Morgan is one of those amazing, hard working, dedicated, totally sweet moms who has everything together - yet is real enough to show the ups and downs also that come with parenting. She has overcome so much to be where she is now - teenage pregnancy, adjusting to being a stepmother. She does it all with grace, perseverance, patience and determination. I admire her!
Thanks for sharing your life, Morgan! LOVE how you named your son :)
Images taken by Photography By Kay, York, Maine
1. Describe your children in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names?
Carlie - spunky, sweet, tender, and fun
Lily - Sassy, sensitive, adventurous, and loveable
Noah - spitfire, energetic, independent, a snuggler
Carlie is my stepish daughter, so I didn't have a part in naming her.
Lily's name is Lillian, and we wanted a good, classic name, that would look professional on a diploma, resume. We found her name looking through a name book.
Noah was named at the hospital, 56 hours after he was born, and just as the notary was leaving. We ended up picking his name out of a hat, and let our top 4 names (that we came up with that morning), drop on top of him, and whichever name landed, face up, the most out of 5 times, was his name. We have it on video.
2. How old are your children? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby?
Carlie is 10.
Lily will be 8 soon.
Noah is 4.5
With Lily, I got pregnant my senior year of high school. I told my two best friends, right away. Telling my parents was super, super hard. I sat my mom down, and told her. There were a lot of tears, and a lot of anger. It was hard. My mom ended up telling my grandparents. I told my dad, and he was very supportive, and it was a different reaction than my mom.
With Noah, we both told our own families. Jeff showed his family the ultrasound picture, and I asked my mom how she would do babysitting three kids. Both families were very excited!
3. How would you describe your pregnancies? How was delivery, birth and labor for you?
With Lily, it was a good pregnancy. I gained more weight than I'd ever want to, but I was healthy, and so was the baby. Birth and labor, were brutal. I went in to be induced on a Monday morning at 7am, and she was born Wednesday morning at 3am. She ended up being face up, which resulted in a lot of back labor, and I was trying my hardest to not get an epidural, and as soon as I got it, wished that I got it 24 hours earlier! I pushed for 35 minutes, falling asleep in between pushes, and ended up with 7 stitches, and my beautiful girl with a full head of hear, was born. She wasn't crying, and it scared the life out of me, her father left my side, and went to hers. After about 45 minutes, and a lot of tests, she was handed back to me and was told she was healthy, just didn't want to cry!
With Noah, I was super active, and gained way less weight than with my daughter. It was a very healthy pregnancy. He was due on December 30th. He was a breach baby at 38 weeks, and we planned to have a c-section at 39 weeks. I went in the morning of my c-section, had an ultrasound, and he was head down, so we went home. I said that I didn't want him to come on Christmas, and that if he did, he was going to be born in our jacuzzi tub upstairs, but we made it through. It was snowing on the 27th, and when Jeff went to plow at 5am, I jokingly said to him I'm going to call you in a couple hours saying I'm in labor. I woke up two hours later, my mom called me all worried that I was stuck at home in a snowstorm. We talked for a little while, and she ended up asking me if I was in labor because it sounded like I was having contractions. I called my midwife, around 8, called Jeff to tell him to come home once he was in a good spot to leave plowing. I called him 45 minutes later telling him that he needed to come home right then or the baby was going to be born at home. He came home, and off to the hospital we went. I still wasn't in a lot of pain, and could walk and talk no problem. The nurses said my contractions were probably strong braxton hicks, and hooked me up to the montior, 20 mintues later, they moved me into a room and I was 4cm. My midwife got to the hospital, shortly there after, I asked for an epidural, as I didn't want to experience labor like I had the first time, and my back was starting to hurt, and was told that I was 8cm, and it would be about an hour before I could get someone to give me an epidural. I said, lets break my water, turn on the tub, and cancel the epidural, I wasn't going to last an hour. 90 minutes later, and after 11 minutes of pushing, and some of the scariest 30 seconds when he got stuck, my huge 10 lb baby boy was born! He came out screaming, and crying, and healthy as could be.
4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words.
I would have to say that I'm a loving, supportive, fun, and down to business kind of mom. Everything I do, I have a purpose.
Images from Morgan Leeman
5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they're old enough to tell you?
I really hope that they know that everything I did, even when they didn't like it, that I did it to make them a better person. I hope that they understand that there were times where we could have all the fun in the world, and bend the rules, but they needed consistency, and guidelines. I'm not sure what kind of mom that would make me, but I hope that they know that I was the best mom that I could've been.
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of?
Grow. I love how much I have grown, and learned since the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter.
Being a parent is the best time to grow, and see the world how it's truly meant to live. I don't know what I'd do without all of them. Every single day is new, exciting, and a chance to be a better person.
