Real Mama: Laura K.

Image by Ellis Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

I was born and raised in the rural pine barrens of south Jersey. I lived all over southern New Jersey until I met my prince charming who swept me away to northern Virginia. I’m 33 years old, married with one son named Logan. I am currently a stay at home mom but have held a variety of occupations. I seem to define “jack of all trades, master of none.” Anything artistic in nature will pull me in and hold my interest for a while, but it seems as soon as it looks like I have a chance to be successful at it, I lose interest and move on to my next challenge.

Where is home?

We are currently living in Leesburg, Virginia. My home will always be anywhere my husband is.

What are your secrets to balancing life as a mama, loving wife, and everything else you can squeeze into a day?

I wish I could say I’ve found the balance. It is a constant struggle and some days I do it better than others. Seems there’s never quite enough of me to focus each day on every aspect the way it deserves. I’m getting better about it, but still not quite there yet. I guess I’ll get back to you when I finally work out the secret.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My husband. He constantly gives so selflessly of himself to his family, constantly strives to be the best husband and father he can be, always puts our needs ahead of his own and always works so hard to provide us with the best life he can. He inspires me to always try harder because he deserves the best wife I can be. His love for our son is endless and it’s been a joy sharing the parenting experience with him. I don’t know how I could have gotten over the hurdles of early motherhood or face the ones ahead without his support in my life.

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

The best advice I’ve been given as a mama is to listen more to my own instincts than anyone else’s advice. Don’t ever let doctors or well meaning friends and family push you around or make you feel bad for acting on your natural maternal instincts.

I’m not sure that this counts as advice, but I believe the best thing I can say to any mama who is lost and struggling is to tell her what a great job she’s doing. That’s the one thing we all need to hear most in those frightening early months of first-time motherhood. It can make all the difference. Sadly, we don’t hear it enough. People are more quick to point out what they think a new mother is doing wrong. And no matter the methods she’s using, I can almost guarantee you she is doing a great job because all any mother wants is to do the best thing for her child.

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

I am the kind of mama I thought I’d be in that I am constantly trying harder to do the best I can for my son. I shower him in a never-ending fountain of love and acceptance and that is exactly what I thought and hoped I’d do. But in the details and various parenting choices, no, I am not a whole lot like I thought I’d be. But then the entire experience of becoming and learning how to be a mother hasn’t been exactly how I’d imagined. In general, it has knocked me on my behind and humbled me. I look back and laugh at the girl I used to be with all the plans and judgements about a life she really knew nothing about.

Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

It’s cliche and often repeated by many but I need to tell myself all the time that “this too shall pass.” That goes for the good and the bad times. It’s all so fleeting. So I use this mantra to give me the strength to get through a difficult time because I know there will be an end in sight soon. And I use it to remind myself to stop and savor the precious moments because they will be over before I know it. Don’t take anything for granted.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Other than happily married and with an 11-year-old son, I honestly have no clue where I’ll be in ten years. I have always lived my life going where opportunity takes me and being open to all the possibilities of that.

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

I would love to have lunch with Frida Kahlo. She had such a fascinating creative mind and was such a powerful female force in the world at a time when that was not easy to accomplish. She overcame so much in her life. I’d love to discuss her strength and artistic visions with her.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

I believe I do have a super power, my body created a human being and then created the food and nutrition to help that person grow at amazing speed into the strong little man I see today. Pretty incredible in my eyes. But it’d also be nice to be invisible any time I want to be.

Was your birth experience all that you had hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

My birth experience was nothing like what I had hoped it’d be, other than that it resulted in a healthy baby. I had worked together with my husband toward a natural birth for many months, but Logan had other plans. He was breech and I ended up with a c-section. I think that was my first lesson in motherhood; that all my planning, research, and decision making is nothing if my baby does not want to cooperate.

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

The biggest shift I’ve noticed in my mothering over the course of the past year and a half is how much less I worry now. In the beginning I wanted so much to get it “right.” I researched and agonized over finding the answer for the best way to do something. Then I’d agonize even more when that chosen method failed to work for my baby’s personality style. I worried about what others were thinking of my choices and parenting. Over the course of time that all slipped away. I still care about doing the best I can for him but I now realize there is no right or wrong way. There is no manual on my child specifically. So I take advice and information and try things out but no longer beat myself up if the expert advice didn’t work for us.

There isn’t enough room here for me to list all the things I swore I’d never do before I had a baby. I learned how to be open to possibilities and to understand that I am not always in control of everything so I don’t always get to make the choice for how we are going to do things.

Anything else you’d like to share with the Mama Say What?! audience?

It’s the group of women behind Mama Say What?! to whom I owe a large part of my sanity and my success as a mother. Their support, advice, and friendship has been the best source of parenting inspiration I could imagine.

2 Responses to Real Mama: Laura K.

  1. I love your advice and your beautiful family!

  2. Some beautiful and profound advice in here for all mamas. Thank you for sharing!

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