Happy Saturday, Smarty Friends! This week’s featured mom is the oh-so super smarty Ginger Salmon. Ginger is one of those rare Charlottean’s that was actually born here. She then grew up in Concord and returned to Charlotte to live after college. She is a full time working mom, married to her incredible husband Richard (9 years) and has two adorable daughters (who I swear are mini-mi’s of Ginger and Richard) Avery (5) and Parker (almost 3). In her spare time (seriously, she is super woman), Ginger has recently started her own photography business. For all you Facebookers, check her out her fan page: Ginger Salmon Photography. All that and she still finds time to be a great mom, wife, and friend. Now let’s get to know Ginger.
What do you find to be the most challenging thing about being a mom and what lessons have you learned along the way?
The most challenging thing about being a mom was remembering I am a wife first. I remember reading so many books preparing for motherhood and none of them ever talking about the stress a baby can put on your marriage. For me, I think I became so anal about everything and needed to be reminded that “my way” of doing things wasn’t the “only way”. When I was returning back to work I was turning into a freak, only I didn’t see it. Richard had to remind me that he was there as a support and just had to shake me a little. I had to learn to let go. Once I gave up the control, I was back to being the fun-loving and easy going person I once was. It truly was wonderful seeing Richard build an awesome bond with Avery.
I remember thinking in my head that I needed to write a book just about what other mothers won’t tell you. We, as mothers, put so much pressure on ourselves to be strong and be the best we possibly can. We do talk about the physical and not enough about the emotional toll motherhood takes on us. I think it is so important to be honest with each other, because if we would share more openly, we all have a great bit of advice to share. We don’t have to be perfect all of the time.
When Avery was about 15 months old she started this whiny phase, and I wanted to fix that fast. We were at ImaginOn one Saturday morning. She was playing and I was just relaxing. I was looking for some board books and there was this beam of light shining through the window and lighting up a book that wasn’t supposed to be in that spot. It was by Dr. Kevin Leman. I opened it up to see if there was anything on whining, but what did I flip to first? “How to keep your marriage together?” I read through a couple of pages and there it was. Everything I had been looking for. Those few pages changed my life! Just a few highlights were to never criticize and let your spouse do things their way. The other was to make sure you and your spouse go out on a date the first week you are home, even just one hour to have dinner together. The other was to make sure you have sex as soon as the doc gives you the thumbs up. I totally share this knowledge with all of my friends getting ready to have babies.
When Parker was born, everything was a piece of cake and so much easier. I learned some great lessons along the way.
What is your most rewarding thing about being a mom?
Wow… that is a hard question. I just love hearing the girls tell me they love me out of the clear blue. Or when they tell me that I am the “best, most fun-est mom” in the whole world. I think I also love seeing the way the girls look at me when I make them something new or when they actually learn something new about me. Avery’s class had asked if any parents had talents. I signed up on the board that I danced for many years. I was asked to come and demonstrate. I dug my old tap shoes out of the attic and went to her school. Her eyes were huge with excitement, because she didn’t know I could do that. I actually surprised myself, too, since I hadn’t tapped in over 20 years.
You’ve recently embarked on a new hobby, photography. How do you find the time to balance a full time job, 2 kids and a rather time consuming hobby?
I am really not sure how I juggle it all either. I do find myself feeling like I am burning the candle at both ends. Richard and I both work very hard to be active with the girls and share a ton of responsibilities. I have a really flexible job that allows me to be active with both of them and their schools; however I do travel a bit and miss some things. Most of the time, I am able to juggle my travel schedule so I am there for important activities. Richard is really great when it comes to supporting my new hobby. I schedule my photo shoots during the weekends and usually only take on what I have time to do. I spend my evenings editing photos while talking and catching up with Richard. I love to multi-task. I have found that I don’t get to read, volunteer, or work on craft projects as often as I would like, but this is the rush time of the year with families getting holiday cards ready.
Now let’s talk about you as a mom and all of your personal favs! What is your favorite place to find a deal on clothes?
I love Boden and love it even better when they have their great sales. I only buy when they have their buy 3 get the 4th for $1. I do this for the girls as well. I also love Target. They have some really great things in the store and even better on-line. I get to make a trip about twice a year to NY. I love going to Century 21 and hitting H&M stores whenever possible. I am so excited to know H&M will be in Raleigh come Spring 2010.
Favorite family-activity in Charlotte?
