EILEEN ZYKO WOLTER Suburban State of Mom.

Photo by Wheaton Mahoney: wheatonmahoney.com

AGE   41

HOMETOWN(S)   Born Waterbury, CT. Live Summit, NJ

@Twitter   @SuburStateofMom

ON THE WEB   A Suburban State of Mom

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Two boys

DAY JOB   Digital-age mother and writer

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK   Both of my boys love this book “Pink Lemon” by Herve Tullet which my older son received as a gift when he was (I think) two. It’s a book that becomes different things when you read it. A Q&A? A study in the absurd? Strange translation? And wonderful illustrations.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

I work from home around school schedule and when I need to I get a sitter. My husband is the ‘breadwinner” which is a situation it’s taken me time to adjust to, but he’s a very hands-on dad and involved as much as he can be, and supports my burgeoning and not-very-well-paying career.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

Parenting has been an immense proving ground for me. I wasn’t raised to stay-at-home and had very little idea what to do with a baby and I missed the world. I also suffer from depression and found it hard to find mom friends to lessen the isolation. It’s truly made me — through a lot of hard work — a better, stronger, more loving and alive person. Plus it helped me (via blogging, which I started as an on-line journal after I’d been hospitalized for PPD) re-create myself as a writer and a creative individual.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?

Becoming parents has been really tough on my marriage. I don’t really want to go into depth on this one.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

I’m passionate. I’m involved, I question. I care deeply. I treat my sons as people. I respect them in a Namaste sense. Those are strengths. My weaknesses are my own anxieties and self-doubt and the fact that I really love to sleep and be clean….

WHAT ARE YOUR SPOUSE’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

He’s kind of a machine and runs the morning pretty smoothly to get them up, fed and out.

And he’s got an amazing relationship with our boys.  There’s a lot of love, and he has energy that I will never possess.

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

My father-in-law is an immense help. We have occasional babysitters and I use the childminding services of my gym.

DO ANY OF YOUR CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS? AND IF SO, HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR PARENTING?

Both of them do. My older son has Nystagmus and Asperger’s Syndrome and my younger a speech impediment and some digestive issues. These have added layers to the parenting issue as I spent so much time getting diagnoses and treatments,  and I often feel like I still haven’t relaxed from the relentless “advocating” for both of them that is involved. And, it also made making mom and kid friends all the harder.

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

The worst I’ve ever experienced was late last summer on a day when I’d taken my boys into NYC for some reason and I got my period and had to take them shopping for new clothes and feminine hygiene products and my very vocal older son was not very happy and it was like 100 degrees outside.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

When all the stars align and bedtime hasn’t been a complete bear and you tuck them in and there are mutual I-love-yous and cuddles and it’s a day well done.

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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