Mom of Fame – Alis: Twins and a Singleton

We are so excited to highlight our next mom! Alis is a standout mom that is strong, kind and honestly, one of a kind. Her and her husband had a harder road to getting pregnant, but were blessed with twins and a few years later a baby girl.

Please welcome her to the Mom of Fame!

Tell us about yourself and your family!

My name is Alis and I have been married to my husband Darrel for almost 11 years. I have 8 year old boy/girl twins and a 6 year old daughter. We tried for 2 years to get pregnant and during that time I was diagnosed with PCOS and we ended up needing fertility treatments which gave us the twins. All 3 kids have completely different personalities and keep us on our toes.

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What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

When I was pregnant so many people said “take the help you are offered”. I didn’t realize what that meant until I had kids and learned quickly that it truly takes a village. My immediate family is amazing, and I always knew they would be there, but those outside supporting roles were crucial. I am glad I kept that advice in mind and definitely pass it along with a little more elaboration. It’s hard to admit that sometimes we feel under water and invite people to take things off our plate. We feel that accepting help is admitting weakness, but in reality we have so many people put in our paths to not just make us feel better but to add to our children’s lives. Our children’s lives have been changed because we took the help offered by their teachers, principal, school district, their friends’ parents, and our own friends. It really does take a village!

How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I am an over researcher; if I am going to do something you better believe I have obsessed over it for some time. During our fertility journey I was on every article, blog, forum, website you could imagine. I had this wonderful plan that I knew was perfect, until I was handed my babies (and yes you think you can make a plan no matter how many you have). I didn’t realize that in spite of your best efforts your plans will fly out the window and that you will probably go against every rule you set for yourself at some point in time.

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What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

My sense of humor in most situations. If I didn’t laugh I would probably cry, a lot. Plus my kids have very tough skin because they have learned to laugh at themselves. What is life without laughter?

My ability to not be too high strung. I know my kids will be kids and that means they will get dirty, they will get hurt but they will learn and it’s okay. I can’t teach them some things, only living life can do that.

My ability to apologize. It’s hard being a kid just like it’s hard being a parent. Every stage of life is new to me as a parent. Sometimes I get it wrong and I am not too proud to tell my kids, “I am sorry, I was wrong, can you please forgive me?” I think it’s important for them to know it’s okay to make a mistake but also to own up and apologize no matter who you are.

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

It’s always overwhelming, I don’t think you are doing it right if you aren’t overwhelmed. This is the hardest job on the planet and we do it everyday with no breaks, even when we aren’t with them our minds are.

I will say my most overwhelming experience, specifically, was when my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD. This was when taking help was crucial. We went through some really trying times during that period but her school stepped up in a big way and has gotten her so much help. She has adjusted beautifully but that almost broke me.

Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

I don’t feel I lost anything in a bad way. I think that before kids my sense of accomplishment was so different. Instead of measuring success and life goals by money and material things (although I wouldn’t turn down winning lottery numbers) my success in this world is my children.

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What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

To laugh – always to laugh, it will make your life so much richer.

To be kind – be kind when no one can see you and be kind when you know you can never be repaid.

Always do your best – even if you fall short, no one can ever ask you for more than your best.

Finally, to love – love yourself, love each other, and love those you don’t know. Love without bounds and love unconditionally.

Can you tell us some of the differences in pregnancy and motherhood (in general) that you have experienced with having twins vs. a singleton?

I think I got lucky having twins first because I didn’t know the difference. They were my baseline for pregnancy. When I was pregnant with my singleton I was amazed how much easier I could breathe and move. Looking back at pictures now and how big I was with twins I have no idea how I did it!

Mom of Fame – Bri

We loved every single thing about this interview. Bri has twin four year old boys and a husband who is away at work for long periods of time. That sentence alone would make anyone weak in the knees, but Bri handles it like a pro and with humor. For those that know her, seeing her Facebook posts brings a smile to your face. She finds the humor in parenting and it’s something to look up to.

Bringing these two wonderful boys into the world was a bit of a struggle for her and her husband as they underwent failed fertility treatments, but in the end, they got these two.

Bri is open and honest with her answers and we couldn’t appreciate that more. It is hard to tell the world your insecurities, struggles and triumphs (people don’t like to brag), but it is so refreshing when someone does. Thank you, Bri. You deserve the title of Mom of Fame!
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What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

When you’re a mom of multiples, you are always a mom who has to split her time. I never got to be the mom that ooh’d and ahhh’d at every little thing my baby did because I simply couldn’t always be with both of them at the same time. The best advice I got from other moms of multiples is to make sure you still give your kids their special one on one time, even when they’re infants. I definitely made the effort to follow that advice.

