabulous lens, or allow yourself to hire a photographer that takes a series of three ‘sessions’ during baby’s first year. I TOTALLY regret not having done that sooner, and you can NEVER go back in time. The pics of the naked baby in daddy’s hands? Freakin’ precious. Still pisses me off I never did that!
2. -Your child will be FAR FROM PERFECT. You will be FAR FROM A PERFECT parent. Never say “I never”; wait til your child is 18 months old and embarrasses the snot out of you when he/she clobbers you in the chest/gut/face with their new Stride Rite Sneakers (I fell for the Stride Rite trap for years; in fact, I’m still in that trap!) as you are sweating your as$ off, pinning your unruly child into his/her car seat just to buckle ‘em in. Wait til you feel the parking lot audience’s eyes stabbing you through your back, as they watch, gasp, and point.
3. . – The details DO NOT MATTER. DO NOT WORRY about what your neighbors / friends / playgroup moms and children are doing. Do NOT allow them to compare your child to theirs (which, in turn, makes you compare your child to THEIRS). Oh, it’s awful and will get you nowhere fast.
DO NOT get caught up in “the best” product, or “the best” way to do things, or “the best” way to feed them. Also, DO NOT GO TO BABIES R US when you have a morning to kill with your new little one. Your credit card statement, and hubs, will be your worst enemy.
Moms, did you see a bit of yourself in Kat’s answers? That’s one of the things I love about her-she’s so real and relevant. You can learn more about Kat and her husband on their blog Today’s Cliche. They feature a “He Said/She Said” segment that let’s you laugh at the cliches of life and how very differently men and women apply them to their lives.