I'm very honored to feature Cloe, who is an amazing friend, Momma, and fellow School Psychologist. Cloe and I met in graduate school and those who are fortunate enough to know her, know that she is a ray of sunshine and positivity. Although we no longer live near each other, I immensely enjoy our phone chats where we can share our stories of motherhood and experiences as School Psychologists. The start of her motherhood journey was one of indescribable challenges and I thank her for sharing her experience.
Occupation: School Psychologist
What would you like others to know about being a:
Even though time has passed, I will always be a NICU mom. It feels like yesterday when my perfectly normal pregnancy suddenly ended at 26 weeks. There was silence in the delivery room because my baby didn't have a voice yet, the doctors were busy trying to keep him alive, and my husband and I were in shock. For the following week, we lived at the NICU and attended "showings" every 6 hours, kind of like at the zoo, when we could watch the nurse change our baby's diaper and roll him over in the incubator. Once I was able to hold him, a team of nurses would manipulate wires and tubes in order to place him on my chest, where I sat very still for 3-6 hours each day as he slept on me. Referred to as "kangaroo care", this allowed my son and I to bond, taught him to self-regulate, and magically helped raise his oxygen levels if they were dipping. The challenge during kangaroo care was if I moved, there was a chance his ventilator would pop out, causing an emergency where hospital staff would rush in to quickly re-insert the ventilator. Those heightened moments are forever ingrained in my memory. But, I'm glad I was there so I could give him something to fight for. We had to stay positive throughout the 97 days of difficult decision making and endless searching for hope, because my baby would know if we were worried. Once you see your child fight ruthlessly to survive, your perspective of life, of your child and of being a parent forever changes. When I returned to work as a school psychologist, I had difficulty relating and empathizing with other adults. My ability to help children was never affected; but I felt surrounded by mountains being formed out of molehills when it came to adult problems. Nothing could compete with the gratitude I had for life after the NICU experience.
As a School Psychologist what advice would you give to other mommas?
Always go with your gut instinct- it's there for a reason. As a school psychologist, I can tell you young children learn a lot from play. You don't have to structure a bunch of activities for them or drill them on their ABCs or 123s. They will get all that when they get to kindergarten. Just play.... in real life... not on apps :)
What has surprised you the most about motherhood?
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were chuckling as we walked into our third park of the day. We've gone from bar hopping to park hopping! Seriously, days are now spent showing your child the world instead of crossing off items on your self-serving to-do list. It's true- when your kids are having fun, you have fun.
How do you practice self-care as a mom?
I practice saying "no" to things that I don't really want to do. The things that I picture myself wishing I was doing something else while I was doing them. That's how I keep my energy. Also, I am always researching self-care and am hoping to start an online community on IG/FB.. search for my page @ change_the_content (although I haven't posted anything yet... stay tuned)
Best advice about motherhood you’ve received?
You won't look back on life and think "I spent too much time with my kids".
Must-have baby registry product?
A kitchen helper tower. Now my son can see how I prepare food in the kitchen, take on a helping role, and we've both developed a love for baking.
Favorite motherhood quote?
At the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy, and your eyes sparkling" - I don't know who said this
What is your favorite thing about being a Momma?
I have the power to create positive change in the world just by loving my child.