In these motherhood series I endeavor to share perspectives from mothers of various ages, at various stages in their lives, and parenting. Judi is a strong and passionate mother of two and grandmother of two. She is outspoken, engaging, caring, and fun. Judi’s zest for adventure and values have passed along to her children.
Tell us about yourself
I am a wife, daughter, sister, mom, aunt, and grammy. I have always mothered my dolls, younger brother, other’s children (babysitting, camp counselor, teacher), our children, nieces, dogs, and grandchildren. I have always had a love for early childhood education and pursued degrees through the masters level.
Tell us about your mom, your childhood
As an infant, I am told, I was very active, so much so, that I needed to be pinned into my crib so that I would not climb out. I was apparently a good problem solver.
My childhood was filled with doll play, creative crafts, and lots of outdoor imaginative play. Dinnertime was family time. My mom would prepare iced tea, salad, a vegetable, starch, and protein. When we got hurt there was lots of TLC and bandaides. When we came home from school there was a snack of a big glass of milk with a Hershey’s kiss at the bottom. Our maternal grandparents were always visiting or we visited them. My paternal Grandmother Elizabeth, from Miami Beach, would stay with us for the summer.
What are Evan and Sara like?
Evan has grown into a wonderful, knowledgeable, caring, and responsible son, husband, grandson, brother, and father. Sara has matured into a beautiful, knowledgeable, self-sufficient, responsible, outspoken, daughter, wife, granddaughter, and sister.
What were they like as infants?
As an infant, Evan was alert from the second he was born. He would immediately cry if his dad or I were not the ones holding him. Evan was not the best sleeper, colicky, not requiring much sleep, and needing to be close to me away from his crib. Evan was a very happy, focused baby. He was content and curious about the world around him. At 6 months, Evan started saying simple words like hi and ball. He loved going in the car and seeing everything. He was the fastest crawler and walked at 12 months old. Evan was not a big eater, picking at food here and there and enjoyed nursing.
Sara was a happy, content, and easy baby. She would go-with-the-flow as long as she was with me. Sara would sit, and be very content, at 6 months, enjoying talking to her toys. She had a full vocabulary in sentences by 12 months and she would singing entire songs. Sara loved her crib and sleeping in it. Sara was very focused in her play and could sit with her dolls engaging them in play. Sara was not very advanced in her gross motor skills, preferring to sit, to talk, and play. She walked when it was demanded of her at 15 months. Eating solids was fine for Sara though she also preferred to nurse.
What is one thing that your kids have said, something that surprised, amused or impressed you that sticks out in your mind?
Too many surprising, amusing stories. Both children had imaginary friends that kept us busy. Evan had Stucka & Nancy who lived in Oil Town, and Sara had Sally Rislan & the Patoota.
What has given you the most joy as a mother?
Seeing both children evolve into happy, caring, and self-sufficient individuals.
Is motherhood different than you imagined it? If yes, describe how so.
Not really! I had spent so much time babysitting and reading about child development that there were no surprises. The biggest challenge was overcoming the media-driven perception that all infants sleep all day and the mothers chat and sit around drinking coffee. Evan was born in December and it was very isolating having to stay inside, by ourselves, when it was cold.
Do you think it’s easier or more difficult to be a mother now than when you were raising your children?
I think that it is much more difficult for moms now with social media. Everyone knows what everyone else is doing or how “advanced” someone elses child is. The world is more accessible and there are more stranger dangers.
It is also easier in many ways. There are many external support groups for moms and parent/child programs. Back when I was a new mother, the supermarkets and stores were not open early in the morning or on Sundays. There were no parks with nice playgrounds, so all we could do was walk around our neighborhoods.
What is it like to be a grandmother vs. mother?
Being a mother and a grandmother is a joy! Being a mother is constant “being on high alert” and constantly tired. Being a grandmom is much more relaxing and the grandchildren grow up faster!
Any advice or comments for women who are soon to become new moms?
Get a lot of sleep now and try to relax! Join parenting groups so that you can see that other parents are going through the same things that you are.