Uncommon Moms is a recurring feature of Maternal Journal. Each month, we interview one mom whose life isn’t cookie-cutter or predictable. Why? Part of our work at Maternal Instinct is to help clients unlearn beliefs they hold about motherhood. And with the Census Bureau now reporting that only 4% of households fit the June Cleaver blueprint (working father, SAHM, and kids under 18), it’s never been more critical to widen your view about moms. In truth, all moms are uncommon — there’s no such thing as a common mom anymore.
How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I’ve got three great teenagers, 18, 16 and 14. They’re at the perfect age for child labor and I employ them often.
What makes you an uncommon mom?
I can walk on water. That’s right, I’m a barefoot water skier and I took up competition at the age of 45. And I’m deaf. In fact, I went from hard of hearing to deaf when I tripped over a wake while barefooting as a teenager. I got married, stopped barefooting and started popping out babies. My two oldest kids were born via cesarean and my youngest was born at home after 14 hours of memorable labor. All three of them are deaf/hard of hearing. I’ve been the occasional doula and had the honor of attending two homebirths as well as hospital births. Along the way, I taught classes at two local community colleges and eventually found my passion in writing. I worked for a writing company for a while, but now I freelance. I also work in early intervention, mentoring families with deaf and hard of hearing kids and I serve on the board of Hands & Voices. I’m also a Senior Distributor at SendOutCards. All of this has earned me the nickname, Skippy. I juggle a lot of spinning plates.
I got back on the water in March, 2010, after seeing a Today Show segment featuring 66-year-old Judy Myers, the world’s oldest female competitive barefooter. She sent me down to the World Barefoot Center in Florida, where I met two-time World Barefoot Champion, Keith St. Onge. The next thing I knew, Keith taught me to barefoot backwards and Judy became my best friend.
And in what ways are you a traditional mom?
Well, occasionally I remember to feed the kids. (It’s a good thing I taught them to fend for themselves.) We do sit down to family dinners just like the ones that I grew up on, except with a little less butter. After my first kid was born, I quit my job just two months after going back to work (so what if I had a master’s degree?) because I discovered I really wanted to be an at-home mom. No regrets on that one. I expect my kids to live by the Golden Rule and to treat everyone with kindness. Sometimes they forget, like when they want me to do extra sit ups and they tell me to “suck it up, Mom!”
Can you think of an ad or marketing campaign you’ve seen recently that either “got” you or “missed” you?
A company that has a real upbeat marketing campaign on their Facebook site is the Life is Good company. They know how to reach out and touch a heart. They spread optimism with everything they do. And heck, their products are just darn cute.
Thanks for talking with us, Karen. I’m sure many Maternal Journal readers will keep up with your latest at your blog or via Twitter (@deafmom). And readers: if you know an Uncommon Mom we should feature in an upcoming Maternal Journal, let us know in the Comments section.