Proud to Be Your Parent

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It’s almost Mother’s Day! A day for families to stop and appreciate all that the mother’s in their lives do for them each and every day. But, for many mothers, it’s a day to spend reflecting on just what a privilege it is to be a parent, to celebrate the special little humans that we’re so honored to raise, and to say thank you to your kids for letting us be their moms. After all, life is a two-way street.

We sat down with a few of the moms on the EI team, including product developers Janene Russell and Betina Cochran; our publicist, Melissa Smuzynski; our content creator, Amy Opheim; and, of course, our very own Nancy Balter, of Nancy B’s Science Club fame, to get a sense of what they love most about being moms. Here’s what they said:

Janene Russell – Product Development Manager

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EI’s newest mom, Janene, says being a mom to 13-month-old James makes her feel complete. Having never known how much she needed him – how much they need each other – Janene loves creating first time moments for James and says that watching her son react to new things makes her feel like she’s seeing the world with fresh lenses. Janene strives to provide a nurturing environment that fosters confidence and kindness in James. In turn, James inspires Janene to be spontaneous and playful. Sounds like a win-win to us!

Betina Cochran – Director of Product Development

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Mother of 16-year-old Mariah and 8-year-old Ari, Betina considers parenting her daughter-son duo to be an absolute privilege. She finds influencing the development of another human being to be one of the most rewarding parts of being a mom. That, and all the silliness! Although Betina believes helping to educate her kids – both intellectually and emotionally – is her number one responsibility as a mom, her kids love her for the warmth and physical affection she shows them every day. Her daughter praises Betina as open-minded, saying she feels she can share anything with her mom. Now THAT’S parenting success!

Amy Opheim – Content Creator

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Amy considers helping her 10-year-old daughter, Emma, appreciate and nurture the unique combination of gifts that makes her truly special to be her most important job as a mom. Having emphasized kindness – both to herself and to others – as the foundation of Emma’s upbringing, Amy felt like a parenting success when Emma’s teacher shared that Emma was truly a “friend to all.” Emma appreciates that Amy is on her team and always has her back. She knows she can turn to her mom, no matter what, for support, guidance, comfort, and love. Likewise, parenting Emma has provided Amy with a sense of purpose and a liberating perspective on what’s truly important in life.

Melissa Smuzynski – Publicist

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In her own, words, Melissa says, “Being a mom is hard. It’s harder than any job I’ve ever held. It’s exhausting, it’s frustrating, and yet it’s the single most rewarding aspect of my life. The insane, indescribable, unconditional love a mother has for her child is beyond any words I could eloquently craft. I’ll just say nothing else compares to it.” Melissa strives to raise 2-year-old Avery Lane to be kind and loving, respectful, compassionate, generous, and accepting – no short order! But it’s all worth it when little Avery asks for kisses at night-night and tells Melissa “I love you Mommy”. In those moments, Melissa feels she is doing something right and all the “wrongs” of her day just disappear.

Nancy Balter – Founder, Nancy B’s Science Club

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If you ask Nancy how being a mom makes her feel, she suggests Googling the word “emotions” for the full list. The former teacher, lifelong scientists, and current science product manager feels her biggest responsibility – and privilege – is helping 8-year-old Eric and 6-year-old Clara become independent and happy people capable of navigating the world. An epic undertaking, sure, but so worth it. Nancy loves watching her kids grow, change, and mature and feels especially good when they come to her with their problems and trust that she’s always able to help them. Says Nancy, “It’s a joy to be a part of this process.” And the spontaneous hugs don’t hurt, either.

Advice from the moms at EI:

Janene – Always have snacks with you, buy zip up pajamas, and find time for spontaneous play!

Betina – Listen, read, learn, but always trust your instincts.

Amy – When your child calls for you in the middle of the night, ALWAYS hit the potty on your way to their room. You never know how long you’ll be in there!

Melissa – Accept your children for who they are. Every child is different, so fall in love with those qualities that make them unique. And don’t sweat the small stuff. Things will get broken, things will get messy; in the end… they’re just things.

Nancy – Take all of the advice you receive with a grain of salt! People give SO MUCH advice to new moms and it’s overwhelming. Comically, some of it is conflicting. Sadly, some of it comes off as judgmental (e.g., Don’t be a helicopter mom. Don’t be a tiger mom.) There is no harm in listening, but don’t let it make you crazy. Parenting is a more of a dance between the parent and child than I anticipated. My children are different, and so the way I interact with them is different. This is why one-size-fits-all parenting advice cannot work.

What do YOU love most about being a mom? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget to share your best parenting advice for the newbies out there!

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