This Smarty Mom is one you can truly call a Smarty! She is on her game 24/7. I am not really sure how she does it. She is mother to 3 precious kiddos, works part time as a college professor, volunteers her time and talents in her children’s elementary school & preschool, heads up & runs several committees at these schools, and spends time teaching others about the importance of child CPR. The funny thing is that is merely scratching the surface. She not only does all these things I mentioned, but she does them all at 200% with a giving heart and a smile on her face. For me, I wish I could figure out her secret because if you know her, we all want a little of what this Smarty Mom has! Have a great time getting to know my amazing friend, Jennifer Loeffler.
Smarty Mom : Jennifer Loeffler
Married to: Bryan for 10 years
Children: Grant 7, Ford 5, Madison 2
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
Alma Mater: University of Maryland for undergrad and Queens University of Charlotte for Master’s degree
Years in Charlotte: 8 years
Occupation: Adjunct faculty at Queens University of Charlotte and COO of my amazing family 🙂
Tell us about your job before children and what you’re up to these days.
Before Grant was born, I was an elementary school teacher and literacy facilitator for CMS. I taught in Title I schools and loved every minute of it. When I was pregnant with Grant, I graduated with a Master’s from Queens and started teaching at Queens adjunct when he was 9 months old. I have been teaching in the Cato School of Education since 2009. When I am not teaching, I love spending my time volunteering anywhere someone needs my help.
Did you always know that you wanted to be a teacher?
My mom was a teacher and so was my grandmother. I actually went to Maryland thinking I would do something else. I was a journalism major for two years but always thought about teaching. I met Bryan my sophomore year of college, and he encouraged me to change my major. I did, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
What are the most rewarding parts for you?
I absolutely love the relationships with my students. I love watching a student learn to love learning. I think school should be a happy and wonderful place for all students whether it is elementary school or at church or graduate school – I just do my best to create that environment for learning.
Now, I know you work in many other ways raising your three children and helping out in their schools. Tell us what you love about volunteering your time at their schools.
Volunteering makes me happy – I think it is important to give back and let people know you appreciate what they do. I especially love the energy of an elementary school. I wish everyone could see some of the amazing teaching happening in schools all over Charlotte. I love knowing my kids’ friends and teachers and I am glad that they know me. I really don’t think there is any better place to give my time than schools. Teachers work so hard – I know, I was a classroom teacher! – and if I can do one small thing to make their jobs easier, I am happy to do it anytime I can.
Which part do you love the most?
I love how Grant’s teachers especially have really let me come in to their classrooms to teach small groups of kids and use what I know. I look forward to my time in his classroom every week.
What drives you to do so much and take on these many roles?
I don’t even really think about how much I do until someone brings it to my attention ☺ If I am asked to help somewhere and I feel like I can, I do. I like to be busy and involved so it never feels like too much for me. I put my energy where I think I can help and I’m glad that lots of people feel like they can count on me.
How do you balance it all? Any secrets?
I think every mom is struggling to balance it all no matter if she works outside of the home or not. Working as a stay at home mom, working part-time, or full-time all have challenges. For me, volunteering at my kids’ schools keeps me around them which is time I cherish. I also try to just be grateful in everything I do. I was always taught “to whom much is given much is expected” and I think remembering how blessed I am to be this busy with so many great places to give my time makes me grateful. I also surround myself with moms who don’t take themselves too seriously and who are all just doing their best. I think balance becomes easier when we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I have the greatest mom friends imaginable.
Any tips for other moms on how to stay organized? We always want to learn and you seem to have it down.
I love a paper calendar. I keep one on the refrigerator that I look at every day with Bryan’s call and work schedules, the kids’ activities, my plans and commitments, and anything else I need to remember. I also couldn’t survive without my sticky note lists – I love to check things off a list!
You also support other local philanthropic events. Tell us about those and what is near and dear to your heart.
Our Madison was born five weeks early and when she was only four weeks old, she got sick with RSV (a respiratory virus that can be life threatening to newborns). It seemed like she had a bad cold, but at Ford’s preschool teacher conference, I looked down at Madison in her car seat and she had stopped breathing. She was turning blue. I knew infant/child CPR and was able to help her breathe again before the ambulance arrived. She spent five days intubated in the PICU. By the grace of God, I had taken a CPR course weeks before Madison’s birth. Going through this experience with Madison changed me. I think my perspective about everything has changed because of that experience. I still cannot thank anyone who helped our family during that time without crying. As I tried to find God’s purpose in our experience, I decided the best thing I could do was spread the importance of CPR to other preschool families. Bryan and I partnered with my CPR instructor and started a course for preschool families at our preschool last February on the one year anniversary of when Madison was sick. This year, we will host the same course at three preschools. My hope is that by hearing our story, everyone will be reminded of the importance of knowing CPR. My goal is to grow the class each year in preschools all around Charlotte.
Just for fun:
Things you to do pamper yourself: Mani/pedi or wine nights with my girlfriends
Go to meal to cook for your family: Tacos – easy, quick, and everyone eats them ☺
Favorite family friendly restaurant: HuBeeD’s
Best book you read this past year: The Girl on the Train
Favorite spot to vacation with your family: The beach
What you love about living in Charlotte: This is an easy question – our friends – the friends we have made here are our family ☺