Crissy C.I met Crissy on one of the most scariest days of my life. The first day of high school. I was brand new to the area and she was starting public school for the first time. We both had PE first period and I sat next to her on the gym benches. She has been my partner in crime ever since. We have been through it all together. The good times (and man were there some good times) and the bad. Back in high school, out of the girls in our little group, Crissy was the one who we all knew would be a Mom. She was just made for the role. She has always been motherly. Even in college when we lived together Crissy was usually the one who made us dinner. Her lemon chicken is amazing. She was just meant to be a Momma. She is now the Mom to a beautiful boy named Eli. She claims she didn't name him after me, but I know she did.
And today is her BIRTHDAY!!!
Here is my interview with Crissy, or as I call her Sam....
Are you a Nap Nazi? Stickler for routine and schedules
I am surprisingly not big on routine with Eli. I always imagined myself to be super structured as a mother, but honestly I just prefer to roll with the day as it comes because I feel like trying to remain on a rigid routine just stresses me out and ultimately leaves him stressed too. I try hard to give some semblance of a nighttime routine when we are home, but I totally believe in being flexible too so we aren’t chained to the house each night after long days at work. We like to get out at night at least a few times a week and grab dinner or stroll though a store. If that means abandoning a perfect routine then I can accept that. In fact being mobile is sometimes good for Eli because he can be very wound up at night, making routines like pulling teeth.
I guess I am most surprised at how the experience of being a parent can be so amazing and fulfilling, while at the same time so incredibly exhausting and draining…It takes all I have each day to be a working mother just trying to keep all the balls in the air, and still trying to be a “good enough” mom and wife. I suppose I just never thought about how hard that would be until I was living it. It’s worth every minute though to be Eli’s mama.
Is your partner the type of parent you imagined them to be?
Since I was a step-mom to two great girls before introducing Eli into the world, I did have the unique opportunity to see Phill as a father before becoming parents together. I must say however that being a father to a son has shown me different sides of my husband…some a bit surprising. Let’s just say I never imagined what it would be like to be raising a boy and a man-child!! Thank God the dogs are girls or I would be severely outnumbered on a daily basis….
We took forever to decide on a name that we both could agree on, and that the girls weren’t opposed to. That was not easy trying to please everyone. The day that we went as a family to pick up Eli’s crib from the store was the day that I tossed out the name “Eli” to Phill and the girls. It was the first time no one had anything negative or sarcastic to say about one of my name choices. The girls had been great for pointing out all of the possible nicknames that may come of a particular name choice. The criteria for me were that the name have positive meaning, and not be a candidate for a shortened version that ends in “y.” (No offense to the many great guys I know with names ending in “y”) (haha pointing and laughing at you Joey!!)Anyway, when Eli seemed to be an easy crowd pleaser to Phill and the girls I knew that we had a winner. The name means “Faithful one” which has obvious value. We went into the crib store and I solidified the choice by buying the letters E-L-I to hang on the nursery wall. That was it and no one was going to change my mind. (She left out the part where Eli is a boy verison of Elissa. Just saying)
Did you enjoy pregnancy?
My pregnancy was great in the sense that baby and I remained healthy throughout with no morning sickness. However, it got rough for me at about the sixth month because I developed an issue that required weekly chiropractic appointments to keep me able to walk without pain. That sucked!! I loved the being pregnant part though. I felt so blessed…. as big as a house, but still very blessed.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received?
“Just listen to yourself because you know your own child the best.”
What is your parenting philosophy?
To forgive myself for whatever I must be doing wrong, and enjoy as many of the simple pleasures of being his mother that I possibly can… I believe that you can’t love a kid too much so I indulge him often, hug him a lot, talk to him about anything he wants to talk about, make time for him when he wants my attention, and try to somehow instill tiny values in everything we do along the way…balanced with an occasional meltdown by mommy and/or Eli. I do the best I can to be his rock and his friend, and I hope it always stays that way.
When you were 16 did you imagine your life would end up where it is now?
In so many ways this is exactly what I thought my life would be when I was 16, and in some ways it’s really different. I remember always wanting a family and a stable home life. I knew I wanted to be a mother and a wife, and I knew I would treasure those experiences. I also knew that I dreamt of being successful in a career too. Why didn’t anyone tell me that the balance of being a wife, mother, and professional was nearly impossible to achieve? This is hard work ladies!!! Somehow I think that I had a fairy tale version of my current reality in mind when I was 16.
What is the ideal Mother’s Day gift?
My first mother’s day, May 10th 2009, was also by birthday. That was pretty cool and hard to top!! This year I feel like the perfect gift would be the opportunity to get ready for the day in private with no 3 year old eyes on me…followed by lot’s of hugs from Eli…and a relaxing day where I can truly enjoy being a mom.
