A: My name is Alicia and I live in Raleigh, NC. I’m a working mom – I teach in the classroom during the day, and I teach an online class in the evenings.
I am married to one super-awesome stay-at-home-dad/comic-book writer. (We all wear a lot of hats in this house.)
Tell us about your children.
A: We have one child – Miss Petals, age 2. She is smart, hilarious (sometimes downright cheeky), high energy, sweet, and willful. Not only do I never know what she’s going to say, I also am never quite sure how she will react to new situations. She keeps me on my toes!
Tell us about your birth experience.
A: Interestingly enough, everyone knew that it was time for me to have the baby before I did. I was in the library with my students, helping them get started on a research project, when the librarian tells me that I have a very important phone call. I take the phone and one of the hospital nurses tells me that it’s time for me to come in and have my baby. “Umm…no, I feel fine, ” I replied. She informed me that I had some serious preeclampsia symptoms and would need to be induced…and that she’s already called my husband to tell him when she couldn’t get a hold of me. I turned around to see that the office and media staff, who knew that the hospital had called, had already gathered, eyes shining, just waiting for me to tell them the good news…that they knew before I did. Nearly two days and several labor inducing attempts later, the tiny baby was looking at my entire family with confusion.
Did you breastfeed?
A: I breastfed for nine months – and I would have done longer, I think, but the stress of pumping at home and at work was too great. As hard as it is to get away from the classroom for a quick bathroom break, it was even harder to get away for fifteen minutes every few hours. A couple of times, someone even tried to unlock and walk into my classroom, despite the covered windows, the cow sign on the door, and me yelling “SOMEONE’S IN HERE!”.
How do you balance work and motherhood? How do you carve out time for yourself?
A: This is a question that I still struggle with. Occasionally (and I hang my head in shame as I type this) I answer emails or grade papers from my iPhone while the kid climbs on things – or I step outside to make phone calls while she watches Sid the Science Kid.
What is your biggest parenting challenge right now?
A: Having a toddler. Actually, scratch that. Potty-training a toddler.
Who is your child-rearing support group?
A: My family (our families) is (are) very close – and her grandparents, aunts, and uncles are always happy to watch Petals, when they can. Besides that, my husband stays at home with Petals most days (she goes to daycare on Fridays) until I get home from work. Then he leaves for work and I hang with Petals until she goes to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. On Monday and Wednesday nights grandparents come over so that I can actually get work done (grading papers, responding to emails, making parent phone calls, lesson planning, progress reports, online meetings) and the other days we both do the best we can. We’re tired, but we’re making it work.
How do you determine that Petals is well-adjusted?
A: With two-year-olds, it’s hard to tell. Right now, she listens relatively well. She’s becoming more and more independent. She TALKS a ton! She is quite attached to both her father and me. She gives hugs and kisses, she loves school and learning. I think she’s doing okay.
What is the most important value, ideal or philosophy that you want to impart to your children?
A: Her father and I would say we are “spiritual, not religious” – mostly because we want her to listen to and follow the truth that is in her heart, rather than dogma. We want her to know that she’s fantastic – no matter who she is – and to set her moral compass by having respect for life and the lives of others.
What advice would you give to a new mom?
A: You’re probably not doing it “right” – whatever “right” is – but that’s okay, because none of us are. And if you are doing it right, could you give me a call and let me know what that is?
Alicia is a new writer for Baby and Blog! Look out for more content from her in the coming weeks ?