One of the most exciting sections of this blog is a panel of incredible and, yes, real, parents from all walks of life and all circumstances. Meet them, read about their lives and their challenges, their joys and successes. Then, 2-4 times a month, I'll throw a common parenting challenge out there, ideally a suggested topic from our incredible readers. Our panel will weigh in based on their own experiences, so you'll have 4-6 different perspectives on the same topic.
Stay tuned for our first discussion topic about schooling, coming a week from Monday.
And with that, I'd like to introduce you to our panel:
Hi, I'm Elizabeth, and I am 35-years old. Now where to go from there. Let me tell you first about my family (they are the ones that take up the majority of my time and love). I am happily married to a sports enthusiast, who enjoys participating in sports as much as he does watching them on television. Trust me, it is a source of conflict at times. We have four children--ages 7, 6, 4, and 2. Three boys and one girl (the four-year old) who I am not looking forward to spending puberty with. We currently reside in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Fortunately, I am blessed enough to be a stay-at-home Mom; although up until the birth of my daughter I did work full-time. In addition to my duties as prescribed in the proverbial "'Wife & Mommy Handbook", I am also a part-time graduate student at Robert Morris University. This is an endeavor many years in the making. I am working toward getting my Secondary English Certification, as well as my Master's Degree in Instructional Leadership.
I lead a rather boring life. I don't smoke, drink, or use recreational drugs, nor do I gamble. In fact, I would probably be a pretty boring person if I weren't an obsessive-compulsive woman with four kids, who was going to school while trying to maintain some level of a relationship with my hubby. I love to read, and I am a sucker for chick-flicks. I also like to do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and online word puzzles. Wow! I am boring--either that or completely insane. Stay tuned, it can only get better!
Meet Amanda I am a 33 year old mom of 2 Annie who is 7 and Riley who is 4. I was married for 8 years, and have been a widow for 2 years. I have the blessing of being a single mom and living with my wonderful parents in Western Pa, giving my children the extra support they need for a short time before I venture out into the world as a full time working mom and single parent, trying to balance the demands of parenting, work and a some type of social life. I am in my second year of graduate school, and will finish up in less than a year. Facing the challenges of grieving the past and moving on into a new life, has been exciting, hard and definitely an experience that allows for growth.
Meet Melinda I'm in my 30's and am a Mom, stepmom and Grammy. I have 9 kids. (20, 17, 15, 13, 12, 10, 8, 2.5 and 1) I did it the easy way. Married into 7 of them and pushed out 2. I've been married for 5.5 years and reside in Pittsburgh. I LOVE it! I worked in the office and then at home in the same job for almost 10 years and now I'm just strictly a side-tracked home executive. I don't remember what I enjoy because I'm too busy trying to keep track of everyone but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Everyone once in a while I do get to work on my photo albums.
Meet Kelly W. I am a full-time mom, domestic engineer (maid/cook), teacher, cost-saving guru, resource allocator, counselor (specializing in conflict resolution and preteen angst), launderer, homework-checker, lunch-packer, paper-pusher, butcher, baker, candlestick maker, and carpool queen of the entire world. All of my work is mostly "pro bono"…. I do occasionally get paid in Starbucks cards and Amazon book orders. Though I'm originally from Philly, I have spent the last 18 years calling Pittsburgh my home. My senior prom date, Roger, and I have been married for 14 years and have three rapidly growing boys, who are now 13, 10 and 8. Our middle son has autism, which has made the wild ride of raising three very different guys even more of an adventure. It's my passion and my blessing to spend my days growing up with them and leading them to become wonderful men of God (who leave the seat down).
Meet Jennifer T. I live in Boston, MA, and have two kids: a boy who's 6 and a girl who's 4. I'm a very part-time work-at-home attorney/web designer. Relationships make me tick. I love to grow things — vegetables, people, mold in a dark closet in test tubes — and I just started running this year, at age 37.
Meet Madison I’m a 17 year old mother of an amazing little boy named Ashton that will be two in August. While I find the kid to be one of the most amazing little boys in the world, he has certainly put me through enough scares for the next 38 years of my life. Ashton is epileptic and currently receiving help from some amazing people at a local speech development and occupational therapy center for a possible Sensory Disorder. Even with the several medical issues that seem to come up pretty frequently, he still amazes me every single day of my life with all the things he comes up with and does. I myself have just graduated from cyber school and am currently employed only as a mother. After the summer ends, I plan on attending school for Early Intervention Occupational Therapy. I’ve wanted to do it for quite awhile and am totally psyched to get started on it! I currently am living in Pittsburgh with an absolutely amazing family that is always there to support Ashton and myself in whatever we decide to take on in life. While I love to consider them my second family, I do have an awesome “first” family with my daddy, stepmother (who is also one of the panelists) along with my four sisters and three brothers. I have a wonderful support system overall that has been a huge help to me from the moment I told them I was pregnant, through the delivery, to all the various hospital visits; I feel like I couldn’t have been more blessed in life.
Meet Kelly H. I've been married 11 years to my husband and we share our Western Pennsylvania home with our two daughters, ages 4 years and 18 months. I work part-time as a store manager, but absolutely full-time as Mom! As for what makes me smile, I absolutely LOVES baby feet, not sure why but they’re just so darn cute! I also love to play outside with my 4 yr. old blowing bubbles and playing with sidewalk chalk. She’s really good at hopscotch! I love to sit on the deck at the end of a busy day and unwind with my hubby in front of the fire pit. And I love to hear my 18 month old scream “Mama!” as soon as I come through the door. Things I'm not so crazy about include being puked on after one of the girls drinks milk…UGH!...and having a busy week and not getting to spend much time with my hubby and/or the girls.
Meet Jen M. I'm a 30-something mom of one absolutely delicious little girl and wife to my best friend of almost 5 years, though we've been together for almost 7. While I've been calling Western Pennsylvania my home now for almost 17 (or is it 18?) years, my heart still very much belongs on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where I was born and raised. I enjoy knitting, running, family time, writing, trying to figure out my new camera (it's WAY over my head, but I can stick fake a great shot now and then), cooking and baking, making completely irrelevant analogies and big fat belly laughs. I work as a web manager full-time out of the house, which makes for dicey scheduling and a very possessive attitude about my personal time, but there's nothing better than that big huge smile I get from my munchkin girl, after being away for 10 hours. I've said it before and I know I'll say it again...I really hit the jackpot with my life!