For me, our special time was middle of the night feedings. I never tandem fed because I wanted that special time with just the two of us when I knew the other was asleep and wouldn’t interrupt. Even 4 years later, I still try to make sure I do something special with each twin every day. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. We might read a book together, color a picture, or play on the swing set while their brother is off doing his own thing.

I would absolutely give this advice to other moms. You can learn so much about your kids when they don’t have a sibling trying to steal your attention away.

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Is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

Absolutely.

To begin with, I never imagined having boys, let alone twin boys. When we found out we were having twins, I was convinced at least one would be a girl. When I found out there were no girls in my future, I readily admit that I was devastated. It was almost 3 weeks before I got excited about my impending boys. And this is coming from someone who spent 3 years dealing with failed fertility treatments. Every month I would cry thinking I would never have kids and now here I was crying because I was having them, but they were going to be boys. I imagined these wild and crazy kids that would be constantly wrestling and destroying my house. And don’t get me wrong….that is exactly what my kids are, but I wasn’t prepared for how cuddly, funny, and, caring they would be. Now I can’t imagine motherhood without these two crazy boys.

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What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

I would say my three strengths are:

Having a lot of patience. Twin life is extremely chaotic at times so I try my best to stay calm to keep peace with everyone.

Knowing when its time to walk away. Sometimes panic outweighs the patience. I know my limit. I know when I need a break and have no shame in taking it. It can be anything from hiding in a closet and crying while my kids scream my name on the other side of the door wondering where I went, to actually getting a babysitter for a couple hours so I can go do something, anything, alone.

Teaching my kids how to “act properly” (as we call it in my house). I have taught my kids to be respectful and that their actions have consequences. They must say “please” and “thank you”, say “excuse me” to get someone’s attention, and they do their best to share and take turns with each other and playmates. At times it’s easier to just give in to your child (especially mid-meltdown in a public place), but I want my kids to be as successful in life as they possibly can be so I’ve tried to teach them from the beginning that there’s way to go about getting what you want and it involves “acting properly”.

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Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother?

It was about a month after the boys were born. We lived in Japan and had no family around for support, my kids had just spent three weeks in the NICU, I had pretty extensive post-c-section complications which landed me in the ER three separate times, and my husband left on a work trip 10 days after the I delivered and wouldn’t be home for six weeks.

Even with all of that, I was still holding it together pretty well. When the boys finally came home, I was excited to have that mother/baby bonding time that I felt was not really given to me while they were in the NICU due to how sick they were (I didn’t even get to hold my youngest until he was a week old).

One thing I really wanted to do was breast feed. Not only does everyone harp on new moms about how important it is for baby’s health, but everyone talks about how it really bonds mother and baby in a special way. The first night home, I tried to breast feed and one baby refused to do it and the other was so small that he kept choking and spiting the milk up everywhere. This continued to happen throughout the next day and I was completely stressed out, fearing the boys would end up back in the hospital. I even went and had an appointment with the lactation consultant, but nothing changed. I called my husband crying because I felt like a total failure as a mom – I couldn’t even feed my babies!

It took a lot of mental pep talks with myself and with calls crying to my husband to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be able to have this special “thing” with my kids.

Mom guilt is a real thing and I had it bad with this, but we quickly found new ways to have our mother/baby bonding and the stress of not being able to breastfeed my kids finally passed.

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Is there anything you feel you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

For quite awhile, I felt like I lost myself completely. My life was consumed with keeping these two tiny humans alive and (sometimes unsuccessfully) out of the hospital. We lived in Japan until they were 2 1/2 so having any kind of outside help was minimal during that time. My husband is constantly gone for work so it was just me and the boys. Before kids, I had a job and friends and a life that allowed me to just jump in the car on a Saturday afternoon to do whatever I wanted. It was – and still is at times – hard to accept how much life has changed. I never thought I would miss working, but now I’m counting the days until my kids start kindergarten so I can go back to work and have some time for me,  before being “mom” again.

Something I gained would definitely be my understanding of other moms dealing with their kids in public. Pre-kids, my initial thought of a kids screaming through a store while the mom grocery shopped seemingly without a care in the world, would be “please make the screaming stop!! Why are you letting that happen?!” Now I just laugh and give the mom the all-knowing “we’ve all been there” look.

What do you want your children to learn from you?

I hope they learn to be good people. I want them to have their own thoughts and opinions and know it’s okay for them to be different from someone else’s, but not to be disrespectful toward someone who doesn’t agree. I want them to be giving, but not taken advantage of. I want them to have compassion, drive to be successful, and most importantly to always have each other’s back. I try my hardest to teach them these things and also show them through example every day.

