YOU DESERVE TO INDULGE. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!

Profiles

Inspiring Local Moms

In a world that’s jam-packed with mom critiques, mom judgment and mom competition, we’re taking a different road: We’re celebrating moms.

By Ettie Berneking, Katie Pollock Estes, Gerri Mack and Savannah Waszczuk

Mar 2015

Christine Daues Gronolove Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsChristine Daues shares how she juggled two young kids and a brand new small business.

In a world that’s jam-packed with mom critiques, mom judgment and mom competition, we’re taking a different road: We’re celebrating moms. Southwest Missouri is full of mothers of all stripes, every single one of them doing their very best. Each one has a different story to tell and a lot of wisdom to share. From a super-sports-supporter sending her only child off to college to a small business owner juggling her work and a child with special needs, these moms represent the ultimate multi-taskers. They work all day to bring home the bacon (and they cook it!), they wipe noses and snuggle feverish kids, and they can play with the best of them. So we raise our glasses to these local moms, and share lots of fun tips for all the mothers at home who are looking for a little inspiration.

MEET A LOCAL MOM

Pure Hot Yoga Springfield MO
Photo courtesy Pure Hot YogaSweat it out at Pure Hot Yoga.

Gym Time

These Springfield, MO gyms can help you get in a great workout—entertaining your kids with onsite childcare while you enjoy some me-time.

Physique Fitness

326 N. Boonville Ave., Ste. 101, Springfield, 417-831-0661
Daycare cost: $4 per day, $25 for a month and $220 for a year of unlimited childcare.
Ages accepted: Up to 12 years old
What the kiddos do: Kids can unwind with games, books, puzzles and movies.
What Mom can do: From low-impact, high-energy barre classes to slower classes that help release stress, there are plenty of workouts that focus on your thighs, buns, arms, abs… you name it! There’s even a family fitness class the first Saturday of each month at 11:15 a.m.

Ozarks Regional YMCA

Various 417-land locations
Daycare cost: Free with family memberships, $2 a day for individual memberships
Ages accepted: 6 months to 12 years
What the kiddos do: Activities vary based on the location and what time you bring in your tiny tyke. Childcare is limited to two hours a day per child.
What Mom can do: Hit the treadmills, pump some iron, take a class or just unwind in the sauna.

Pure Hot Yoga

610 E. Battlefield, Springfield, 417-886-7873
Daycare cost: $5 per child per class and free for unlimited members
Ages accepted: 2 months and older
What the kiddos do: Kid's enjoy games, reading time and watching movies.
What Mom can do: Pure offers a variety of hot yoga classes, flow sessions and even candlelight classes

Meyer Center at CoxHealth

3545 S. National Ave., Springfield, 417-269-3282
Daycare cost: Free for members, $12 day pass includes childcare
Ages accepted: 18 months to 12 years old
What kiddos do: Kids can settle in for some quiet time with crafts and board games, or they can shake out all that energy on the slide and in the play area.
What Mom can do: Besides offering basketball and racquetball courts, a lap pool, indoor track, massage therapy and individualized health assessments, The Meyer Center is the perfect place to unwind thanks to a dry heat sauna and whirlpool.

Dan Kinney Family Center

2701 S. Blackman Rd., Springfield, 417-891-1500
Daycare cost: $3 per child
Ages accepted: 3 months to 8 years old
What the kiddos do: There are toys, puzzles, Xbox, coloring, and even youth health assessments for kids 10 and older in which instructors can make a workout plan for them so they can join their parents out on the gym floor.  
What Mom can do: The high-intensity boot camp is especially popular with moms. From Monday through Friday (times vary), participants work out under the guidance of Tiana Shaver as they work their way to their dream figure.

Spa like bathroom design by Andrea Deckard Springfield MO
Photo by Pearcy PhotographyLocal mom Julie Becker had interior designer Andrea Deckard help her make her bathroom a spa-like retreat.

Create Your Own At-Home Oasis

When you’re a mom, sometimes all you need is to escape and take a few quiet seconds for yourself. Local experts and moms with experience share tips to help you make this happy place in your very own home.

All moms have been there before: There’s a tower of laundry staring you in the face, there are toys strung across nearly every visible piece of floor, and your kids are producing more noise than a 50-piece brass band. You don’t know which way to turn, and you honestly feel as though you might just lose it. You want to get away, but you can’t leave the house. Lucky for you, a few southwest Missouri experts and moms have been there, too, and they know how you can make a piece of your home your own little oasis.

We talked to an interior designer, a mom who has created a little oasis in her master bath and a couple of other local moms who are creating relaxing retreats in their very own homes. Learn their tips, then let the relaxing begin.

Make over your master bathroom

Interior Designer Andrea Deckard of A. Deckard Interiors (1501 E. Sunshine St. d, Springfield, 417-831-9300) is a mother of two young boys, so she knows all about the need for peace and quiet at home. Thanks to her career, she can help others create calming spaces, just as she helped mother-of-three, Dr. Julie Becker. 

