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Featured Mama of the Week: Julie-Ann Stimmel


Stay at home mom Julie-Ann Stimmel shares her struggles and achievements with parenting

This week’s Featured Mama of the Week is Montgomery County area mom, Julie-Ann Stimmel.   She is “the tired mother or two silly, silly daughters, four years old and two years old. Also, we are expecting another child in August but have chosen not to find out the gender at this time, (though I am getting a GREAT deal of peer pressure to find out at my next ultrasound!)”  Since the weather has warmed up, Julie-Ann and her girls can be found outdoors a lot, often playing in the sandbox or digging for worms in the dirt. The girls are currently obessed with collecting worms and designing little homes for them out of flowers, grass, sand, and water. “Basically, the girls are happiest getting dirty while creating something.”  When asked about what she likes most about being a mom, Julie-Ann replied, “I can only address this question with a trite, clichéd answer… I love being able to see the world through my babies’ eyes! Their boundless enthusiasm is contagious and a privilege to behold!”

Julie-Ann finds parenting presents it’s own challenges, much different from what she anticipated and from the challenges she faced when working in the special education field as a teacher and therapist. She mentioned, “I think the most difficult adjustment I had to make as a new mom, is the loss of freedom that becoming a parent brings. Unfortunately, this is something I continue to be frustrated by! I know my children need to stick to a schedule, however I would love to be spontaneous and meet a friend for coffee, or to just run “one more” errand before getting the girls home for lunch and nap. However, this is a lesson I have learned the hard way, NO ONE wants to be around a cranky tired tot and it is just better for all if I shelve my plans for another day.” Julie-Ann is currently a Stay at Home Mom and receives support from her husband and mom that help make staying home go more smoothly. She mentioned that she is continually surprised by how hard it is to be home full time. Switching roles from an employee in a career of choice where having thoughts and ideas were respected and valued as part of a team to the isolation of motherhood where tiny dictators rule her was a very difficult adjustment.

While Julie-Ann does not use social media for business purposes, she remarked that she has found a way to receive support from her online social circle, especially at challenging parenting moments. She uses Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends, as well as using text messaging to communicate or send photos to her sister or best friend. “Staying at home can be such an isolating endeavor, I can’t imagine parenting without this diverse, global group of women! There is something very comforting in knowing your child is not the only one to have a crazed tantrum because they can’t wear their rain boots to bed!”

Julie-Ann enjoys cooking for her family, even more so since becoming a mom. She is fearless with trying out new recipes and her family enjoys her cooking. A recently added favorite recipe is Sticky Chicken in a crock pot, an extremely easy to make recipe that yields enough chicken for several meals. Another family favorite is salmon, cooked various ways, along with crabs from Maryland, a place near and dear to her family’s heart.  She also enjoys baking, and recently baked summer beach themed cupcakes for her daughter’s last day of preschool. She said, “Easily, baking is my favorite activity to do with my children. As soon as I take out the mixer, the girls drag chairs up to the counter and try to get their hands into whatever is being made. My husband jokes that our two year old knows more about making cookies than he does and frankly, he’s right!”

A family favorite place to visit, besides the local playgrounds or friends’ homes for play dates, is the Delmarva Discovery Museum in Pokemoke, MD. It is a small hands-on museum that explores the history of the Chesapeake Bay. “My children LOVE being able to feed horseshoe crabs, touch sea stars, and pretend to captain a river boat. The staff of the Discovery Museum are so patient and willing to entertain every last question my curious four year old can come up with, it is always a pleasure to visit.”

Having two children (soon three) so close in age gives them the opportunity to practice and learn about empathy on a daily basis. Julie-Ann mentioned “My girls always seem to want the same thing at the same time so I seem to constantly be talking about our feelings, sharing, and using our kind words. My oldest daughter takes great pride in passing on clothes and toys to others that might not have as much as her. Unfortunately, sometimes she tries to give away her sister’s toys, but we are working on that!!!”

When asked what she would tell a new parent to help them survive this life-changing role, she replied, “The best survival tactic I can think of is find like-minded friends! There are so many transitions, hormones, crazy media stories that a new parent needs to process on very little sleep that an adult sounding board is necessary. I had a tough adjustment with my first daughter, as much as my husband tried to help he just couldn’t understand what a fellow mother could instantly!   A few months after I had my first child my friend had a son, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I have called her and started a conversation with the phrase, “is this crazy…” she has become such an important part of my life, honestly I don’t know what I would do without her support!”  What is the worst advice someone told her about parenting? Julie-Ann stated that reading the glossy parenting guides and magazines undermined her confidence the most as a new parent. She said, “Suddenly, i would find myself awake at 4 AM thinking I was causing cognitive delays to my child because I did not get her the right “developmental” toy! Craziness! Our children need us, they don’t need these gadgets and “educational” video games! They need TLC- Our Time, Our unconditional love, and our consistency!”

Thanks Julie-Ann for participating in Mama’s Little Helper’s Featured Mama of the Week!

If you know a mom you would like to see featured here, (or even yourself) email Diane@mamaslittlehelper.org.

 

 

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