STEPHANIE SIKORSKI The seasons of parenthood.

AGE   40

HOMETOWN   Monmouth, Illinois (a rural typical small Midwest town a stone’s throw away from the Mississippi River)

@TWITTER   @Steph_Sikorski

ON THE WEB   To Write a Better Story

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Five (yes! FIVE!)

DAY JOB
1. Parent Educator for state funded PreSchool
2. Customer Service Specialist @ local retail store
3. Self employed – speaker/writer/web designer/virtual personal assistant

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married (to my best friend)

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   When I was in the 6th grade Ms. S. read aloud from The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I fell in love with those greasers. I still have a soft spot in my heart for PonyBoy and Robert Frost’s poem Nothing Gold Can Stay.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

From the very beginning my husband took an active role in childrearing. From the moment our firstborn came into this world he took our kids to work in their car seats, set ‘em on his desk and changed just as many diapers as I did. I thank his parents for that. We have divided everything up since then as best as we can. It’s an unspoken deal we have. He just pitches in. If I need more help, I ask. He is a fantastic partner and we couldn’t have the family we have without his faithful, active role as a father.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

When I was expecting my first child my mother sat me down for a heart to heart. She expressed her concern for my mothering skills. I wasn’t exactly, um … nurturing. I never babysat, changed a diaper or showed interest in another person’s child. But for my own kids? This magical transformation happened when I gave birth. I fell in love with children and found a well of nurturing I didn’t know existed in me. I discovered that I was interested in early childhood education and child development and am in love with my primary job that enables me to be a parent trainer/encourager.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

I love my spouse even more when he is being an awesome father but with our Tribe running our lives we hardly have the time for anything other than parenting or providing. Despite our hectic schedule we have a ‘remain connected’ policy. We can’t help but orbit around each other sometimes taking care of business but when one of us begins to feel disconnected from the other we speak up and we take time, even if it’s just coffee on the porch for an hour (to talk/gaze into each other’s eyes/whatever we want) to reconnect with each other. I do long for the season when we have more time for each other. Now that all the kids are in school we find morning dates to be especially wonderful. We drop the kids off and ….

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

We don’t live near family. We don’t have babysitters. We have a ‘tag team’ method to our childcare, as in I say, “Honey I’m home!” and he says “Tag! You’re on duty I have to go to work/study/coach.” We work very, very well together but make no mistake, if I could have a nanny I totally would!

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

Our 4th & 5th (TWINS!) were a surprise. A surprise gift that I didn’t want. I fluctuated between guilt and depression so extremely throughout that pregnancy that I became seriously convinced they would have a crazy mother. Women everywhere ‘wanted’ children — why was I given more when others had none? Why was I expecting again when I took measures to ensure another pregnancy would never happen? Who could even afford to raise a family our size? Questions and uncertainty wracked my soul. It was a dark period for me but I’m happy to report I not only survived that season, I am now thriving. Which is my best parenting moment….

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

I have a lovely family. My children are smart, healthy and well mannered. Teachers celebrate when they discover they have a lil’ Sikorski in their class. We have successfully created a ‘team mentality’ in our Tribe. We are family. We work hard and play hard together! I am proud of them and they are proud of me. It is always a joy to hear, “Oh you’re (insert child’s name) Mom? I am sooooooo happy to meet you! Your son/daughter is a (insert compliment)”.

I know I might sound a bit like I’m bragging but it’s these moments that make all the sleepless nights, long hours, overstimulation and hard work worth it. I believe I am raising good kids.

Lisa Duggan

Lisa Duggan is the Founder and CEO of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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