Andrea says when moms are looking to make spots for a little relaxation, they often turn to the master bathroom. “One way is to add a luxurious heated tub with air jets to help Mom relax after a long day,” Andrea says. Adding steam units in the showers for actual spa treatments at home is another trend, along with adding decorative lighting and soothing colors to create the ambiance of a luxury spa. Andrea created a spa-like atmosphere in Julie’s bathroom with a large walk-in shower and an oversized bath tub. “As Andrea put it, we created a space that I enjoy seeing when I wake up every morning,” Julie says. 

Claim your space

Andrea says another common area that can be customized just for Mom is her personal office. “If we can carve out a space that is neatly organized, has computer access and may even have a door to quiet the roar of the household, it can be a lovely little retreat,” she says. “Often, we add metal panels or tack boards above the countertop to allow easy access for a calendar, reminders or to-do lists. But the key is for this to be a retreat, to have a well-laid out space so it won’t feel cluttered, even if the rest of your life does.”

Set the mood

Jana Barnes, a stay-at-home mom who has a 2-year-old son and a baby on the way, turned to essential oils to further feed her senses. “One brand, doTERRA Essential Oils, makes a blend called Serenity,” Jana says. “It makes my house smell like a spa.” Barnes also regularly uses lavender oil, which she says is a universally relaxing smell.

Make the most of alone time

Another activity that helps the sanity of local mom Mitzi Lewis, an optometrist and the mother of 7- and 9-year-old boys, is making every moment count. “We have a blast in the summer, enjoying lots of swimming, traveling, golfing and baseball,” Mitzi says. But when the kids head back to school in the fall, she takes time for herself. “My husband thinks I should work more while they are in school, but I think he’s wrong,” Mitzi  says. “Those few hours fly by. This year when school started, I was able to purge my house. That’s something I haven’t been able to do in eight years.” So yes, when the kids are out, it is perfectly fine to stay in and get things done, free of interruptions.


Mother Knows Best: Advice from Real Moms

These local moms are all at different stages with different family situations—and they all have lots of wisdom to share.

Avoid the Guilt

“Mommy guilt is real and very overwhelming. You are always wishing you could spend more time or do more for your baby when you are at work, and when you are home, you are always feeling guilty about what you didn’t get done at work. It’s a challenge, but enjoying the variety of life and not wishing time away is the key. It was also important for me to set boundaries about how many nights and weekends I could work, so that way as long as I was staying within those boundaries I knew I was keeping a balance and not feeling so guilty.”
—Katie Davis, C.E.O., Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ozarks, on avoiding mommy guilt

Focus on the Good

“Whenever we go to St. Jude, we are so thankful Jake does not have to have chemo. The funny thing is, those bald kids look at Jake, and I can tell they are thankful to have both of their eyeballs! But seriously, if you are alive, it is a good day. The things you would miss if your child was gone tomorrow become even more precious. Do more of that. A sense of humor and wonder in small miracles will get you through anything.”
—Jackie Douglas, High School Science Teacher at Gloria Deo Academy, on being the mother of a child with Retinoblastoma eye cancer

Keep an Open Mind

“Our Daughter, Sara, came out to us as a lesbian her freshman year of college. She wrote me a very sweet email. Sara apologized, saying she knew I wanted to see her get married and have our grandchildren. I wrote her a short email and just said, ‘I love you, and I want to understand.’  But this news was like a death: a death of who I thought my daughter was, a death of my dreams for her. She was out of the closet, but I was in. What had I done wrong as a parent? What was God punishing me for? Was Sara abused as a child and I did not know it? She must be promiscuous, right? These were all questions I pondered for the next few weeks until my first PFLAG meeting. PFLAG provided me a safe place where I found support, where I met parents who shared their experience and knowledge. It was a place I could share freely, without judgment. Working through the false stereotypes that society and religion had ingrained in me was difficult. As I worked through my issues, I kept an open line of communication with Sara. I realized Sara still had all of the wonderful qualities she had before, that had not changed. She had risked losing her family and friends in order to live honestly. The dreams I had for her were not gone, they were different. Today, Sara is married to a wonderful young woman, and they are very happy.”
—Kathryn Louise Munzinger, partner in Munzinger & Company, Inc. and President of PFLAG-Springfield, on supporting a child who has come out

Share the Experience

“My friend, Katie Hoesch, hosts a ‘First Day of School’ party for our friends and their kids a week before school starts. She reads books about first day jitters and has all kinds of fun activities that get us talking to our kids about going to school and addresses what fears and excitements they are thinking about. It helped us moms just as much as the kids.”
—Logan Aguirre, President and Associate Publisher, 417 Magazine, on preparing to send her child to kindergarten

Make Every Moment Count

“The way our [blended family] home schedule is structured really supports fostering individual relationships with all of our kids. There are times every week when each set of kids is at home separately, and on those nights, they do not have to share their parent or bonus-parent. Since we are a new blended family, and really are still in the process of “blending,” I feel this individual time has helped each set of kids feel secure in their relationship with their biological parent, and has given them the necessary time to nurture the relationship with their bonus parent. Then, when we are all together, my daughters can see me loving and caring for their bonus-siblings and not feel threatened.”
—Shallina Goodnight, Executive Director of HealthCare Services, Oxford HealthCare, on being the mother in a blended family with five kids

Mother daughter meal prep
Photo by Brandon Alms

Emily and her mother, Suzanne, prepared nearly 80 makeahead meals.

