Meet Jackie! She's a California girl born and raised! She married the boy across the street, and is helping him raise his son all the while building her career in HR over the past ten years AND developing her own business! She's such an amazing woman and definitely a Rad Mama! Have a little look into her life struggles and successes throughout womanhood, and motherhood below!
Where are you from?
I’m from Northern California - but reside in Southern California now with my family.
How were you raised?
I was raised in a traditional family home, mom stayed home - dad worked. I am the middle child, I am 6 years apart from both my older and younger siblings. My mom and I have a fantastic relationship, unfortunately my relationship with my siblings is not as close as I’d like - but it’s a work in progress.
What was your home-life like growing up?
Home life was very conservative, traditional, and pleasant. No trauma, no dysfunction in a society normal sense. I grew up with a strong work ethic instilled in me, and was taught to use a gentle kind heart to help others less fortunate. We worked for our nice things, every Saturday I was up doing chores and had the expecations in school set in order to receive the toys and clothes I wanted.
And how has it shaped you into the individual and mother you are today? Watching my mom, mother my siblings and I - gave me a great example to follow. To this day I still call her and ask her for advice. She too was a step mom to my older brother, so when I stepped into that role - it really was a confidant I could go to and who had experience that I could draw from.
Tell us about how your adventure into motherhood began! Where/When/How did it all start?
WOW - this is a loaded question and I guess where my story really begins…
I am a step mom. My introduction to motherhood, was taking on helping my then BF with being a single parent. I came into my sons life shortly after he turned 1. He is now 8. So I've been there for most of it :) Because my husband was a single parent, he welcomed the support I offered and was extremely positive about allowing me into his sons life. The bio mom and I did not start off on good terms, what so ever - as I'm sure most parent/stepparent relationships start. I didn't let her negativity stop me from providing this little boy a caring, nourturing, mother figure while he was at his father's home. Was that crossing a line...could have been, but my husband was supportive of my involvement. Soon enough, we were married and starting our family. Being a stepmom has allowed me the gift to love a child not biologically mine in a way - no one will ever understand. And I've come to realize THAT'S OK. No one has to understand it other than my son and I. I hate calling him my stepson - I definitely DO NOT look at him in that definition.
Since my heart has opened up so much to this little boy, my husband and I have decided to adopt our next addition to the family. Unfortunately, I can not have children. At age 29, I was diagnosis with Cervical Cancer and had a hysterectomy. But being a mom to my son - has shown me that any child that opens up to being loved - wanting a family. I will fight, love, and raise with all my might.
Tell us about your kids!
My son, his name is Hayden. He just turned 8 and is a wonderful boy. I truly hit the jackpot with this one, I'm positive that the next one will be a terror LO! He is an amazing reader, intelligent, dimples that go for days, smart beyond his years, and quite observant. I cherish my time with him.
What is your profession?
I recently left my 9-5 job and launched my own business. I am a virtual assistant. This has been a rewarding successful transition. Hayden has always gone to after school programs, and I have always wanted to be home with him after school, as my mom was with me. inally, I've achieved that. Just in the short period that I've been home - the shift in our home life is great. Surprisingly there is more money, so that possible burnen of starting a new business has dwindled. My quality time with my son has improved and we are able to really spend time together, and then he has his father's attention - when my husband comes home.
What are your biggest goals/dreams?
My biggest dreams were to find a professional passion that allowed me to be home, which I have done! Yay Me :)
Now it's time to move onto expanding our family, in the ways of adoption and find a new house to make our forever home. My husband and I have a bucketlist that we keep in our room to remind ourselves on why we are busting our butts now - so we can enjoy life and travel later.
Tell us about some of your biggest struggles in life and in motherhood. How have you persevered throughthese and how have these struggles changed you?
Definitely the biggest struggle I've encountered is co-parenting. Learning how to do it, understanding communication styles, listening, staying calm. All these things you usually don't think about parenting with a spouse - when there are more chefs in the kitchen, compromise and collaboration are essential to present a cohesive parental unit to the child. My other personal struggle has been self-care. As moms, wives, professionals - we tend to put OUR needs, OUR alone time on the back burner - to make our family happy. You are doing more bad than good! MOMS - TAKE TIME FOR YOU! I've learned this through personal problems. Once you allow time for you, your quality of life and mindset are positively changed.
What is your advice to those facing similar struggles?
For co-parents, honestly take a step back to look at your situation - the big picture for the child. Take the time to get on the same page, compromise or agree to disagree and leave that conversation for another day. LISTEN, learn and understand how each parent is involved with the child and invite them to be part of the conversation - bio parent or step parent. Understand and be open to accepting other parenting styles.
What is your advice to mothers in general?
SELF CARE MOMS! Honestly. Take time for YOU. Spa day, yoga, gym, meditation, reading in silence, going to the bathroom in peace, whatever helps to calm you and center you back. DO IT! alk to your spouse on the importance of some alone time to reengerize and gather your focus - I'm almost positive it will improve your romantic relationship in the process :)
What does being a rad mama mean to you?
Bring a rad mama, means you are there for your children - physically, mentally, and emotionally. You involve them with your life, ake an interest in their hobbies. Allow them to be independent, but know you are there if they need you. Don't judge them for mistakes. Provide encouragement, not shame. Just talk to them. Be a parent not a friend. Instill boundaries and rules. And follow through on consequences for bad behavior or inappropriate actions. Laugh with them, hold them when they cry, and praise them for their successes.
What embodies a good mother in your opinion?
A good mother, never gives up on their child. Always puts their 'selfish' needs behind the childrens essentials needs. Is their child/ren biggest cheerleader and advocate to always be good and do good.
What are your hopes for your children?
All I ask is my children do what makes them happy, healthy, and right by their heart. e responsbilty but carefree when you can. Be smart about your life decisions but don't miss out on greatness because of logic or fear.
What lessons are you trying to teach them?
It's ok to make mistakes, but you must learn from them. Failure only exisits if you let it get you. Always look at people as equals, respect your elders and authority. Be kind and friendly to all. Understanding right versus wrong. Showing kindness to everyone, even those that do not deserve it. ALWAYS stick to your integrity and self confidence.
What is your advice for your children as they grow to become adults in life?
Take every opportunity you can get to better yourself, travel when you can, and love with your whole heart. Be You. Own You.
What do you love the most about motherhood?
The love and admiration your child brings to you. There is a constant sense of pride that beams out.
How has being a mama changed you?
It has brought a sense of grounding. This human relys on me to live, eat, survive. You put yourself aside and the child becomes the priority.
What are your accomplishments in life and in motherhood?
In life, my accomplishments have been finishing college - building a business - being asked to become apart of my husband and sons life permanently. Recovering from cervical cancer and helping to bring awareness to my generation on this issue.
How have you kicked ass?
Between working full time, finishing college, building my corporate career - leaving my career to launch my business - and taking on motherhood and baby mama full force! Then later on fighting cervical cancer, and moving forward to offering another child their forever home with us. I think that everyday I KICK ASS! Everyday I am reminded by an obstacle or blessing I have been given in life. I am humbled by it and think that with all this choas in the past 10 years, I'm pretty BadAss!