Photo Credit: Amber Burke with Mamaratzzi Photography
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: Describe your family(# of children, how long you have been married, etc.)
The Home Loving Wife: My husband, Andrew, and I have been married nearly 7 years and we have 4 beautiful daughters – Julianna Claire (5), Sophia Nicole (4), Chloe Audrina (2) and Isabel Rosalee (1). We make our home and raise our family on the East Coast, in Charlotte, NC. We are a fun, crazy family that loves princess movies (well, us girls anyway!) trips to the beach, snuggles on the couch and pizza night!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What do you miss most about life prior to children?
The Home Loving Wife: I miss the free time – those moments where I didn’t have to be anywhere, doing anything and I had complete discretion over how I spent that time without having to consider anyone else’s needs. Also, being able to have a bit more freedom with my husband – to run out for sushi if we didn’t feel like cooking or run to the grocery store for a few things without having to cart our whole entourage along with us haha!!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What will you do different with your kids than your parents did with you?
The Home Loving Wife: My biggest hope is that my kids grow up with a deeply-rooted sense of gratitude and generosity (something that wasn’t cultivated in my home growing up) as well as an understanding of how to take personal responsibility for their choices and the consequences of those choices. I want my kids to be empowered to make good choices on their own instead of learning to simply follow rules. And I am very intentional about being 100% honest and open with my children (in an age-appropriate manner) when they ask questions – I want them to know the real answers to things and how the world really works so they aren’t surprised by anything later on. And I want them to trust me!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was the deciding factor to becoming a permanent Stay at Home Mom?
The Home Loving Wife: My husband and I were both raised in households where our mothers were primarily stay-at-home mamas, so we both grew up envisioning that being the case when we had our own families. This was something we discussed before even getting married – we wanted me to be able to stay home and homeschool our children whenever that time came. When I became pregnant with our first daughter, I stopped working halfway through the pregnancy and haven’t been back to work since – though I have pursued other avenues to earn income from home since then. The biggest thing for me was that I wanted to be as present as possible in all the aspects of my children’s development. I nannied for a few years before having children, and while I think every family’s needs and circumstances are very different, I knew I didn’t want to have someone else primarily caring for or raising my kids. I knew at the end of the day I’d rather them have more of ME in their lives as opposed to us living more comfortably financially.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How well do you think you handle being a parent?
The Home Loving Wife: I think that on most days I rock this whole mom thing out. I mean, nobody has died in the last 6 years, so that is a serious win!! But in all seriousness, there are SO many aspects to motherhood that are really intense and I lose it way more often than I’d like to admit to. And what’s interesting, is that in a lot of ways I feel like the longer I’m a parent, the less I have black and white answers figured out. I’ve learned that in order to be able to have patience, be calm and kind and handle the chaos of motherhood with dignity I have to do a good job of taking care of myself. When I don’t, everything gets thrown off and I’m no longer in control of my reactions and behavior.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What was your first motherhood panic?
The Home Loving Wife: The first time my oldest daughter slept through the night in her own room when she was just 8 weeks old. I remember waking after a long, blissful night of sleep in a panic because I realized I hadn’t woken up with the baby at all and thought I hadn’t turned my monitor on! I rushed to her room thinking I’d find her dead or comatose from crying all night – and instead I found her still soundly asleep in her bed!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: When do you find time for yourself?
The Home Loving Wife: I’ve learned that it really doesn’t work to wait and hope you “find” time for yourself as a mom – you have to be really intentional about creating time for yourself. What tends to work the best for me is to plan out my week in advance and schedule in blocks of time throughout my day and week where I will accomplish things that fuel my mind, body or soul. And being in open communication with my husband about when I need his help to make sure I have that time is essential. I like to wake up at least an hour before I get my kids up so that I have the opportunity to “fill my own cup” before pouring myself out on my kids behalf all day. Also, I pepper self care things through my day, often including the kids, such as eating good meals/snacks, exercising or taking a 15 minute quiet break to read.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How do you picture your kids in ten years time?
The Home Loving Wife: Wow, well….my children will be 15, 14, 12 and 11….which is NUTS to even think about haha!! I picture them all being each other’s best friends. I picture them all thriving in their lives, excelling at what they do and living in their passions. I picture them positively impacting others lives by living lives of love, grace, gratitude and generosity. And I picture having SO much fun with them – traveling, getting our hair and nails done, talking about life and having dance parties in our pajamas in the living room!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: What is the hardest part about being a mom?
The Home Loving Wife: In this season of having several very young children, the biggest challenge is feeling sucked dry mentally, emotionally and physically. I am a BIG introvert, so having people around me, talking to me, touching me and needing me all day, every day is EXHAUSTING. By nature I prefer lots of quiet and solitude – which is the opposite of my life right now haha!! This is why I’ve found it to be SO essential to MAKE as much time as possible throughout my day to intentionally recharge myself.
Moms, Minivans, & Messes: How does your spouse help you around the home?
The Home Loving Wife: My spouse is the most incredible human being in the world. He is an unbelievably helpful, loving, caring and supportive partner. There is virtually NOTHING that he wouldn’t do if I asked him (although I am generally the poopy diaper changer, except in case of emergency or necessity haha!!) He is gone from about 7am-6:30pm during the week, but in the evenings he’s great about taking over for me if I’ve had a long day and need a break, and on the weekends he is all hands on deck to help accomplish whatever I’d like to. He’s great about helping with household chores if I ask, taking charge of the kids so I can have some time to myself and he is the BEST at caring for and loving ME.
For more information please visit The Home Loving Wife at: http://thehomelovingwife.com/
I would like to thank the Van Kirk family for taking time out of their busy schedule for this interview!
Moms, Minivans, & Messes