BCM - How did your life change when you became a mom?
Stefanie - My life changed completely when I became a mom. I was 25 when I had my first baby, none of my friends were having children yet, let alone were married! In the blink of an eye my whole world was consumed by this tiny baby. From that moment on, I became a completely different person. Suddenly, there were moments when I remembered my mom saying..."One day when you're a mother you will understand" (I remember thinking.. I never would) but all of the sudden you just do!
BCM - What has been your most memorable moment (s) as a mom?
Stefanie -- My most memorable moment(s) are all the little moments. When they are babies, it's their first smile, laugh, first time they crawl, or walk. As they get bigger... telling my 4 and 2 year old that we were having another baby and that they were going to be a big brother and sister was amazing. Their reactions were priceless. A story from school about me being my child's hero, or running to my kids at sleep away camp for the first "Visiting Day Hug." Every stage has been so special!
BCM - What has been the biggest challenge for you in motherhood. Any advice for new moms?
Stefanie - My biggest challenge is finding the balance to create special time for each child. I have a 10 year old son, an 8 year old daughter, and a 5 year old son. Each of them want and deserve special "mom time". Finding the time to make each one happy and bond with them is essential to me. I make sure to do different things with each one individually. There needs to be time when each one child has my undivided attention.
My advice to new moms is this….Kids are not perfect, neither are moms! You will make mistakes along the way. It is OK!! It's what you learn from those mistakes and how you change for next time that will make you a better mother. Also remember you are your child's role model. What you portray to them is what they will learn to emulate. Teach them early on to be accepting of all people, to have a heart, to be thoughtful and caring to others.
BCM - How do you manage your work life balance?
Stefanie - Managing work and home life is so important. Family ALWAYS comes first! I have been the class mom for my kids since kindergarten. With 3 kids somehow I always get picked! (and I love it!) My mom was always involved in my school, class trips etc. and I have amazing memories of her always being there. I want my kids to have the same. I also think that being a role model as a working mom is amazing! I am fortunate to see my kids get on the bus most mornings and then go into the office. My kids know what I do. They know that I help families get support for children that are struggling. It is very rewarding when my kid's acknowledge that I am making a difference in other people's lives.
BCM - We see you do work with PANDAS? What is this and what does it stand for?
Stefanie - Good question! PANDAS stands for (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections) The term is used to describe a subset of children who after having STREP develop dramatic, overnight symptoms including vocal or motor tics, anxiety, bed wetting, obsessions and/or compulsions. PANDAS first appears in childhood from ages 3 to puberty. Strep is serious! Too often I hear parents "hoping" their child has strep so they can get antibiotics. Though PANDAS is very unusual, it is also extremely mis-diagnosed by doctors, some doctors don't even believe in it or know anything about it. My child has PANDAS so I am very on top of news, doctors, and studies on this disorder. (thankfully he is doing amazing a few years after being diagnosed) Moms, it is so important to make sure to be pro-active about always checking with your pediatricians to see what they could be missing or not have checked for. As a mom, you are your child's BEST advocate!
BCM - Can you please share some tips for moms who may think their child has an issue?
- Always follow your gut instinct! When it comes to your child, you know them best. Don't ever worry that you are "bothering" a doctor with a question. It's not a bother, its you being interested in your child's well being.
- Doctor's are people too, just like you and I. Try not to be intimidated by them. I find that the more comfortable you are during a doctor's appointment the better care you will receive. Relax, ask questions, come prepared to your appointment with exactly what is going on with your child so you can utilize your appointment time efficiently.
- Just because you start off with one doctor, doesn't mean you have to stay with them. My family started off with a pediatrician that I thought was great and heard very good reviews from other parents. When it came time to a serious mistake the doctor made with my son, I just couldn't get past it. I didn't trust that he was the "right" doctor after that. It was a hard decision because we were there since my first baby was born and we were so comfortable with the office, but I knew in my heart I had to make the change. It was the best decision I ever made. I was relieved to see that after more research this time around (now my kids were older, I knew what I needed from a practice moving forward) we were comfortable in no time! You must trust your doctors judgement, you are putting your most prized possessions in their care!
- Lastly, and this is an important one, when you are struggling, and all parents will be at some point or another, it's OK to ask for help. We are not "Superwoman". Talking to someone that can really listen and give you support and guidance is truly invaluable.
BCM - What types of activities do you like to do w/ your kids?
Stefanie - Some of the favorite activities that I enjoy with my kids are: Going to the movies, baseball games, football games, the theater, museums, playing Candyland, card games, Bananagrams, cooking, playing nail salon with my daughter, and going on family vacations.
I’m totally obsessed with…
Stefanie - Coffee, my iphone, my ipad, and twitter
My biggest influence is…
Stefanie - my family! Their support and love is unconditional!
My favorite drugstore buy is..
Stefanie - Cetaphil, it's the best.
My guilty pleasure is...
Stefanie -Getting my hair blown, I call it "Blowoutitis"! It just get's done so much quicker and lasts so much longer!
Favorite NYC activity …
Stefanie - Going to the theater! I would go to a new show every week if i could!