I met Lyndsey when she occupied the teller station next to me. We met at work and out of all those years I was in banking, meeting Lyndsey (and Tino!) were the best part. When you see Lyndsey she looks like a quite, mild-mannered girl. DO NOT let that fool you. She is funny and quick and could make even 8 hours at the bank a whole lot of fun. I looked forward to work because Lyndsey was the best to goof around with. She named her car Cookie and I was so sad when she moved away from Santa Barbara. Lyndsey is a Mom to a gorgeous girl and for many years Lyndsey did it on her own. That kind of work and strength is so amazing to me. It takes someone extraordinary to not only be a single Mom, but to raise a smart, kind and loving daughter.
I asked Lyndsey a few questions.......
What are your feelings on helicopter parents?
I am not a fan of helicopter parenting for a number of reasons. Mostly because I work in the courts and those are the parents calling to make excuses for their kids, pay their fines for them and call again when they miss court. It never seems to end. I also don’t like those kinds of parents on the playground. I sometimes want to yell—“Just let your kids be!!”
Are you a Nap Nazi? Stickler for routine and schedules?
When she was of the nap taking age, I did try to stick to her schedule because it was never fun dealing with a child that has not had their naps. Kids without naps can start a revolution. (Word up!)
Most surprising thing about parenthood?
Isabella and I are so much alike. Some people say she is me with curly hair and a great tan but it’s more than just looks. I feel like I am looking into a mirror most days with her mannerisms. Her tendency to get emotional. Her sense of humor. Her attitude. How do I get one up on ME?
Where did your kids names/nicknames come from?
Isabella Grace was a name that I gave her after Carmella & Isadore (her great-great-great Grandparents) and Grace was her Great-Grandmother’s name. She goes by Isy (her spelling) and I call her Tookie sometimes. I am not sure where I picked up Tookie but it stuck.
Did you enjoy pregnancy?
I did for the most part. I remember the first time I felt her really move in my belly and I cried. She was such a peaceful baby that when she wouldn’t move for a day or two I would drink orange juice to get her kicking. I did not have any complications aside from the weight gain which was my fault. I never felt so important and loved during my pregnancy and I hadn’t even met her yet! The last month was pretty hard because I was driving to work in a car with no air conditioning in the dry hot heat of summer of Riverside, CA.
What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received?
When I told my dad I was pregnant, he told me, “Now begins the day when you will never stop worrying.” How true that is.
What is your favorite baby gear? Must haves?
When Isabella was a baby I LOVED the baby back pack that had a kick stand so I could maneuver it without help. I took her everywhere in that thing. In Idaho you have to be able to pack a baby in and pack a baby out.
What is your parenting philosophy?
Without taking up too much room on this one, I will just say that I want to raise a daughter with strong enough neck muscles to always hold her head high. While there is much more to it, this is something that is important to me that I pass on to her.
When you were 16 did you imagine your life would end up where it is now?
No, when I was 16 years old, I was going to move to the big city and never see these wheat fields again.
What is the ideal Mother’s Day gift?
My ideal mother’s day gift is doing projects around the house. I want to see some weeds getting pulled, some paint being applied….I want them to work! Mostly, I just want to spend it with my family.
What is your favorite thing to do with your kids?
Isabella has always been a pretty fierce shopper. Even at 3 years old she would notice fabrics, textures, colors, etc. We love to cook. She is really big into Cupcake Wars on Food Network and we try to come up with the best ones.
What was your favorite book from childhood?
Sweet Valley High of course!
How do you deal with discipline in your house?
I can count on one hand how many times I spanked Isabella. The first time I did it I had to go into the bathroom so I could cry (see, I told you I was emo). I believe in spanking for some kids if that is what works for them but it never did with Isabella and I never liked giving her one. What worked with her is getting down to her level (literally) and talking to her. Discipline these days includes taking away the ipod and laptop which works great.
Do you have a picky eater? How do you handle that?
No. From a very young age she was always eating things other kids wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. I would like to think that making her own baby food and not what I call “dumbing down” her food from the beginning helped. Kids don’t need to cover veggies with tons of butter, salt or other things to mask them. She is a great date because she likes to try new foods.
What is your favorite meal to make for your kids?
Isabella loves sushi. We have a lot of fun making that—even if it doesn’t look so pretty.
