HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Hometown: Brighton, MI / Now living in Greenville, SC. We are hoping to live in Germany as an ex-pat family within the year.
ON THE WEB The Three Under
NUMBER OF CHILDREN Three boys (Brody 3, Lincoln & Chase 15 mos)
DAY JOB Ringmaster of the Ritter Family Circus
RELATIONSHIP STATUS MARRIED (Blissfully. Most of the time.)
FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK
My little guys are in love with Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? They love the rhythm- my oldest will say it along with me and ‘Brown Bear’ has actually been one of the first phrases of one of the twins. My grandmother gave them this book last Christmas and she recently passed away —so it is special to all of us. What book has made a great impact on you or your kids? I cannot read The Giving Tree without tears. I’ve always loved that story, but it wasn’t until I became a mom that it has a deeper meaning. I cry. Every time. Was there/ is there a story that was passed down from generation to generation? Not a story, but my great grandmother taught my sister and I two prayers that I plan to teach my boys. I can still remember her testing us and reciting it back to her. It’s a really great memory.
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
I used to teach high school, but realized it made more sense for me to stay home once we had children. My hope is to return to teaching once the boys are all in school themselves- as I will have been honing my classroom management, behavior management, and chaos management at home with them for some time.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I am no longer as selfish as I used to be. I find happiness in making them happy— whereas I used to only think of and for myself. It was my biggest fault growing up, and I think that I recognize and appreciate this change in me. I would never have imagined giving up my life for the sake of another until these people entered my world. Also I no longer sleep. I miss that.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
Sleep deprivation not withstanding— it’s a struggle to be the kind of attentive partner that we want to be to each other.
I am very lucky as my husband makes extra efforts to remind me that I am not just a caregiver, and that even though I might feel like a mess and a half he still thinks I am beautiful. Our sex life is still adjusting to my hormonal balance. I am no longer on birth control (we went the medical route) so I find that my libido has peaks and valleys. We communicate better than ever —as we know the struggles we each share—and want to be the cheerleader. We struggle sometimes with the overwhelmed feeling of being outnumbered —and we are the two who know what we’re feeling best.
WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
Strengths: I am good at multitasking, treating each boy as an individual and taking in each and every moment for what it’s worth. I know that time goes so quickly and even these hardest days of all in diapers will soon be something I yearn to relive. Motherhood is, after all, long days and short years. Weaknesses: I can get frustrated really easily when all three are melting down at the same time. Patience is an area of opportunity for me.
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?
My husband is a patient saint. He is cool headed, affectionate and caring with me and our boys. He always has our best interest at heart and puts us first and foremost. After working all day, it is typical for him to take over the kids, clean the kitchen and run any errands that need running after bedtime. He is very good to me and I could not do this without him. His biggest weakness is that he shies away from confrontation or dealing with issues early in the game. He would rather hope it ‘goes away’ rather than deal with, say, reminding me of a week-long business trip to Germany (!). As you can imagine, that can cause some problems.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
We live about 12 hours from our family, which has proven to be a challenge. When we found out we were having twins I pretty much collapsed, went hysterical and flipped out thinking we would have to move back to Michigan be near our families (biggest reason we left Michigan!). I couldn’t imagine having three kids under two! But, we did find a reliable nanny/babysitter that came daily to help me with regular house duties in the beginning. She is now down to about two days a week/two hours a day. We have since retained her as our ‘date night’ sitter and consider ourselves very, very lucky (treat your sitters well, people!).
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
When one of my twins fell down the stairs. I knew he could slide under the baby gate, but it was one of the ‘I’ll get to it’ things that I didn’t get to, until after he went under, climbed up, and fell down (this story will be in the March issue of Parents’ Magazine in the ‘It Happened To Me’ segment. Some celebrity moment, eh?).
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
The day I had my twins. I was on bed rest for 11 weeks due to pre-term labor. I was a nervous wreck at how long I could keep them in there, if I was harming them with my stress, etc. They both came out at over 6lbs and perfect at 36.5 weeks. I have never been so relieved, excited, and terrified at the same time. Holy crap we just jumped from 1 to 3!!!