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What are the challenges and amazing moments that come with being a military wife with twin boys? Any advice or comments you would give to someone in your situation?

An obvious challenge of being a military wife with kids is that I do a lot of the child rearing on my own. It’s hard when my husband is gone and I kind of start running the house as if I was a single mom, but then he comes home and all of a sudden I need to co-parent again.

It sounds weird, but sometimes having someone come in that doesn’t necessarily know how you’ve been running things can really throw a wrench in things. There is always an adjustment for us, but my best advice would be to just be very open with your partner if you start to get frustrated with how things are (or aren’t) working. Also, my husband and I have always had the mindset that we should never contradict each other in front of the children when it comes to discipline. When we don’t agree with how one or the other is handling a situation with the kids, we will speak privately about it so that we always appear as a united front to our children.

As numerous as the challenges are, there are also so many amazing moments. Seeing the looks on my kids’ faces when my husband comes home from a deployment or extended temporary duty is enough to make all this worth it.

Mom of Fame – Kristin G.

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Creating Kristin’s board the night before her interview made us very overwhelmed. She is the mother to a 21 year old boy, a 17 year old girl (heading to college) and *almost* two year old twins. She is also the stepmother to two teenage girls.

Just reading that should make any and everyone overwhelmed.

We walked into the clean and organized house and were met with calm, sweet kids. We are sure this isn’t always the case, but they definitely put on a show for us! After the interview Kristin’s older children were able to join as well. We sat there talking with the family and through it all you could tell that all four kids look up to their mom. The amount of love that they have for her is also overwhelming. It was really a joy to see.

Kristin is superwoman. She is the type of person who takes care of others’ needs before her own and she so desperately deserves the mom of fame title.


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What is the best piece of advice you were given about motherhood? Did you take it? Would you give that piece of advice to someone else?

My grandma once said, “enjoy all of the little precious moments because the time goes by fast”.  I can truly tell other mothers that this is a very accurate statement.

I do give this [advice] to new parents. I always say even when times are fast and you’re going, “gosh I can’t wait for these kids to get out of this stage and grow up” remember that they will one day be older and then you will be wishing that they were little again. I find being both the mom of an older set of kids and a younger set of kids that I definitely appreciate the younger stage more than I did as a first-time mom. Because when you’re a new mom you’re frazzled with just being a new mom.

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How is motherhood different than you imagined it would be?

I always knew I wanted to be a mom. It’s challenging, but it’s a good challenge. I think the rewards that you receive from being a mom are just priceless. I was a mother at a young age. I had my first son when I had just turned 20. I guess the expectation was I didn’t want my children to ever grow up questioning whether or not they were loved.

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What are your three strengths when it comes to motherhood?

Patience

Being a good communicator and a good listener at all stages

Having compassion

Describe a time where you were completely overwhelmed as a mother.

Many stages of overwhelmed! Lack of sleep, of course, will be overwhelming. I could go through [all of the] stages just because I’ve been there once before; the first time they get a boo-boo or get hurt, the first time you get a call from the school that your kid fell on the playground and had a broken arm, the broken hearts, the disappointment in doing an audition they didn’t get.

I think there’s different stages of overwhelming but you breathe,  you persevere, you get through, you know it’s not the worst thing ever. When it comes to a mother’s love no matter what the situation, no matter how overwhelming, you will survive and come out stronger.

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Is there anything you feel that you have lost about yourself since becoming a mother? What have you gained?

Sanity at times [laugh]. No. I mean, again being a young mom I could say, “gosh I gave up doing things that 20 or 21 year olds did”, but in reality whatever party I missed attending didn’t really have a comparison to what I was doing. I can’t say I have regrets.

[I have gained] everything. I don’t think there’s anything better than having little humans become bigger humans looking at you for advice, for reassurance. I just think that that love you share between a mom and a child is just the best. I have also gained a sense of purpose. I have four precious angels that give me every reason to keep doing all that I do on a daily basis.

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What do you want your child(ren) to learn from you?

I’d like them to learn to live their best life. Be kind. Don’t ever settle. Know that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Just know that they were loved and cared for.

What are some of the differences in motherhood from then (with your older children) until now (with your twins)?

Cooler baby items now versus the mid—90s [laughs].

I think in this stage, of them being toddlers, I am more present as far as soaking in everything than the first time around. It goes by so fast that I think there’s some moments that probably have escaped my mind because you’re tired, you’re not really appreciating that specific time. I think you tend to slow down a little bit because I have a better understanding of how quickly time goes by.

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