This week’s Smarty Mom comes to us as a “momination” from fellow Smarty Mom, Shellie Tedford.
I’ve known Eileen for several years now- I actually worked for her for a couple of years when we both worked at one of the banks uptown Charlotte . She was an awesome manager, and our friendship began to grow from there. Now we are both SAHMs (crazy how things have changed!). Eileen is the fabulous mother of two super adorable girls and as busy as she is, she’s never lost her sense of style and class. Right now she is playing the role of single mom while her husband is finishing his second tour in Iraq . I have been so impressed by the way she has managed everything while her husband has been gone, all while helping her girls through a difficult time of missing their daddy. She is sweet and thoughtful, always passing on her oh-so-presh hand me down clothes and toys to my daughter. I just love our little chats, my only wish is that we had them more often! Meet Eileen…
What do you find to be the most challenging thing about being a mom with a husband serving in Iraq, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
The most challenging aspect of a military deployment is feeling the responsibility of managing a household while also worrying about your spouse’s safety. Women are so resilient, though! I would remind myself that there are several single parents out there doing what I had to do, but on a more permanent basis which helped me keep things in perspective.
My greatest area of focus during Mark’s absence was making sure that Sydney and Cate were happy and had all my attention at all times. That included keeping our home environment “calm” and what I mean by that is 1) cutting back on activities after school, 2) making time to do art projects at home, 3) deliberately reviewing their day and 4) talking about what Daddy was doing.
I also made a calendar for the girls and placed it in the playroom. They would put a sticker on it each day and then place a matching sticker on our world map showing Daddy’s location. Keeping the kids involved helped them feel like he was still part of our daily routine even though he was not physically in our home. This was especially important at Holiday time.
The great thing that I have learned from this experience is that “nothing is forever.” No matter the situation; good or bad, no matter the day; smooth-running or chaotic, tomorrow always brings new opportunity!
What is your favorite family-activity in Charlotte?
Visiting the Nature Museum near Freedom Park .
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
Nothing but Noodles – the food is good, but the best part is everyone eats their dinner! I’m not a fan of being a short-order cook.
Favorite date-night spot?
Miro or Sole … for the Sangria!
Favorite lunch spot with your girlfriends?
Zoe’s Kitchen has the best girlie menu!
Best birthday party you’ve attended or hosted?
My Gym rocks! Everyone has fun, no matter the age, and with the maximum kid limit being 20, no-one has to be left out!
Best book you’ve read lately?
James Patterson’s “I, Alex Cross”
Funniest thing your girls have ever said to you/ever done?
Sydney (who is 5), said last week upon looking at herself in the mirror before attending her first Father / Daughter dance “I look so grown up … like I’m 8!”
Cate (who just turned 3); upon driving to the Dr. for her 3-yr old well visit said “I’m going to the Dr.? But I don’t have a cough!”
I could not live without my… Starbuck’s latte!!
Thanks, Eileen! And welcome home Mark! I know you and the girls must be thrilled to finally have him home again after a year and a half of being away.