Real Mama: Joy Leap

This mama is really awesome! Well, I might be biased— she is MY mama. And she’s one of the most loving, compassionate people I know. One thing about my mom is that she definitely wears her heart on her sleeve, and as a result, everyone she meets knows all about how incredibly proud she is of her grandchildren, my babies. She’s an amazing grandmother. She has some really great advice here- read on!

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Joy. I am 54 years old. I have been married for 29 years. I have one child, a beautiful daughter. I also have a great son-in-law and two of the most incredible grandchildren ever! I live near Clearwater in Florida. I love to read, I do not like to cook, and I love beaches and pools!

Where is home?

I grew up on Long Island, NY, and lived there until approximately 12 years ago when we moved to Florida.

What kind of mama/grandma do you consider yourself to be?

I HOPE I am the best!! But when I look back and see the beautiful, considerate, kind and loving person my daughter is today, I have to say, “I did a pretty good job!”

As a grandmother, I don’t think I am doing so bad either! Even though my daughter and her family live in Germany, and we are in Florida, we Skype just about every day, sometimes two or three times a day! My two-year-old granddaughter and seven-month-old grandson seem excited to see Grandpa and me when we Skype! I spent a month in Germany with them when my grandson was a newborn and we had lots of fun playing, reading, and going places!

Are you the kind of grandma you thought you’d be?

Yes, I think I am. Although I would love to have my grandchildren live closer to me so I can see them every day, babysit and spoil them more!! Other than that, yes, I AM the grandma I thought I would be.

What’s the best part about being a grandma?

Everything is the BEST about being a grandma!

  • That MOST INCREDIBLE feeling when you see your grandchild for the first time!
  • You can SPOIL your grandchildren more than you ever did with your own children.
  • When my granddaughter calls me “Gramma”
  • When they say, “I love you!”
  • Their smiles when you walk into a room.

How did your mothering evolve from early newborn days throughout your daughter’s childhood? Is there anything you did in your approach to motherhood that you swore you’d never do?

I remember when my daughter was first born, it was very exciting! My mom came and stayed two weeks with us (she lived approximately four hours away). It was actually fun getting up at all hours of the night to feed and change her, but that was because I knew my mom was there if I needed any help whatsoever. After my mom left and my husband went back to work, I cried. All of the sudden, I realized this little person was totally reliant on ME! After the initial shock wore off, I think I managed pretty well. I did learn that it is okay for a child to cry sometimes and not to always give in to them – which I was doing at first.

As for things that I swore I would never do – there are a few sayings my mother used to always say to me that I found myself repeating without even realizing it.

Every age was different and wonderful in its own way, and every age had new challenges, with the same constant, keeping my child’s need ahead of ours. There is nothing more satisfying than to make sacrifices for your child and see the benefits from it!

With her newborn daughter, Cassie

How does your parenting differ from your daughter’s parenting?

Oh, if we were compared to parenting in this day and age, I did EVERYTHING wrong! haha. Seriously, I did not have the internet to look everything up and ask questions of other people on blogs such as Mama Say What?!; I went with how my mother taught me, which was learn from experience, use your best judgment and your “mother’s instincts.” I can always rely on my husband for anything. And I asked my very good friend and neighbor who already was a mother! All of that advice and instinct worked for me!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I would have to say my mother and my very good friend and neighbor at the time were the biggest influences. My husband was a BIG influence, even though we BOTH were new to parenthood. I also had friends who were mothers who gave me some good advice.

Joy with her own mama

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama or a grandma? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, that you’ve given as a mama?

Truthfully, the best advice on being a mother that I received was to use my instinct, although I got A LOT of advice from friends, co-workers, etc. My advice: always put your child’s needs ahead of yours, which we still do even though she is an adult!

If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive), who would it be?

My favorite actor is Clint Eastwood and my favorite artist is Prince – so either one would be great!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The superpower I would like to have would be to FLY! This way I would be able to go to Germany whenever I wanted to see my grandchildren!

Is there anything else you wish to share with the Mama Say What?! audience?

When you become a mother, it can be overwhelming! Go with your instincts, but at least listen to any advice you have received from your mother, grandmother, an aunt, your friends, etc.

As for becoming a grandmother, well, the feeling is very different from becoming a mother – but it definitely is a miracle, and one of the MOST WONDERFUL feelings you could ever have! 

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