“Note to self: when you connect with people who are good for you, you feel it. This is a big deal. Don’t forget to acknowledge how great it is to be around someone who lights you up. Tell them, even if you feel a little bit weird…” ~ Author Unknown
Smarties, the quote above describes exactly how I feel about this week’s Smarty Mom, Josephine Hauser. Meeting her for the first time felt like I was catching up with an old friend. I knew instantly we would walk away being friends!
In this interview, Josephine opens up about her daily life as a mother to three children, her son Jackson’s recent diagnosis with PANDAS, her very stylish blog The Style Hostess, her work as a Travel Agent and her position on the Lung Force Cabinet for the American Lung Association in Charlotte. Phew, she has a lot going on! And, I am excited to mention that she will be guest blogging on CSP about her family’s journey with her son’s recent diagnosis of Pandas.
Without further ado, let’s get to know my new friend, this week’s Smarty Mom, Josephine Hauser.
Smarty Mom Stats:
Married to:Allen, my rock
Children:Jackson (11), Nat (10) and Hollins (6)
Neighborhood:South Charlotte…Currently in Lost Tree but building in Steven’s Grove.
Alma Mater:Meredith College
Career:Before kids, I was a litigation paralegal. Now I’m a blogger, personal shopper and travel planner.
Motherhood & PANDAS
Tell us about your kids.
Jackson, my firstborn, is smarter than most adults and loves legos, playing all sports, science, music and being in charge. Nat, my middle child, is super laid-back and easy-going and loves football and Ipads, computers, Xbox and TV… we joke that he would watch anything on a screen. Hollins, my baby girl, is helpful, attentive and always wants to please. She loves snuggling, cheerleading, Barbies and all the princesses.
What does a day in your life with three kids look like?
Truly, it varies day to day. A typical day starts with me taking the kids to school then heading to Bar Method to workout. Then after an hour long class, I head to the grocery store, Target or the mall. Errand, after errand, after errand. The I head back home to do some work on the computer whether it’s for travel clients, the blog and styling clients. By then it’s usually carpool time! Picking the kids up and head home. I make my kids have quiet time and time to decompress for 30 minutes to an hour. I prep dinner and then help with homework. Dinnertime is next and the 3 kids usually eat together then I wait for Allen to get home to eat. It would be great if we could all eat together but they usually want to eat around 5 and Allen (if he’s in town) doesn’t get home until 6:30. Then, we try to do something as a family… usually part of a movie. BEDTIME for the kids. Dinnertime for me, then clean up, and prep for the next morning. Bath time is something I indulge in almost every night. Then, it’s into the bed to finish computer work and SLEEP.
Tell us about the recent challenges that your family has been faced with.
My oldest was diagnosed with ADHD at a very young age. Since then the diagnoses keep coming… anxiety, Disruptive Mood Disregulation Disorder, Working Memory Issues, and on and on. Despite changing medications, doctors and therapists nothing helped. We never turned that corner. When we would try something new, I would be convinced that this was going to be it… this was going to help him. But nothing seemed to work. Most days were a struggle, whether he got into trouble at school or acted out at home. It wasn’t until I wrote a blog post about our day to day struggles that we heard about Pandas/Pans.
What advise would you offer parents who are questioning their child’s health?
Be your child’s advocate. If you think something is wrong, listen to the voice inside your head- that mother’s intuition. Fight for what your children need physically, mentally and emotionally.
Blogging/ The Style Hostess
Tell us about your blog.
It started out as an online journal for my recipes, entertaining and outfits. I still blog about those but I started to do more personal posts. I would love to be a blogger that can blog 4 times per week and go after advertisers and paid posts but I’m just not there yet. Motherhood has taken over and more specifically PANDAS.
Can you offer our Smarty audience any Smarty hostess tips?
1. Use and combination of store-bought items and homemade foods for parties. I love to cook but I usually can’t do it all myself.
2. Have a fun signature cocktail at each event or gathering. People LOVE this. I even try to do it for family holidays and most people look forward to seeing what the “specialty” cocktail is.
3. For larger parties I hire a bartender. That way Allen and I can enjoy the party and know our guests are taken care of.
What blogging means to you?
It’s still an online journal but now it’s a way to tell people what I’m going through without telling them face to face. I generally don’t like talking about my feelings , but writing about my feelings is different. I can cry while I type and I don’t have to see that look that people get when they don’t know what to say.
What travel agency do you work for?
What is your favorite form of travel?
Plane… the quicker the better because I get so bored on long car rides.
Your favorite vacation?
It’s so hard to pick just one! Napa/ Sonoma or Cabo. For Allen’s 40th we went with some of our best friends to Wine Country for a week. It was the trip of a lifetime. Then last year we went to Cabo in the fall for a friend’s 40th birthday and it was AMAZING! I would go back in a heartbeat.
What is your Charlotte clientele’s most popular travel destination?
I have the 2 extremes usually. It’s either people wanting a magical family vacation with their kids to Disney or Universal Studios OR it’s parents that need a getaway to somewhere tropical to have a break from the kids.
Your favorite travel itinerary to plan for your clients?
I love planning vacations for families because I love traveling with my kids. I try to make it as easy for parents as I can, so that they can enjoy their quality family time.
Use a travel Agent! Even if it’s not me. It doesn’t cost any extra (PROMISE!) and will save you time and money in the long run.
Lung Cancer Advocacy
Tell us about your involvement with Lung Cancer.
I sit on the Lung Force Cabinet for the American Lung Association in Charlotte.
How did you get involved?
My mom died from lung cancer in October 2008. My best friend Shawna works for Charlotte Radiology. When the ALA started Lung Force in Charlotte they went to Charlotte Radiology to find out if they knew anyone who would want to be involved. Shawna immediately volunteered and asked me, my sister and my other best friend, McCay (who lost her mom to lung cancer also) to join the cabinet.
How has lung cancer effected your life?
I lost my mom when I was 29, my sister was only 22. She was my best friend and I still miss her every single day. My kids will never know their grandmother. I have never known what it’s like to call my mom to grab the kids from school because things get crazy. They will never know what sleepovers at her house would be like. She was the best “Grandmama” for the short time they had her.
What can people do to get more involved?
Our 3rd Annual Turquoise Tasting is May 17th at the Duke Mansion from 7-10 pm. We’d love to have you join us! It’s a fun night with yummy food and beverage pairings, a local mixologist, wine pull, silent auction and more!
Get to know Josephine – Lightning Round.
IF YOU COULD…
…tell your younger self something what would you say?
Popularity is not all it’s cracked up to be.
…have lunch with anyone, who would it be?
Living or Dead? Dead- Princess Diana/ Living- Sarah Paulson
…live anywhere, where would it be?
…travel anywhere, where would you go?
WHEN IS THE LAST TIME…
…you laughed really hard.
The last time I was with my best friends for a girls night in. My girl friends are THE BEST for keeping me going and laughing.
Wednesday morning when my youngest had anxiety getting out of the car to go to school.
…you took an unexpected risk.
I don’t take a lot of risks anymore… that’s motherhood for you. My sister and I did get tattoos. Our parents are probably rolling over in their graves.
…your favorite quote?
“Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are THE MOST important work.” ~CS Lewis
…your guilty pleasure?
Taking long baths while watching the Real Housewives or Southern Charm
…your daily mantra?
Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
…your favorite date night spot?
…your favorite girls night out spot?
Foxcroft Wine Shop
Smarty Charlotte, Be on the lookout for Josephine’s future blogs! XO