Sitting down with Cat was a breath of fresh air. There was a big difference sitting down with a ‘seasoned’ mom, with older children, compared to brand new moms. It was our first time hearing humor in all the answers. That could be because of Cat’s personality, or it could be because she is out of the ‘baby phase’ and can enjoy motherhood differently than a new mom.
She is a mom that goes by the beat of her own drum (in a very good way). She has personality for days and that definitely rubs off on her daughters.
Although very different, so much of what she said is still the same. Mothers love unconditionally and they would do absolutely anything for the happiness of their children. We appreciate the candidness and openness in which Cat spoke. This is mothers helping mothers in action.
Welcome to the ‘Mom of Fame’, Cat. You deserve it (esp. with those two crazy girls).
What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?
I got so much advice over the years. Okay, I’m going to say to enjoy every minute because it goes by too fast. And you hear that all the time. But I feel like you can’t take that totally to heart because not every moment is enjoyable. Right? So I feel like I always got that piece of advice when I was at the store. I was wearing a baby and there was molten diarrhea coming out of their onesie. And there’s always an old lady, “enjoy every minute it goes by too fast!” [laughs].
I would totally give that piece of advice, but I would take away every moment. I would just say enjoy it, it goes by too fast because you can’t enjoy every moment.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
How is it different? Hmm…I don’t know! These are really hard questions! I think it is a lot more instinctual. Does that make sense? More primal. Like you become a mom and all of the sudden you’re just worried about everything. And you make different decisions than you think you would. You’re way more protective than you ever thought you would be. You love more than you ever thought you could.
And there are so many elastic waistbands [laughs]. I promised I wouldn’t be the mom wearing the yoga pants all day. But, yeah, I’m wearing an elastic waistband right now!
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
[Tries to ask husband]
My looks are number one. [Laughs] No, I’m just joking!
Sense of Humor
That would be one of my strengths. I feel like that’s the superglue that holds us together, is laughter.
I can be very creative. We’re always doing fun art projects. I let the girls play with power tools. And if they want to create something I totally give them everything they need to do that.
I let the girls see every emotion that I go through. And we talk about our emotions all the time. I know a lot of moms that want to put on a strong face to their kids, and I just let it all hang out. So I guess that’s a strength.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
Oh my God, every day! Every day of my life is overwhelming [Laughs]. There are so many overwhelming moments. Like you bring home a human baby without an owner’s manual and that alone is overwhelming. Then suddenly the baby becomes a toddler and you have to keep her from eating dog food and falling down the stairs. Then that toddler becomes a three year old who is basically a rabid wild animal. Then all of a sudden you’re kissing your five year old goodbye as they walk into kindergarten for their first day and you’re overwhelmed with the task of letting go. In the blink of an eye, you’re sitting at conferences and the teacher tells you that your eight year old is the one who includes the lonely child in their play or invites them to their lunch table and the way that makes your heart feel is overwhelming. Every stage has had overwhelming moments, both good and bad.
I think the most overwhelming time for me was when I had a toddler that was potty training and an infant that I was still nursing and going out to places. Because, without fail, I would have a cart full of groceries and I would be checking out. Then my toddler would be like, “I have to go it’s an emergency!” And then the baby would start screaming because she was hungry. Then the old lady would be like, “enjoy every minute…” [Laughs]. That was overwhelming. I remember always just being drenched in sweat. Like I said, every stage has overwhelming moments, but that was definitely a phase that I can remember being very overwhelming. Everyday.
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
My sense of style. Seriously [laughs]. I think I lost of lot of bad qualities, maybe. Another thing I’ve lost? Probably just freedom. Being able to walk out of the house and not think about where my kids are, what time I have to get them.
I think [I’ve gained] the real experience of unconditional love. My kids could do anything and I would still love them. Like, they could do really bad things and I would still love them. I think I’ve gained that. I’ve probably gained more of a respect for my intuition. Listening to my instincts.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
Oh god. These are heavy.
Kindness because that is one thing we’re working on. If we’re in Kroger and somebody is not checking out our groceries very fast we are not the kind of people who stomp our feet and ask them if we can go faster. I teach them, if they don’t have a bagger, you go to the end of the cart and you bag our groceries. And you treat people like people, no matter what they’re doing.
I try to teach them that it’s perfectly okay to not fit in to every group. It’s okay to have a small circle. I don’t want them to lose themselves on a journey to gain friends or popularity. With my oldest heading to middle school next year, I think it might be one of the most important lessons for her. I know the water is going to get choppy but I want her to be comfortable standing alone if she needs to.
What do you think makes you different from other moms?
Everything. I will never fit in [laughs]. No, but in a good way. I feel like I’m that puzzle piece. Like you try to put it in and it’s just a little bit off. Always. And you’re like “it kinda fits, but it’s just a little bit different”. So I feel like I just kinda go to the beat of my own drum. And that’s just kinda the adult I’ve become. The mom I’ve become.
I think, especially as I become more seasoned as a mom, I’ve become more like “whatever”. People are going to think what they think. Especially living [where we live] being surrounded by maybe more materialism than I would like. I am the mom that shows up with sawdust on my pants, a bun with paint in my hair and I’m like, “whatever, this is me”. And I think that’s good for the kids to see. But I think that’s how I’m different. Maybe, I’m just totally fine being totally weird.
For example, at conferences one year, I was presented with a final writing piece that my third grader wrote. The entire story was centered around me bringing my remote-controlled fart machine on a girls’ wine weekend!! I can’t remember the title, but it was probably something like “Mom’s Weekend with Farts and Wine!”. I guess things like that make me different as a mom but I’m glad that my kids see me being confident and having fun just being who I am.