Sara Ellington Behnke has more gigs and irons in the fire than any mama I know: wife, mother, published book author, former radio show host, blogger, freelance writer, experienced ad agency professional, Tweeter, official spokesmom for Johnson & Johnson, guest on NBC’s TODAY show, contributor to Charlotte Today AND (drumroll…) Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer survivor.
I met Sara more than 10 years ago through our husbands who were colleagues. She hosted a fabulous cookout on the lake and I distinctly remember two things about that day. I wanted her dimples. I admired her fabulous white furniture and wondered how she kept it so clean.
Sara is the kind of person who fills up a room. She’s charming and full of charisma, always aiming to be her authentic self. And those dang dimples! You just can’t help but smile when she smiles! Sara and her bestie, Stephanie, have co-authored and published two books about the joys and jams of being in charge of someone other than yourself, The Must-Have Mom Manual and The Mommy Chronicles.
Sara’s Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to: David, 16 years
Years in Charlotte: 20
Mom to: Anna, 10 years old and Cade, 8 years old
Occupation: Author of The Must-Have Mom Manual and The
Home town: Amherst, VA
‘Hood: Mountain Island Lake
Of all of your gigs, which one do you enjoy the most and why? (wife and mother excluded!)
I love being an author because it is what I dreamed of as a little girl, although I never imagined I’d write books on motherhood! Writing these books has allowed me to meet and work with some amazing people I would have never met otherwise and I am very grateful for the experience.
With this much going on, how do you recharge? How much sleep do you require a night?
Life is pretty calm right now. I’m not in the middle of book promotion or anything like that. I’m mainly focused on getting the kids settled back in school. But when I need to recharge, having some time to myself does the trick. I need some alone time to feel balanced, whether it’s reading a book or going to see a movie by myself or just wandering the aisles of Target, a little solitude gives me the energy to do all the things we moms do on a daily basis! And I definitely need lots of sleep! At least 8 hours if possible.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I used to be a headbanger back in my younger years — I even saw Ozzy Osbourne in concert once! And my couches really aren’t that clean. It’s all about low lighting.
Best book you’ve read lately?
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors. I love historical fiction and this book about the daughter of the emperor who built the Taj Mahal is just terrific.
Favorite movie of all time?
It’s a tie between Dead Poet’s Society (for the writer in me) and Parenthood (I love how it’s about embracing the family you have, warts and all)
Favorite date night spot?
David and I had our first date in Charlotte at Alexander Michael’s in 4th Ward so we love to go back there for anniversaries, etc. Love the fried pickles!
What is the funniest thing Anna or Cade have ever said or done?
That is a tough one because Cade says something almost every day that cracks us up. When he “graduated” preschool the teachers asked all the kids what they wanted to be when they grow up so they could announce them at the ceremony as “future artist, future doctor” or whatever. When they announced Cade it went like this: “Cade Behnke, who just wants to be himself because he doesn’t ever want to have a job.” The whole room burst into laughter. David just looked at me and said, “Well he set the bar pretty low for everyone else.” Then in first grade he had to write about what he would do if he was the gingerbread man trying to get away. He wrote that he would take a private jet to Las Vegas. I have no idea where he came up with that because it’s not like he’s ever been to Las Vegas or on a private jet! His paper hung in the hallway at school for about a month. I still wonder what the other teachers and parents thought when they saw that!
What is the best birthday party you’ve attended/hosted?
One of our neighbors hosted a dog-themed party for her son. She had frisbee dogs come to entertain the kids. I’m a big dog lover so I had as much fun as the kids! Last year we gave Anna an American Idol party. David somehow connected the computer to the tv so the girls had the lyrics on the screen to the song of their choice. We made videos and they all got awards. That was really fun.
Minivan or SUV?
I’m on my second Honda Odyssey baby!
What is your favorite phone app?
2Do (it’s a to-do list app). I love having my to-do list with me all the time.
What is your favorite CSP article?
I love the profiles on moms and dads. It’s amazing how many inspiring people there are around us!
What is the best kept secret in Charlotte?
Mountain Island Lake. Lake living 20 minutes from downtown (but it’s probably good that more people don’t know about it!)
What is your “I could not live without my”…