Meet our Mom Life interview for this month, Amy Greensfelder, executive director of the Pro Bono Counseling Project and a mom to Georgianna, 3. Greensfelder and her family, which includes husband Robert and two pit bulls, Petunia and Frankie, live in Baltimore.
Five things you can’t live without?
Tea, running shoes, books, my group text with my college girlfriends and my SurfacePro. I was recently able to get a SurfacePro for work through a grant, and it has transformed the way I work, especially on the go. (Was I supposed to say my spouse and kid, decent housing, clean water, accessible/quality physical and mental health care and nutritious food? Because definitely those things, too!)
What’s your favorite chore?
Flipping through copies of Real Simple or reading tips from Martha Stewart, and realizing I will never be the type of person who has a favorite chore.
What would you do if you had one hour without any responsibilities?
Pour myself a glass of wine and read a book.
“I have a phenomenal group of girlfriends from college, and we check in with each other regularly about what we’re doing for self-care. We each set a weekly goal related to self-care.”
What do you love about parenting?
Watching a little person develop, and start to ask questions, form her own opinions and become her own person. My daughter is a fun travel companion. We’ve taken a number of solo trips together (a bus trip to New York City, a flight cross-country to visit her cousins, day trips around central Maryland). I love seeing her take it all in.
What do you find challenging about raising kids?
Figuring out the right balance! For example, we try to eat healthy, but my husband and I both have a sweet tooth. Apparently, that’s not a recessive condition as our daughter loves a good snowball (shout-out to our friends at Walther Gardens). We also try to balance keeping boundaries and setting limits with letting her explore, figure out her own way and test. I’m always questioning whether we are too lenient, too strict. Are we preparing her for the world that she’s going to inherit?
How are you able to maintain a social life?
Two things have been very helpful: having friends with a similar-aged kid, with whom we swap babysitting and scheduling. It helps that our friends have a standing date night, which, given that we swap childcare, has given my husband and me an excuse to have our own date nights. In terms of scheduling, I’ve realized that the social things I do most consistently happen on a regular schedule. About a year ago I started going to a monthly book club for parents that I put on my calendar and that I can bring my daughter to, which means that it will happen. I also have a weekly run with a running partner. Vague promises to “get together some time” just never materialize. But if I can put something on the calendar, it does.
“Favorite chore? Flipping through copies of Real Simple and reading tips from Martha Stewart, and realizing I will never be the type of person who has a favorite chore.”
How do you take care of your mental and physical health?
As the executive director of a nonprofit focused on mental health, I take my own mental health very seriously. I try not to check email outside of work hours and try to protect my time with my family from work intrusions. I am in supervision for my social work licensure. Having a set place that I can talk about work issues helps keep work stress from coming into my relationship with my husband and daughter. I have a phenomenal group of girlfriends from college, and we check in with each other regularly about what we’re doing for self-care. We each set a weekly goal related to self-care. Related to both mental and physical health, I run. I typically do at least one marathon a year and try to run three to five days a week. Not only does this help my physical health, it also helps my mental health.
What’s something your family loves to do together?
We have been participating in the Baltimore City Rec and Parks’ $5 5K series since its inception. These are races put on by the city, held at city parks and which only cost $5 to participate. My husband usually pushes our daughter in the jogging stroller. She’s just starting to ask to run some on her own.