Life Enrichment
Atlanta moms talk about the joys of motherhood

Atlanta moms talk about the joys of motherhood

Local moms give their viewpoint on raising kids, finding time for themselves and more

She's there to support you, laugh with you and hold your hand when you cry. Deepak Chopra once said, "We should make motherhood the most sacred profession on the planet." For these reasons and many more, we celebrate Mother's Day and all the wonderful ways Mom helps guide and inspire us. We asked five busy Atlanta moms to share their stories about balancing schedules, keeping a healthy household and to name the one thing every mom should carry in their bag...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

laura-seydelLaura Turner Seydel

Eco-expert and advocate

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
John R. is 20, Vasser is 17 and L.E. is 15.

How do you balance your work and home life?
It is a challenge, but I could not do it without my husband Rutherford and the rest of our "village." And my great assistant, Kimberly.

How do you carve out "me" time?
My "me" time is spent training with Tammy Stokes at West Coast Workout and with Leslie Clayton at Body Awareness Studio. They inspire and help me stay fit, functioning and healthy.

What are some simple things you teach your kids about living a healthy life?
What you put on and in your body really matters. They don't really like junk food. And they use mostly safe and toxic-free products that are ranked high on the Skin Deep Database at www.EWG.org.

What is your favorite activity to share with your kids?
Family meals and family reunions.

What is the best thing you have learned from your kids?
They teach me how to be a better, more thoughtful person and how to see things from different perspectives.

What advice do you have for moms striving to have it all?
It's really tough to have it all and do a good job, but we do the best we can. I think it's better to have something that interests you if you are a stay-at-home mom because when your children leave (and it happens so fast) you will already have something that you like doing to fill the void. It can be volunteering for a non-profit, a part-time job or a small business venture outside of your home.

What did you learn about yourself when you became a mom?
I learned that I could love more deeply and unconditionally than before. I also learned that it was a great responsibility and I had to rise to the challenge. Because of all that I learned, my husband and I worked together to make our community a better, healthier place so their lives and future can be the best it can be.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mother?
Along with my birth mother, I have been beyond blessed to have several strong and powerful female role models in my life including my great-grandmother, three grandmothers, two step-mothers, my mother-in-law and a surrogate mother. They have all led by example and proven that you can be anything you want to be, even if it means fighting against the system and status quo. You just have to go for it, be confident and when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

When my kids grow up I hope they are: healthy, capable, thoughtful, compassionate and courageous.

The next vacation I want to take with my kids is to: the Antarctic. Things are changing there so rapidly due to warmer temperatures and we really want to see all the natural wonders in its most beautiful, pristine and functional condition.

The one thing every mom should carry in her bag: a smart phone. My phone makes wherever I am my mobile office so I can be much more productive and spend more time with my kids.

Being a mom has made me: a more thoughtful, loving, compassionate, focused person.

My idea of the perfect day is: a day at the beach without plastic litter everywhere. Whenever we go to the beach, we spend time picking up plastic. Although it makes us feel better to be doing something good, it is stressful and upsetting that so many people seem to be contributing and are oblivious to the problem.

 

 

 

tanya-mendozaTanya Mendoza

"Good Day Atlanta" Planning Editor (FOX5, WAGA-TV)

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
I have two beautiful boys. Marcel is my oldest and is 13 and Benicio, "Benny," is my baby and he is four years old.

How do you balance your work and home life?
I don't think I quite balance it completely, but I try my hardest.  My alarm clock goes off at 4:15 each morning.  I have to be at FOX 5 ready to greet guests and plan segments starting at 6 a.m.  At work I try to manage my time in the best way possible.  I have my "to do" list and try not to divert from it.  After work and on weekends, my time is spent driving the kids to various extracurricular activities, church and family time.

How do you carve out "me" time?
When managing a family and a career, things can get stressful. Carving out "me" time is extremely important. I try to stay fit by exercising several times a week, getting a massage once a month and taking care of myself. I am addicted to Zumba and take lessons at Dance Stop Studios and BAPA (British Academy of Performing Arts) in Marietta. Going to Mass and keeping in touch with my faith also helps me stay positive and gives me strength when I'm stressed or feeling down.

