When Life Begins (and Ends): Meet Danielle

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A mother holding her son's hands.Motherhood is defined as the state of being a mother. Well, I wish it was that easy because a true definition of motherhood could take up an entire page in Webster’s Dictionary.

Being a mom is the most rewarding yet challenging job a woman will ever endure. It is the greatest gift, yet it comes with the highest level of responsibility. Looking back, I remember the exact moment my first son was born. I remember it like it was yesterday (it took place almost 12 years ago).

When my son was born, it was truly life changing. The best way to describe that moment would be to compare it to the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes in one day. Watching his big blue eyes stare into mine shifted my reality at that moment. Everything that once mattered to me was in the rearview mirror, and I wasn’t going ever to look back.

I was 27 when my son was born, and I was teaching second grade. I had been teaching for several years and always thought I would be better prepared to become a mom because I worked with 25 eight-year-olds all day. I was career driven and expected to go back to work after my son was born because I loved what I did; however, during my Grinch moment, I knew then that was not going to be the case.

While raising my son, I embraced being a stay-at-home mom. I wanted to be with him every minute. I had to cook all his food from scratch and adhere to naptime and bathtime. I was obsessed with this little human and wanted to give him everything I didn’t have and more. I was fortunate that my son loved to nap and would sleep 2 to 3 hours each day.

This allowed me to pursue a certification in nutrition and begin working with coaching clients from home. Life as a first-time mom was great until our little family was shaken by some devastating news that hit my marriage hard. Fast forward a few years, and my husband and I ended up getting a divorce.

To me, my idea of what life should be was over.

It was a rough few years. Raising a 4-year-old on my own while struggling to return to work was nothing I would wish upon anyone. It took some time to get back on my feet, but eventually, I regained my strength and began to push forward.

Since then, I have remarried and have two more boys, 4 and 1 (neither marathon nap like my first). Each of them is truly unique. While my oldest is almost 12, he’s still quiet and reserved, my middle son is wild and carefree, and our baby is the perfect mix of both. Raising them has left me exhausted many days but equally grateful for what value they bring to my life daily.

Divorce tends to change the family dynamic, and having a blended family on both sides has posed some challenges over the years (especially in the beginning). Still, overall we have all adjusted and adapted.

Having two more kids while living through the pandemic showed me that returning to the classroom wasn’t for me anymore. After exploring my passions, I decided to make a career change and stepped into the real estate world. I have been able to find a balance between a home and a career as a real estate agent. I also enjoy working with a select few clients on nutrition and wellness.

I can still mom to the best of my ability while doing what I love. Although I am not perfect and certainly don’t have it all together, I can confidently say that being a mom is incredible, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. When those tough days come, I need to remind myself a little more than others.

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