This week we are thrilled to feature a momination for Smarty Mom – Lee Christian-Clinton. Let’s get to know Lee:
Can you imagine having five kids, leading two girl scout troops, helping with boy scouts, carpooling to baseball practice, teaching faith formation and volunteering at both the schools your kids attend? This would put most mothers completely and totally over the edge but not this week’s Smarty Mom Lee Christian-Clock. Not only does Lee do all of the above but she does it all with grace, wit and a calm demeanor. She is not rattled easily but goes with the flow all the while and keeps things in perspective. Her family is her priority and she does an amazing job as a role model to the young girls she leads through scouting and their mothers. Her faith is strong and she values quality time with both her children and her husband. An amazing woman who exemplifies the girl scout law…she is honest, fair, friendly, helpful, considerate, caring and she is definitely making the world a better place.
With 5 kids ranging in age from toddler to 7th grader, I’m sure you’ve learned a lot about yourself as a mother. What do you find to be the most challenging and most rewarding things about being a mom and what lessons have you learned along the way?
I have learned that it is important to spend alone time with each child. I try to take one child out each Sunday after Mass to lunch and run errands or do something fun. We do a lot of uninterrupted talking and laughing and having special things for us to create memories with, just us.
I have also figured out that Mum can’t do everything and that even the littlest one can help do things around the house. It may not look perfect but they did it and what a great self esteem builder! I am slowly learning it is ok for Mum to have some time for herself and not feel guilty about it.
Being consistent is a big challenge because it takes so much work on the parent’s part but it really is the sanest way to parent. I have huge worries about technology overload and want my children to be able to function in the world but am afraid for their safety and their hurt feelings that can result from cyberbullying and information on the internet. I finally came to a compromise with our oldest and let her get an iTouch, which she paid for with her own money that she earned over the summer dog sitting. She can text certain people and I can see it.
The rewards for me are having our children being actively involved in our church and in Scouting. Delaney and Reghann are in the Girl Scouts and Timothy and Jameson are in the Cub Scouts. Cassidy can’t wait to join the fun. John and I are scout leaders for each of the children so it is nice to be able to interact with them on a different level. Our faith is a big deal for us. It is so rewarding to see that our children can actively participate in our church, St. Matthew. In addition to Scouting, Delaney and Tim are Altar Servers and assist with Masses. We also participate in the Sandwich Ministry and along with others at our church we take turns delivering sandwiches to the Uptown Men’s and Women’s shelters. The kids help load the baskets into the car, unload at the shelters, and interact with the residents. I think it helps them to have empathy and concern for all and hopefully they will strive to continue to help where there is a need throughout their lives.
The best thing though and the most rewarding is to see how much my kids love each other. I know they look out for each other and although they may not get along perfectly all the time they are considerate and inclusive and count their siblings as their friends. What more could I ask for?
What led you to get so involved in both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with your children?
I was a scout for a few years in elementary/middle school, my husband made it all the way to life scout. We think that scouting is a great character builder for kids and fosters a sense of service at an early age. It also gives them an appreciation of nature with all the camping we get to do with scouts or on our own as a family.
We feel the same way about team sports since it is a great way to have children learn how to operate in a group and work together to achieve goals. Our boys play baseball with PCAA and Delaney plays volleyball with the Morrison YMCA.
Now let’s talk about you as a mom and all of your personal favs! What is your favorite place to find a deal on clothes?
I love all the consignment stores in town. All the kids can find things they love and it is easier than dragging them to the mall and have them try to go off in all directions. We also enjoy a trip to the outlets. But I LOVE Nordstrom’s, their sales racks are great and the sales people are so nice.
Favorite family-activity in Charlotte?
We love to go to the library. They have so much to offer for all the kids. The little ones love working on the computers with the older ones helping them out. We usually go to South County but occasionally take a big trip to Imaginon and have a great time playing with all the exhibits. We also love Discovery Place.
Another thing we do is camping. We just stayed at McDowell Nature Preserve with three other families and had a great time. Everyone loved it and we can’t wait to plan our next “local” get away.
Favorite mommy-time activity?
I love to read, I read about 3 books a week so when I get a spare moment you can find my nose in a book. A close second is making my own greeting cards. I started paper crafting about a year ago and just love the hidden creative juices that get flowing.
Favorite place to take the whole fam to dinner?
We love Buca di Beppo. Everyone cleans their plate, which is a rarity! Don Pedro’s would be a close second because everyone loves when the man makes the guacamole right at our table.
Favorite date-night spot?
We love Upstream and Ruth’s Chris’ but honestly being able to go to a non-child movie with a bucket of popcorn is a great night out for us.
Favorite lunch spot with your girlfriends?
We like O’Shea’s, Firebirds and Kabob Grill. They don’t mind us hanging around and laughing.
Favorite GNO outing?
We had a really good time when we went to Howl at the Moon at the Epicenter. Lots of singing and laughing. But usually we like taking turns at our houses and have everyone in for tea/coffee. What usually starts at 10 am goes way past lunch time with all the funny stories and catching up.
Best place for a mani/pedi?
I like the place at Camfield Corners. The women who work there are so friendly and I can “escape” for a bit.
Best birthday party you’ve attended or hosted?
If it is for adults it would have been my last birthday organized by my husband and friend, Magda. It was over the top and so wonderful. If it is for a child’s birthday Tim’s 4th was pretty good; it was a Harry Potter theme we did the ceiling to look like Hogwarts with floating candles and had a Quidditch game complete with brooms. Cauldrons were the party favor bags and the cake was the four houses of the school.
Best book you’ve read lately?
I’ve been trying to read books that my kids might be interested in or suggest. So, right now I am reading The Outsiders on the recommendation of my daughter, Delaney. The best grown-up book I’ve read lately is Thanks for the Memories by Cecelia Ahern…it had a little bit of everything with some laugh out loud bits in it. Water for Elephants was great too.
Funniest thing your children have ever said to you/ever done?
They are great at organizing dance offs and singing exhibitions! If we need a laugh we just ask one of them to show us their latest moves and they have us in stitches.
What is your favorite CSP blog thus far?
I loved the post that talked about getting your kids ready for middle school. It really gave me some helpful hints to help my kids with school and to be a better mum!
Smartiest way you save $?
I love using coupons for everything. If the grocery store, restaurant or clothes store doesn’t have a coupon I wait until it does! I also get rain checks from stores and use them.
I could not live without my…
calendar! I still do it the “old fashioned way” with one on the wall with all our activities, appointments and special days on it. I couldn’t function without it.
Thanks Lee! If you have a Smarty Mom (or Dad) you’d like to mominate – let us know! Email us today!
What a neat person. Thanks for sharing.
My boys play ball with Lee's boys. They're truly a fantastic family!