We both met Lisa when we were going to college at Michigan State University. She is a completely genuine person, has a great sense of humor and has fun wherever she goes. We can tell she is using those same traits to her advantage when it comes to motherhood.
We met her at a park near her house where she says they basically “live” during the summer. Her 2 year old daughter and 5 year old son had to walk right by the playground to come sit with us (basically torture.) But they were good sports and even took a few pictures before they went to go play with their dad. It gave us some time to have a great chat with their mom.
She is a teacher who spends her days taking care of other people’s children (middle-schoolers—scary, right!?) and the rest of her time taking care of her own! We had so much fun interviewing Lisa and found ourselves laughing the whole time. She talked about having her first-born while living away from her family, dealing with medical issues, and how she stays calm amidst the chaos (lots of singing—especially Christmas music)! She is an amazing mom and you can see it on both of her kiddos’ faces. Welcome to the Mom of Fame, Lisa, you definitely 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 think the best piece was when I was told, “the days are long but the years are short”. Because when my son was born he was a hard newborn—he was colicky and had allergies, it was hard. We were up 5 or 6 times a night and I would remind myself of that. Like, this time is long right now but it’s not going to be like this forever. They sleep eventually [laughs]. And now he’s going to kindergarten. I’m like, “oh my gosh, how is he going to kindergarten already!?”
It’s okay to understand that there are hard times and not every day is going to be good. But overall, it’s really great to be a parent.
I would [give that advice to other people]. I think it just reminds you to appreciate the time. It’s okay to understand that there are hard times and not every day is going to be good. But overall, it’s really great to be a parent.
How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?
When I was pregnant with my son not many of my friends had babies and we lived in a different state at the time so I don’t think I really had an example of friends with young kids to watch. I didn’t really know what to expect. I don’t know that I even had a “this is what it’s going to look like”. We were kind of winging it daily. I read all the pregnancy books, but I never read the “now you have a kid” book. Which was probably a mistake. But I’m really happy with our family and how things are. This is how I wanted it to be. I think everything is actually really good. We have a fun time together.
What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?
I’m a pretty calm person. Even when the kids are upset I’m usually pretty calm through it and it helps to calm them down sometimes. Even if I’m kind of flustered I try to remain calm. I read somewhere once to sing to your kids, at times when they’re [upset], especially as babies. I just remember with diaper changes, the kids going nuts on the diaper table and I would just sing. And I read that it was more for you than for them. So sometimes I just sang whatever I wanted! It was a lot of Christmas songs, whatever month it was!
I’m a determined and hard-working person. I think in raising them already I’ve been pretty determined about things. I gave up milk protein because I was really determined to nurse [my oldest]. I feel like that’s a good lesson for my kids; I want them to be determined, hard-working people. I hope that’s a strength.
We have a lot of fun. I feel like we’re always doing stuff. We live [at the park] pretty much. We just always look for fun activities, even if we’re just at home. We do dance parties and “fun wrestling”. I just hope my kids are having a lot of fun because I feel like we are.
Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.
Ohh, let me think [laughs]. I think overwhelmed is when they’ve been medical issues—beyond the daycare colds that they all get.
When it’s totally out of your control and you’re like, “I don’t know how to fix this”. I think all moms just want to fix things. So that’s overwhelming.
We’ve done the hospital visits, stayed overnight at the hospital, we’ve done specialists. [It’s overwhelming] when it’s totally out of your control and you’re like, “I don’t know how to fix this”. I think all moms just want to fix things. So that’s overwhelming. I feel like we’ve generally been pretty calm through it and then afterwards we were like, “oh my God, that was really scary!”
In the day to day, I feel like going back to work when they were babies was an overwhelming time, too. Because both kids went on sleep strikes then. So just working and functioning and hopefully doing good at your job. I think the medical stuff has always been harder, though.
Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?
No! [Laughs]. I don’t know. Free time! And sleep. I don’t feel like I’ve actually slept in five years!
[I’ve gained] everything. This is just my life now. The kids are my life. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?
I want them to learn to be kind people and caring and hard-working. I just want them to know that they’re very loved. We moved back to Michigan so that they could be surrounded by family. So there’s a lot of people that love them and see them. I just want them to know that they’re loved and share that love. I want good people. You want the world for your kids, right?
What was the difference in having your first child in North Carolina (and away from family) and your second in Michigan (with family around)?
It was harder [in North Carolina], for sure. [Our first] was colicky and difficult and we didn’t know what the heck we were doing. We never had a break. The first time we left the house without him was months and months in because we didn’t know who to get to babysit him. It was different because there wasn’t a ton of support. People flew down to see him but then they would go back. I remember when people left the first time I was just crying and my husband went to work too and I was like, “oh my God, everybody left me with a baby here. By myself.”
In Michigan [with my second] we had a lot more support. People came to the hospital to see her. That was nice. I remember in North Carolina my husband had to leave the hospital while I was in labor to go take our dog to the kennel. When he came back I was in *labor*. He was *late*. He went and I was peaceful, and he came back and I was like, “where were you!?” Here, we took [our first] to grandmas and it was no big deal. It was definitely easier, for sure.