My Life’s Journey, an Interview with Shannon Kuharik
I am an almost 40 year old mom with 2 children. My 10-year-old son has Charcot-Marie-Tooth (falls under the umbrella of MDA (Muscular Dystrophy Association)) and ADHD. I have a 7-year-old daughter with a learning difference and have been married for almost 13 years to a great man. I am working on a novel, while going to school for my associates degree for ultrasound, and working. I love being green, and giving back to the community is a big part of our lives. I have considered home schooling many times with my kids but I have not had the confidence in myself to take the plunge. I think everyone should love things less, themselves more, and have the confidence to let their light shine.
What is it like to be a very busy mom (going back to college, writing a novel, being a mom) while raising your children?
It’s difficult some days. When I decided to go back to college after 20 years I did not realize how much work would be involved. There is so much I had to learn, such as giving up control, time management, and asking for help. But it is very fulfilling, and I love my life. Plus with college, kids and taking care of a house and working, I really had to prioritize. I get up 30 minutes early every morning just so I can work on my novel because that is what I love to do so I give it a high priority.
Do you have advice for other moms who are thinking about “doing it all?”
DON’T! There is no way to do it all and I certainly don’t. I have help and support from my kids, husband, mom, step dad, dad and step mom as well as friends. They are the only reason I can do what I am doing. I actually just wrote a blog post about being super mom and how I had to give up that idea and ask for help. You also need to have A LOT of patience and sense of humor.
Having a child with ADHD can be very difficult. Do you have any tips for moms who also have children with ADHD?
Yes, it can be very hard. Kids with ADHD have so much to offer but it tends to be overshadowed by their impulsiveness, lack of attention, and hyperactivity, which frustrates parents. You need to focus on the positive with ADHD kids, not the negative. Positive reinforcement worked wonders for us along with other things we have tried. So my advice would be to keep trying and keep researching the internet. You know your child. We have tried so many things with my son. Diet changes, yoga, behavioral therapy, meditation.
I also highly recommend going to a behavioral therapist that specializes is dealing with kids with ADHD. They can help give the kids tools that they can use to manage ADHD into adulthood. If you do go make sure you ask for references and check credentials. Do not be afraid to shop around if you find someone you do not like.
Your site features a lot of Simple ideas. Tell us more about the Simple Kids Fun, Simple Cleaning Recipes, and Simple Condiment Recipes sections of your site. What is your favorite idea from each section?
I am a big proponent of living simple. I think that when you shift the focus off of all the things you could or want to buy to what is really important such as family and friends, it liberates you. So, I created simple recipes and kids’ fun that are green, easy to make so the impact to the environment is minimal, and frugal. I plan on adding more as time allows. I love the home made bubbles from Simple Kids fun. We go through tons of this recipe every summer and sometimes the kids use it to clean my car J. My favorite recipe from simple cleaning has got to be the microwave cleaner. No matter how caked on stuff is, that gets it off and it smells wonderful! My favorite condiment recipe is for home made ketchup, because it uses agave instead of sugar. My family tries to watch sugar intake and regular ketchup is mostly sugar.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop and why?
I love to shop the mall at the end-of-the-season clearance. I am amazed at the deals you can get when it goes for 75% off! Macy’s and JCPenney are some great stores to shop during their end-of-season clearance sales. I also love Target because they just have great stuff.
What are some of your favorite brands and products?
Hmm, I do not really have any favorite brands. I love organic products and do try to buy those when I can.
What are your top 5 tips for all moms?
1) Laugh everyday
2) Hug your kids as much as you can
3) Walk away when you get too frustrated.
4) Do not be afraid to ask for help
5) Do not get so wrapped up in the day to day that you forget to live your life and enjoy it!