Lately, our fun activity has been walking to Freedom Park for Avery’s soccer games. We pack up the stroller with a yummy picnic and basically make a day out of it. Sometimes we plan on eating lunch out and end up at Moe’s, which is the girls’ favorite place to eat. Before we started soccer, we would go to ImaginOn on Saturday mornings. Boogie Woogie Books is so much fun. If we felt even more adventurous, we would take the train into town instead of driving.
Favorite mommy-time activity?
It all depends on my mood and what’s going on. I actually find that my photo shoots give me great satisfaction. I get some time away that is fun and fulfilling. My GNO are also my favorite mommy-time activity.
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
Hands down that would be Sir Ed’s behind Park Road Shopping Center. We just love it there and they are so kid friendly. Avery and Parker also love to go, because of the staff. Richard and I have been going to Sir Ed’s since we started dating over 13 years ago, so they feel like family to us. When the weather is nice, we are able to sit outside, have a nice cold beverage while our girls play. It is even better when we see friends from the neighborhood there and we can hang out with them as well.
Favorite date-night spot?
Richard and I definitely have our favorites and it all depends on our mood. If we are looking for fun, we will go to Mac’s and just hang out. If we are looking for a nice quiet night, we will go to Carpe Diem. Good Food on Montford is also amazing. Most always, we will pop in Sir Ed’s for one last drink before heading home.
Favorite lunch spot with your girlfriends?
I really don’t get much time for “lunch outings” with girlfriends. I am usually taking clients out to lunch, but do value them as great friends as well. So if I were taking my clients / girlfriends to lunch we love to go just about anywhere on East Blvd. There are also some great restaurants downtown I love.
Favorite GNO outing?
I have a couple of different groups of friends and a great husband that let’s me have every Thursday night for just “me”. I have a couple of girlfriends that love to take spa trips. We love to take a whole day for ourselves, go to Pinehurst, Rockbarn, or Grove Park. We get treatments and then go have a fabulous dinner. I also try and meet with my sorority sisters every other month and just catch up. We are all over the place, so we try and change up our locations so no one person has to drive far distances all the time. Due to the economy, we have all tried to pinch pennies. We are doing a lot of get GNOs at each other’s homes. We can drink wine, have snacks, and really great conversation. We try and get together after our children are all tucked in, and it works out perfectly. We get to have family and mommy time. I can’t tell you how much I value this time with all of my girl friends. I think I would loose my mind if I didn’t have them. Each and every one of them has some great quality that I learn from and become a better wife, mom, and friend.
Best place for a mani/pedi?
This is one area I have tried saving money. I use to go about every other week, but now I have really cut back. Now, I do most of them at home. If I need some relaxation and want to treat myself, I will go to Selwyn Nails.
Best birthday party you’ve attended or hosted?
I love all of the parties at the Y and My Gym. Anywhere you can go and the staff basically let’s you enjoy your child and you don’t have to do any work, is my kind of party. It allows me the opportunity to take great photos, spend time enjoying the activities, and not have to worry about cutting a cake or putting straws in juice boxes. Avery’s birthday is actually coming up and she requested a bowling party, but also wanted to have all of her friends dress up as princesses, so this one may become a favorite.
Funniest thing your children have ever said to you/ever done?
Well, Avery was about 2 years old and had a friend at school that taught her a new word…. “disgusting”. Everything was disgusting. We were in the bathroom at ImaginOn, which is pretty large. She was at the age where she was very observant and really getting into using the potty. We both were using the bathroom and she caught a glimpse of what was different than her. She belted out in an echoed space, “EEEWWWWW… that’s disgusting!” I thought I was going to die. There were more mothers in the restroom that belted out laughing. One yells to me, “That’s ok. Been there, done that.”
What is your favorite CSP blog thus far?
I have two. One was Jenn P’s blog remembering all of the wonderful things about Jenn B and her tragic death. I got to meet Jenn B one time and remember her certainly lighting up the room at Jake’s 1st birthday party. She was so nice and I do think of her often. The other blog was by Tracy and her “Too much mommy-ness”. That particular week for me was a ton of “mommy, mommy, mommy” going on in my house. Just put a smile on my face realizing that I wasn’t alone.
Smartiest way you save $?
With the down economy, I have just really stopped spending. Before I buy I ask myself do I really need it. The answer is usually no. I do spoil myself sometimes, but I have really cut back. I try very hard to go to the store with a meal plan and list. I wish I was a coupon user, but I just don’t have the time to add that task to my life.
I could not live without my…
husband. He is amazing and has taught me so much. He is an amazing father and can reason with the girls like no other. I just think he is the best. I also couldn’t live with out my blackberry and camera.