Weston Moms

Motherhood: All love begins and ends there. – Robert Browning

Sunny LaValle
MS, RD, LD/N

Registered Dietitian specializing in weight loss and bariatric surgery; owner of Sunshine Wellness. 

Tell me about your little boy.

I have a five-year-old son named Gabriel. He’s the light of my life. He looks just like my husband but does have my eyes and eyelashes. Don’t tell my husband.

Where were you and what were you doing when you went into labor?

I had a planned C-section and I remember the drive on the way to the hospital perfectly. I remember telling my husband the next time we would be driving on this road we would be parents. It was a surreal feeling. 

If you could write a manual for first time moms, what are the three most important things you’d include that every new mom should know in regards to having children?

1.
Always listen to your mom voice and take a breath to avoid feeling overwhelmed. 

2.
Don’t stress out if you can’t breast feed. Formula is a nutritionally balanced substitute that meets the dietary needs of your little blessing. 

3.
Learn to nap when the baby naps. It took me a while to master this, but it made my life so much easier. 

What does a perfect day off look like to you? Sitting in your robe having caviar, a bubble bath and champagne…sleeping in, reading a book…getting a massage…pizza and Netflix…what would that be?

My perfect day begins early in the morning. I like to wake up before everybody else and gather my thoughts for the day. I also enjoy having an almond milk latte while I catch up on the morning news in my cozy pajamas. After a breakfast of avocado toast with my family, my perfect day would include playing a little tennis with my husband. After handily winning the match, I would have an hour-long Swedish massage. We would all go home, invite our closest friends over for a BBQ and turn in early after reading my son a bedtime story and cuddling to end the day. 

Tell us a funny “guess what my kid did” story…

When he was two years old we bought him a little motorized truck he would love to ride. One day it was raining and I told him to come in the house. He insisted on riding his truck in the rain and he was so incredibly happy. I have the cutest video of him laughing and riding his truck in the rain. To this day, he loves to get wet in the rain (just like my late father). It makes me smile every time. 

Share a life lesson that having children has taught you. 

My phone is my lifeline. I work from it, my calendar is on it, and I make calls and text and keep up with daily events on it. I have guilty mom moments when my son is trying to talk to me but I am reading an email or typing a text. It takes a conscious effort everyday to put the technology down and appreciate the face-to-face interaction and show the people I love they have my undivided attention. 

Ivanna Vidal, MSW, LCSW

Psychotherapist

How many children do you have? Please name them, and who resembles you the most and why?

Twin 10-year-old girls, Daniela and Valentina. Although Daniela looks just like me, and Valentina on the other hand looks like her dad…I would say [she] has a more similar personality to mine. 

What does a perfect day off look like to you? Sitting in your robe having caviar, a bubble bath and champagne…sleeping in, reading a book…getting a massage…pizza and Netflix…what would that be?

After having kids I can’t say I sleep in, however I love to stay in my robe, binge watch a good Netflix series and eat guilt free.    

Did you get the baby blues? How did you deal with it? What was the best thing you did in regards to this?

Although I didn’t get the baby blues, I was very overwhelmed when my girls were born. Having twins was very tough for me at the beginning, I felt like every day was Groundhog Day. It was a never-ending cycle of feeding, burping, changing diapers, etc. I wish I would have allowed [myself] to get more help, but I believed a good mom would be able to handle it all. Boy was I wrong!!  

If you could write a manual for first time moms, what are the three most important things you’d include that every new mom should know in regards to having children? 

It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, most of us do. Ask for help when you need it. Always set aside time for yourself.

Where were you and what were you doing when you went into labor? 

Since I was pregnant with multiples I had a scheduled C-Section. It was all planned and went perfectly. I was however scared to go home with them so I stayed in the hospital the most allotted days possible. I actually had dinner there before I went home.  

What are three habits every mother should acquire?  

A few years ago I would have included hot yoga and a healthy diet. Although I still do these things I believe self-acceptance, self-compassion, and PATIENCE are far more important. 

Share a life lesson that having children has taught you.

We learn so much from our kids everyday. For me the biggest thing is to understand that they are who they are, each perfect in their own way.   

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?

Yes, the husband, he’s the yin to my yang. 

Michelle Spencer Young

Director of Private Events at Weston Hills Country Club

How many children do you have? Who resembles you the most and why? 

I have two girls – Amanda & Alexa – people say we resemble each other so I have difficulty saying which one of them resembles me the most. People actually think my girls are twins when they walk side by side even though one is a petite 5’1” and the other is a willowy 5’6”, people will do a double take and will actually ask if they are twins.

Did you get the baby blues? How did you deal with it? What was the best thing you did in regards to this? 

I did get the baby blues but didn’t realize [it] immediately for what it was, I was exhausted all the time as most new mothers are, but also very weepy with feelings of inadequacy. I specifically remember lying in bed for days at a time, with my baby tucked in next to me of course, weeping about pretty much everything – which could range from not being able to get her to nurse, or a sad news story. This happened with both girls – and ironically enough the sad news stories both involved Kennedys – with Amanda it was Jackie Kennedy’s death and with Alexa it was John John Kennedy’s tragedy, I didn’t actually make the connection until recently. The best thing I did was to recognize that I needed to take care of me – I got out [a] couple of days a week and did something for me. That could range from taking a quick hour to get my nails done or go to the gym, but it needed to be for me. Of course the minute I was out of the house I couldn’t wait to get back home to my baby.

