I am so happy to announce that our May Mom of the Month is Jess Stanwood. She is a rock solid, supportive and wonderful mother to her three babies. She just experienced a scare with a preemie in the hospital (now home safe and sound! yay!), that she got through with dedication and teamwork. She has wonderful ideas about trying (even within herself) to let go and let her kids explore the world, as well as great advice for other moms to do their best. Thanks, Jess, for sharing your life with us. It sounds - and looks (these pictures are my favorites!) - so beautiful!
All photos from Jess Stanwood
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words.
Madelyn is shy, nurturing and entertaining.
Malcolm is talkative, loving and happy.
Mariann is strong, lovable and stubborn.
2. When were your children born and where?
Maddy was born on February 26th, 2009 at York Hospital.
Mac was born on August 21st, 2012 at York hospital.
Mariann was born March 3rd, 2014 at Maine Medical Center in Portland
3. How would you describe your pregnancies?
My pregnancy with Maddy wasn't too bad. I was nauseous the first trimester and gained a lot of weight. I loved being pregnant with Mac, it was a pretty easy pregnancy. With Mariann I had kind of a rough pregnancy. She has a rare blood disorder which required her to have blood transfusions. She ended up having eight transfusions while she was still in utero starting when she was around 23 weeks. Since she has been born she had two more transfusions. She was born via cesarean section when she was 34 weeks old.
This photo above taken by Photography by Kay, York, Maine
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
I had a difficult time trying to answer this one! I guess I would say I'm protective, loving and OCD when it comes to certain things.
5. What type of mom do you hope your child thinks you were someday when he's old enough to tell you?
I hope my children tell me that they always felt loved and safe. I hope they think I was a fun mom and someone they could always trust and confide in.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
I am proud of getting my family through the difficult time we have been going through since December with Mariann. It has been very stressful especially since she's been born. I have been going back and forth to Portland and it's been tough trying to visit her in the hospital, and keep the household intact, (and my marriage intact) without having a complete mental breakdown! Lol,
seriously, it hasn't been easy and I am proud that I have been able to get us all through it the best that I can.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
One of the things I have found to be extremely difficult as a parent is letting go.
It was hard to send Maddy to preschool when she was three. And trusting someone other than family members to take care of her. I am petrified of sending her to preschool in the fall, but I know meeting new people and making new experiences are so important. I just need to work on letting go of my babies.
I also find it difficult to not be overprotective. I've learned that I need to let them fall and make mistakes so they will learn how to pick themselves up.
8. What is your favorite baby product that makes your life as a mom easier?
Pacifiers made my job a little easier. Maddy and Mac used them and every once in a while Mariann uses one, too. They are convenient especially when you're in public and you need your children to not be loud, or prevent a meltdown. My kids have a special blanket too that helps soothe them when they're upset and helps them when we're away from home.
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mom?
There are a few things I would tell a new mom, the first is, you know your child better than anyone. If you think something is off with your child, it probably is. The bond you have with your child is indescribable. I literally wake up randomly right before one of my kids will at night, it's crazy!
Also, use other mom's as resources. Some of my best friends are also moms with children the same age and it's great to bounce ideas off of each other, ask for help,or just vent. I am so thankful for those women.
The last thing I would tell a new mom is, I have learned that I am so much stronger than I ever knew I was. Being a mom is a HARD job. Just when you think you can't handle anymore, and you're doubting yourself, remind yourself that you are a GREAT MOM! Try to tell yourself that as much as you can!
10. What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is I get in the shower at 6:20. Get myself and the kids dressed, fed, and ready for preschool. Leave the house around 7:50 and get there by 8:00. Leave the school by 8:15 and head to Portland to see Mariann. Leave the hospital by 11:30 to go pick up the kids by 12:30. Get the kids from school, come home and put them down for a nap (or rest time for my 5 year old.) when they wake up, have a snack and play until dinner time. Dinner around 5:45, then baths and bed time (they're both in bed around 7:30.) Then it's finally daddy and mommy time for an hour or so! Now Maryann is home from the hospital, too!
11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object?
One thing I would do is buy a plane so I wouldn't have to worry about traveling when the kids are little! Lol. I would want to take them to other countries so they could learn about different cultures. I would love to go to the Disney parks in Florida and take the kids to all of them. I would also love to get an RV and do a road trip across the country and end the trip in San Diego so we could visit Erin Lynch and her family!
12. What are your favorite spring time activities to do with your kids?
We love to go to the playground in the spring time when the winter is finally over! And we love to run around and play with our friends. On Memorial Day we like to plant our vegetables in our garden.
13. Tell us a time where you felt like you failed at parenting... But then realized you truly had not failed, things worked out fine.
My daughter had a hard time with speech when she was younger. I knew when she was around two that she might need a little bit of help because not many people could understand her except my husband and myself. I was a little concerned so her pediatrician gave me the number for a speech therapist. I finally brought her to one when she was about three and a half. It took about a year, but after going once a week, her speech greatly improved and now you wouldn't even know she went to therapy. I used to beat myself up because we should have gone sooner, but everything worked out fine. She is a great kid!
14. Anything else you want to add?
I absolutely LOVE being a mother. It's all I ever wanted to be. Sometimes I think I'm doing a great job, other days I feel like a failure. But I have realized it's the most challenging job to have in the world, but it's also the most rewarding. I love my children more than anything and I wouldn't change one thing about my life.