What are some simple things you teach your kids about living a healthy life?
I try to get my kids into eating home cooked meals and trying healthy options. I keep them as busy as possible and physically active throughout the week.

What is your favorite activity to share with your kids?
I love snuggling and watching movies on cold days with my kids.

What is the best thing you have learned from your kids?
How to be patient.  Being a former news assignment editor ready to deploy crews with a war zone mentality, patience was not something that came easily to me.

What advice do you have for moms striving to have it all?
Set your goals and try to achieve them. Realize that your children are their own individuals and that you can only help mold them into productive people. Give them an abundance of love and never give up on them.

What did you learn about yourself when you became a mom?
I learned that the love that a mother has for her children is eternal. I also learned to appreciate and respect my own parents in a new way.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mother?
The importance of faith and how to be a giving person.  From a young age, she not only provided me with a Catholic education and upbringing, but instilled in me the importance of giving back to those in need.

When my kids grow up I hope they: pursue their lifetime goals and achieve them.  I hope they are respectful, thankful individuals with strong faith.

The next vacation I want to take with my kids is: to Costa Rica, a true paradise on earth.

The one thing every mom should carry in her bag: is wet wipes.

Being a mom has made me: a tough, strong woman that's ready to take on the world. I am willing to wake up early, stay up late, dress up as a superhero and drive all over town just to see my kids smile.

My idea of the perfect day: is taking a road trip with my husband and boys.

 

 

 

krystal-chambersDr. Krystal Chambers

Rehabilitation Spine Physician, Resurgens Orthopaedics

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
I have three daughters ages 14, 11 and 7.

How do you balance your work and home life?
It can be very difficult at times to balance work and home life. My husband is supportive and very involved with our girls. Knowing that he has things under control at home makes it easier for me to focus on work when I need to.

How do you carve out "me" time?
There was a time when I felt guilty about carving out "me" time, primarily because I already spend enough time away from home. I soon realized how much better I felt after doing something for myself that allowed me to relax and disconnect from the rigors of work. We can usually come up with a multitude of excuses to not carve out "me" time but you just have to make a conscious decision to do it.

What are some simple things you teach your kids about living a healthy life?
Stay active and try to eat well. Fortunately, they enjoy being active with sports so that's fairly easy to encourage.

I try to stress the importance of making healthier food choices, which is far more challenging.

What is your favorite activity to share with your kids?
My husband enjoys making home videos so we have lots of video material of the children over the years.  Sometimes on rainy weekends we will spend hours watching home videos.

What is the best thing you have learned from your kids?
Enjoy the moment. Don't worry about what's coming next; enjoy what's going on right now.

What advice do you have for moms striving to have it all?
I think the best approach is to do what makes you the happiest, what makes you feel complete.

What did you learn about yourself when you became a mom?
I've learned to not take myself so seriously. With my first daughter, I read every pregnancy and parenting book I could get my hands on. As time went on and the second and third daughters came along, I learned to relax and enjoy the kids more.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mother?
Be patient, be fair and consider other's point of view and not just my own.

When my kids grow up, I hope they: stay true to themselves. Listen to that little voice inside of them that tells them to do what makes them happy.

The next vacation I want to take with my kids is: to one of our national parks.

The one thing every mom should carry in her bag: every mom should carry an "i" device of some sort, whether it's an iPad, iTouch or iPod. I have been saved many times by one of these devices when waiting for long periods of time with the kids.

Being a mom has made me: feel very blessed and very fortunate.

My idea of the perfect day: a day spent with the family, cooking out, playing games and relaxing around the pool.

 

 

christine-pullaraChristine Pullara

Host of Atlanta & Company (WXIA-TV)

How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
Caroline is four and a half and Catherine is two years old.

How do you balance your work and home life?
It's a constant challenge! My work schedule varies, so if I have a week where I'm doing extra shoots, I make sure the next week is very light so I can spend quality time with them. My mom was a working mom but always made our time together special so I try to do the same thing with my girls.

How do you carve out "me" time?
I love to get a great facial or manicure and just chill out and relax. Exercise is also a great way to de-stress and focus on renewing my mind, body and spirit. My husband is always great about helping with the kids so I can run off to a class.

