MOM OF THE MONTH–JENNY RIOJAS, OUR FAMILY PLACEMENT COUNSELOR!
Jenny Riojas, our Family Placement Counselor, was chosen as Mom of the Month by a local blogger! Here’s the story!
I met Jenny a few years ago at a moms group at church. She was unbelievably sweet. She and her sister in law were just so open and considerate.
Our kiddos are the same age as mine and it’s so nice to see a mom handle these ages so great. Especially with two boys.
Jenny is funny and kind and takes great joy in her boys and it shows all over her face!
She is very dear to me and reading her answers below you can see why.
Here is Jenny’s story…..
1. How many children do you have?
List ages and names I have 2 rambunctious yet loving boys. Carter Preston is 9 and Chase Kelan is 7.
2. Your occupation: I am the Family Placement Director at Caring Nannies in Scottsdale. I place nannies and domestic staff with families all over the Valley. I love my job! It’s a business I am passionate about and it gives me the flexibility to be with my children when I need to be.
3. What is your most strict parenting rule?
At the ages that my boys are right now, I am strict about back talk and disrespect. To anyone. If that type of behavior is displayed, an immediate consequence is given.
4. What is the best motherly advice you have received? From who?
My parents were all about “creating memories” when I was growing up. I have very fond childhood memories of camping, RV road trips, BBQ’s, my Dad’s silly magic shows, family game nights, and so forth. I think that was the best advice: to create memories with your children. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant but I try to do things that they will remember when they are older and will tell their children about.
5.What is the biggest challenge you face balancing yourself and being a mom?
The key word there is ‘balance.’ I’m like every other Mom with lots of things to juggle every week and sometimes I feel if I’m putting too much time and energy in one area, then things are falling through the cracks in another. More often than not, I don’t feel like I have it all together. I just do my best to fit in quality time whenever I can. For me, that may mean leaving the laundry and sticky floors for another time….and going out for a family bike ride. Or putting away the work laptop so I can snuggle with the kiddos before bedtime. Every little bit counts.
6. Can you share any mom tips with us?
#1 Carve out Mommy time. It’s a natural thing for Moms to put everyone else’s needs first. I believe it is also important to remember to take care of yourself and do some things that you enjoy so that you are a re-charged and happy Mommy.
#2 Don’t beat yourself up. We all have bad days (or weeks) and it’s easy to go to bed at night and beat ourselves up for what we feel we did wrong in our parenting. Let the bad days go. Moms are their own worst critics. The next morning, those little munchkins are still going to run up to you and give you a big hug, regardless of how the prior day went.
#3 Don’t compare. It’s great to get advice from fellow Moms but if your child isn’t reading and conjugating verbs by the age of 3 like your friend’s kid is, don’t feel like you’ve failed as a parent.
#4 Be spontaneous sometimes. All moms need structure and routines to their days or they’d go insane; but many, many times things do not go as planned in mommyhood. When that happens, throw the plans out the window, be spontaneous, and make the most of it. A lot of times those turn out to be the best days.
#5 If you have more than one child, plan special one-on-one Mommy dates with each child. My kids really look forward to this and I’m always amazed at the special conversations that take place when I am focused on them one at a time.
7. What is the hardest part about being a mom?
Moms worry a lot. That’s a given. We want the best for our kids. When they are hurting, we are hurting. We want to always protect them and shield them. But we can’t. That’s the hardest thing. And seeing them grow up so fast!
8. What is your favorite part about being a mom?
I’m one of those people who dreamed about being a Mommy when I was a young girl. I’ve always loved kids, especially babies, and I simply could not wait to be a mom myself. It’s the most rewarding yet challenging job! I love that my kids melt my heart and keep me laughing everyday. I love how forgiving they are of me. I love that it is ever-changing. Once you think you’ve mastered one stage, you’re on to the next. I love experiencing things through their eyes. I love that they teach me just as much, if not more, than I teach them.
9. Tell us a story….. it can be something funny your kids did, it can be an embarrassing thing that happened to you as a mother, it can be your proudest moment, the moment you felt like you were a good mother…anything you want.
Whenever I am away from my kids or I’m traveling, I’ll leave prizes hidden throughout the house for them to find each day that I’m gone. I’ll call with a clue that will help them find the prize. So once when they were gone for a few days and I was home alone, they surprised me by hiding notes and prizes for me. I was cracking up with what they came up with. One note said, “Mom, I know you are going out with your friends. Here is a piece of gum.”
Thank you Jenny for sharing your story with us today!
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