Happy Saturday Smarties! It is my pleasure to introduce you to Smarty Mom, Tracy Freese. Tracy and family moved in next door two years ago and I gained a great new friend. My husband discovered a friend who loves sailing, cars, fishing and beer, my kids gained two new friends, a neighbor who loves to cook and is always happy to feed them, (actually all of us), and our dog even got a new friend when they added Chester to the family. I don’t know what we did to get so lucky! Tracy is a hands-on mom, an incredible listener, generous with her time and a top rate Scrabble player. I am happy to let you get to know Tracy!
Smarty Mom Stats:
• Name: Tracy Freese
• Married to: Larry Freese
• Children: Whitney (11), Caroline (8) and our new addition, Chester, the dog.
• Originally from: West Hartford, Connecticut
• Occupation: Many…currently, Clutter Coach
Tracy, you went from being comfortably settled in the Northeast to a big move to Florida, followed by a move to Charlotte. How have you managed the transition and helped your family adapt?
Moving from Newport, Rhode Island was emotionally difficult. We were very established, loved our community, and of course, hated to leave our family and friends. A short stint in Florida, followed by our next trek to Charlotte, and now we are “home”. Moving is never a joyful undertaking, but once we arrived in Charlotte, we never looked back.
Within 24 hours of settling in to our new digs, we were warmly welcomed by neighborhood children and their parents. We were showered with baskets of goodies, flowers, dinner invitations and wine (how did they know?). Our neighbor, Carol, even hosted a party to introduce us to “the block”, complete with a neighborhood map with family names and phone numbers! I just love southern hospitality! Needless to say, Charlotte grew on us quickly, getting entrenched in music, sports, joining the tennis club, swim team and jumping in to school activities and opportunities that so easily surround us.
You are a professional volunteer at your girls’ school and with the Charity League of Charlotte. Can you tell us about Charity League?
Charity League’s roots run deep and strong in our community. For more than 80 years, the dedicated women of Charity League have been embracing the needs of our local children, whom with bright eyes and an eagerness to learn, we are able to provide them with school supplies, clothing/uniforms and in some instances, food.
As a young girl, I was quite influenced by the good works of my Girl Scout troop, and along with my Mother as our Leader, had my hand and heart in any given project that helped others. And since, I have always gravitated to volunteer opportunities that primarily lend a helping hand to children in need. The members of the Charity League represent many generations of strong and giving women. It’s so refreshing to work with a gal whose Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother together work to strengthen the needs of our children. It was an easy decision to join this wonderful cause.
Someday, I look forward to working side-by-side with my girls and their children for this wonderful cause. And, by the way, it is the longest active women’s charitable organization in Charlotte!
Now that the girls are older, you are embarking on a new career. You are one of the most organized people I know and have helped many who have moved into new places, moms transitioning back to the workplace get organized, including myself and Adri Warrick of The Whole Tulip fame. What are some tips to help us all keep it together?
For starters, most of us need daily reminding that “it can’t all get done, so, don’t try to be a hero!” There is no end to the tasks that pile up at home, never mind the piles themselves. I have found that in my spare time, that while others I know are very organized in their careers and outside interests, it is not feasible to get to the organizational needs of their space at home. The opportunity to help a friend (or friend of a friend) put some order in their closet, or clear the clutter, is very gratifying. We all feel better when things are in their place. No job is too big. Sometimes you just need to ask for a little help.
Here’s my tip :
Focus on ONLY ONE area that needs attention. Stick with it until it’s done to your satisfaction. Now, close the door!
If someone needs help getting their desk, a room or the attic organized, how can they reach you?
Simply phone me at: (401) 835-4064 or email to email@example.com We can review your specific concerns and follow up with a consultation.
What do you like about raising your family in Charlotte?
I love the friendly nature of our community and neighborhood. We have been fortunate to live in a school district that has been nothing but fabulous. Our girls are thoroughly enjoying the many cultural and academic programs made available. There is no limit to what our children can learn when they are so readily exposed to great educational programs. I love that the girls can run outside and just “play”. It’s great when the doorbell rings and you have a young group of mixed ages, asking “can Caroline and Whitney can come out for a game of basketball?”
We have been introduced to such a wide array of interests and activities. We love the performing arts, and have really enjoyed the Children’s Theater productions.
Best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever received?
Never lose your sense of humor
What’s your ideal date night?
As long as there is a sitter, it’s a great date, no matter what we have planned!
What’s your favorite activity to do with your family/kid(s)?
Without a doubt, “game night”. It’s high on my list of activities at the end of a long week. Sometimes we play Blokus, other times it’s a competitive scrabble match.
Best kept secret in Charlotte?
Well it’s not quite Charlotte, but, when we first arrived that fall, we took a drive toward the mountains. Heading for Ashville as many suggested for a little leaf peeping, we ended up at the North Carolina Arboretum. Gorgeous! It was the most amazing garden park I’d ever seen, with great trails to walk and explore! When back in Charlotte, we couldn’t find anyone who had ever heard of it before. We felt pretty ‘in the know’. Go there if you haven’t already!
Spring has officially sprung! What are you looking forward to doing with your family this spring?
We share in a community garden with our good friends. Two years ago, I happen to mention that my husband and I were avid gardeners up in New England. So, they asked if we wanted to share in the double-plot they had acquired. It wasn’t until we cleared, prepared and planted MANY fruits and vegetables that I revealed I was more of a perennial gardener with lots of flowers, but knew very little about veggies, other than to cook and eat. Somehow, they keep inviting us back! We can’t wait to get started again!
Favorite Vacation Destination?
Newport Rhode Island !
Minivan or SUV?
SUV, but we may have the last StationWAGON in Charlotte!
Favorite Smarty phone app?
The word “mom” means…
Trust your instincts and always let them know you’re there
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Established in my career and playing more tennis.
I could not live without….
YEAH Tracy! She is the best “clutter coach!” Starting my own business and having less time to devote to keeping up with my home became very overwhelming. When your home becomes cluttered while trying to work out of it, it starts to weigh on you and leaves you overall less productive (and a little grumpy). I knew I needed to implement some new systems and purge but I was paralyzed with where to start. Tracy came in and lifted that weight for me. She did an amazing job and several months later I am finding it very easy to keep the systems going that she put into place. Tracy is sweet, fun and places no judgement on the state of a closet or the immense amount of art work that has piled up. The biggest thing I learned is that you can’t do it all and it is OK to ask for help!