Jennifer Rand is a fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogger. She lives in the Florida Panhandle and has two daughters, Courtney (age 4) and Bridgett (age 2). She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminology and for five years worked full time as an Industrial Security Specialist for a Defense Contractor in the Tampa Bay area. She started Belle de Couture in May 2010 as a hobby and to keep an online style diary of her daily outfits. It soon became her creative outlet, and when her family moved from Tampa Bay to the Panhandle of Florida, she decided to start blogging full-time while working part-time from home for another Defense Contractor. She loves that blogging allows her to work from home, where she can spend time with her children and still be able to do what she loves and is passionate about.
WHAT DOES MOTHERHOOD MEAN TO YOU?
Motherhood means so much more to me than just taking care of my children. It means always being a good role model for them and teaching them morals and values that they can carry with them through life. It means being a positive light in their lives and loving them unconditionally. I want my daughters to always feel like they can come talk to me about anything. I want to always build them up and make sure that they know how special they are, that they are capable of anything they put their minds to.
HOW HAS MOTHERHOOD CHANGED YOU?
I think any mother can agree that motherhood instantly changes you. Once your child is born you suddenly realize that it isn’t just about you or your spouse anymore – that this beautiful child comes first. The decisions you make, the way you live your life – it all revolves around your child and what is in their best interest, not your own.
I think the biggest challenge with motherhood is always trying to find a balance with everything. I always have to remind myself that I need to take care of myself first if I want to be the best mother that I can be. Mothers are always thinking about everyone else over themselves, and it’s important to make time for ourselves. Often times I think us moms try to take on as much as possible, and we are pretty good about juggling a lot, but sometimes we need to step back and realize that we aren’t superwoman. There’s no “perfect mom” out there. I’ve learned through the years that I need to cut myself some slack sometimes. It’s OK if I don’t get everything checked off my “To Do” list right away. It’s OK if the laundry is done, but it isn’t folded and put away just yet. It’s all about prioritizing and not stressing about the little things.
IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT MOTHERHOOD THAT HAS SURPRISED YOU?
I wouldn’t really call it a “surprise”, but more like a “realization” – it’s so true that time flies once you have children. It seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with my first child, Courtney, and now she’s 4 years old! The days fly by so quickly now and when the end of the year hits I’m always saying, “I can’t believe it’s already Christmas!” Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a rut and to feel uninspired or just exhausted with the day-to-day mundane tasks of being a mom. But then I quickly remind myself how fast time flies by, and to cherish even the smallest moments with my girls because they will be grown and on their own before I know it.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE EVERYTHING & MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF?
As I stated above this is my biggest challenge with motherhood. It’s something I find myself struggling with daily, weekly, monthly. Just when I think I have things planned out or I have a routine in place, something throws it for a loop. I just have to constantly remind myself that I can’t control everything. There’s no such thing as being a “perfect mom”. I’m often talking with my girlfriends (also moms) about “mothers guilt.” Each night we find ourselves reflecting on the day and wondering, “Did I spend enough time with my kid(s)? Did I give them enough attention today? Do they realize how much they are loved?” It’s really hard to find that balance of working and being a provider for your family, but also the day-to-day routine of taking care of my children and maintaining a household. Being a mother is a job within itself, so when you add on a career it can feel very overwhelming. It’s important to reward myself daily with some “me time” — whether that’s a hot bubble bath at the end of the night, or a glass of wine while I catch up on my cheesy reality TV.
WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT YOU’VE HAD SO FAR?
I don’t think there’s one moment over another that stands out the most or makes it “the best” moment about being a mother. I find daily moments, big and small, that make me so proud and so blessed to be a mother. Just recently I was witnessing my daughters getting along and playing so nicely together. They were just being so sweet to each other and it’s moments like that where I take a deep breath and realize that I really am doing a good job. Sure, no child is perfect and my daughters certainly have their moments (as do I), but it makes you feel really good inside when you see them exhibit kindness and love to each other and others around them.
WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT TO TEACH YOUR CHILDREN?
If there’s one thing above all that I want to teach my children, it’s to love and respect themselves and others around them. We live in a world that is full of negativity and hate and I want my daughters to always rise above that. I want them to always believe in themselves and to love themselves – to embrace their flaws and what makes them different. I want them to always take the high road and to treat others with love and respect, just as they would want to be treated. It’s so easy to be a “follower” and to want to do whatever the “cool kids” are doing, even if that means being unkind to someone. I think all moms want their children to be independent, to be leaders (not followers), and to always strive to do what is right.
AND FINALLY, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO NEW MOTHERS?
It’s so wonderful to get wisdom and advice from other mom’s (family, friends, etc.), but you should always do what feels right to you. People will try to tell you that their way is the best way of doing things. What works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. Don’t feel like there’s a standard of parenting that you have to live up to. Don’t compare yourself to how you were raised or how your parents were raised. That’s really easy to do and it’s a good way to drive yourself crazy – ha! 😉 Only you know what is truly best for your child – after all, it’s a mother’s instinct. You will learn as you go. You’ll develop your own parenting style, and you’ll find out what works best for you and your family.
With thanks to Jennifer Rand of Belle de Couture X