We were so excited when Nichole reached out to us via Instagram that she wished she could be interviewed, but she was too far away. We love how moms are responding to what we are doing and want to be involved. The only way we can grow and learn is from people speaking their stories.
We told her that she could be one of our write-ins! Nichole is mom to THREE little ones. The amount of patience it takes to care for one? Times that by three. Nichole seems to handle it with ease, though. We went to Michigan State University at the same time and even worked together at the child development lab on campus. She was kind, so kind, to all the children that she taught. There were a couple of student teachers that came in and out of there and Nichole was, by far, the most liked.
I believe that she was so well liked because of how caring she was to the children. She never focused on one, but spread her kindness to everyone. I can only imagine that she is doing that in even greater amounts to her own children.
Nichole, welcome to the mom of fame, you deserve it!
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 had an incredibly quirky OB with my first born. He had the worst bedside manner but we only had two doctors to choose from in our small town and I was told he was the best. Anyway, on our discharge paperwork he wrote, “By three weeks postpartum, leave the baby with a trusted family member and get dinner with your husband.” Truthfully, I haven’t followed any motherhood advice but that piece I have taken with me over and over. It wasn’t just about getting out of the house; it was about making your marriage a priority. It’s so hard because you have this enormous responsibility in making sure these little humans grow up into decent people but if you devote yourself entirely, they begin to take you hostage. When a friend is having troubles in their relationship, the first thing I ask them is, “When was the last time you had a night away without the kids?” Almost every time they say it has been years or never since the kids were born.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
When I was choosing bridesmaids, my mom questioned some of my choices. She said, “Give it a few years and you probably wont even be friends.” I remember that I was offended and thought, “Come on mom, we’ve been friends for years, why would it change in the next couple years.” Then we got married. Then I got pregnant. And things changed. But this isn’t just a sob story, because the thing is that other friendships really strengthened. And I gained so many new ones; a Mom Tribe that is super strong!
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
Confidence to fail and succeed, independence, and space to grow: We bought our home on nine acres. They are constantly encouraged to explore and test themselves physically. I don’t have to hover. They can be themselves.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
I think that moms have a tendency to downplay the overwhelmed feelings they may have. Like my friend’s baby was born with a condition that is going to require major surgery this summer… but she responds with “Well I should be thankful, it could be so much worse.” We have the right to feel whatever we feel, however often we feel it.
So here is one instance: I have taught first grade for eight years and this year my son began first grade. I found it almost impossible to take off my teacher hat. I’d spend the day trying different intervention strategies with my kiddos, introducing new concepts and skills. Then I’d come home, a bit exhausted, and I’d think “Oh my gosh, [my son] doesn’t know how to do this yet!” I’d listen to him read and mentally I’d be calculating his accuracy and reading level. I think as teachers, we are told over and over by politicians and administration that a child’s academic performance is a result of how effective we are at teaching. So I internalized it to be that his academic performance would reflect how good I was at mothering. This year we had a small miscommunication that I blew out of proportion. I decided right then and there to ask for help, to hire a tutor afterschool so that I could leave work at work, while taking back my evenings of just being mom.
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
I lose and find myself at least every year. Everytime I stop making myself a priority. A coworker asked me shortly after having Easton, “What do YOU like to do for fun? You know, not with the family?” And everything I answered, I realized I hadn’t done in years. I’m actually in the process of finding myself again, lol. A long, nauseating, and emotionally exhausting pregnancy has kind of made me go into a year of hibernation. Time for mama bear to get out of the cave.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
How to wash dishes and do the laundry. Mama could use some help!
What was harder? Going from one to two children or two to three?
No question, one to two. I think the age gaps play a huge role in it though. When [my youngest] was born, his siblings were getting ready to turn 4 and 7. They are so independent and helpful!