Purchase Photo
meal prep containers
Photo courtesy Shutterstock

Make-ahead meals are easily stored in freezer-safe zipper-sealed bags or containers.

How to Meal-Prep

In preparation for her second child, local mom Emily Johnson tackled a lofty Pinterest project: creating 40 make-ahead meals in four hours. Read about her experience, and find some tips for making meals ahead yourself.

While preparing for the arrival of her second baby, local mom Emily Johnson was ahead of the game. “After having my first child, our friends brought us meals, which was wonderful, but eventually that came to an end,” Emily says. “We found ourselves ordering more pizza and carry-out meals because of the convenience.” But Emily didn’t want this to happen with kiddo No. 2. After spotting ideas to make massive amounts of meals in comparatively small amounts of time on Pinterest, Emily recruited the help of her mom, Suzanne Donnell, and tackled a blog project that promised the completion of 40 meals in four hours. 

The project, which Emily found on the Who Needs a Cape? blog, provided a full shopping list. Emily and her mother printed it out, hopped in the car at 7 a.m. and hit up three Springfield grocery stores. “We spent about $400,” Emily says. “But then when we were home and about four recipes in, we realized that the meals were quite large.” For every meal, the required ingredients were enough to feed her and her husband two meals rather than one.

Some eight hours later, the two had nearly 80 meals that ranged from cilantro lime chicken to chunky beef stew, easy pulled pork and even chicken cacciatore. There were nearly 20 entrees included, providing a nice variety. Now, Emily’s baby is almost six months old, and Emily happily reports that she has cooked many of those make-ahead meals, all stress-free. “I found myself using a lot of the meals even after I went back to work,” she says. “I thought I would enjoy them a lot more on maternity leave, but it’s beneficial since I’m back to work full time.”

Tips for Prepping Meals

Shop The Day Before You Cook

Although Emily and her mom completed their task successfully, they were beyond beat by the end of their massive day of grocery shopping and meal prep.

Make What You Like

You don’t have to shy away from make-ahead Crock-Pot meals just because the recipes call for canned, processed ingredients. When recipes called for canned ingredients like canned pineapple and canned mushrooms, Emily replaced them with fresh produce instead.

Be Organized

Before they began cooking, Emily and her mom laid out all of the ingredients, measuring cups and spoons and more.
Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 limes, juiced
2 cups cilantro
24-ounce bag of frozen corn (can be less depending on preference)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 cans of black beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons chipotle powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c water or chicken broth 
To prepare: 
Evenly split all ingredients in two large freezer-safe zipper-seal bags. Shake each bag up, seal them, label them and place them in the freezer. When ready to prepare,empty contents into a slow cooker and cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours. Serve with hot tortillas or Tostitos chips, and dress with sour cream, guacamole and cheese.
Moxie Mornings for kids downtown Springfield MO
Photo by Kyle Davis

Moxie Mornings feature an innovative short film and hands-on art-making projects.

Fish feeding at Bass Pro Shops Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon Alms

Elijah Crain enjoys watching the fish-feeding show at Bass Pro Shops. If you’re looking to occupy the kids for a few hours, Bass Pro is the perfect spot.

A Day Out With the Kids

Want a quite house? Give Dad this itinerary, then have him load the little ones into the car for a little fun (leaving you with an empty house all to yourself). Bonus: These activities are just as much fun with Mom as they are with Dad. So if you would rather connect with the kids than savor some quiet time, you can tag along, too.

8 a.m.–10 a.m.: After you make sure everyone has comfortable walking shoes on, head over to Sequiota Park (3500 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield) for some a.m. exercise. There is a nice picnic area that’s perfect for starting things off with a pre-packed breakfast, and the kids will be eager to quickly finish their food so they can walk laps around the lake and feed the ducks. If you’re eager, you can lead the way and take the little ones on a longer trek to the nearby Galloway Creek Greenway trail. This will definitely help work off some of their energy.

10 a.m.–noon: After the kids log a couple hours on their feet, head downtown to enjoy Moxie Mornings at Moxie Cinema (305 S. Campbell Ave. #101, Springfield, 417-429-0801). Moxie Mornings feature an innovative short film and hands-on art-making projects for kids ages 2 to 6. And here’s the best part: It’s free! This month’s events are Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m. and Saturday, March 28 at 10 a.m.

