The Momma Interviews is a new blog series by Catherine O'Brien, LMFT highlighting the thoughts, experiences and wisdom of a unique real-world mom each week, to normalize and validate the struggles and triumphs that are a part of the universally human experience of motherhood for women everywhere.
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This week we are hearing from a momma who is learning how to juggle her business with the joys of family in a culture very different from where she grew up!
I'd like to introduce you to Katie Clemons--a goal oriented momma, following her dreams with her family in Germany. Here's her interview:
How do you balance the mom, work, and relationship roles?
My son was born in November—running an online shop, that's my busiest time. I had employees who helped me keep things going, thankfully. But I picked up this habit of trying to juggle everything all at once. It took a while to realize that the best solution isn't trying to be wonder woman. I really work on separating each role. If I'm with my son, I'm not working. If he's in bed, my husband and I specifically pause to be together ... and we try not to talk about work or our son the whole time!
Most moms I speak to say there are moments when they are ready to throw in the towel. Can you describe a time you felt this way? What got you through it?
My mom and grandma used to recite a small prayer. "Children are a blessing. Children are a blessing." As a child, I laughed. But now? It comes in handy.
What do you do when you feel overwhelmed, overstretched, or less than?
I notice a pattern. When things get overwhelming for our family, it's because I'm trying to do too many things. They could be huge things for work or little details around the house. My mood is picked up by everyone in our house. I think that's part of the blessing and challenge of motherhood. It's hard to drop things on your to-do list, but that's often the solution to sanity at our house.
I've had parents tell me that one of the hardest things about being a parent is the comparisons and judgements from other parents. How do you personally cope with that?
I'm an expat, and I'm not fluent in the local language. So if other parents are comparing or judging, I either don't notice or I try not to take it personally. Sometimes, it's cultural differences—like how I dress my son to play outside in the snow versus how locals do. I just try to be open minded.
What is the great lesson you've learned as a mom?
Goofiness is greatness.
What is your favorite quote that inspires you as a mom?
My son hears me singing a lot of silly songs I learned at summer camp. They aren't quotes; they are words of chaos in this really busy, full stage of life.
What is your favorite song that inspires you as a mom?
At the last campfire of Girl Scout camp in Montana, it's tradition to sing a song called "Linger." It's a quiet song about wanting to linger in the moment a bit longer and always look back on it with joy. I sing it to my son to calm him (and keep me relaxed, too!).
What is the one piece of advice you'd like to give to other moms?
You're doing just fine.
How has your relationship with your partner changed? How has it stayed the same?
Being parents makes us both look at our core values much more. It used to be so easy to just work on my journal shop all day and night. Now I don't want to do that. I want to be with my family, and so does my husband. We each navigate our way differently and find the common goals we want in our family. A big one, for example, lead us to move from rural Montana near Yellowstone National Park to our home here in Germany.
HOW MANY CHILDREN DO YOU HAVE? (INCLUDE THE SPECIAL MAKE-UP OF YOUR FAMILY STEPS, ADOPTED, GUARDIANSHIPS, HALVES- OR NO DETAILS AT ALL- UP TO YOU!)
1 toddler, boy