Real Mama: Sarah K.

Tell us a little about yourself…

I’m Sarah, age 28 and mama to a 15-month-old little girl, M. I married my best friend from college in 2010. My husband works full time in the agriculture industry and as a farmer on the weekends and sometimes during the week, for farm emergencies. I work full time for the United States Department of Agriculture in the crop insurance industry, and am lucky to work from home on my computer two days a week, which helps tremendously with family life! I enjoy jogging, baking and antiquing in my free time.

Where is home?

Midwest USA- Missouri! The home of Mark Twain, the St. Louis Arch and Kansas City BBQ!

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a working mama?

I think having a support system is important for a balanced life. Without my husband, I would have a house that always looked like a tornado went through it, my budget would be in shambles, and I would have to work different hours. He is amazing and I don’t know what I would do without him. He not only is my better half, he is a wonderful dad. M’s grandparents are Godsends as well. We don’t have close relatives with free schedules in town, but we can count on Grandma K to watch M when needed, even though we have to drive an hour or meet halfway. M’s aunts and uncle are also helpful so we can take quick shopping trips or date nights (if only we could have more of those!) We can always expect cute outfits from Grandma S, and Grandpa S would watch M for weeks at a time if we had a major emergency. Thanks to the grandparents ,we even had a much-needed mama and daddy only vacation.

My own secret to a balanced life is to always prepare for the next day the night before. Pack lunches, lay out clothes, have a list of appointments so we know what our day to day schedule may be. Since we are both working parents, I have a two hour minimum of outside playtime on Saturday mornings to make up for some days when we are swamped and get home late in the evenings.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My own mama is my biggest inspiration to be the best mama I can be. When my sister and I were growing up, she was home shortly after we got home from school and spent time with us. She was a high school teacher so we had all summer together to play outside, garden and farm. Although she worked, I never felt like she was too busy for me and my sister. Thinking back, she probably spoiled us a little. She also encouraged us to try new things like music, sports and 4-H. She pushed us do boring things like apply for college scholarships and have jobs during the summer. I feel very well-rounded because of the time my mama spent with me and the things she encouraged me explore. I want my children to have a similar childhood experience with me as I did with my mama growing up.

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

My favorite advice is to consider all the advice you receive from others, at the end of the day, they are your children and you get to decide the best way to parent for your family. I pass this gem of advice on to other parents. 

This next advice is more for personal comfort. 1) If you have stretch marks use Vitamin E oil; it is so much cheaper and works better than the $80 creams! If you don’t, you can use it on sore nipples. Trust me. 2) BUY.GAS.DROPS.period. Your little baby will thank you when their tiny tummy hurts and you can’t figure out why they are crying.

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

I am in some ways. In other ways I wish I was better. I think it is the Supermom inside of all of us that taps on my shoulder telling me I should be able to do XYZ. I am proud of myself in many ways in that I often have healthy meals on the table, even though they are not 100% from scratch and that I play and teach my little girl things every day. I love being a mama. It is so rewarding to have sweet little kisses planted on your cheek. It is encouraging to hear how great of a mama you are from others and one of the major reasons your husband asked you to marry him was because he wanted YOU to be the mama of his children. Even though not all of us can be Supermoms, we can be the best mama we can be.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I hope to be living closer to my parents or my husband’s parents so we can see them more often. We will be in a bigger house in the country where each of our three kids to have their own room. We will be busy planning how to get the kids to and from school and extracurricular activities.

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

Superpowers? How to pick? I would have super speed so I could clean the whole house and do any yard work in a millisecond. Then I would have the entire day for fun family outings or activities.

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

My birth experience was not what I expected. As most mamas know, not all of the experience is in our control. If I could change anything it would be to have much shorter and a less painful labor. I would not have gone to the hospital numerous times and come home with no baby. I would have gone to the hospital once, for a short amount of time, not needing Pitocin or an epidural, and birthed a beautiful, perfect, baby girl. Everything turned out great in the end, thankfully.

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?

At first I worried about everything. Is she eating enough, having enough dirty diapers, sleeping at the right times, ect.? Now I am pretty laid back. Although I try to keep to our schedule, I make most things work and no longer have to plan around feedings or naps. I think most of this comes with time as the baby gets older.

One thing I thought I’d never do was listen to silly music in the car. Well, I caved and bought a Barney CD from a garage sale. It drives me crazy, but at least I know the words of some kid’s songs. It is amazing how many songs I forgot the lyrics to.

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

I wouldn’t say I have mantra. If we are having some sort of behavior issue or if she is upset, if all else fails, I sing. Most of the time it calms M. If that doesn’t help, I just remember that this is probably a phase and it too, shall pass.

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

Being a mama is a journey. You live and you learn. So never give up, and never hesitate to ask for help because every mama needs some help sometimes.  

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