Noon–1 p.m.: You’ve probably noticed that the kids are getting a little whiny by now… That’s because it’s time for lunch! Try Druff's (331 Park Central E. #101, Springfield, 417-719-1719). Kids love a good grilled cheese, but Druff's also caters to the adult palette with creative flavor twists. Bon appétit!  

1 p.m.–3 p.m.: After filling their bellies, the kids will be ready for more adventure time with Daddy-o. Lucky for you, there are a handful of Springfield-Greene County Libraries dotted throughout the city, and they often have fun activities going on for the little ones. If you want to visit for story time, a hands-on craft time or another organized activity, plan ahead: you can find a schedule of branch-specific events online at thelibrary.org.

3 p.m.–5 p.m.: Spend the afternoon at Bass Pro Shops (1935 S. Campbell Ave., Springfield, 417-887-7334). A simple stroll around this nearly outdoor wonder world includes the chance to gaze at waterfalls, springs and dozens of swimming fish. You’ll even see two of the largest alligator gar in the world, and watch half a dozen alligators wandering around in an alligator pit! If you make it to Bass Pro Shops at 3 p.m. sharp, you can check out a Fish Feeding Show in Uncle Buck's Auditorium. In the show, you'll watch divers feed fish and hear a seminar on native Missouri fish.

5 p.m.–6 p.m.: Before taking the kids home to mom, head to Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park (2765 S. Kansas Expy., Springfield, 417-771-3883) to work out any of that energy they have left. Whether they choose to spend their time playing SkySlam basketball, running from their siblings in Ultimate Dodgeball, diving into the Foam Zone or simply jumping from trampoline to trampoline, they’re sure to go home good and tired and ready for an early bedtime

brunch at Tea Room at Vintage Suitcase Springfield mO
Photo by Brandon AlmsCall up your best gal pals and have them meet you for lunch at the Tea Room at Vintage Suitcase where you can enjoy sweet bran muffins with apricot glaze, strawberry spinach salad and the avgolemono soup and more.

Mom's Day Out

The kids are away and you have time to play, so treat yourself to a day of pampering, shopping and enjoying a meal that doesn’t involve sippy cups.

Morning

Once the kids are out the door, it’s time to indulge in some much-deserved pampering. Toss on your favorite cozy, chic ensemble, grab a tall mug of coffee and head to Grove Spa. Treat those tootsies to a signature pedicure, $50, which includes a dip in the whirlpool foot bath, a relaxing leg and foot exfoliation and a moisturizing mask and massage.

Once your toes are polished and beautiful, it’s time to go show them off while you release any built-up tension with a soothing 45-minute yoga class at Sumits Yoga. This candlelight class focuses on breathing and relaxation, two things your busy mom life is probably sorely lacking.

Afternoon

Since this is one meal time where you don’t have to worry about making sure that serving of peas doesn’t end up on the floor or stashed away in a pocket, make the most of it. Savor a relaxing lunch with your girlfriends at the Ms. Gilmore’s Vintage Suitcase Emporium. With so many breakable antiques tucked into the décor, this isn’t the most kid-friendly place. But the striped tablecloths, pink fabric napkins and teetering wine glasses make it the ultimate girly lunch spot. Plus, you can do a little antique shopping when you’re done.

Next on your list, unleash those creative juices with a flower-arranging class at RosAmung Thorns. Classes can accommodate eight, so invite your friends and schedule together. It’s $50 per person, and that includes wine and hors d’oeuvres by Avanzare Italian Dining. Plus, you get to take your beautiful arrangement home with you.

If your to-do list is getting lengthy, it’s time to do some multi-tasking. Meet your gal pals at Derby Deli where you can chomp on some afternoon snacks and shop for tonight’s bottle of wine while you’re at it.

No day to yourself would be complete without a little shopping, and to make the best use of your time, head to Farmers Park. There, you can fuel up with coffee and a delicate, itty bitty pastry perfect for one at Aviary Café before shopping for some goodies for yourself at STAXX and Five Pound Apparel

Evening

To end your day of adult fun, drag your gals up to the top of Reverie Bar for a happy hour beverage. The bartenders here are always whipping up tasty seasonal cocktails, so you never know what your taste buds will experience next. 

Baglady Boutique
Photo by Brandon AlmsTreat yourself to some new looks from Baglady Boutique.

Retail Therapy

Are you a hardworking mom, toiling away at home with the kiddos or at your desk at work? Take your paycheck and blow off some steam at some Springfield, MO stores that are perfect for snagging goods for you and your whole family. 

Treat Yourself

Harem & Company

417-881-0602
Shoe addicts will love the styles available at Harem & Company, and fashionistas can deck out their closets in great lines from big names like Kate Spade and Rachel Zoe.

