Happy Smarty Mom, Saturday! I’m super excited to introduce Courtney Clark, a Smarty Mom on so many levels. Courtney is a single mom to precious and awesome kids, Denton (11) and Molly (7). Courtney is the Publications Director at Charlotte Latin School. She is pretty much the last one to touch most things printed, designed or published at Latin – magazines, ads, Admissions marketing materials, invitations, programs, in-house materials, etc. In a nutshell, she LOVES her job! Courtney has lived in Charlotte since 1992 and we’re lucky to have her in our Smarty community!
I had the privilege of meeting Courtney at Weekday School many years ago and fell in love with her creativity, spunk, generosity, and all around positive, upbeat attitude. Her personality is absolutely infectious and I just know you will love her!
Let’s meet Courtney Clark…
How did you transition your children from a traditional family to single mom?
Wow – Not sure that task is ever done. We are forever adjusting to the
nuances of a split family.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge is still and always be that our children, whether they
say it or not, want their parents in the same house.
What piece of advice/words of wisdom would you like to give to other single moms out there?
Kidding. I so wish I could say I can take credit for coming through that
period on my own. But I cannot.
Lean on your friends and your family. Ask for, but more importantly, accept
help. My friends and family rallied around me with prayer and devotion in a
way I never ever, ever imagined. Each offered me a unique perspective and I
leaned on them in different ways. More on this in my next answer.
Find, and more importantly, make time for, something healthy that empowers
and energizes you. For me that is running. It has been my choice of exercise
since college (’cause I am too cheap to join a gym?). But during rough
patches, running was my friend, my therapy – and I will always remain loyal
to her. When I can be outside and breathe and move – I call it my
invincible place. I don’t care if it is cold or raining, I still try to go.
No music. I’m not that good at it, and Nike would gawk at my low-budget,
trendless gear. But each day, it makes me a better mom, person, friend.
Team parent. Communicate.
Shield your kids from anger and tears as best you can. Allow them to just
be kids. They have enough weight on their little hearts and confusion in
their minds to need to shoulder their parents’ pain as well.
How do you think you’ve grown from your experience?
I never knew how to be there for a friend going thru a separation or
divorce. Unless you have been there, it is impossible. What I learned is
that instead I can try to pay it forward. To be there for the next friend
who has to face it.
Separately, I grew in my sense of self. I don’t really know how this
happened, but I found me. I learned that I had to not only do that, but
also love who I found there before I could ever share myself with anyone
else. I had really good coaches along the way. Friends who challenged me
and some days set the bar just a little bit higher.
I love deeper, stay angry shorter, listen better, hug tighter, and play
OK, onto less deep questions… What is your favorite family time activity?
Over Christmas my kids and I went ice skating and had an absolute blast! I
embarrassed the heck out of them as I zoomed around singing to Michael
Jackson’s Billy Jean, and Journey (OMG – was I back in high school or
what?!), but I didn’t care – this too was my invincible place.
Favorite mommy-time activity?
Best book you’ve read lately?
Oh, you are so great to give me the chance to sound literary! And I am so
proud to have actually finished a book recently! (I SO wish I made more
time for this…) Born to Run – suggested to me by a friend. I admit I was
glossy eyed through the more technical/mechanical foot and shoe parts, but
was absolutely mesmerized by the kids, Jenn and Billy, and the running.
In the past, you have run a super Smarty printing biz, a courtney clark design. Are you still doing this? Where can we order?
Not officially, but I LLLLLLOVE to do it. Email me. See my FAVORITE notepad attached – how presh is this?!
What is your favorite kid-friendly restaurant?
Funniest thing your kids have ever said to you?
Oh there are sooooo many. My niece, Sally, actually might still top the
list, though. When she was 3. With her mom and dad, they came to visit us
at our new house. My sister, her mom, handed me a lovely house warming
wrapped gift, which I immediately proceeded to open. Sally watched on,
eager to see what was within. As I unveiled the beautiful vase, sally
looked up at her mom, and said, “Mama, do we not want that anymore?!”
Best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
Well, again, a tricky one…. But we just celebrated my beautiful mom’s very
special 75th last month at my house and some of her college friends came; it
was such a treat to entertain them, and to sit around and hear their
stories, they giggled to the point of tears and had such fun. Watching her
with children, grandchildren and friends… It was a night I will always
Favorite date-night spot (I bet you get to have some fun ones now that you’re out on the town:-)
Favorite GNO activity/spot?
One of the most fun things I’ve done in a long time is to go on an impromptu
jaunt to Shelton Vineyards when the weather was nice. We had MORE fun.
Shaggin in our bare feet to the Embers, hayriding thru the vineyards at
sunset with a honking glass of wine in hand. Massive giggling. OMG!
As a mom of an elementary-school son, can you please shed some light on the sports thing?! This is a blog all its own, but I’m terrified of all of the travel sports teams! What happened to just doing something for the love of the game – it seems like everyone is obsessed with making their child the next Olympic athlete these days! Any tips would be appreciated – I have exceptionally coordinated twin boys in the making and I know they are going to be incredible athletes. Hubby says “NO TRAVEL TEAMS!” What’s your position?
I am NOT the obsessed travel team parent by ANY stretch of the imagination.
I want him to learn the sport and have fun and figure out the dynamics and
responsibilities of being a part of a team. I grew up one of three girls,
so I am still a complete baseball and football novice (read: idiot). If my
guy played soccer or tennis which are sports I “get” and sports I played –
that might be different. He plays such “guy” sports that I sort of just get
this glazed look and pretend I know what in the heck the calls are. In
football, not only am I not obsessed, but I tend to miss most plays still
looking either for the flippin ball or for which one is my kid.
Now that the economy is on the upswing, I’m in the market for a new Smarty sled. Back to the debate: minivan or SUV?
SUV for me. 5-speed. I miss my Rodeo something awful. If I had my
druthers, I’d say my van days are past. That said, I remember trying to help
you corral Walker and Owen, one day, Jen, and I’d have to say the van sure
(!!!) made mama life easier when mine were little squirts.
(now Jen, I am adding a separate answer to this – forgive me, but it is a
great story). Two summers ago, my son asked me if I didn’t drive a minivan,
what would I drive? Oh lord, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t come up with an
answer to save my life. Don’t get me wrong, that van absolutely changed and
rocked my world when Mol was a baby. But I translated my inability to come
up with a good option as MY identity crisis. Poor Denton had no idea his
simple hypothetical could cause me such strife. I don’t really care much
about cars. The ones from my past – like my dad’s Karmann ghia, the 1971
spring green Cutlass convertible my sisters and I shared….were awesome.
But upon being asked, nothing now suited me. Who was i? Not a sporty BMW.
Nor an Odyssey either.
Then my sister and I were on a run on Sullivan’s Island, and I spotted it. A
1973 Apple Green (we call this courtney green at my house) hard top Ford
Bronco. Two surfboards on top. It just screamed spirit and spunk. I had
found me. (want a pic of this too?) One day….
Favorite CSP article thus far?
Rachael Busby’s Smarty Mom answers – that girl has the most amazing zip and
zest for life!
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Charlotte to me is the smallest town slash big city. I love how tight knit
and cozy it can be. There are few places you can go and not bump into a
pal, but if you want to be anon, you can.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Oh gosh, I never have the best secrets.
I could not live without my…
We have a new giveaway this week, Smarties – wahoo!
Time Warner Cable Arena Presents (2) Family-4-packs to the Harlem
Globetrotters on Saturday, March 20th at 7p. Click here to enter, one entry per person. Good luck, Smarties!