Tracy Bradsky

Tracy Bradsky
Mom of the Moment

What is the hardest part about being a mother?
For me, the hardest part about being a mother is the worry. Before I had children, I would have never guessed how much time and energy that I would expend worrying about them. You want your kids to be happy, healthy, safe, and successful. I worry about them constantly.

What is the best part of being a mother?
I love everything about being a mother. It is by far my greatest accomplishment. Cooperating in the process of creation by bringing completely new and unique human beings into the world, watching them evolve and grow, sharing unconditional love in a way that only a mother can know, and having forever friends is the most amazing thing that I can imagine!

Tell us your favorite story about one of your kids.
With nine children it is difficult to come up with only one story for just one child. I could tell a million stories of pranks they played on one another, funny mishaps, bad haircuts, camping trips, family vacations, or how much my kids loved it when I would dress them alike for photos or family outings (usually in neon so I could easily keep track of them).

However, a favorite tale involves the birth of my youngest daughter, Leonida. She was born on her due date, which was Christmas Eve. I had been crossing my fingers that she would be born either early or late so that I wouldn’t miss out on the big Bradsky Christmas Eve party or watching my kids open their presents Christmas morning. When I went into labor the morning of Christmas Eve, I resigned myself to the fact that I would, indeed, be missing out on the entire Christmas holiday. The next morning, as I bonded with the best Christmas present ever, the rest of my children showed up at the hospital with their dad dressed as Santa, carrying a bag full of gifts. I was able to watch my kids open their presents from Santa and we were able to celebrate Christmas all together. It was such a pleasant surprise and will always remain a very special memory.

What is your favorite time saver?
Delegation. With a large family and all that comes with that, it becomes vitally important that everyone helps and has a role. My kids have been, and continue to be, wonderful helpers. My oldest daughter, who now has four kids of her own, is still a huge help with carpooling and taking the younger girls when work conflicts with day-to-day parenting duties.

What is your favorite sanity saver?
My friends are my favorite sanity saver. Having a social outlet keeps me sane.

What is your philosophy on discipline?
Pick your battles and be consistent. My kids will say that I was a much stricter disciplinarian when the older ones were younger. I just pick fewer battles now. You realize with time and experience that some battles aren’t worth fighting. My main goal is for my children to be good people — even when no one is watching — and to learn that all behaviors have consequences, good or bad.

What is your favorite parenting must-have?
Patience. Something that for me, thankfully, has grown along with the size of my family.

If you knew then what you know now, what would you have done differently? When my oldest children were little I expected them to act like miniature adults. I had very high and probably unrealistic expectations. Raising kids for the past thirty years, and still having at least eight years of active parenting left, I am fortunate to have been able to implement lessons learned and make changes along the way. I am far more realistic and patient, and I have seen how fast the time goes. I have learned to savor every stage and moment of my kids’ lives.

Bradsky Family

What advice do you have for new parents?
My advice to new parents would be to do what works for you and your child, and tune out the well-meaning voices that tell you their way is better. Every child and every family is different. Different strategies work for different children, even in the same family. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Most importantly, enjoy your children and savor every moment. Allow your children to be children. They will be adults soon enough.

Name a time when you felt like a parenting genius.
I feel like we must have done something right as I watch my children grow into hardworking, successful adults, and more importantly, into kind and compassionate human beings. My mother recently moved in with me. Seeing how loving, patient, and helpful my kids are with her and with me makes me feel proud beyond measure.

I could have won the worst mother award when ...
No doubt I could have won several such awards. I think, though, the funniest bad mom award would be my reaction to my kids’ anxiety about the doctor. No trip to the pediatrician’s office ended without at least one of my children passing out — a condition that continues to plague us to this day even as my kids have become adults.

One example that stands out was a trip to the doctor with several of my kids. I had sent my oldest daughter to the car to load up the younger ones while I took care of the bill. I looked out the window to see my toddler running through the parking lot, my baby in her car seat next to the car, and my oldest lying on the ground. My reaction? Laughter. The same reaction I have had countless other times as my children were being nursed back to consciousness. I suspect, as I laughed at my child passed out on the ground, that the nurses and other parents who witnessed my reaction surely thought I should win the worst mother award. I would like to say it was a nervous laugh, but to me it was beyond humorous because it was so predictable. They come by it honestly — both their father and I suffer from the same affliction.

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