This May we are celebrating all you mommas…and I mean ALL the mommas. It take a village so thank you to the moms, step-moms, aunts, grandmothers, teachers, nannies, spiritual mothers, best friends, baby sitters, single dads who wear many hats, foster mothers, women who long to be moms, and mothers that have lost. You are all strong, beautiful, and resilient. Thank you for everything you are, and everything you do. Our world would not be beautiful without you.
I am so happy to continue on with our popular Mom of the Month blog post. For May we are doing a special post for Mother’s Day! This month I am honored to feature my very own mom, Jill!
Jill was born and raised in a small town in Northeastern PA near the Pocono mountains. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her life partner in crime, Yuriy, and a 19 year old Bichon dog named Ferade.
She loves the city vibe, her Philadelphia Eagles, attending social events, having fun, and makes the best marinara sauce known to mankind. Jill loves to cook (especially Italian) and has a taste for good coffee and fine wine. She has worked in healthcare information technology for over 30 years and coached competitive cheerleading for 20+ years. Jill has 2 adult daughters who are 5 years apart in age and 1 grandson, all of which are the center of the universe.
Q & A
Q. My sister and I chose two very different career paths, me going to fashion school and Taylor going to pharmacy school. What was unique in how you supported us individually through college?
A. Yes, this was very different indeed. You had to be the pioneer since you were the first to go and chose to go and to an out of state school. As you know it was very challenging at times given the distance (those 6 – 7 hour train rides) but it was a good decision for you. I never needed to worry that you were going to get into “college trouble”, so that was a blessing. I worried a lot about your safety, especially the year you lived alone, and I worried about you financially because you never ask for anything and at that time I didn’t have the resources that I did several years later when Taylor went to school. It was fun to send you the gift baskets the university sold for special occasions. I liked to send those special little treats whenever there was an opportunity and attended all of your important events. You needed to be more independent because of the distance and you did a great job taking care of yourself for those 4 years. Mostly I enjoyed when you came home for breaks and when you graduated. I remember the year you and Ian turned 21 and came home for the summer break. I bought you a 6 pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade (LOL) and at the end of the summer there were 4 bottles left!
I actually “made” Taylor stay close to home when it was her turn. It made good sense for her because her major offered may more local opportunities. Given we were looking at 6 – 8 years of school I was going to do whatever I could to convince her she needed to be close enough that we could get there if needed. I cut a deal with her in her freshman year that if she went to the school I wanted I would pick up her laundry and grocery list every other Friday and deliver them back on Sunday morning to her dorm. And so we did and it worked out great having her within 30 minutes for 8 long years where I could help more than I was able with you. She stressed a little more about her grades so there were several nights on the phone convincing her she would do fine when she said she was going to fail, only to get an A the vast majority of the time and never did fail. So, I always knew how those conversations would be and figured out what to say quickly. I did have to get involved more with the school with her admission process disaster and the one class where the professor was a total idiot. I told the dean that I wanted her money back for the class. After those episodes when she had an issue I would ask “do you want ME to call them?” I was able to attend many more of her events and she did have more because of the length of her major.
Note to parents of college age children: DO advocate for them when it is necessary, make them complete the FERPA so you have the ability to do so. You are education consumers and when you buy a pair of pants that don’t fit or are defective, you take them back! Same applies here, you need to get what you pay for and don’t let them take advantage of the student’s inexperience.
Q. Where was your favorite family vacation?
A. For sure this was last summer when we were able to have everyone together for a week in a little known very quiet waterfront spot on Long Island Sound. Since we were a cheerleading family we spent our fair share of time in Disney World at competitions which were a lot of fun, last year was definitely the best. Looking forward to doing it again this year!
Q. Taylor and I were competitive cheerleaders for most of our school life, and we were pretty competitive with each other as sisters too. What advice can you give to other moms that are experiencing sibling rivalry with their daughters?
A. I always told you that you were 5 years smarter when you were young and your sister worked hard to upstage you. 😉 The first child paves the way for the second who in most cases will have the benefit of what you have learned with the first.
Although you will want to look at your children as a unit at times, try to keep their individuality in mind. For me my first child needed a push and my second child needed a leash! Parse out their individual qualities and point out how they can use those to be the best that they can be. You can often get them to work together once they see the benefits of each other’s strengths.
