Follow TSP on Facebook
Follow TSP on Twitter


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Smarty Mom: Leah H. Crowley

By Rachel H

Today’s Smarty Mom is a mom who not only loves to spend time with her children, but also spends a lot of time helping in the community. She is able to create a great balance between volunteer time, mom time, and family time.

Leah and her husband, Pat, have four children, Will (9), Jane (7), Helen (5), and Joe (3). They have lived in the Triad since March 2001, after moving from Charlotte. Leah is a stay-at-home mom who is currently serving as President of the Junior League of Winston-Salem. She also coaches Girls on the Run and helps to train new coaches. Leah is secretary of the Winston-Salem Associated Swim Clubs. She also delivers Meals on Wheels once or twice a month and actively participates in the Neighborhood Watch Program in her neighborhood.

If you are already exhausted reading about Leah’s volunteering schedule, get this – she completed the Great Bay Swim – 4.5 miles across the Chesapeake Bay and raised $2200 for the Central Library’s children’s room! She also recently completed the Angels Triathlon. Leah also enjoys reading, gardening, running, needlework, and hiking. Instead of Smarty Mom, we may need to call her Super Mom! Here’s Leah …

My first question is the obvious – how to you juggle all of these commitments while still making time for the family?
I let a lot go – our house is not kept looking like it is ready for a Southern Living magazine photo shoot. To organize myself, and I need it, I put everything that needs to be done/attended on my calendar. I really do not enjoy shopping, so that frees up a lot of my time to do other things. I have a very supportive husband who understands I need time out of the house and be someone other than “mom” for a bit! I also try to have a quick turnaround on anything I commit to do…the longer it sits, the higher the chance is that it won’t get done!

Out of all of your volunteer work, which one has been the most rewarding to you and why?
I started coaching Girls on the Run through my volunteer placement with Junior League. I was part of the process in bringing the program to Forsyth County with Sara Lee Center for Women’s Health, so I really wanted it to succeed. Coaching 3rd through 5th grade girls about exercising, eating healthy, making good decisions, and having positive self esteem has been especially rewarding. The message permeates, regardless if I was coaching private school girls or at the scholarship sites, that girls have a lot to be proud of and celebrate! As a lifelong runner, there has been much satisfaction for me in seeing these girls complete their first 5k. Even more satisfying is seeing Girls on the Run “graduates” at subsequent 5ks – choosing to spend their Saturday morning running out there on their own!

What has been your favorite part of serving as the Junior League President?
The best part has been getting to better understand the issues in our community and getting to know more of the dynamic women who are members. I really am inspired by all the talent, experience, and passion they bring to everything the Junior League does.

Tell us more about the Great Bay Swim and you decided to take on this endeavor! Growing up in Virginia and traveling along Route 50 to the eastern shore of Maryland several times a year to visit grandparents I was always in awe of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as it seemed so high up and went on forever! As a teenager I saw the sign from the bridge – “Great Bay Swim” and I thought “I’m going to do that some day.” I swam summer league on my neighborhood swim team so I had just enough confidence to think I could do it. After my third child, Helen, was born I had a now-or-never moment and registered for the race. To prepare, I swam 4-5 times per week and the Central Y at 5:30 a.m. for 5 months. I used my “pre-motherhood” marathon training as a guide – gradually increasing the distance each week and doing a long swim once a week until I could swim four miles continuously. The Great Bay Swim was the toughest physical and mental challenge I’ve ever done and relief was the only thing I felt when I finished. I told Pat, who waited two and a half hours for me to finish, that if I ever wanted to sign up for that one again to stop me!

What is your favorite thing to do with your children?
I love to be outside with my children. We ride bikes and go for walks either around the neighborhood, at Reynolda House, or out of town. We also enjoy working in the yard together – planting a little vegetable garden and planting flowers.

What is your favorite date night with your husband?
I am happy with an evening at home watching a t.v. show or college sports. We also enjoy dinner out and my husband is always up for a movie!

Where is your favorite place to shop for kids clothes?
We are fortunate to get a lot of hand-me-downs from generous neighbors with older children. If we have to go buy something, I prefer to go to Belk – I like the J Khaki collection because everything mixes and matches and is relatively plain (I don‘t like a lot of stuff on kids clothing!) which makes it easier for kids to dress themselves.

What is the best birthday party you have attended?
We celebrate each birthday with family, but we don’t have a party, with friends invited, every year. For example, Will is nine and he had a party at five and eight. With four children I felt like that was all I’d be doing - planning and having birthday parties – if we did that for each one every year!

What is your favorite “Mom’s Must-Have Gadget” for around the house?
I love my Joyce Chen kitchen scissors that were my grandmother’s. She said she couldn’t keep a kitchen without them, and now I know why! They are so handy for cutting open plastic packages or clipping something out of the paper. I miss them when they are not in their drawer!

What is your favorite “me-time” activity?
To enjoy breakfast and read the paper are great, but rarely done alone. I run 30-40 minutes 5 times a week and that is truly me-time where I can let me mind clear and wander and also look at houses and yards for ideas.

Favorite place to eat dinner out with the family?
We like Mi Pueblo for how fast the service is and Mario’s Pizza since my husband is a New Yorker and thinks it is the best pizza! We also like Beef O’Bradys for two reasons – there are healthy side items on the menu (like steamed broccoli and applesauce) and there is an arcade room to send the kids to so Pat and I can finish our meal in peace. We also like Mayberry’s because it is kid-friendly and, of course, has ice cream.

What is your favorite park in the Triad?
We really enjoy Graylyn and Reynolda House and Gardens. The kids love to look for turtles and see geese when we hike the trail around the property. We also love Miller Park for all the trails and the wonderful playground.

What is the funniest thing one of your children has ever said to you?
We were driving down the road and Will, who was 7 at the time, saw a clunker of a car and said, “That guy needs the Credit Doctor.” First we were astonished he knew the commercial, then we laughed, and next we instituted a “no screens rule” on school days and limited television time on the weekends too!

What has been your favorite or most helpful blog on Triad Smarty Pants thus far?
I thought Triad Smarty Pants was for new moms, so I hadn’t taken advantage of it, but now I will!

Thanks so much, Leah! We appreciate you taking the time to share a little about yourself today. If any of our readers know a mom they would like to nominate, send us an email at Check out more Smarty Moms here!


Anonymous said...

Leah and the whole Crowley family are awesome!! I truly admire how Leah can has encouraged independence in her four children -- they are all great as well. Great job, are definitely deserving of being a Triad Smarty Mom!!

-- Susan

Anonymous said...

leah is an incredible person! so happy to see her on here today!

Anonymous said...

Go Leah! Love that Crowley family. You're a great mom, wife and friend. Plus, you make me laugh out loud. We are all better for knowing you! -Karin

jennifer said...

What a perfect Smarty Mom today - she takes care of her family, herself, and other that she does not even know!


Anonymous said...

Leah is a great person who truly has jumped into life in the Triad. Glad to see her & her work acknowledged.

Post a Comment