The Uptown Boutique

417-882-2645
This is the place to feed your slouchy tee addiction, including some fun printed varieties like the longhorn graphic slouchy tee available at press time. The store is the perfect combination of casual and stylish. 

Baglady Boutique

417-882-4438
You can get so much cool stuff here: Annie Sloan chalk paint for your own home, fun infant clothes for a friend’s baby shower, clothing for yourself and gifts for all the women in your life.

Treat Your Hubby

Hudson Hawk Barber & Shop

Multiple 417-land locations
This Springfield barber shop sells Baldwin jeans, sunglasses, manly shaving products and other bath and body must-haves and accessories including socks, belts and more.

Treat Your Kids

Jellybeans

417-889-2117
From a darling 3 Sprouts organizing bin to add whimsical zip to your kids’ bedrooms to stylish duds for your fashion-forward tween, this store has way too much cuteness to do justice in two sentences. Let’s say it’s a for-sure don’t-miss for anybody who has kids from newborns to tweens.


Mom Style

Moms wear many different hats, and that often means a wardrobe change. With these three ensemble ideas, take your look from comfy and casual to hip and sophisticated.
feminine mom style
Photos by Brandon AlmsReady to take your mom wardrobe up a few notches? With plenty of social engagements on the horizon, a sassy ensemble will get plenty of use. It’s perfect for wearing from the office to an upscale happy hour. Purchase Photo
boho mom style
Photos by Brandon AlmsNeed to make a run to the farmers market, or looking for something new to wear on a casual date night? Look cool, calm and collected in this feminine bohemian look. Purchase Photo
sporty mom style
Photos by Brandon AlmsHave a busy day of practices and games? Be the most stylish mom on the sidelines with trendy tuxedostripe pants, and toss on a hat next time you don’t have time to perfect your locks. Purchase Photo
Gerri Mack mother of the bride springfield mo
Photo by Climer Photography

Gerri Mack watched two daughters get married in one year.

Gerri Mack mother of the bride daughters pringfield mo
Photo by Climer Photography

Gerri Mack's daughters

Mother-of-the-Bride

How it feels to see two daughters walk down the aisle back-to-back—and have a major role in both of their big days.

I don’t know what the statistics are, but I am pretty sure I’m in the minority when I tell you I had the honor of being a mother of the bride twice in one year. Odds get even higher when you count me among the mothers who design their daughter’s wedding dress, or host the event on the front lawn. 

Beth’s wedding was planned for September in Vail, Colorado, and the mountaintop affair didn’t call for a cupcake of a dress. I make my living designing clothes, but it wasn’t until we exhausted all resources that she called me with a request: Would I design and oversee the making of her dress? I was flattered of course—and apprehensive for about a minute. Who better to design a gown than someone who has held her close for 27 years? I dove headfirst into sketching, sourcing fabrics and working with my patternmaker to create the plunging, form-fitting simple sheath that Beth wanted. And when she walked down that aisle looking radiant, I felt like I was holding her all the way.

Fast forward to Rachel’s wedding the following May. Her plan for a simple affair led her straight to our front door. Not that I didn’t have a hand in this decision. More than once in the 10 years that we’ve lived in our home, I would walk out on the lawn, look at the lake and swans, and wonder out loud if one of my daughters would “find it in her heart” to have a wedding there. Mother guilt is a powerful tool, and Rachel took the bait.

Hosting a wedding at home sounds like a charming experience until the mechanics of it all sink in. Dishes? Dance floor? Lighting? The extras you take for granted at a venue weren’t there. But not unlike my experience with Beth, Rachel and I dove headfirst into the challenge. We moved naturally through it all and in the end hosted a fun, memorable event that was unlike anyone else’s day. (And the band played till midnight.)

I cried uncontrollably the first time I saw Beth in her dress. For Rachel I had gained some composure, but it was still an out-of-body experience that screams, “You are witnessing a significant life event!”

When I met my husband more than 30 years ago, we tumbled into marriage after a relatively brief courtship. But even back then, it felt like the most natural thing to do. I have one more daughter orbiting, Rachel’s twin sister, and I’m not sure how I will be involved in her big day. But I can guarantee that whatever I do in my final role as mother of the bride, it will play out quite naturally.—Gerri Mack

More Stories from Local Moms

Our readers share some of their favorite stories and advice from the wild world of parenting.

