Every Mom Has A Story: Janice Xenakis
Janice and I go way back as we share similar birth stories having our two oldest kids back to back and using the same doula Rosemarie DiMare. I actually met Janice at the OBGYN after she had her son, and saw her again at a photo shoot we were both in for a magazine.
Janice has been my guru mom as she has survived 3 kids quite beautifully. We've gone on some fun day trips to the Turtle Back Zoo, and Aquarium with our kids. Ava is in first grade like Julia, and Gavin is in Pre-K like my Mark, and Olivia (I love that name!) is 2 years old! Janice calls Olivia her little spitfire! Olivia is your typical amazing third baby who does everything way before she is supposed to!!! I can totally relate!
Janice has been such a great encouragement and such a blessing to me on my blog. She has been a faithful reader for so long and always leaves the sweetest comments! She has brought a smile to my day and a sigh of relief when I didn't think I would survive another minute.
Here is Janice's Mom story...
1. Did you think you'd have 3 children?
Whenever I thought about having a family I always thought that I definitely wanted two and maybe a third. I love having siblings and I’m so proud to know that I was able to give my children siblings as well. At first the thought was overwhelming when I looked around and only saw small families, but now, the more I look, the more I see families as “large” as mine. Three really is the new two!
2. What are the benefits/challenges of having kids close in age?
Ava is 6, Gavin will be 5 next week and Olivia is 2. For us, being close means we have children with similar interests playing similar games and being best friends (I have been so lucky that they love each other so much). It was a lot of diapers and stretching Mommy very thin when they were babies as I ran in 3 directions to fulfill everyone’s needs, but now as they grow more independent I find more time to spend with each of them individually. One challenge I have noticed is that the younger ones think that they’re capable of doing what the older ones are. Especially with Gavin, I have to remind myself that he is a whole year and a half younger than Ava and shouldn’t be expected to do everything that she does (regardless of how hard he tries).
3. What do you treasure about babyhood?
Is there anything better than the smell and feel of your baby snuggled into your neck as they sleep away in peace? I think not. I also treasured and desperately miss nursing. It is a bond between mother and child that is like no other. Stressful and demanding at times, but I miss those 2 am moments with just me and my baby in the quiet darkness when I had nothing better to do than nurture their needs.
4. How are you embracing work outside of home and inside of home?
For the past 3 years I have been working from home taking care of billing and reimbursement for my husband’s physical therapy practice (VERY part-time). A computer-based, solitary desk job, blech. However, It allowed me to grow my family and take care of our home and young children. It allowed me to be at school events and be home without an issue if someone was sick and needed Mommy’s care. It allowed me to take care of my home and food shopping and going to the gym or lunch with a friend when I wanted. I desperately tried to be grateful for this time because it meant that weekends were dedicated to family time. Most people would consider this a dream come true, but I longed for something more. I absolutely love being a pediatric physical therapist. Apparently loving your job is rare! But, I love engaging with children who need my help and I feel that I am good at what I do. Children with special needs are amazing and can teach you so much about what is important in life. I longed for work because it fulfills me in a different way than I am stimulated at home. This week I returned to work outside of the home part-time. I am hoping that it will bring better balance to my life as a happier, more fulfilled Mom.
5. What legacy do you want to leave your kids?
I want my children to know that life is full of happiness if you allow it to be. Although life will have good times and challenging times, your family will be here to get you through. To look at the world through rose-colored glasses is a choice. With hard work and perseverance, life is full of endless possibilities to make your own.
Thank you so much Janice!!! You are a treasure. You are such a great mom! God bless your three little bears!