photo courtesy of Kelli Fletcher

There are amazing, devoted, wonderful, deliberate mothers out there, and each week we’ll spotlight one of them here at The Power of Moms. Do you know a mom who deserves a little time in the spotlight? Email rachelle.price (at) powerofmoms.com. We can’t wait to meet her.

Introducing Kelli Fletcher

How many children do you have and what are their ages?

I have three boys, ages 8, 5, and 14 months.

What have been your favorite parts of motherhood?

Watching my boys grow  through the many phases of life; seeing them accomplish simple goals; enjoying the moments away from busy work and just playing with my boys; cherishing their innocence and cute sayings; and snuggling with them in bed are some of my favorite parts of motherhood.

What have been the hardest parts of motherhood?

Patience! Whether trying to find a lost shoe or getting a fussy baby back to sleep or repeating myself a dozen times to get my children to listen. Realizing that kids are meant to be KIDS!  Being patient with myself as I learn a perfect home (i.e. super clean home, etc) isn’t necessarily a happy one. Keeping my temper in check and not yelling. Trying to find balance and being consistent with our schedules/discipline are probably the hardest parts of motherhood.

What has surprised you the most about motherhood?

Learning to work around my deafness while raising my children. At the age of 8, I was involved in a tubing accident that left me profoundly deaf. One of my dreams as a young girl was to become a mother and I wondered what kind of impact my deafness would have raising my children. I remember being fearful of not “hearing” my baby cry in the middle of night, or miss out on hearing the cute things my children would say, or even in dangerous situations where I can’t use the phone to call 911. Fast forward to 2003, I realized my fears were all in vain. Advanced technology such as a light flasher (that flashed on and off when the baby cried) assisted me in calming my infant. I can make phone calls using a videophone in case of emergency. I also learned to rely on my instincts (aka mother instincts). For example, I have found the light flasher to be really annoying at two in the morning, so I would have my baby sleep with my husband and me (we are both deaf and both very sensitive to moment) and I learned to recognize cues. Before my baby cried he would move and wiggle in our bed; thus I could attend to his needs even before he started crying.

What coping strategies do you have for getting through hard times and hard days?

Having alone time, knowing that it is okay to get away once in a while. My husband helps by taking my boys out with him and I am able to tackle things I need to get done. I also find that exercising, soaking in the tub, refurnishing furniture, reading a good book, or finding spiritual upliftings things to do can really help me get through the hard days.

I find it especially effective to talk things out with my husband and discuss what we can do to make it through the hard times. We are a team and we work together to discipline our children, etc. I also learned to realize that our schedule will get out-of-hand sometimes (i.e. like when a child is sick) and that’s okay. I have a quote on my wall that reads, “Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain.”

What would you say are the most important things a mom can do? What would you say are the most important things for a mom NOT to do?

That taking time for herself is imperative, not to mention she would feel better and her children would most likely want to be around her. Mothers do a lot and its okay to have her children help her with the chores and tasks and have expectations for them to do what is needed.

Lighten up! Laugh! Don’t take yourself so seriously! Don’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t accomplish all the things on your to do list.  Remember you are where you need to be…being a mother.

What are some unique and interesting aspects of your family or your approach to mothering?

My children use mixed English and American Sign Language at home. We communicate through signs so that we all can understand each other. My rule at home is that they must sign to me if they want something. I refuse to read their lips if they are not signing (and the fact I have a difficult time reading children’s lips).

However, my children have also learned to adapt to their deaf parents. They learned that poking our bellies (pet peeve!), pounding the table, stomping the floor, sliding notes under the locked bathroom doors are ways to get our attention. They have many “deaf” moments and don’t even realize it. They watch TV with captioning, have never used a telephone, watch us use a videophone. And when they don’t listen to me I have threatened to take them to see an Audiologist to get fitted for a hearing aide. It works like a charm! Wink!! My kids are known as CODA (children of deaf adults) in the deaf community. They are able to interact with other children who also have deaf parents and share a bond.

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