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Monday, November 2, 2015

Mom of the Month - Jennifer Champion Gerrish

I am really excited to feature this month's Mom of the Month, Jennifer Champion Gerrish! She is a hard working mom, who is laying down the foundation to raise strong, independent, confident young girls! I really admire what she's said about being her kids' parent first, friend second but somehow managing to balance both roles in a positive way for her girls. That's a hard thing to do yet she's doing it! She owns a preschool, shares something she felt guilty about this summer, and is a fellow exclusively pumping mama for TWO years combined with her children!

Thanks for sharing your life with us, Jennifer! You are very deserving of this recognition!

Images shared from Jennifer Champion Gerrish

1. Describe your children in 3-5 words. How did you choose their names? 
Ava Natalie (9 years) - We were having a hard time deciding on a name and heard Ava in a movie and we both instantly loved it! We did have to wait until we saw her before officially giving her the name. Natalie was my grandmother’s middle name, so we passed it on.  

Ava is cautious, yet such a strong willed girl and one of the most caring people I have ever met. Ella Grace (7 years) - This was a name that we thought was beautiful and elegant enough for her to grow with.  We decided on her name much sooner in our pregnancy, as we felt it was important for big sister to be able to form a bond with her “baby.”  Ella is quiet and shy, but fearless and confident in all she does.  

2. How old are your children? How did you tell people you were expecting a baby
Ava is 9 years old.  We announced to my parents, brother, and grandmother during a family dinner.  Ella is 7 years old and we also announced her at a family dinner. 

3. How would you describe your pregnancies? How was delivery, birth and labor for you?
Both pregnancies were good up until my last trimester.  With Ava, I was put on bed rest for the last 12 weeks due to high blood pressure.  That was a long 12 weeks.  With Ella, it wasn’t as bad and I was not placed on bed rest (thank goodness…hard to do with a toddler).  Labor wasn’t bad with either one of them…each was about 13 hours, start to finish.  Pushing was a bit harder with Ava, but only about 25 minutes.  Ella came out in one push!  

4. Describe yourself as a mom in 3-5 words. 
Selfless, creative, confident, fun!

5. What type of mom do you hope your children think you were someday when they're old enough to tell you? 

I hope that someday my kids see all of the hard work that I put into taking care of them and that no matter what is going on in my life, I have always and always will put them first.  I hope that someday I have been the role model that they needed to also become strong women.   
6. What things have you done as a mom that you're most proud of? 
When Ava was about 5 days old, I developed a pretty severe case of mastitis.  We had been having a pretty hard time figuring out the whole “nursing” thing together.  

After getting better, we were still struggling, so I made the decision to exclusively pump.  It was important to me that she get my milk somehow and if it wasn’t going to work the natural way, I was determined that she was still going to get it.  I exclusively pumped for her for 1 whole year!  

When Ella was born, we had the same struggles.  I was heading in the same direction with getting mastitis, so before it really got out of control, I made the decision to once again exclusively pump.  I did it again for 1 whole year!  It was a lot of hard work and not convenient at all, but I did it…all for them!  

7. What have been the most difficult parts to being a mom?
I think that the most difficult thing for me is watching them grow up so fast.  I really do feel like time is just slipping away.  

I feel so blessed to have two healthy children who are growing and thriving, but I just want to be able to make each age and stage last just a little bit longer.  
8. What is your favorite baby/child product(s) that makes your mom job easier? 
I guess the most important product to me was my breast pump -  Hands Free Medela!!! 
9. What advice about being a mom would you give to a brand new mother? 
Enjoy every single moment…even the tough ones.  They will soon be a thing of the past. Oh and sleep as much as you can…seriously! If baby gives you a chance to nap, take one!  Or just lay next to Baby and study every inch of them. One of my favorite memories is just laying with them and staring at them in awe of what a little miracle they were/are! Laundry and dishes and vacuuming will always be there! 

10. What is a typical day like for you? 
6:15 - wake up/shower
7:00 - wake kids up/ get them moving
7:30 - breakfast
8:15 - get kids ready for bus
8:30 - bus stop
8:45 - go downstairs to work (I own a preschool)
9:00 - preschool begins
12:00 - preschool ends/ clean up/ prep for next day
1:30 - lunch
2:00 - daily chores
3:00 - pick kids up from school
3:30 - help kids with homework
4:30 - 7:00 - this varies with different after school activities, but somewhere in between this time we are running around to an activity (soccer, basketball, softball, girl scouts, dance) and eating dinner…sometimes we even get to all eat together!  
7:30 - kids shower/bathe
8:00 - kids in bed
8:30 - lights out for kids/mom gets some quiet time
10:00 - bedtime
Hopefully I get to exercise in there somewhere!!

11. What 5 things would you like to do with your kids someday, if anything were possible and money no object? 
Take them on a family vacation every year, get them a pool, get them a horse or two, buy a family vacation home either on a lake or the beach. 

12. What are 5 things you are grateful for as a mother? 

I am grateful for good health, healthy children, a loving and hardworking husband/daddy for my kids, the ability to provide a good life for my children, and wonderful, supportive parents who have taught me so much of how to be a good mother.  

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. 
Last summer, my youngest daughter fell and shattered her elbow.  We were camping with friends and I had told her that we had about 5 more minutes and to please come sit by the campfire so that I could see her (it was dark and getting late). She was not listening and I didn’t push the issue…4 minutes later she was screaming in pain.  A day later, as we were sitting in the hospital waiting for her to come out of surgery, I remember blaming myself for not being stern enough. A few months after re-living the whole thing over and over in my head, I finally realized that it was not my fault and it was just an accident! It is tough though to see your baby laying in a hospital bed like that and not say to yourself, “If you had just been more firm with her…”

14. What makes you a strong mom? 
I think right now it is the ability to be their friend, but to also let them know that I am their mom first and foremost. My children are getting to the ages where everything is or has a problem, no one can do or say anything right, and everything is just plain dramatic. I have to be pretty firm a lot of the time, while also being sympathetic and aware of the changes that they are or soon will be going through.  But at the end of each day, I am able to lay down with them at bedtime, talk about the good and the bad of the day, and we all go to sleep with full hearts.

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