photo courtesy of Aubrey Degn

We have a whole team of talented, dedicated mothers working behind the scenes to make The Power of Moms the best it can be. We wanted you to meet them, so each month, we’ll take a day to spotlight one of our board members. (You can read about our board of volunteer moms here.)

Introducing Book Summaries Manager and Content Editor Aubrey Degn

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

I have two children. Luke is five and Natalie is three.

What have been your favorite parts of motherhood?

I love watching my children learn. I am always amazed at how much they notice and absorb in the world around them. I also love snuggling together to read books.

What have been the hardest parts of motherhood for you?

It’s hard for me when I see one of my children struggling and I just don’t know the best way to help, discipline or encourage them. What works for one child, doesn’t always work for the other. What works for one child yesterday, may not work today! Before children, if Plan A didn’t work, well, I just tried harder to make it work! Now I’ve realized that there is wisdom in Plan B’s, C’s and D’s.

What has surprised you about motherhood?

After my son was born, I was shocked by two things. One, how fiercely and protectively I could love that tiny baby. And two, how hard it was! Before children, when I thought about motherhood, I imagined picnics, outings to the library, and birthday parties. I seemed to completely skip over the whole infant, no sleep, no schedule, no life for a year part. It was quite an adjustment!

What have you learned from motherhood? Please share a specific story or incident that really taught you something.

Besides patience and humility, one of the greatest things I’ve learned from motherhood is to trust myself and my instincts. Before my son was born, I read this baby book and thought I knew everything (ha, ha!). I remember stressing out when my newborn was not awake or asleep at the “right” times. I expected everything to be by the book. One day I was bathing my son to “wake him up” so he’d be awake at the right time and my mom gently put her arm around me and said, “Aubrey, babies sleep a lot.”

I look back on that incident now and it makes me laugh and feel sorry for my post-baby, stressed-out self. But I really thought I had to look to other sources for the answers; now I realize that if I check my gut and turn to a Higher power for help, I’ll be able to figure out what’s right for my children.

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

Sadly, the first thing that comes to mind is ice cream. My husband is a firefighter and is gone for two days at a time. He says he can always tell how bad it was while he was gone by how much ice cream is left in the freezer.

Besides that, it really helps me to get out of the house when things are hard – go to a park with the kids, have a play date with a friend and vent for a while, even just go to the library. I also need my one hour of quiet time every afternoon.

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?

As I learned and am still learning, moms need to trust themselves. They need to really believe that they are the best person to raise their specific children and that they have unique gifts and talents that will benefit their children. I would say it’s important for moms not to compare themselves to others. Nobody is perfect no matter how it appears. I think if we could all really believe this, we’d be easier on ourselves and less jealous or judgmental of others.

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

We love being outside together. We probably have the world’s smallest farm with chickens, two goats and a dog. My husband and I really want our children to learn how to work and we feel like having animals and some land will help with that.

As for my approach to mothering, I guess I would say that I’m really structured. I like to have a plan for discipline, for the day, etc. Sometimes this can lead to my demise (remember the whole Plan A thing :) ) but it helps me discipline with less emotion and focus on what’s important for me and my children each day.

What do you like best about the work you do with The Power of Moms?

I love having any excuse to read a good book, so I love being able to share my thoughts on what I’ve read with others. I also really enjoy reading the essays that mothers submit. I always learn something that helps me and it makes me realize how many talented writers there are out there!

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