Q. What was it like to raise two girls in the 1990’s, how do you think that differs from today?
A. Daycare made the scene in the late 1980s and I hated it, absolutely hated taking you to daycare. I did everything I could to keep you both at home while working full time over most of your preschool ages. By having my career in information technology it provided me with the option to work off shift which allowed more time at home during preschool age. I also did a few years of only weekend over night shifts so that you didn’t need to go anywhere since your dad was home on the weekends. Today daycare is used as a social setting and is widely used for those skills, early learning and being able to go to work and not feel as guilty as we did back then.
Another big difference is bullying. It is being addressed today in all settings and was not so much when you guys were young, especially in schools. This is a big, much needed improvement and I am very happy it is being taken very seriously today.
Lastly, today is focused on being bigger, faster, stronger. Things were more simple 30 years ago, though that sounds cliché it is very true. I am sure you all heard your parents and grandparents say that at some point and you will too in 30 years.
Q. Can you share the funniest thing Taylor and I have said or done?
For you it was when you were almost 5, I was very pregnant with Taylor and I was taking you to preschool in the morning. Things were hectic for us in the morning, I am not a great morning person so we did rush a lot. You were sitting in the back seat of my car and said “Mom, IF we have time tomorrow morning before school, could you take me to see that leaning tower?” (meaning the leaning tower of Pisa, in Italy)
For Taylor it has to be the pagoda in Reading, PA. We would pass it going to gymnastics class every week, it sat on a hillside in the distance and she would so look forward to seeing it lit up when we were going home. Since it was in the distance and she was about 4 years old she thought it was only a few inches large. When I told her we would take her there to see the inside sometime soon, she said, “…But how will we fit inside of it??”
Q. Being a fairly new grandmother, (“Nonna” in Italian) what have been some of the memorable moments for you?
A. First would be Dante’s birth. Living 6 hours from you I wasn’t confident that I would be able to make it there once you started labor. But the stars aligned and I was able to be there. For the first time in my life I did see a child being born, since I was c-sectioned both times it’s not at all the same and something I will never ever forget. More so that he is actually my grandson was surreal, then I began to think, will we know what to do with a boy? We are all girls!!
Then it would be getting to have an entire week of vacation with him last summer. Having the distance between us, this was a real treat.
Most recently it is when we Zoom online and he has that BIG smile when the screen comes on!! I am thankful we can manage the distance through modern technology. It has enabled him to know who I am faster than my every 2 month visits which have been on hold given our current situation and travel.
Q. If you had to choose other names for my sister and I, what would they have been?
A. Olivia is the only girl name I do wish I had the opportunity to choose though I would not change either of your names.
Q. In a few sentences, can you sum up what it’s like to raise daughters? What do you think is most when supporting and raising them?
A. If you are like me there are some challenges. I am a problem solver and I don’t dwell on what happened nor do I just want to talk about it, I want to solve it and move on. If you’ve ever seen the “It’s not about the nail” you know what I mean and that is my polar opposite. However, most women do just want to talk about it which took me some time to wrap my brain around with my kids and with my mom. I didn’t learn this until they were much older, so if you are like me sometimes you just need to let them talk.
I also feel that they needed to be financially stable and not have to worry if they want or need something. We were not rich by any stretch but what they wanted and needed they got for the very most part. I never wanted them to want for anything. Try hard not make your problems their problems, they really already have enough to deal with growing up.
Be there for school events as much as possible, though Taylor was really mad at me in high school when I didn’t go to meet the teacher night. Since I was the cheerleading coach at the high school I already knew many of them. She was SO mad that I did end up going but made my own itinerary.I walked around and introduced myself to those I did not know and she was still mad that I didn’t follow the program. So make that time and be there, chaperone on school trips, serve on the PTA, go to sporting events, don’t miss a thing if you can help it because it matters.
I have been lucky to have raised 2 very successful women, both in their own right and I thank God for having my back! Love you both to the moon and back!!
Q. What is your go to fashion style?
A. I like to dress on the mod side for my casual style. For work I keep it more traditional with good basic pieces that can be mixed and matched.
Thank you to my mom for sharing her journey in motherhood with two daughters. It has been so fun reminiscing, and I am so happy to honor her this month as our featured mom.
I hope this month you are able to celebrate the mommas and strong women in your life. Pick up the phone, schedule a video call, send them a care package. These are strange times and we can come together stronger than ever.
If you know a special mom in your life, please nominate her! Reach out to us on social @resilientbabyproducts