We moved one time and forgot our 8-year-old. He was saying goodbye to the treehouse and the tire swing in the back yard. Parents and grandparents all thought he was with the others. Poor fella had to wait about an hour for us to come back! Probably still has abandonment issues now! Had fun raising four great kids! Now enjoying two little grandbabies.—Tamara Squibb 

Most important lesson: Listen to your children with your eyes. Those precious moments when they are trying to tell you something can be missed when you don't make eye contact with them.—Judy Brock Bilyeu

When my son snagged my keys after I put him in his car seat, and he hit the lock button as I was shutting the door! Praise the lord for pop a lock who came right away at no charge to get him out, and the stranger who let me use their phone because my phone was dead (of course).—Kari Hamra

While at the mall my kids both began to beg and acted crazy over something they just had to have...I immediately dropped to my knees and began to pray, "Lord, help me be patient with my children as they behave this way." Both kids ended their cries and begged me to stop. They never again behaved like that in a public place. Not only that, a few mothers actually clapped at how I handled the situation. It was a magical moment.—Debbie Vernier

I was 21 years old, a single mom to a 2-year-old and 3-month-old triplets. It was 3 a.m., and the triplets were crying wanting to be fed. My 2 year old was standing there looking at me with sleepy face. I was trying to fix bottles and reassure the 2-year-old that I have this handled. I get two of the babies in their carrier. I hold and feed one, while my 2-year-old holds bottle for the other two. We watched cartoons and fed babies every night for a couple of months until they slept through the night. Today at 21 and 19 they are all very close.—Beth Pritchard 

How about when my 4-year-old (who has autism) pooped in the Lowes display toilet while we were looking at countertops. We were potty training at the time, and he thought all potties worked. My daughter yells, "Oh my god, mom! Z is sitting on the potty." Sure enough, we turned and Z was doing his business. My husband grabbed him and ran for the restroom while I had to figure out how to get this poop out. While I was on my knees cleaning it out (even though the Lowes employee offered to do it) a friend from college walks up and asks what I am doing! It’s all funny now, but at that time, it was my most embarrassing moment as a mom. For years Z would pass a display toilet and say, "That toilet is not for going potty on!" Also, found out that we were a legend at the Lowes store because the story had been shared many times. By the way, my son is mainstreamed now and doing fabulous.—Tara Seaton Holcomb

Our daughter had a sweet tooth. I had baked cookies before a babysitter arrived from Missouri State. I gave specific instructions that both kids could not have any cookies while I was gone a few hours. To my horror, our daughter locked the babysitter in the basement, so she could raid the cookie jar! The babysitter called her roommate at Missouri State to let her out of the basement. Needless to say, I profusely apologized to the babysitter.—Lynn Ausburn

My 17-month-old was playing in her bedroom while I was pouring her a cup of milk, when all o fa sudden I heard splashing of water coming from the other room! I ran into the bathroom to find my daughter scooping water out of the toilet and pouring it over her head! Aww… the life of a stay-at-home mother.—Meranda Ghan Trinkle

One morning at church my twin boys took their first communion. I heard Hudson say rather loudly "Mmm this bread ain't half bad." Then Harry took his little cup of juice and shouted "cheers." One more: One of our twins is an amputee. One day I walked into the living room and asked him to please pick up his prosthetic from the middle of the floor before someone tripped over it and fell. He then proceeded to start laughing and said “It's really cool isn't it, Mom, that I don't even have to wear my leg to trip people?!”—Liz Kemper 

Last summer after a long day at home with my two boys I decided I needed a 44-ounce soda from Kum and Go. I was feeling brave, got my 22-month-old out of the car and walked him around to the other side to get my 4-month-old. I knew we could do it. Hand-in-hand we walked with my smallest on my hip. When we walked in the first thing my oldest saw was a ball. He ripped out of my hand and ran for it, knocking over an entire candy display. The whole store watched as I tried to pick it all up one handed. I thought about leaving at that point but really decided I deserved that soda. We get over to the soda after I make my son put the ball back, and he sees all the cups sticking out. He grabs like seven. And I am forced to try to put them all back. I start to get my drink, have it all ready to put the lid on, and he grabs more cups which startled me and I knocked my entire cup over. I am mortified trying to signal someone that I again had made an atrocious mess. I apologize over and over and turn back to my son watching him eat the ice off the floor. That soda tasted so good. I did not venture out on my own with the two of them for a couple of months.—Felicia Dake 

On a particularly snowy day in Branson in 1980 we were late for school so we didn't listen to the radio. My mom dropped me off at school. It was cancelled. I spent the next several hours sharpening pencils for the principal who had come in for just a few and ended up staying while they tried to find my mom.—Jody Porter Hackley

My boys were little and kept fighting in the backseat when I was driving. They were kicking my seat and yelling and wouldn't stop. I pulled the car over and made them get out. Then I sat back down in the driver's seat with the door open and said, "Now you have plenty of room to fight." They both looked at me like I was crazy, and then got into the car and sat back there quietly. It was a very peaceful ride home!—Shawna Jones

The time Jenni Moulin and I took my daughter shopping at the Battlefield Mall. My daughter started to run away from me, so I started running after her. The mall security on their Segways started chasing me!—Sundee Bumgarner

