Mothergood Feature: Jolie LaCroix-Brinnon, Music and Theater Director
1. Tell us about your background and a little bit about who you are?
I am the wife of a Los Angeles City firefighter, the mother of 3 girls, and Music and Theater Director.
My husband, Josh, and I have three spunky little girls, Lilah (7), Violet (6) and Paisley (3). I teach fifteen classes a week, and direct and produce two musicals each year with casts of 200+ students. Something that I love about my job is that my girls get to be at school with me. Josh and I value the Christ-filled message of the school, and believe in the partnership of school and family in raising our girls to love God. I am blessed to be in my 11th year in my dream job and am loving motherhood. Nevertheless, there are moments when it all just about kills me.
We were married in 2009, purchased our first home, and, as a "housewarming gift" two week later, we found out we were pregnant. So, I jumped into motherhood right away, at 23 years old, without any friends in the same boat.
2. What do you find most fulfilling about motherhood? the most challenging?
Motherhood has brought me both to my lowest and highest points in life! I remember when I brought my first daughter home from the hospital, I had this realization that everything as I knew my life to be was over. I soon realized that it was not about me or my desires or hopes or dreams. And, I realized that it was a "gift" in those first few months of my child's life, if I was able to take a shower and sleep for more than 3 hours at a time. (Thank goodness it got better.) My daughter, Lilah, was drinking eight ounces of breast milk once she was two weeks and older, and ate every two hours! It was crazy. I felt engorged 24/7, had bleeding nipples, and cried every time she nursed.
I didn't seek any advice because I was embarrassed, tired, and frustrated with myself. I ended up pumping every bottle for her for ten months. I would NEVER recommend this to anyone. When I wasn't pumping, I was feeding her the bottle, then doing it all over again 24 hours a day... seriously crazy stuff that took me to an extremely low point, both physically and mentally!
One of the most fulfilling aspects of motherhood is that I didn't know I would develop this unimaginable, genuine relationship and love for my children. I recognized that God had given me these gifts and that they were created for His purpose, and that He gave me the amazing job of being their mom!
Each of my children is so different and beautiful. I have a different relationship with each of them. My favorite place to be is with them, and I celebrate and cherish their differences as I walk with them through life.
3. What does motherhood look like for your right now? what do you love about where you are? what would you change?
Between balancing my duties as a wife of a firefighter who is gone for 24 hours every other day, as a teacher who works crazy hours, and mom who does it all, I have come to realize that prioritizing is a necessity.
I never want to live with regret. These precious years are flying by and I only get one shot at being there mom. Unlike jobs in the workforce, mothers are not replaceable. Only Mommy can touch can console and cuddle in just the right way, only Mommy can make a booboo better with her magic kiss, only Mommy can cut the chicken into the right size pieces. These may be small things, but to my kids, they are everything. I want my girls to want to be just like their mom and that comes by leading them through daily example. Do I want to be a mom that is always in a hurry and stressed out who maybe looks like super mom or do I want to be that mom that leads by her example of love and dedication for her family and for others?
4. How have you incorporated motherhood into your identity without losing your own individuality?
The balancing act of work and motherhood can be tricky. It helps that my girls get to be at the same school that I work at. Because I get to be their music teacher, it allows my motherhood identity and career to mesh which is the best of both worlds.
I make sure that I give myself time to take care of myself away from my girls. Sometimes it's an hour a week or maybe a night out with some of my girlfriends. This helps me to be recharged as a mom because I feel happy rather than burnt out. When we, as mothers, don't make time to recharge we end up not being the moms we all want to be, and the grouchy, tired mean momma comes out.
5. What advice would you give women who are considering/desiring motherhood?
Motherhood is the most rewarding and most challenging job I've ever had. I wish that I had known that prior to having my first daughter. I thought it was all fun and games and that this little person would just tag along through life with me. I would encourage anyone who is considering motherhood to find other moms first, watching them, listening to them. When new moms come up to me and ask me questions, I love the opportunity. No question is a bad question (whether it's about labor and delivery and postpartum to how to get my 5-year-old to eat veggies). Moms all around the world for centuries have all walked in these shoes so there are so many people ready to help educate us.