Last year for our #MotherCulture campaign, we interviewed six extraordinary moms for insight into their lives, their families and what #MotherCulture means to them. In a sense, we wanted to know what it means to be a mom, according to moms. Below are our favorite highlights from the interviews.
One of the biggest roles mom has is to be the “family doctor,” in a sense. We asked Charlotte whether or not she gives her kids kefir, and this is what she had to say:
Does your family drink kefir or use probiotics to stay healthy?
My oldest, Micah, was in hospital at nine months old with an unknown infection and a fever of 108 degrees. He almost died. Doctors gave him IV antibiotics, and they worked, but they wiped out all of the good bacteria in his gut and he would up contracting C. difficile, abacteria that can cause all kinds of horrible symptoms. He had diarrhea all the time. Finally, one doctor prescribed probiotcs, and it turned Micah around so fast – it was the closest thing to a medical miracle I have ever seen. I’ve kept probiotics on hand ever since, in all different forms: I sprinkle the powder on their food, my kids drink dairy kefir and I drink the non-dairy kind. We have the Mother Culture at home! I make a kind a homemade soda with it, fizzy and delicious. Any time one of my kids complains of a tummy ache or constipation, they get probiotics. It’s one of the rare “medicines” that don’t have side effects.
Diana is a good friend of ours and lives close by in the suburbs of Chicago and is the mother of three beautiful, growing kids. We asked her about her grocery shopping habits – how she makes sure she feeds her family well:
When you grocery shop, what do you look for as a mom?
I try to do as much organic as possible – any milk, meat and cheese for the kids has to be antibiotic-free. And lots of fruits and veggies …we eat really clean and healthy. But they’ve had cheeseburgers and fries, of course. They have cake at birthday parties. But when they eat those foods, I try to balance it by giving them some fruit or vegetables, too. If they have fries, the four of us will split one order and they need to eat some broccoli, too. We’re Russian, so they tasted caviar before they could even talk. And I always encourage them to try new foods. Like today: our daughter tried Brussels sprouts for the first time. She didn’t like them, but at least she tried them.
Sarah is the mother of two adorable girls. She’s also a stay at home mom. We asked her how she responds to the criticism she receives as a SAHM:
One unfortunate part of the current culture of motherhood is the war between working moms and stay at home mom. Do you ever feel pressure to defend your decision as a SAHM?
There’s definitely a war, and we all face different pressures, as well as some similar ones. As a SAHM, I feel like my house should be perfectly spotless. I play the role of personal chef, doctor, chauffeur, personal shopper, cleaning person, event coordinator, party planner and housekeeper. In the beginning stages [of infancy and toddlerhood], I think SAHMs have it harder – I was home all day 24/7 with these crazy kids. There’s a lot of burnout. My friends who work, they leave that insanity. However by the time the kids are in school, I’d say SAHMs don’t have it as hard as working moms. I have time to run errands and go grocery shopping while the kids are in school, and working mothers don’t have that luxury. There are ups and downs to both choices – neither is right or wrong. It’s completely personal.
Katrina Markoff is the mother of two boys and is a renowned chocolatier and founder of Vosges Haut-Chocolat. As a culinary artist, we were interested in where she finds inspiration – both for work and everyday life:
Part of #MotherCulture involves asking people to think about what inspires them, much like kefir’s actual mother culture creates the tangy drink we all know and love. Where do you look to for inspiration?
Many of my chocolate ideas come from travelling. Right now, I’m obsessed w Peru, home of some of most unique, interesting superfoods. I have trips coming up to Israel, France, Bali, Mexico and Peru and can’t wait to see what I discover. My favorite way to cook is in the Lebanese/Turkish/Moroccan style – lots of cumin, paprika, cinnamon, harissa. If I had to pick one favorite spice, it would be cumin. We do a lot of smelling in our house: I’ll ask my kids to smell different spices and guess what they are. I ask them to smell the leather purse, to smell the paper bag. When you’re familiar with a large range of scents, it allows you to be more present in everyday life; it really gets you in your body.
Rebecca is a mom two girls born very close together. She’s also a nutrition expert and something something something. We know moms want to provide only the best for their kids, but it’s also important for mom to make some “me” time. We asked her how she makes sure she takes care of herself:
As a registered dietitian, people might assume that healthy eating is a snap. But the truth is, being a member of the #MotherCulture leaves you with almost zero time to care for yourself. How do you make sure you’re feeding your body well?
For me, when I’m the only one eating, I have to make sure I’m putting some effort in. Otherwise, it’s too easy to just pop in a frozen meal or eat a bowl of cereal for lunch, and if I’ve already had cereal for breakfast, that makes it almost impossible to get all of your nutrients for the day. So I try to balance grabbing something quick with grabbing something healthy. There’s no time to make egg salad from scratch, so I’ll buy some egg salad from the grocery store along with some bagged salad greens. Or I’ll make a smoothie for lunch, with lots of fruit and dairy for protein. Moms need to remember that their time is worth a healthy meal, too.
At the time of our interview, Desty was very pregnant and looking forward to becoming a mom for the first time. Filled with nerves and excitement, we asked her what she hopes to impart on her child – what traditions are important to her:
Any items or traditions that you hope to pass down from your mom and grandmother?
My great-grandmother had a jewelry tree that I inherited. It’s a beautiful gold frame with beveled glass filled with her and her siblings’ vintage jewelry, arranged in the shape of a topiary. It’s in the baby’s room above her crib, waiting for her arrival. As far as traits, I just hope to be loving and kind – that’s what I think of when I think of my mom.
Each of these women has a different story to tell – a different career, a different life, and a different parenting style. But they’re all connected and a part of #MotherCulture. From the entire Lifeway family, happy Mother’s Day to all moms. We love your guts.