Momumental Mothers #9 Rachel

I DECIDED TO CREATE MOMUMENTAL MOTHERS TO CELEBRATE WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE. EACH OF THE WOMEN I WILL FEATURE ARE DIFFERENT, BUT THEY ARE ALL UNITED IN MOTHERHOOD.

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Rachel. Rachel is my younger sister, but she is one of the women I most look up to in life.

Being three and a half years older than her, we were just far enough apart in age that we would fight like cats and dogs and she was incredibly destructive to my toys (she broke my three Barbie houses!). She seemed to hit so many milestones before me that I admit it made me quite jealous at times- she learned to tie her shoes at one and a half years old, she was the first to graduate from college, she married first, had a baby first- you get the picture.

Now that we are adults, my sister is my best and closest friend. She is an amazingly driven person, she is a great mom, she is brave and adventurous, and is so fun to be with. I interviewed her on Saturday afternoon.

How is your family doing this weekend?

We’re all doing well.  I’ve been cleaning house this morning and the kids have been playing. There’s not too much new with us this week.

I picked up Lexi from school yesterday with a 101.2 temperature. She ate almost an entire can of chicken noodle soup and then she slept for several hours even though she said her tummy hurt. I was afraid she would have Strep throat since her brother had it last weekend. 

The two remaining hermit crabs that Tessa received for Christmas are doing good, one, unfortunately, passed away.

Haydn introduced Tess to Minecraft it has been amusing watching the kids interact and play together using their tablets.

Can you tell me about yourself?

My name is Rachel and I am 34 years old. I am a mom of three that is trying to do my best to raise these little people and work full time. I work as a Financial Clearance Supervisor for Children’s Mercy Hospital.

How old are your children?

Haydn is 11, Tessa is 9, and Lexi is 5.

What your normal day like?

On an average day, I wake up at about 5:30 a.m. I go down to my office and turn on the computer to start running my daily reports for work and also begin washing a load of laundry. I then wake everyone else up before packing lunches, sometimes helping with morning showers, and making breakfast. The two older kids walk across the street to school, I drop Lexi off at her school and then come home to start working.

The madness starts again around 4:00 p.m. when the kids are at all home. I will help with homework, help one with trumpet practice, make dinner, make sure the kids each shower, and get them off to bed.

Two is a lot of work and mine are younger than yours, I can’t image the homework stage. But you’ve always been more capable of juggling a lot at once; I don’t know how you were able to finish college and get your master’s degree while your kids were small. I never could have done that.

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You know, as much as I do, that parenting isn’t easy. What do you feel is your biggest struggle as a parent?

I think to be able to be as involved in their school stuff as I want to be is hard. It can be difficult to try to juggle being at three different class parties at a time or to devote enough time to help each with their homework because each kid comes home with something to do. It is hard to cover all of those bases. 

That leads me to my next question. Do you think it is possible for women to have it all and how do you find a work/life balance?

I think they can, but what that means is relative to each woman. In my situation, I have a partner who is able to assist with things around the house and jump in when one of the kids has a homework assignment or cook dinner while I help the kids. But to be able to try to do it all yourself is unsustainable. You need help to make it possible.

I try to make sure that I plan out as much as possible so we do not have any surprises. Whether that’s planning out my week and the kids’ week and lining up everyone’s schedules, sitting out clothes the night before, and having backpacks ready to go in the morning. It is helpful knowing what days I need to go to be early enough so that I can get enough sleep which is important for me.

I try to find me-time, which isn’t something that I have done historically. My me-time might not be what everyone else’s is – I try to go to a yoga class twice a week while everyone in the house is still asleep, take time to read a book, listen to books using Audible while driving downtown, etc. 

OK, a three-part question: What do you think our parents did when we were growing up that helped you to be a responsible and successful adult? What do you wish our parents would have taught or given us that we didn’t have/they didn’t? And what are you doing to try to help your kids? 

Well, with their help I learned to be responsible for myself. As you know, we had a free-range childhood, more so than a lot of “free-range kids” do nowadays.

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That’s for sure. So everyone knows, we grew up in a very small town where we knew everyone. All the kids were “free-range kids” and we probably got into more scrapes than we should have (or that our parents know about!)

Our parents were very big on chores and having us assist them with all kinds of things on the weekends, so I knew how to do pretty much anything and everything before leaving home: how to clean house, to mow the lawn, to change a tire, that kind of stuff.

Remember cutting down that big locust tree with the big two person like lumberjack saw? That was crazy. Or when we helped our grandparents paint Aunt Carrie’s house and we had to be the ones on the roof painting? I was so afraid I was going to fall off!

I guess living and growing up where we did helped to instill life skills so that we were self-sufficient being out on our own as adults. We both got jobs early so that we could buy stuff – toiletries, clothes, gas, and didn’t expect or rely on anyone to get that for us past a certain age.

We didn’t have a lot of rules but were expected to help our parents and grandparents, do work first and play later, and to get good grades.

I wish they would have taught me how to be more financially responsible. They encouraged us to go out and make money but not necessarily how to save it.

Yes, I 100% agree with that. I feel like that is one area that I was definitely lacking skills in when I left home.

But in other ways they did show us that if we worked hard enough we could save for what we wanted- the two Girl Scout trips I took to California and Mexico were both paid for by the whole family pitching in and baking together for weeks at a time to earn the money required.

I still struggle with saving today. We were taught the value of a dollar but not necessarily how to turn that dollar into more dollars.

I try to make the kids do stuff on their own. I know my kids don’t do nearly as much chores-wise as we did, but I think everyone raises their kids differently than they grew up.

I do certainly give them their own chores to do and try to push them to do stuff outside their comfort zone to develop life skills. I give them allowance money for chores that are more labor-intensive and encourage them to save their money instead of spending it so they can get something that they really want. Lots of times they don’t really want anything so they end up saving it.

We try to give them real life examples with life lessons from stuff we did as kids or talk about what is going on in TV programs we watch so they can learn by example and hopefully not make the same mistake.

What is your favorite thing about being a parent and also your least favorite?

My favorite part of being a parent is probably watching my kids grow and and seeing the people that they are becoming… but that’s also my least favoritepart too- seeeing them grow and knowing I having less time with them each day. Time goes by quicker than I like.

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How do you handle everyday stressors? 

I get mad and gripe about it.  I usually vent about what’s making me upset instead of keeping it all inside. My husband and I both work from home so if it is connected to work I usually talk to him about it because he’s the closest- or I talk to one of my work friends.

A lot of times stress sends me into a cleaning fit, honestly, that’s how I work it out.

What are your tips for staying sane each morning getting everyone ready for school and at night preparing for bed?

Sitting stuff out the night before and preparing as much as I can ahead of time to eliminate stress is vital because it is like the domino effect with my kids. Since we have a smaller home it means that we have to have a routine – with one bathroom we each try to use time wisely. someone showers while someone’s doing homework, someone’s picking up, etc. Even though one person can be doing their own thing, they effect everyone else. 

What would your advice for a new mother be?

Probably to not give a crap about how your house looks for the first year of your kid’s life and spend that time with your baby. And be very clear ith your partner about the balance that is needed so you can enjoy that time because it goes by too fast.

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Rachel! If you are interested in being interviewed for my Momumental Mothers series please e-mail me at momminintherealworld@outlook.com!

Sarah
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