Meet Maria Barnes, our hilarious parent for February's Parent Profile, and her beautiful family! Maria was nominated by fellow Itzy Ritzy newsletter member Jillian. Jillian says "Maria handles motherhood unlike no one else I have ever met and is really an inspiration to me by continually laughing through her day with four children!"
Name: Maria Barnes
Occupation: Stay at home mom of 4. When I finish my training here, I will be qualified for a job as a taxi driver, cook, housekeeper, tutor, accountant, hostage negotiator, or peacekeeper with the United Nations.
Maria's children and what they're into:
Quentin, age 14 years: Involved in wrestling and track. He never leaves home without his iPod. We both have a love of music and spend a lot of time talking about new bands and songs. Single-handedly making Verizon rethink their unlimited texting plan. The hero of his younger siblings, he is wonderful with them. He has a great sense of humor, very quick-witted: to be with him is to be laughing.
Aidan, age 5 years: Plays soccer (go Little Sting!) and takes gymnastics. He has the most amazing smile: his whole face gets involved. He is very sweet, sensitive and kind. He loves to build with Tinker Toys and Legos, has a need to know how everything works and questions everything. He eats blocks of brie like they're apples, just like his dad. He snores like a jackhammer, again, just like his dad.
Wyatt, age 3 years: Loves to color and do art projects. He has his own catch phrase, "That's what I do" (closely related to "That's how I roll" in the urban dictionary). Tells me the food I cook "makes his eyeballs burn". Sometimes he sleeps inside his pillowcase with only his feet hanging out and sleeps with a picture of himself. He almost never wakes up in the same clothes he falls asleep in: he re-dresses in the middle of the night, sometimes putting on 3 or 4 shirts. He is funny without trying.
Tatum, age 2 years: Just started taking gymnastics. She loves her baby dolls, purses, and anything "Fancy Nancy". A great mix of sweet and tough, she's a perfect little sister to three older brothers. Her brothers don't let her act like a princess, which I think is great. She has a great, deep laugh. She brings a great energy to our family. I couldn't have picked a more perfect daughter.
Fort Thomas, KY
Other cities where Maria has lived:
Walton, KY; Chicago, IL and Naperville, IL
Maria's favorite Itzy Ritzy fabrics:
Central Park West, Rocket Man and Perfect Princess
Maria's one piece of advice for someone about to become a first time parent:
Even on the toughest of days, try to find the humor in parenthood. Don't be afraid to make mistakes and laugh at yourself. Tell people about your mistakes, because we want to laugh too.
Also, under no circumstances do you let your kids in on any secrets you don't want friends, family, teachers, and strangers to know. It brings toddlers great joy to hear people laugh at their parents. If you forget this rule, refer back to my advice on learning to laugh at yourself.
Maria's go-to quick and easy meal for her kids:
Chicken and cheese quesadilla with salsa on the side and fresh fruit.
Maria's parenting trick:
Let the little stuff go, pick your battles. Find a good balance of friend and parent with each of your children. Be willing to adjust your approach to parenting based on your child's individual needs.
Let your kids play with rolls of tape, sometimes they'll tape their mouths shut without you even needing to ask.
Quentin's advice: When you're upset with one child, don't take it out on the others. Be consistent in your parenting.
Maria's favorite guilty pleasure magazine and TV show:
US Magazine (although I call it U.S. Magazine so it sounds like I'm reading important, hard-hitting news and not celebrity gossip).
"Keeping up with the Kardashians", "The Hills", "The Real Desperate Housewives", "Giuliana & Bill"
The one fashion item Maria cannot live without:
I would say the one fashion accessory I can't live without is jewelry. It's amazing how just throwing a necklace, cute bracelet or earrings on can make you feel so much more pulled together. My husband would say the one accessory I couldn't live without is a Starbuck's Carmel Frappuccino in my hand.
If Maria could go anywhere tomorrow on an all expense paid vacation, where would she go and with whom?
I would love to go to sit on a beach with no one around but my husband for a few days. We haven't been on a real vacation in 6 years, so it's long overdue. It'd be great to miss our kids while sipping margaritas.
Anything else we should know about Maria:
1. After dating my husband for 6 months, he told me how much he loved my blue eyes.
2. I don't have blue eyes.
3. I have a Starbucks addiction. I've been put on a budget, but am currently researching things I can sell (kidney, anyone?) to support my addiction.
4. I like doing push-ups so much; my whole body shakes when I do them.
5. I do not enjoy exercising. I have a gym membership, but can't seem to make it past the delicious café in their lobby. They also have a spa in the lobby. It's like they don't want me to work out.
6. Growing up in Kentucky, I had a pet pig named Lenetta who would watch T.V. with us. When she got fat, we ate her. It's one of the most vivid, scarring memories of my childhood. Helpful tip to parents: Don't make your kids eat their pets.
Thank you, Maria for your great advice and for making us laugh!