7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
The fear. The fear of what type of people they will be as adults. The fear that they have fear. The fear that something horrible will happen to them. The fear that they're going to get hurt really bad one day, and I won't be able to take that pain away. The fear that they're not learning what they're supposed to be, about school, about themselves, about life, and that I'm not completely sure how to teach them everything that they will need to know.
8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier?
A good stroller, my phil and teds vibe and my bumbleride indie are my favorite strollers ever.
A good diaper bag,any one that works for you!
A boppy or any nursing pillow
A good breast pump. I loved my medela.
Diaper genie, I used it for about 3 years!
A pack n play with a changing table built in!
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother?
Just relax, enjoy the late nights, the snuggles, the grunts, the smells. I'll never forget the way my kids smelled when they were little. Do what works for YOU and your family. What worked for your best friend, mother, aunt, sister, may not work for you, it doesn't mean that you failed, it means you have different needs, it means that your baby has different needs. Everything is also a phase, the sleepless nights, don't last forever, the sore boobs, don't last forever, the deep belly laughs every day, don't last forever.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is different for us, depending on what kids are here but it goes something like this.
6 am - alarm goes off
6:30 - I get out of bed, let the dog out, feed the dog, brush the dog, go get the kids up if they're not up already, jump in the shower, get ready, feed the kids breakfast.
8 - Start to leave the house, drop kids off at school, go to the post office, go to the office, go to the bank, run more errands if needed.
12- pick up my son at preschool on tuesdays and thursdays
12:30 - Eat lunch, do dishes, start a load of laundry, vacuum the floors, switch laundry, pick up the piles that have accumulated over the last 24 hours, start making dinner
5:30 - Eat dinner, as a family. Pick up from dinner, then bedtime starts, teeth brushing, bedtime stories, lights out by 7:30 (6:30 lately for Noah).
8 - Do dishes, switch laundry again, pick up the rest of the toys around the house, pack snack/lunches/bags for the next day, figure out what errands and appointments I have coming the next day.
9/10 - Sit down and watch TV for an hour, or go to bed. I try to fit in at least an hour for myself every day, without being exhausted the next day!
11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object?
1. I would like all 5 of us to go to Disney and have it be the trip of a lifetime. It would be a 2 week long trip, in April, and we'd stay at the grand floridian, and just do everything imaginable there.
2. A cruise to anywhere.
3. A roadtrip, where we rent an RV, and just drive across the country, seeing the entire world.
4. Take them to Europe, and see how other parts of the world live and function.
5. Hawaii. I'd love to take them to see volcanos, and the beaches, and the sunsets.
12. What are your favorite summer outings, events, plans, trips, etc. you like to take your family on? Tips for making the most of your summer with kids?
I love trolley rides, and beach days, and beach nights. I love the parades, the fireworks, the cookouts. Summer is super hard for us to go on vacations because of the Landscaping business, so we make the most out of our town, and surrounding areas.
The biggest tip I have to make the best out of your summer, is don't say no. If the kids ask you to have ice cream for lunch, or stay an hour longer at the beach instead of doing laundry, DO IT! The laundry can wait, it will be there tomorrow, the memories, won't be.
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 son is crazy, rolled over at 6 weeks, crawled, stood up and started to cruise furniture at 6 months, was taking steps at 10.5 months. He used his teeth, to start pulling up on the couch. But when he was 4 weeks old, and hadn't gained an ounce since we left the hospital, I got scared. As soon as I started to give him formula, he started to gain weight. I so wanted to nurse him as long as possible, and when I realized that it was ME causing him not to gain weight, I broke down. I couldn't get over the fact that I was preventing him from growing because of my own personal goals. But I slowly weaned nursing and pumping him, and by 3 months, he was 100% on formula. He was fine, he IS fine, and happy and healthy. I will never let my own goals get in the way of my children, ever again.
14. What makes you a strong mom?
Lily. And I'll never admit it to any of the other kids, but she is singlehandedly the one that makes me strong. I fought for her, when I was 17. I had people give me looks, talk about me behind my back, people STILL talk about me behind my back because I got pregnant in high school. She showed me that anything is possible if you try, and if you fight for things that you want. I wanted her to have a good life, I want her to have the best life possible, and she's had a pretty damn hard life for being almost 8 years old, and it kills me, but if I'm not strong for her, and show her that if you put one foot in front of the other, you will see the other side of it, then she'll never learn that. Over eight years later, and I am still fighting for her every single day. Now it's not to say that my son and Carlie don't make me strong, because they do, but the things that I have gone through with Lily, are never things that I want any of them to have to go through, but without Lily, I would not be the person that I am today, and I wouldn't know what I am capable of going through and surviving. Lily is my strength, and what keeps me going, every single day.