When my boys were around 4 and 7 they were outside playing under the tree in the backyard. I was inside cleaning house. We had some leftover butter mints that had gotten stale. My husband took them outside and tossed them in the yard. They happened to land near the kids. They came running in the house to tell me about the candy tree in the back yard and how there were mints falling from it. They even brought us some. So every now and then I couldn't help but toss candy at them. Cracked me up.—Charece Lummis

This was a Facebook post of mine a few months back: Just a day in the life of a mom with three boys. Never a dull moment. So sorry to the Target employees who had to help me clean a whole bottle of chocolate milk spilled today by my favorite 2-year-old. And to the manager at Panera who had to mop the floor after said 2-year-old threw up his M&M cookie right in front of the only door in or out of the restaurant. I really did try to catch it all in my hands. My apologies to all the patrons who looked on in horror as they tried to enjoy their lunch while watching our sideshow unfold. What a day! So happy it's nap time."—Amanda Swanson

Taught my daughter a lesson in morality via Candy Land.  She accidentally drew three cards instead of one. She looked at them and said "I want this one." (Two blue.) I said "Okay, well that's cheating. You can do it but cheaters don't get a real win." 
"But I really want i.."
"Like I said, you can keep it, but that's cheating. It's your decision."
"I really want it...I don't know what to do."
"That's called temptation."
"What's that mean?"
"That means you really want to do something that you know isn't right. So you have to decide if you are going to do what you want, or what you know you should."
"Okay. I'll get a different card."
And she did. It was only a one square card and she was disappointed. But the lesson was a good one. And she won both games, regardless. I was right at the end and got that stupid gingerbread man. Anyway, glad we played Candy Land.—Sarah Adams 

When my oldest was 3, our twins were born. Needless to say, sleep was a luxury. One night when I put my 3-year-old in the bath, I noticed his feet looked green. I panicked! I thought he must have a fungus! Nope. I just forgot to take his sock off. Exhaustion can make you see crazy things!—Johanna Ashby Kell

I have a boy and a girl, five years apart. My son, the oldest, used to tease my daughter that he found her in his bowl of corn flakes. He poured milk on it, and poof there she was. So at my company Christmas party my daughter loudly pipes up, “I used to be a corn flake, didn't I, Mommy?” I try to hush her and laugh it off. She gets really angry and starts crying and screaming, “Jake poured milk on me, and I was there is his bowl.” Eventually I had to excuse myself and go explain that her brother had just been teasing her.—Katharine Conway

When my son was a little over a year old, he got a hold of my cell phone and hit the emergency call button which called 911. Then to top it off, while it was ringing he dropped it behind our sofa which is pretty deep. So I had to find a long object to retrieve it. 911 called back, and I explained. Ten minutes later a police officer showed up at my door at just the moment my son was having a meltdown. All-around bad timing! So we now say our baby called the cops on us!—Ila Woolsey

I was playing "princess" with my girls at home, and I had on a tiara. Later in the day I took everyone for ice cream at Dairy Queen. I forgot to take off the tiara.—Tammy Goswick 

My personal favorite is when I was grocery shopping with my then 2-year-old, Jack. He was riding in the basket and having a great time. I pull the basket to the side to look at an item, and it ends up with Jack about two feet from a little old man who was grabbing a canned good. Jack stretched himself as far over the cart as he could, shook his finger at the man and says, "No no! you put that back right now mister!" The old man didn't find it nearly as funny as mamma did!—Hollis Presley

I'm a mom of three beautiful girls. Ever since I can remember, I have danced with my girls and still do. The difference now is they secretly film my off-the-wall random dance moves. Every once in a while, my older two come home, and we break out into a dance-off. My most cherished moments with these ladies.—Tena Reel 

About two months ago when I first put on my Springfield Wonder Woman suit, ready to take on the world, my 3-year-old son casually glanced at me with wonder and almost a hint of pride. No matter how many unique amazing children or wonderful people I see to cheer up, the most important smile is my son's.  Especially as a single mother trying to juggle work, school and Wonder Woman. As long as he is proud of me, I can do anything. Even fight crime.—Jasmine Rice

I'm a fairly new mom; I have a 16-month-old son and am currently seven months pregnant with my second son. That being said, when Henry was about a week old I was changing his diaper just after a feeding when he peed all over his face. As he lay there, I'm sure wondering what the heck his mother had just done to him, I called for my husband to help me get him cleaned up. I was so focused on getting his poor face clean that I forgot to put the diaper on him. Yep, you guessed it, he started peeing again. Again all over his face. I was horrified! Thank goodness my husband was there to assist me! Now I laugh when I think about it and am much more speedy when it comes to diaper changes.—WR William 

I slept in one Saturday morning, and my 3-yearo-old got up and helped himself to peanut butter and cereal. Yeah, he got the peanut butter all over himself, sliding glass door, floor, cabinets, table, dog, you get the picture. But the topper was all the Rice Krispies sprinkles embedded with the peanut butter. He woke me trying to give me breakfast in bed. Couldn’t be angry at that sweet face. I was the one who overslept. Thought I was gonna go crazy though.—Julie Sheffer-Land

