Motherhood in itself can be extremely stressful an often times we find ourselves balled up in our room filling our pillow with tears due to the great deal of stress we face. From our children catching that virus that keeps us awake all night playing Florence nightingale, to PTA meetings, Homework, and after school activities we most definitely have to be light on our feet. I had the pleasure of interviewing one SUPER MOM, who’s efforts to provide, and nurture her family definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Brandi Sykes is not only a Military wife, but she’s the mother of 5 boys. YES 5!!! We all know how extremely frustrating it can be to deal with curious little boys, however she does it with such ease I was eager to know how she manages, all while staying sane.
Tarisha: What’s the most rewarding part of being a stay at home mom of 5?
Brandi: When I first stopped working in 2012, I did not see anything rewarding about being a stay at home mom. I felt like I had become a burden to my husband and was putting a lot more pressure on him. We went from a two-income home with three kids to a one income family and our fourth child on the way. However, as they got older and started school, I became extremely grateful to be a stay at home mom. The most rewarding part would have to be, being able to attend and volunteer at the boy’s school and any other activities they are involved in. I never realized how much of a factor plays into being so involved in your child’s school life. When I show up to school events or take my youngest two to mommy and me, I see how excited they get that I am there. You can hear them whispering in class, “Yes, that’s my mom she is always here when I need her”. That alone makes me feel like I am on cloud nine.
Tarisha: How do you find free time for yourself amongst the busy mom life?
Brandi: Free time is something I rarely get to have to be honest. Yes, three out of five boys are in school but that doesn’t stop the day to day activities, the prepping for future activities and preplanning for holidays. The free time I do tend to get usually involves a nap or finally reading a few pages out of the same book I have been trying to read for the last two months.
Tarisha: Being a mother of 5 boys, can it sometimes be overwhelming?
Brandi: It can be EXTREMELY overwhelming at times. Between school activities, after school activities, when the holidays roll around, birthdays, unit events, base events, while still managing the finances and the surprise stuff (unexpected school stuff), I tend to want to run and hide in a corner with a glass of wine and factory reset button. However, I feel like I am not allowed to complain about being overwhelmed because there are people out there that have it harder than I do. So, I tend to keep the overwhelming feelings to much 95% of the time until it does become too much, and I just shut down and hide in my room and let my husband take over for a bit.
Tarisha: What is your typical day/ schedule as a stay at home mom?
Brandi: I am a scheduler and during the week, my life runs on a series of alarms. My day starts at 6am Monday thru Friday. From 6am to 6:20am I am making five different breakfasts because I don’t want to hear the “oh, I don’t want that”. After that I go and lay out toothbrush’s uniforms/outfits. I get everyone’s teeth brushed everyone lotion up, hair brushed, uniforms straight, diapers changed, etc. By then, it is 7:20am and I have 10 mins to get dressed and lunches made. By 7:30am we are headed out of the house to walk to school. I do a morning power walk with one kid in the stroller and the other strapped to my front. When I get home it’s cleaning, laundry, teaching, potty training, more cleaning, prepping dinner, and prepping for the next day. Around 3:15pm I head back to the school pick up whoever doesn’t have after school and get homework and baths done. Around 5pm my husband has picked up whoever has after school, so I am redoing the same schedule with them. By 8:30pm everyone is in the bed and I need a glass of wine.
Tarisha: What advice do you have for other potential stay at home moms?
Brandi: 1. Make sure it’s something you really and truly want to do. It is not easy being at home non-stop everyday with your kids with no breaks in site. I love my kids so much that it does out weigh the wanting to go back to work sooner rather than later but they do test my patience’s and sanity often.
2. Have a schedule. It might seem boring or annoying at first to have the same routine day in and day out but, when you do your kids, especially the younger ones that aren’t in school, know what to expect. And on occasion if you are lucky, they might surprise you and go down for a nap at the same time.
3. Make time for yourself. Those few minutes of peace that are few and in between are what I need to recharge what I like to call “mom batteries”.
Brandi: I feel blessed and I am so grateful to have my husband though. Without him I honestly would not have these many kids and I for sure would not know how to manage life with five kids alone. His support helps me make it through the hard times I have when I feel like I am not contributing enough to the marriage.
One important fact in Brandi’s story was left out, she currently lives in New Orleans where her husband is currently stationed, and most of her support system resides in Virginia which means those times when she would be able to reach out for grandma backup doesn’t exist. I give her major Kudos not because she’s a mom but because she’s taken a situation that she didn’t think was ideal and turned it into something that she enjoys doing. The thrill of seeing her boys smile when shes able to attend classroom parties, school programs, and extra curricular activities is what motivates her to keep going. She’s aware she doesn’t have time to hang her head low when she feels as if she could give up. She sets the example for her boys of what a strong black woman consist of, an works tirelessly to always remain the strong nurturing force for her family. For these reasons Brandi is this weeks Luminous Bougie Black Girl.