In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Brandi is a thirty-something mom with a master’s in special education. She is energetic, passionate, caring, committed, and a great friend. One of the things that she and I have is our common love of family. Her little boy Ethan is a joy.
Tell us about yourself
While verbosity has never been an issue, I struggle immensely when trying to write about myself. I was born and raised in Philadelphia and was lucky to have an amazing childhood. My parents worked hard to provide for my younger brother and me while instilling their morals and teaching us the importance of loved ones.
After college, graduate school, and a few career paths, I landed myself the perfect teaching job – I was a special education teacher in an affluent private school. Although I had taken a salary cut for this job, my husband reassured me that this position was worth it and I couldn’t agree more. My goal at the time was to spend sometime as a classroom teacher then work my way into a leadership position, either at a school or in a consultative position.
While 8 months pregnant with my son, Ethan, I learned that due to budgetary cuts I would not have a job the following school year. I never envisioned myself a stay-at-home mom. While I was not a 9 to 5 career woman, I had worked very hard to put myself through graduate school and find a job that I truly loved. As I begin to enter my third year in my stay-at-home mom position I’ve learned to embrace this career.
Tell us about your mom, your childhood
My mom is an amazing woman, and one of my best friends. It took me into adulthood to truly appreciate my mom and look past a lot of our differences. Anyone who has met my parents will be quick to say that I have my father’s personality – outgoing, assertive, passionate, and stubborn. While my mom shares some of these traits she is extremely non-confrontational, a pushover, and incredibly sensitive. Those differences have caused us to butt heads for decades. Even in my mid 30’s I still tend to hurt my mom’s feelings more often than I probably should but I have learned to be more patient with her, and apologize (even when not necessary) just to appease her. In the end, she’s my mom, my confidant, my teacher, my cheerleader and my friend.
What is Ethan like? What was he like as an infant?
Anyone that meets my 3 year old son is quick to comment on both how personable he is and how much of a handful. Ethan is now just like he was as an infant — curious and busy. He is an incredibly vivacious child, lighting up any room he is in. He is quick to make friends, and small talk with anyone around. With the flip of a switch Ethan is also rapidly exploring the world around him. He has very few fears and spends much of his time testing limits and experiencing all that life has to offer (regardless of how dirty or dangerous it may be).
What is one thing that Ethan has said, something that surprised, amused or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?
As I already mentioned, Ethan’s personality and happiness are quite infectious. He constantly surprises me with how much he pays attention and takes in everything he sees, feels, and hears. The biggest shocker was after just nine days at preschool camp he came home reciting the “Pledge of Allegiance” — my husband, Andrew, and I were amazed.
What has given you the most joy as a mother?
Seeing how happy Ethan is, always. I am lucky to have a child who is (almost) always happy!
Is motherhood different than you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.
Not really. I’ve embraced every minute of it so far and look forward to what joys it will continue to bring me.
Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?
Accept chaos. I am very type A; I like order, control and become anxious when I lose either. Since becoming a mother I’ve learned to let go. New moms need to know that no one expects you, or your life to be perfect. Most days will not go as planned. Germs are okay. Kids will get hurt. Just remember that as long as you, your child(ren), & your partner/spouse have made it through the day, that no one is in imminent danger, and you haven’t broken any laws, consider it a good day. Let go of any expectations you had of parenthood and embrace these new amazing adventures!