3 Questions I Ask Every Mom I Interview

by - August 29, 2021

One of the biggest reasons I started Wiregrass Parents magazine was to provide resources for local families in a way that saved them time and effort. What I've learned in the last three years is that we, as mothers, have so much to offer one another...if only we'll take the time to listen.

Each month, I interview a local mom for one of our columns. The questions always change depending on the time of year, topic we're focusing on that month, and the mom herself. But what doesn't change is three specific questions I ask each and every one of them.

For me, these are the questions that give the interview the most depth. The responses are always thought provoking and, for me at least, are the ones that offer the most opportunity for connection between us all as mothers.

So, in the spirit of motherhood, I wanted to share my own answers to these questions. And I would love to hear your responses, as well! Share in the comments section or feel free to send me a message via the contact page.

If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I was one of those kids/teens who was good at school but didn't particularly like school. I wasn't bullied, but I didn't ever really feel like I belonged either. I was constantly moving from group to group, just hoping that one day it would all click and I would magically find a place where I fit.

To that girl, I would say to just hold on. Keep walking that path only you can see. That small town you grew up in isn't going anywhere, but you are. And you will find your tribe eventually.

I would tell her that it did finally happen...when we made it to college, in a town where I didn't even need a whole hand to count the number of people I knew. That's where we met the truest friends we've ever had. The friends who have been with us through thick and thin. The ones we can always count on for anything, no matter how many miles stand between us.

I would tell her that all those things you thought you were missing out on weren't really anything at all.

How do you avoid mom burnout/What does self-care look like for you?

First, I had to learn the early warning signs. For me, the earliest red flag is when I start counting words. The ones I read, the ones I speak, the ones other people speak, the ones in songs. All words. Things are getting particularly stressful when I start fixating on if the number of words is odd or even. My preference is even.

The next step is to identify the trigger or triggers and start dialing back wherever I can. The beauty of being a work at home mom who makes my own schedule is that I can take time off when I need to (most of the time -- deadlines days don't count).

For me, self-care is getting a day or two to myself. And no, I don't feel guilty for asking my parents or in-laws to keep Alexis when I need a break. I also tend to escape into books...unless the word counting thing gets too distracting. Bubble baths a few times a week give me some much needed space to space out. And weekly yoga sessions are the best preventative I've found so far.

Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for new parents?

When Alexis was first born, I was offered all kinds of advice. Everything from useful tidbits like sleep when the baby sleeps to ones that bordered on mom shaming like breast is best. Then, of course, there were the horror stories I would hear about how so-and-so didn't shower for days or how I shouldn't expect to ever have a moment of silence. Basically, I got an earful of well-wishers spreading the message that being a new mother meant I would have to put aside my own basic needs.

So, my advice to new moms is to not confuse your basic needs for self-care. They are not mutually exclusive. Sure, sleep when the baby sleeps is good advice until they start sleeping all through the night, but I would advise you to substitute a shower for one of those daily snooze breaks. Put on clean clothes. Brush your hair. Heck, style it if you've got time! Put on makeup just because.

Don't lose yourself to motherhood. You're still the same person, so take the time to remind yourself of that every day. Even if that means dragging the basinet or pack-n-play into the bathroom with you for peace of mind.

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