Today is my fourth Mother’s Day celebrating the holiday as a mom. I have three children, age three and under, and the one thing I know for sure is that I have A LOT to learn about raising kids. How I wish there were a manual with all the answers and the best way to react when your 3-year-old daughter says, “Mommy, I DO NOT love you to the moon and back.” Making things up as I go is my motherhood M.O. So I decided to turn to local moms I look up to for a little advice, starting with my own mom, Suzanne.
For tips on how to be a better mom, I decided the best question for the pros is this:
“What do you know now about how to be a good mom that you wish you knew when your first baby was born and are there any secrets you’ve picked up along the way?”
My own mom, Suzanne Luby, answered that question by saying, “Being a mother isn’t a job with a start and a finish. It’s an ongoing process filled with joy, discovery and wonder.” (To me, that sounds like the “nice” way to put it ;)) Read on for more priceless words of wisdom and a Mother’s Day gift from ten Barrington women on that “ongoing process” of motherhood…
Anne Lee – Mother of Two
(Seen here with her daughter, Laura Horak, another mom living here in Barrington)
In offering advice, Anne looked back to the days when her kids were much younger.
“I wouldn’t really toot their horn. I looked at it as bragging and I think, as a result, I stymied myself. I have had the thought that, if I were to do it all over again, I would have offered more public praise of my children. I think that, to me, the ultimate goal as a mother really is to build this healthy self concept and self awareness in our kids to help them be comfortable in their own skin and believe in who they are.”
Anne is a community leader and part of the support team behind her husband, Bob Lee’s Ride for 3 Reasons, a 2,500 bike ride he plans to take this fall. Bob will ride from Vancouver, Canada to Tijuana, Mexico to raise $1 million for three charities, the American Cancer Society, the Les Turner ALS Foundation and Hospice Palliative Care of Northeastern Illinois.
Chrissie Mena – Mother of Three
(Seen here with her husband, Rey and their three daughters)
“Leading by example is the most important thing about being a mother. Children emulate your behavior. Looking back, I would have eaten a lot healthier. Used less swear words. Breathed deeply and counted to ten before I reacted (or over-reacted) to a situation or two. Having three teenage daughters, I can confirm that they grow up too fast! You blink and your toddler is in Drivers Ed. Enjoy each phase and listen to what they have to say. I have jotted down some classic things they have said through the years. Whenever they are pushing my patience to the limits, I reflect on those moments and relax and smile!”
Chrissie is a community leader and a social media advisor in Barrington. She has served as a board member for several local organizations and is a former president of the Barrington Junior Women’s Club.
Deborah Leydig – Mother of Two
(A favorite photo of Deborah’s “Two Scientists”, Liza and Sam, in 2005)
“Listen to the music of the day. If you get stuck in the music from when you were younger, it dates you. If you listen to the music of the day, it helps keep you young and it keeps you in tune with your kids. You have to be a ‘with it’ mom. But, most of all, just have fun and don’t stress so much. Kids pretty much come out who they are. Enjoy all the differences between them and you. Don’t try to mold them, each child has their own distinct personalities to cherish from the very start. Even when they dye their hair bright pink and black!!! See attached photo!!“
Deborah is the owner of Norton’s U.S.A., an old fashioned general store selling only American-made goods here in Barrington, Illinois. She is also an actress. Click HERE to read our feature about Deborah, called Be Proud to BUY American at Nortons U.S.A.
Jan Cunningham – Mother of Two
(Seen here during a skydiving adventure, last year’s Mother’s Day gift from her sons Matt 27 and Bryan 24)
“From the store I have seen it all – how parents treat misbehaving children, stories about parties, living life in an affluent area. My comment – ‘It’s easy to be a friend. It’s much harder to be a parent. So do your job as a parent.’…
Elaborate vacations, extravagant birthday parties – what do your children really remember? The milkshake made with real ice cream. Sometimes the most lasting memories are the simplest things. Try to create memories – not productions.”
Jan Cunningham is the owner of G. Whiz, a 19-year-old, family-owned gift and accessories boutique with locations at the Foundry of Barrington and Deer Park Town Center.
Janet Meyer – Mother of Two
(Seen here with her family including her 33-year-old son Jeff (red hair/brown jacket) and 30-year-old daughter Sarah (in the brown dress)
“My children are now grown and blissfully now parents of their own. My own Mother was a very special woman who gave birth to 6 children. Right before the delivery of my eldest child she took me to lunch and shared her personal thoughts about being a mother and what it meant to her. As she stated to me, ‘Motherhood is the greatest gift in life that I would be given.’ Truly, my advice to new Mothers this Mother’s Day is to ‘Savor the moments’. The housework can wait. We have all heard the saying, but very few of us practice it.”
Janet Meyer is the President of the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce.
Karen Lambert – Mother of Three
“Don’t overact to the normal stages kids go through – count to 10 before you react! Keep family time sacred.”
Karen is the President of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington and mom to three teenagers, Tyler (17), Lindsey (15) and Erin (13)
Lara Berry – Mother of Four
(Seen here with daughter Vija (11) and sons Matt (10), Charlie (7) and Paul (7 plus 1 minute more)
“Enjoy whatever stage your kids are in. Each stage is essentially brief and a milestone in their development. If it is a three year old with a mind of her own, let her off the hook a little, she won’t get away with it again after this. If its tough times at school it will pass, they WILL learn to read. Savor the good times, the sweetness of small cold toes in your bed and a million ‘I love you mommy’s’ that you get in a year. These times pass too quickly.”
Lara is a community leader & former Barrington Junior Women’s Club President
Maryann Correnti – Mother of Three
(A favorite photo of Maryann’s daughter Maria (now 23) and sons Paul (21) and John (17)
“Life is all about making choices. Help your children by presenting them with alternatives then step away and let them make the final decision. You will be developing their critical thinking skills and instilling a sense of responsibility for the choices they make today and beyond.
Think about saying “yes” as often as you possibly can and keep the “no’s” for the really important situations.
When it’s time to say “no”, it will be more meaningful to your child. Always make it a habit to always say ‘Love You!’ before you hang up the phone.
They will do the same to you and others that are near and dear to them.”
MaryAnn Correnti does not live in Barrington, but she is the CFO of Heinen’s Fine Foods – Coming to Barrington in August, 2012
Suzanne Luby – Mother of Four
(Suzanne and Liz Luby, summer, 1974)
“I learned how important it is to surround kids with the sense that they can be whatever they want if they put their minds to it.
Being a mother isn’t a job with a start and a finish…it’s an ongoing process filled with joy, discovery and wonder.”
Suzanne Luby is my own mom and a Realtor in Barrington. She is also mom to my brother Jim and sisters Erin and Christine.
Susan McConnell – Mother of Four
(Seen here with her daughter and three sons on the beach at Wissant Bay in France, where her husband, Doug, completed his English Channel Swim last summer)
“I learned this from Trudy Taylor, James Taylor’s mother, who has many talented children … ‘Figure out what they love and then help them live it. Whether it’s music or art or books … they’ll let you know.'”
Susan McConnell is a Barrington photographer. You can learn more at SusanMcConnellPhotography.com. Thank you, Susan, for reminding me of one of my favorite James Taylor song lyrics that always brings mom to mind (see video below).
“She has the power to go where no one else can find me,
and to silently remind me,
of the happiness and good times that I know.”
Thank you for so many helpful words of wisdom and, to all the moms who happen upon this page today, Happy Mother’s Day from all of us at 365Barrington.com!