What are three habits every mother should acquire?

1.
Mindfulness – be present in the moment. Don’t get so caught up in the mechanics of mothering that special moments get lost. So what if your toddler made a mess…the toys can get picked up later. I regret not being better at this – I was mostly focused on getting the toys picked up.

2.
Patience – be patient with yourself and your kids – it takes time to get to know each other – this is a work in progress. This is especially useful in the teenage years.

3.
Persistence – it may take a few hundred tries before you or your children get it right – enjoy the journey.

Tell us a funny “guess what my kid(s) did” story…

When Alexa was about four or five years old, we ordered sparkling water in a restaurant, the server came back [with] a kid’s cup, Alexa sent it back with the precocious explanation that she only drinks sparkling water from a stemmed glass.

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?

My village! I am extremely fortunate to have a close-knit family that offers advice and help along the way. My grandmother, my mom (now deceased), my dad, my aunties and uncles, cousins, in-laws, some of whom actually moved in with us when we first brought my girls home, to be there to help and to guide.

If you could write a manual for first time moms, what are the three most important things you’d include that every new mom should know in regards to having children? 

1.
It’s not as easy or glamorous as it looks – all the baby books, TV shows, diaper commercials make mothering look easy – IT’S NOT! You are NEVER going to be fully prepared for the physical discomfort you’ll experience after delivering a baby, the sleepless nights, the pain of baby latching on to nurse for the first time, none of it  – BUT it will get better!

2.
Ask and accept help – if someone [says] to let them know if there is anything they can do for you – TELL THEM WHAT THEY CAN DO TO HELP. It could be a quick 10-15 minutes to watch the baby as you take a shower.

3.
Take time for you – you are no good to you or your beautiful baby otherwise.

Kari Pallotto

Deputy for Broward County Sheriff’s Office

Tell me about your two boys Kari…

Kolton is 10 years and Easton is 12 years old. Kolton resembles me to a T. My mom tells me he’s my payback for how I was when I was a kid.  

What does a perfect day off look like to you? A day at the beach…going for a massage, staying home to rest…what would that be for you?

My perfect day off would be going to my favorite spa, Lapis at Fontainebleau Hotel, getting a massage, having drinks and a great dinner there at StripSteak by Michael Mina and walking upstairs to my room for a good [night’s] sleep.

Share a life lesson that having children has taught you.

Cherish life, it goes by so fast.

What do you most enjoy about being a mom?

I most enjoy the love they have back for me, even though sometimes they don’t show it—when they do it’s genuine.

Where were you and what were you doing when you went into labor?

I was at work when I went into labor the first time. Funny part: when I went into labor another coworker passed out and everyone came running thinking it was me and when they got there they saw me helping her instead of everyone helping me.

If you could write a manual for first time moms, what are the three most important things you’d include that every new mom should know in regards to having children?

Take it day by day; do not stress the small things. It is overwhelming when you are not getting sleep, if you have any help take advantage and let people help you so you can rest. Take all the advice when given to you; you never know when you will need it.

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I would like to thank my mom. She was there when both children were born and stayed at my house the first few weeks to help me with the baby and get rest. She might not realize it but it was the best thing anyone could have done.

Blanca Emsley 

Law Degree, Life Coach & Zumba®
and Toning instructor

How many children do you have? Please name them, and who resembles you the most and why?

I have two sons, the eldest is 23 and his name is Mark, my youngest is named Ben and he’s 14. With regards to who resembles me the most, I believe it’s Ben because we were both hyperactive children. Ben also is very interested in music just like me.

What does a perfect day off look like to you?  

A sunny day at the beach in which I can laugh surrounded by loved ones are the kind of days that don’t compare.

If you could write a manual for first time moms, what are the three most important things you’d include that every new mom should know in regards to having children? 

1.
Every child is different, as we recognize their individuality, we can guide them more successfully.

2.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, as our kids are growing as people, we are growing as parents. Making mistakes is part of the process.

3.
Make sure your kids are a priority in your life.

Where were you and what were you doing when you went into labor (the first time)?

It was on May 11th, 1995 when I was living in Toledo, Ohio and I can say I remember it perfectly! I rushed out of bed at 2 a.m. due to the sensation of contractions and rushed to wake up my mother and husband. They thought I was just being nervous but after asserting I wasn’t, they rushed me to the hospital. After some long 14 hours of labor, the doctor had informed me I had to have a C-section, and my first child was born at 4 p.m. on that day.

What are three habits every mother should acquire?

1.
Always listen to your children, even if you won’t like what they will say.

2.
Compliment your children with every positive thing they do, whether big or small.

3.
Spend quality time with your children, they will forget a toy, but not a happy moment with mom.

Share a life lesson that having children has taught you.

We can’t force our children to be who we want them to be, we should love them for who they are. Our support will empower them to grow into their own.

What do you most enjoy about being a mom?

It has been amazing to experience the joy of every milestone of my boys’ lives, since they were babies to the present time. Sharing these joys with them as they grow is invaluable.

Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?

I would have to thank my parents, they were a great example for me to follow. 

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