I am a full time working mom of an almost 4 year old boy. He is my miracle baby, sweet and feisty at the same time. I met my husband when I was in college and he is an incredible partner who supports my wild ideas and dreams. I am thankful to have him by my side. We celebrated 10 years of marriage last October. I love spending time with my family and friends, while exploring our new home on the east coast. I believe hearing other women’s stories is important and has helped me embrace my own, unique journey. I am thankful for the incredible people I have encountered over the years, and I truly appreciate how they have helped shape who I am today.
My biggest strength as a mom is finding opportunities to explore new places/cultures with Jackson. My hope is that Jackson learns to love our differences as much as what holds us together as humanity. I also hope he always embraces his love for adventure, nature, and bugs.
Running is the main way I recharge away from the home. You will hear a little more about that next.
The importance of Community
Before I dive into the questions below, I wanted to say that I feel honored to talk about this topic. For me, community and relationships have been key to my survival and sanity. In my opinion, community can be and should be messy. It is a place to be vulnerable. It should foster dialog along with reconciliation. Community doesn’t mean that we all agree or that we are the same. We all must come to the table from a place of honesty and trust in order to build strong communities. With everything that is going on in the world, it has never been more important for every woman and mom to embrace her journey, find her voice, and stand together.
Emily, you have made two big moves in your life. Can you describe what lead you to each move? Did anything happen at either location to give you a sense of community or did you have to seek or create it?
My journey has literally been from West to East on Hwy 50. First 18 years in California. The next 14 years in Colorado. Finally the past 2 years in Maryland. The first major move to Colorado was much easier, because it was just me and was driven by going off to college. I was also playing a college sport which gave me a built in community. A lot of growth occurred, but I didn’t necessarily have to seek out community. My husband was also born and raised in Colorado, so we had family and longtime friends that became part of my community.
Moving to Maryland…with a family…for a job…into a rental that we had two weeks to find…was very different. Not knowing anyone, meant that we would have to create community. We moved in the summer, which was positive because most people are outside doing activities. We also invested in paying for the community pool, that in turn led to meeting some amazing new people. It has been effort to push, get out and meet new people. One thing I have found in Maryland, is there are several families in similar situations who don’t have local family or longtime friends in the area. I find it can help build a strong need or sense for community. You think twice when a holiday is coming up to see if there is another family that could be missing home. It has helped me stay focused on trying to create a home that welcoming and inclusive to others, instead of focusing on what I am missing.
What do you miss about home?
I miss family the most. I also miss some of my closest friends. With each move, I have found the need to redefine past relationships, along with setting new expectations as to what those relationships look like now. I can’t expect every friendship to remain the same, but I can find new and different ways to stay connected. It doesn’t mean that I forget people, or even that I stop caring. It just means the relationship looks different. In order to move forward in a new home, I feel like you have to create this space.
How do you keep in touch with family? What works the best?
Technology. One thing I am thankful for is the ability to FaceTime. We try to set as much time aside as possible in order to connect, usually on the weekends. It might mean grabbing a few minutes during bath time. I also make random phone calls in order to try and stay in touch. With my job I am on the road quite a bit, so I do my best to take advantage of the available time to catch up. It works best to stay flexible and to remain understanding that people are busy. It isn’t personal if you can’t connect. While we don’t always have as much time as we like, we remain thankful for the time we are able to set aside and connect.
You mentioned hosting parties, being in a running club, in addition to your full time job and mothering! Is there any quiet or down time? What do you do then?
Yes, I do stay plenty busy. I am also learning to say “no” to things that aren’t priorities. I am a morning person and I enjoy my quiet time early before the house wakes up. Affirmations and devotional time is usually how I start my day. I also love to read and enjoy a good cup of coffee.
How would you describe a normal weekend at home?
Wake up, run, snuggle time (maybe some good cartoons), activity outside/within the community, grocery shop, meal prep, housework/yard work, play dates, pool time, etc. While it sounds a little crazy, the point is to do things together as a family and outside if possible. We are really trying to take advantage of living where we do, while we do. No telling where we will land with our next adventure.
What advice can you give to someone who has just made a big move, without family or friends nearby?
It takes time to build relationships and find community. Sometimes it will be an easy connection, and other times it won’t be the right fit. As lame as it sounds, it can be a lot like dating. Be patient. Find something you love to do, and then go find a group of people doing it. For me, finding a running group was a huge game changer when we moved to Maryland. Running became a common ground, and it has allowed some incredible relationships to form. Do whatever you can to get outside of your home. It might be uncomfortable, but do what you can to push yourself to meet new people. Meet up groups are great. Social media can be helpful with finding local groups as well. It will take some effort, but it is worth it in the end.
darling Jackson on the road
Thank you, Emily, what a great tale of creating your own village!