As a single mom, I took my two children, ages 7 and 8, to Disney World by myself. We left the day after Christmas and drove for two days. We had a great time just the three of us.—Jennifer Messer Grossius

My two sons are grown now, but raising them was a daily adventure. They were funny little boys—could make you laugh and cry in the same day.—June Wemlinger

One time during one of our military House Hold Goods pack outs I watched the guy filling out the inventory form as my then 2-year-old son came running to me with a VERY BIG smile and a bunch of the inventory number stickers all over his now naked body. He had removed every sticker from every box. Although it was hilarious, the packer did not think so. To this day, 30 years later, I smile when I see those moving number stickers on boxes.—M Lucila Vega

I have learned to always keep a deck of cards or some other game in my purse. You never know when you are going to have to wait, and I never had that "screaming, running crazy" child with me. Also, I NEVER took more than one child grocery shopping. Three would stay home with Dad.—Christy Gorman

One day I looked outside and our sons had trained the dog to ride on the front of their sled. She had always wanted to prevent them sledding but, like all things, if you can't beat them join in the fun!—Victoria Mathis 

My 18-month-old refuses to call me Momma. He has had this game since he was tiny of calling me Daddy every time I ask him to call me Momma. I wonder when I will hear him say “Momma?”—Sannetta Marsh

 I was getting ready for work one day and I heard my 2-year-old talking to someone. I walked around the corner and noticed she was talking on the phone. “How cute,” I thought until I realized, “Wait, how is she talking on the phone and who could she be talking to?” She was saying things like, “Hell-oooo, how are you?” In a cute little sing-songy voice. When I realized she had somehow dialed 911, I was mortified and apologized profusely.—Laine Scholz

When my daughter was almost three years old, we were going to have apples as a side with dinner. She insisted on it being cut up. I reassured her that I was planning on it, but I wanted her to try eating all of it. I thought she was trying to avoid eating the apple skin. Nope. She said an apple seed was a baby tree, and she was afraid that if she accidentally ate the apple seed, an apple tree would grow in her belly the way baby people grow inside their mommy's tummy. I was completely taken aback and didn't know what to say except, "Babies are not made the same way apple trees are." I quickly changed the subject after that.—Brittany Zachary 

I love getting my 14-year-old son to laugh. Being a teenager and I being the uncool mom, it can be quite the feat. But when I can get him laughing a good belly laugh, and I’m laughing too, everything seems perfect at the moment.—Amanda Frida 

This was many years ago now, but seems like yesterday. The kids and I were trying to get this huge bunk bed out of the upstairs to get rid of it. We were taking it down the stairs when we accidentally let go of it. It was wedged so tight we had to wait several hours until someone could come and cut it out. So all the other younger kids (six of them) were downstairs and my oldest daughter and I were trapped upstairs. We did somehow order Chinese and have it delivered, so we didn't starve!—Monica Whitworth

When my children were three and four years of age, they took a pitcher of grape Kool-Aid and a pound of white sugar and proceeded to paint their entire room with it! Everything from ceiling to floor, as well as both children, had been touched by the oh-so-sticky stuff. It was a terrible mess to clean up, and because it has been a few years since it happened, we can now laugh about it.—Melissa Fleetwood

Realizing when I became a grandparent it was a reward from God—for not eating my girls when they were teenagers! They now tell other's this story with laughter and brand new appreciation of being a mom!—Michelle Stalling 

We were at a park that sits on the corner of a busy intersection. Our oldest son was two years old. He had to potty, and we were nowhere near the truck let alone a bathroom. We were about to pick him up and run for it when he dropped trow in the middle of the wide-open park and did his business. We did all we could to try to block him from public view.—Valerie Pope-Haigh

When my son was 3, we had gone grocery shopping. Upon returning we saw that our guineas had hatched their chicks. All four of my children were so excited. I told them to watch from a distance or the momma would get really mad. As we finished putting the bags in the house, I heard my son screaming. I found him behind the garage being attacked be three or four guineas. The next morning when he came outside he had on his usual: a leopard print lady's pill box hat he called his Davy Crockett hat, a T-shirt, little red shorts and his cowboy boots. The difference was his pockets were very full and hanging way below his shorts. I asked “What do you have in your pockets?” He said, "guinea rocks." Little stink always had a plan; they weren't getting him again.—Cindy Frankenfield Youngblood

I love being a mom in the Ozarks! So many things to do! I think it's the best place to raise a family.—Rebecca Layer 

Learning to ignore the looks of others as my son lay on the ground kicking and crying because he isn't ready to leave, and I'm just standing there letting him do it.—Jackie Wright

Being a mom and now a grandmother, I cherish every day I get to experience there growth. Sharing experiences, adventures, good or bad times. Motherhood is a rewarding experience.—Kim Shaboo-Birge