What are some simple things you teach your kids about living a healthy life?
We stress good nutrition, staying active and how important that is to leading a healthy life. We've also been teaching them about recycling.

What is your favorite activity to share with your kids?
We love to put on music and have a dance party! We also love to pile in the bed and watch movies. We have a house on Lake Lanier and last summer they both had a ball on the lake. I can't wait for them to enjoy that again this summer.

What is the best thing you have learned from your kids?
That every moment of my life is setting an example for them. The words that come out of my mouth, my actions, the way I treat others, the way I react to things. They are watching and learning from me. It keeps me in check and helps me strive to be a better person.

What advice do you have for moms striving to have it all?
Really make sure you know what "having it all" means to you. Our priorities are all so different. So set a life goal, a mission statement for yourself and your family and try to live by it. Also learn how to say no. I used to be horrible about it, but now I realize that I can't do it all so I give myself a break and prioritize things and try to figure out how I can give back to the community without sacrificing too much time away from my family.

What did you learn about yourself when you became a mom?
That I needed to be more patient. It's never been one of my best qualities but it's a must-have when it comes to kids.

What is the most important lesson you learned from your mother?
Where do I begin? My mom is incredible! She is funny, smart, kind and probably the most considerate, thoughtful person I know. She goes out of her way to help others all the time. She is an amazing role model and I strive to be more like her.

When my kids grow up I hope they: are amazing, smart, thoughtful people who follow their dreams and live out their potential in a way that fulfills and sustains them.

The next vacation I want to take with my kids: is to the beach. They love the sun and sand and I love watching them be so happy and carefree.

The one thing every mom should carry in her bag: hand sanitizer. Oh, and snacks and crayons...make it a big bag!

Being a mom has made me: incredibly blessed, humble and beyond happy.

My idea of the perfect day is: being with my family, eating, playing and laughing. There's nothing better than the sound of their belly laughs. Heaven!

 

 

 

jenn-hobbyJenn Hobby

Midday Host on Kicks 101.5

Your first child is due in April, how are you and your husband feeling?
We are so excited! We just can't believe that we're going to go from two to three. We're feeling really blessed - all these changes along the way have been so fun.

You saw a fertility doctor in the beginning. Can you tell us a bit about that?
At first, we followed my OBGYN's advice and tried to get pregnant for a year on our own, but we were unsuccessful. After initial tests, we were told that we were both healthy. It was a confusing time. I started going to an acupuncturist to help me get my body in line. We saw Mark Schwartz with Buckhead Acupuncture and after a few months, he suggested talking to a fertility doctor. So on his recommendation, we decided to see Dr. Mark Perloe at Georgia Reproductive Specialists. We started visiting him in May and I was pregnant at the end of July.

How was the process leading up to your pregnancy?
It's just a roller coaster of emotions because you get excited and hopeful and then you start your period. Then you get depressed and you think, "Why is this so hard for us?" You spend a few days getting over that and then you have to get back up again and say, "Okay, we're going to be positive, and we're going to think good thoughts." And then you try it all over again. So even though we were very lucky after meeting Dr. Perloe to conceive so quickly, it was a long journey up until that point.

What is the activity that you're most looking forward to sharing with your child?
The first one is all of us going to Piedmont Park as a family. I have visions in my head of all of us being outside on a beautiful spring day, laying on a blanket and having a picnic. The other thing is something my parents did with me, which was story time at night. I'm looking forward to reading books together and making that a priority.

Where do you feel you get your support and strength from?
My husband (Grant Rivera) is great as a partner. He's always so thoughtful and tries to make things easier. He's been talking to my belly so the baby will recognize his voice. We take classes together and he's just been really wonderful every step of the way. I'm so blessed, he's my best friend.

What's the most important lesson that you learned from your mom?
My mom made everything fun. If I could be one ounce as good as my mom at that, then I'll have succeeded. Also my parents have such a strong marriage; they have been married for 42 years. That type of stability is just an incredible gift that they provided for my brother and me.

Update: After our interview, Jenn and Grant welcomed the arrival of their daughter, Lauren Louise Rivera who was born in early April. Congratulations from all of us at Best Self Atlanta Magazine!