The Wonder of Motherhood

by —21 April 2017

Q & A with ‘Valley’ Moms about the challenges and rewards

Being a mom is a wonderful and rewarding job. It is also one of the most challenging jobs any woman can undertake. Balancing work and home life can be daunting. That’s why we asked five incredible moms for some tips on how they manage their busy lives while helping their children grow and thrive.

 

BETHANY OLSON is a bookkeeper at West Park Denture Clinic and mom to Elliot 19, Seth, 17, Clarke, 15, Olivia, 13 and Estelle, 6.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you remember receiving?

A. We did not have a lot of money growing up, but once a week on Saturday, my mom would take one of us on a date.  She made it special! I try to take the kids on dates too. It is work to find out what makes each one of them tick, but it is worth it.  My mom always gave us her time. I want to do that for my kids.

Q. What is the one thing you would never tell a new parent about parenting?

A. I would never say, “Just let your baby cry it out.” I say hold your babies and enjoy them. I do not think you can spoil them.  You know your baby better than anyone else. Just follow your instincts. You have what they need.

Q. What would be the most gratifying thing your children could say about you when they are grown?

A.I hope they will say that I always had time for them, that I was always willing to put whatever aside to talk to them, and, that I loved them, obviously.

JENNA MCKINNEY is a field representative for U.S. Senator Steve Daines and the Vice Chair of the Executive Board of GOP for Yellowstone County. She’s mom to Mia, 11, and Boaz, 10.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you remember receiving?

A.The best advice I received was through a parenting class. I was advised to start teaching my kids self-control from the beginning. We want to spoil them when they are cute and little but as they grow and mature we can slowly start to add more freedom. If we can start teaching them that following the rules allows for more freedom, it makes parenting a little less challenging as they mature.

Q. What is one thing you would never tell a new parent about parenting?

A. I remember when I was still pregnant and a mom started telling me all the horror stories about childbirth! I would never do that to a new mom.

Q. What would be the most gratifying thing your children could say about you when they are grown?

A. That I didn’t try and take the easy road in parenting, but I always tried to take the right one. I tell my children “momma” is my favorite title. There is no title or accolade that the world can give me that is greater than being their mom.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you would share with somebody else?

A. As a single mother, I feel the things that help me survive are prayers for wisdom, planning and staying organized.  I create routines as much as possible. Equally important, I try to remain flexible for life’s messes and unanticipated moments. Also, it is really important to not be hard on ourselves, especially as single mothers. It is really challenging and we need to give ourselves a lot of grace.

 

CONNIE CHARETTE is the owner/operator of Fauxnique Paint and mom to Josh, 40, Rob, 43, and Tasha, 32.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you remember receiving?

A. I had a small daycare in my home and I loved all those kids but after 8 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, by the weekend I was ready for a break from other kids. So when my children wanted their buddies to hang out at our house on the weekends, I wasn’t so excited. A good friend in her wisdom basically said to “buck up” and be glad my kids wanted to be in our home with their friends and to appreciate the fact that I’d know what they were up to. I never forgot it!

Q. What would be the most gratifying thing your children could say about you when they are grown?

A. I think the most gratifying thing that my kids would say about me would be they always knew they could count on me and that together most things seemed possible. Also, that I got to be very present for their lives. I was lucky enough to be at home and to be the one to greet them after school.

Q. When are you the happiest as a parent?

A. I’m the happiest as a parent when our family is all sitting around the table after a meal and we’re laughing our heads off at one of their funny stories! I’ve learned a lot about my kids at that table!

Q. What makes you feel like a “good mom”?

A. I feel like a good mom when I look at my grown children and see what wonderful people they are.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you would share with somebody else?

A. In our home, we almost always ate dinner together every night and it started with joining hands and giving thanks. I think this is so important. I would also say “be patient!” Spills, accidents, etc. are not worth harsh words to a child. Just be patient and give them unconditional love.

KIM MEIER is a chiropractor with Meier Family Chiropractic and mom to Sadie, 10 and Dylan, 7.

Q. What is the one thing you would never tell a new parent about parenting?

A. I would never tell a parent to google for information on their child.  DON’T google it. You can confirm or refute anything on the internet so just don’t go there! Trust your instinct! You know your child better than anybody else.  Nobody else’s child is going to be like your child.

Q. What would be the most gratifying thing your children could say about you when they are grown?

A. She was my best friend. I want to have a relationship with my girls and have good communication.

Q. When are you the happiest as a parent?

A. We love watching the girls succeed. It is so much fun to see them succeed, especially when they have worked really hard on something.

Q. What makes you feel like a “good mom”?

A. I feel like a good mom when I’m calm and focused; when I’m not trying to check the checklist or rushing around to get someplace on time.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you would share with somebody else?

A. Enjoy it! Take the time to slow down and really enjoy it. It all seems to go so very fast.

ERYKA JOHNSON is CEO of High Pursuit, LLC and a Mechanical Engineer for Exxon Mobile. She’s mom to Rodrick, 13, Elena, 10 and Caleb, 4.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you remember receiving?

A. After having my first son, I suffered from exhaustion and often cried because our sleeping schedules were not aligned. Somebody told me to associate bath time with bed time. When I moved bath time closer to bed time, my life changed. He slept, allowing me to find balance.

Q. What is the one thing you would never tell a new parent about parenting?

A. Use every piece of advice you receive from those around you and parenting magazines. No! Get to know your own child and then make decisions best for your family.

Q. What would be the most gratifying thing your children could say about you when they are grown?

A. That I encouraged them to know themselves and God.  I also want them to say that I supported the things they were passionate about and gave them the courage to take action in the face of adversity.

Q. When are you the happiest as a parent?

A. When I see my kids flourishing in their talents, taking action without me asking, and coming up with ideas that I’ve never thought about. I also love it when they entertain me with their sense of humor.

Q. What makes you feel like a “good mom”?

A. When I show up for my kids knowing that I don’t have all the answers but I choose to grow along with them.

Q. What is the best parenting advice you would share with somebody else?

A. There is no one-size-fits-all parenting roadmap because there are more than one type of kid. All three of my kids have different personalities and outlooks on life – one is passionate and super emotional, one is creative and stresses over nothing, and the last one is analytical and very independent. Study your kids and listen to your motherly intuition to provide them with the love and care needed.

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