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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Smarty Mom: Beth Malone

By Katie M

I'm so excited to introduce you to someone who I think is a super smarty: Beth Malone. I have known Beth from church, and her youngest daughter and my daughter shared the same preschool class last year as well as the exact same birthday. Beth and her husband, John, attend the same "kid-friendly" mass at St. Leo's as we do - and every week they arrive with their three gorgeous daughters (Meghan, 10, Sarah, 8, and Caroline, 5) who are always dressed to the nines - and are always so well behaved in church (unlike my own).

Beth and John, who have lived in the Triad for 16 years, share very busy lives to say the least. In addition to them both having careers (Beth works part-time as a contract trainer and technical writer) and raising three young daughters, their oldest daughter, Meghan, has Down Syndrome along with moderate to severe hearing impairment. Yet, while their life with Meghan has many challenges, Beth says she wouldn't change one thing. "I am reminded daily that I am not in control and that God’s plans are far better than mine because He doesn’t make mistakes."

They are a beautiful family - both inside and out - and I am thrilled for you to get to know Beth a little more here on Triad Smarty Pants.

While you mention that you and your family have special challenges, what have been some of your greatest rewards?
Our life is very different from most families we know. We must carefully plan the simplest outings around Meghan and her needs. From the beginning, we had to make decisions about schools and activities that separated us from the schools and activities of our friends’ children. That was very hard at the time, but I can now see how God has used it to help us forge different paths for our other daughters and that has been a great lesson. While all of my girls have been great blessings, Meghan’s presence in my life has been extraordinary, and it is difficult to articulate all that she has taught me.

You also mention another challenge in your life and that is managing an unpredictable schedule with your part-time career. What smarty tips can you share with other moms in your position?
I cook ahead on busy work weeks so that I can focus on my girls and any homework or troubles they need to unload. I spend the days I am not working housekeeping, running errands and working ahead to keep the home life running smoothly. My final rule is to limit my kids after-school activities. Too much after-school stresses everyone out. I also bring in a cleaning service if house work gets out of control. I am a much nicer mommy when I am not overwhelmed by my dirty house.

Great tips and insights! Ok, now on to some lighter topics...

Favorite places to get good deals on kids clothes?
I am an online shopper; so I wait for the clearance emails especially for Land’s End and Hanna Anderson.

Favorite places to splurge on kids clothes?
Chez Ami and Mini Boden.

What is your favorite family activity?
We love swimming and going to WFU sporting events.

Favorite “mommy-time” activity?
Reading to my girls.

Favorite "me" time activity?
I look forward to having hobbies again. I see it in the future. Right now I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I have a chance to read for 30 minutes uninterrupted.

Best place to eat lunch and/or dinner with the kids?
On a picnic blanket outside on a beautiful day.

Favorite date place?
My back porch.

Funniest thing your kid(s) has ever said?
This year my five-year-old daughter asked to take Taekwondo by sharing, “I want to break boards with my body parts.”

Favorite park in the Triad?
While my kids have pretty much outgrown parks, we spent a lot of time at Messiah Moravian Church’s playground in Winston-Salem. It is fenced-in and very shady.

Mini-van or SUV?

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
It has the arts and educational opportunities of a much larger city with the quaintness of a smaller community.

Best kept secret in the Triad?
Salem Montessori School. While it has grown in popularity over the years, I am still amazed by the number of people I encounter who are not aware of its existence. It provided my younger daughters with a fabulous educational and spiritual foundation before they started elementary school. They still talk about their experiences there with great fondness.

Best mom secret YOUR mom has shared with you?
Don’t worry about keeping an immaculate home. Enjoy your children and you will find the people you enjoy having over most don’t care.

Best birthday party you have attended?
Last year my youngest daughter attended a small party (maybe six little girls) where they made some very special Valentine crafts in addition to the typical birthday cake and presents. The crafts were simple yet meaningful and my daughter has such a sweet memory of that party. I have never heard her discuss another.

Best book you’ve ever read?
Recently, the best book I have read is Finding Life by James Graham.

What’s your favorite thing about Triad Smarty Pants?
It is a fabulous one-stop resource for moms looking for great information of every sort.

I could not live without my... Quiet time. Every morning I take an hour drink my coffee, read my devotional, pray, and then mentally and spiritually prepare for whatever the day may bring.

I wish someone had told me sooner about... The importance of saying “No.” Just because someone needs help doing something incredibly important or meaningful doesn’t that you are the person called to do that particular task.

What a great interview, Beth. Thanks for being a Smarty Mom today (and always), and for sharing all the wonderful things about your family. I hope to see you all at church tomorrow :)

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for your tip on Salem Montessori. I definitely want to look into that school now after reading about it here. Nice profile!

Cara said...

You have a beautiful family. Your profile was a great one today.

Heather said...

Which mass is "kid friendly" to St. Leo's?

Katie M said...

Hi Heather,
I consider the 10:30 am mass on Sunday in the lower level BBPC room, to be the "kid-friendly" mass. There is also one at 9 am but we can't ever seem to make that one. Both of those masses have available day care and Children's Liturgy classes for ages 4-7ish. Welcome to St. Leo's!

Anonymous said...

Great write-up, Beth! Enjoyed reading this.

Kate H said...

Hi Beth! Kate H from WFU . . .so neat to learn about you in this manor. I already held high regards for your work as a trainer . . .but now am even more amazed! Could you mentor me :)?

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