How do you keep the romance alive in your relationship after kids?
This is such a loaded question… and I’m sure Phill and I would have much different responses I find this romance thing very challenging these days. It has nothing to do with how much we love one another, but just the simple fact that we have so few opportunities to be alone. Even those times when we carve out some time as a couple, we still find ourselves in “parent mode.” I know that I try to pay attention to needing couple’s time, but as a working mom I also feel so guilty when I have to leave Eli behind even if that means being alone with Phill. It’s also so hard to feel romantic when you barely have time to remember who you are as an individual, much less as a wife. I know we are still doing our best to make time for our relationship, and to get to a place where we can also focus on us as a couple.
How did having kids change your marriage/ relationship?
It totally did change things because before Eli we had so much time to be with one another. We took for granted all those lazy Sunday afternoons, times when we could cuddle on the couch and days when we would sleep in and never get dressed at all. We laugh about those days sometimes... Now we wake up whenever Eli wakes us (day or night), we have to alternate whose turn it is to shower and get ready, and poor Phill has to contend with the fact that Eli breaks us apart each time he sees us get too close because he wants his mama all to himself. Yes, things have changed quite a bit around here. It’s all wonderful though in its’ own way. I can’t imagine changing a thing because Eli keeps things interesting and reminds us why our relationship together means so much.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Eli loves a good movie… I really enjoy those times when he is calm and we can all sit and curl up with a movie and popcorn on the couch. He picks some good flicks too. We are bringing back the classics around here…”Free Willy,” “Karate Kid,” “Andre,” and “Wizard of Oz” to name a few. I mostly love the quite times just before I tuck him into bed when he tells me a long-winded story, hugs me goodnight, wipes off my kiss, and then tells me how much he loves me and how lucky he is. He thanks me almost every night for “building him such a pretty cool room.” Those little conversations that only mommy and Eli share mean so much to me and show me what an amazing little person he really is.
What was your favorite book from childhood?
Never was much of a reader…as my true friends will know. But the book, “Corduroy” comes to mind. The bear comes to life in the department store at night and has all these adventures. I always did, and sometimes still do, dream of getting locked in a department store (preferably Macy’s) at night. How great would that be?
How do you deal with discipline in your house?
I believe in delivering discipline with the balance of talking it out. Spanking just isn’t my first choice… and letting him know why he got in trouble and how to make a better choice is my primary goal. I always try to talk to him about the behavior that got him in trouble to begin with, and I let him know the consequences for the action before he makes a choice. I really do try to follow through with what I say. It is just as important to follow through on negative consequences, as it is to keep a promise… I want him to know I am serious and honest with him no matter if things are negative or positive.
Do you have a picky eater? How do you handle that?
Eli is a very simple eater. He rarely wants to take a risk and try something new. The selection of Eli-approved meals is slim and he takes forever to complete a meal because he is so distracted by life. I do grow impatient with how long feeding him can take. I just try to work with him to get in as many nutritious foods as I can, even if that means unconventional meals and chaotic mealtimes.
What is your favorite meal to make for your kids?
Eli loves mama’s Chocolate Chip cookies and I love to make them for him!! He proudly bites into the cookie and says, “My mama made this cookie for me and its good.”
Where do you go first when you need parenting advice?I usually consult my trusted Social Worker peers because they are the ladies that I encounter most often each day. When it’s serious though I call you Willis!!! (That's me. I'm Willis. Long story)
Who is your Mom-spiration?
There are qualities that I value in so many moms that I have been fortunate to have in my life over the years. I respect them all for their unique strengths and try to draw upon those examples when needed. I know that those are the ladies who made me who I am, and have shown me how to trust myself in being Eli’s mom today.
Since my Mom has known Crissy since she was 14 and was there to watch her grow up. I asked her to share some thoughts on Crissy as a Mom...
"Crissy is one of the most dedicated Mothers that I know. She is like a mother bear taking care of her baby cub. She is a good mother. Eli will grow up well cared for and well loved. I'm proud of you Crissy."
Sam, I honestly do not know how I would have gotten through my life without you. You have been there for me through the hard times and you were by my side during some of the best times. We have gone through our high school years, our wild college days, marriages, careers, and now babies. You are my family, my sistah! You are juggling one of the most stressful jobs and still manage to shower baby Eli with love and attention. I admire how you always follow your gut. You trust your judgement when it come to what it best for Eli. He is growing up with a Momma who showers him with love, teaches him right from wrong and will always be there for him. He is lucky to have you. Just like I am lucky to have you.
Happy Birthday Sam.
and Happy Mothers Day