Where do you go first when you need parenting advice?
I usually call my best friend Kelly first. I can tell her the whole story and nothing but the truth and not be ashamed of it because let’s be honest…being a mom is hard sometimes. Being a mom has taught me that my mom is just like me—human. Kelly gives me sound advice and then we find a way to laugh about it.
Who is your Mom-spiration?
I have a lot of great moms in my life that I draw inspiration from so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. My mom worked so hard for my brother and I when we were babies. She always tried her best to be there for us even when holding multiple jobs. I have friends that are moms to kids with special medical needs. I have friends that are step moms. Moms with multiple kids and jobs. Moms that would give Martha Stewart a run for her money. Moms with crazy cool blogs. My mom-spirations are all around me.
I asked Lyndsey's brother to share a few words with me about Lyndsey the Mom.
(Be warned his response will make you cry!)...
"From the moment Lyndsey told me she was pregnant, I knew she would be a great mother. At that moment she was crying. I knew her tears were not from fear of being able to be a good mom, but fear of how her older brother would accept her pregnancy. Through her tear filled eyes I saw the courage of a young woman that always wanted to be a mother and knew she could do it. Over the years I have watched Lyndsey make every decision regarding her and her daughter in a very calculated and measured manner. Sure, she faced and still does face challenges. However, I envy her ability to face them head on with diligence. I admire my sister as a mother mostly because of the amount of care and love she puts in to being a mom. She has extraordinary balance in the way she is a mom. She demands the right stuff but shows how to do it by her actions rather than words. I love my sister and always have but I admire her wisdom as a mother as well. I know that Isabella will turn out to be a caring, loving, dedicated, and strong woman someday because of her beautiful mother, Lyndsey."
I also asked Jeremie, Lyndsey's BF to share a few sentences with me about Lyndsey the Mom. He had some wonderful things to say...
"Lyndsey is an outstanding mother. She puts her daughter Isabella above anything and everything else in her life. All of her decisions, both major and minor have the best interests of her little girl in mind. Of course Lyndsey does all of the important things you would expect of a Mom: she *provides* for her daughter, at times amidst great hardship in her own life. Lyndsey will *sacrifice* for her daughter whenever necessary, and without complaint. She's loving and affectionate, she encourages and supports, she teaches and learns, she corrects and disciplines. Lyndsey *makes* time for her daughter when there is none. The result is a good-natured, astute little girl that everyone seems to enjoy. They're relationship is both mother/daughter and BFF at the same time, and they seem to negotiate this line deftly. One of the things that amazes me most about their relationship is how often, and how hard they can make each other* laugh*. I frequently step into a room to find them both in hysterics, teary-eyed, about to pee in their pants! I'm left wondering what I've missed, and no matter how many times they try to explain it to me, I fail to see their humor. In my opinion, this scene is the sum of their relationship."
I also asked Lyndsey's Mom to share her thoughts...
"My girl, Lyndsey, is a spectacular Mommy... As to provide a better life for her little girl, Lyndsey went back to school, graduating with dual majors. When Lyndsey comes home after a long day at work, Isabella's face glows with happiness at the sound of her voice.. In spite of Lyndsey's long work hours, she strives to create special Mommy-daughter time. Be it the Moscow Food Co-op, mani-pedis, shopping, Jamm's, or, simply snuggling on the sofa, watching a movie. Isabella is secure, knowing her Mommy will always be there for her. Lyndsey encourages Izzy's creative nature, supporting her love of band, choir, and art. Lyndsey gently nurtures Isabella with understanding and patience. At the same time, she is strict, as her obedient little girl, has begun to blossom into a "tween". and she wants to keep her obedient. I know Lyndsey will embrace the trying teen years with fairness and love, because that is the kind of person Lyndsey is. The primary focus of Lyndsey's life is her daughter. When thinking of their bond, my heart swells with overflowing emotion. I am very, very proud of Lyndsey, she is an adult, and a mom, but, she will always be my little girl. Happy Mother's Day, sweetie!"
Lyndsey I have to tell you. The toughest part of these interviews has been getting quotes from family and friends. Except for yours. I got some amazing and very quick responses. I think this says a lot about you girl. You are very loved and appreciated. You are a rock star and I love you and that beautiful daughter of yours very much. Have a great Mother's Day!