The Mom Next Door Series: Katie F

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Kate is not only one of my best friends since freshman year of college, but in our current world, she holds an even higher title than that in my life; she is the Mom of my kids' best friends.  This is a pretty lofty role as I know my kids will learn, be influenced, and grow through their friendships throughout their lives.  Surely, they will grow to make other friends with other parents who will also make an impact on them, but I am eternally grateful that they have had Kate and  her family in their lives since birth.  That my kids not only have friends that are being raised by a mother that I respect, love, and admire - but also that they have another Mom that they feel comfortable and safe to be themselves around.

Please take a minute or two this morning to read more about my best friend, and a Mom Next Door: Kate.


Who are you?  I am Katie Fiore, a 31 year old Mother who lives in Altoona, PA

Who is in your family?  My husband Michael, our daughter Sophie (4years), and our son Charlie (2years).

What do you do for work?   Most days I stay home with my kids, but I do have a part time job as a Behavior Specialist (8-10 hrs a week) which gives me the chance to both get out of the house occasionally and continue working with kids (I was a full time teacher before I had my daughter).

Which chore is your least favorite?  I hate doing laundry! Mainly because it's folding and putting away clothes for four people. No, wait - even worse is ironing!

What has become (at least for now) your parenting mantra or guiding principle?  I remind myself everyday that they aren't going to be small forever; that I have to appreciate every moment of them needing me, even if it drives me crazy! I try everyday to live in the moment (which is incredibly hard for me) but there are moments of the day, when they are both sitting on my lap reading or we are playing a silly game on the floor where I just breath them in. One of my favorite moments of the day is just before I go to bed and sneak into their rooms and watch them sleep. It blows me away that they sleep so peacefully after being crazy all day, but most of all that they are mine.

What would your pre-mom self be surprised to know about motherhood?  That it completely changes your outlook on life. I never knew it was possible to love someone as much as I love my children and they are never not in my thoughts. Even going out with my husband on a date to get a break isn't really a break, because I am constantly thinking of them.

What would your pre-mom self be proud to know about you in motherhood?  That, although motherhood has changed almost everything about my life, it hasn't changed who I am, what I love to do, or my relationship with my husband.

What was the most difficult Mom moment you've had (so far)?  After a complicated pregnancy with my son, he was born healthy (thank God!) but after bringing him home he had to be taken by ambulance to intensive care because of extreme jaundice. It was the scariest time of my life. I didn't know if he was going to be ok and I couldn't hold him or breast feed him because he had to stay under lights. I had a nurse tell me when he wouldn't stop crying that there was nothing I could do; it was heartbreaking!

After a few days, Charlie got healthier and I spoke with his doctor. I asked him if there were going to be any long term side effects of this and he told us to, "just watch his development to make sure he's on track." Needless to say that is all I worried about for the next year and a half. I am just now starting to relax. Seeing Charlie talk and grow is an amazing relief!

What keeps you up at night?  Worrying about something bad happening to them, everything seems so perfect so I'm waiting for something to go wrong...I know it's a completely pessimistic way to look at things but I can't help it.  So I just pray every night that things continue to be as wonderful as they are.

What big projects, worries, or events have you busy right now?  Trying to find exciting camps/activities for Soph to do this summer, she loves learning and meeting new people so I want to encourage it as much as I can!

How do you unwind ore re-charge?  I love to run. It's the one thing I do for myself just about everyday. If I don't get some sort of exercise I feel a little crazy. My mom would say to me when I was younger if I was sad or grumpy or bored to go for a run. It always worked; it's my cure for everything!

What do you feel like you are really good at as a mom?  I think I am really funny - at least my kids make me feel like I am! I'm also good at expressing my emotions to them whether it be to say "I love you more than ice cream and rainbows" or "Mommy is really frustrated right now".   As a behavior specialist and former teacher I realize the importance of being able to identify how you are feeling and communicate it. A child isn't going to listen to you, learn, or grow if they can't express themselves.

What do you feel like you wish you were better at being a mom?   I wish I could sit for hours and play with my kids, but I'm too antsy! I play princess for 5 minutes and think of something I wanted to do around the house! I also need to stop looking at my phone so much around them and just give them all my attention without any distractions.

What is the one "Mom Tip or Trick" that you can share that has made your life easier somehow?  My mother-in-law taught me the importance of a good sleep schedule. I think a consistent sleep schedule for babies leads to healthier and happier families for years to follow.  I hear moms talk about sleep with such frustration and I want to just carry around copies of "Baby Wise" to give them because it really did save my life as a new Mom! 

What do you miss most from Mom days already gone by?  Holding a sleeping infant and breast feeding. I'm lucky to have friends that are still having children so I can hold and love their babies. Actually, while visiting one of my best friends and her new baby we talked about the amazing smells of infants. Even their poop smells good!

What are the small joys of being a Mom that you treasure most right now?  I feel like I am the most important person in their lives. I am who they want when they cry and who they want to make them laugh. It's amazing to be so wanted and needed.  I love the moments in the day where I look at them, smell them, and hug them and just feel overwhelming joy. I told Sophie the other day that it made me feel like my heart was going to burst. She liked that.

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