Mom to Mom with Katherine McKenzie

Mom to Mom June

Tell me about you!

Katherine: I am originally from Monroeville, a small town known as the literary capital of Alabama. I am bilingual because my mother is Costa Rican, and although I don’t have the opportunity to visit often, it is still a vital part of my identity. Some describe me as a jack of all trades since I have worked as a licensed massage therapist, cake decorator, barista, waitress, and now an academic advisor. I transferred to Auburn University in 2014, bringing my husband and me to the area. We never left.
With two full-time working parents in the home, how do you navigate your evenings with young children?

Katherine: The girls usually get home and play for a while. We have really been enjoying the warmer weather lately, so playing outside has been a popular choice. I tend to cover dinner, Brad cleans the kitchen, we both help with bath time, and then we all read books together before splitting up into separate bedrooms to sing songs, say prayers, and create elaborate bedtime stories based on the girls’ requests. We then trade off to give kisses and hugs to the other kiddo. I would love to think we are like the family from Bluey.
You have been an Academic Advisor for the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn since 2017. How has becoming a mother impacted your personal and professional life?

Katherine: I would say the impact was significant at first, but as time has passed, I have grown more confident in my roles as a mother and a professional. Things are so much smoother now, but at first, it seemed like I constantly had to call out for another case of the sniffles. Family always comes first, but that doesn’t make it easier when I have to miss out on a work commitment. I had my first daughter in 2019, so I am no stranger to the pandemic ZOOM meetings with a crying toddler on my hip. My job entails building rapport with students, and I want to do that to serve them truly. Work-life balance is no joke and is something I still strive for.

Working outside the home and having two young children can make for one tired momma. How do you practice self-care and prioritize your own needs?

Katherine: I am very fortunate to have a supportive partner who encourages me to practice self-care because otherwise, I tend not to prioritize it much. I really find that being creative allows me to unwind and feel refreshed. I love putting on my headphones and expressing myself through painting, furniture flipping, and, recently, photography. It clears my mind and brings me joy. A massage doesn’t hurt either.
How do you stay connected with your partner while being a mother?

Katherine: The evenings are ours. We might just unplug and watch “The Office” for the 7th time after the girls have gone to bed, or lately, we’ve had impromptu dinner dates where we drop the girls off with my mom, grab some food, and just talk. It helps to truly LIKE your partner. Brad and I have been together for almost 15 years, and we genuinely like being around each other.
What is the most important lesson you have learned since becoming a mother?

Katherine: I am a perpetual overthinker, so I have been learning to give myself some grace. We are all trying our best, and as long as we have pure and good intentions, as long as we keep showing up, keep trying, grow in our patience, and allow ourselves some grace, we will be the parents our children need, and they will love us just as unconditionally as we love them.
What values do you prioritize in your parenting?

Katherine: Parenting has made me slow down and reflect on what is important. I would say we try our best to build a home that prioritizes the following:

  • Manners – Please and thank yous are important around here!
  • Patience – This is something we want to instill in our girls, but also something we work on as well. They know we are humans with real emotions and hope they learn to feel comfortable with the self-regulation process.
  • Confidence – We want them to believe in themselves and know that their feelings, thoughts, and actions matter.
  • Kindness – We can only know and try and control our own feelings and actions. We don’t know what others experience, so kindness can make all the difference.
  • Perseverance – We are clear about how failure is a normal aspect of life and that learning from it is what helps us grow. Never lose heart.

Rapid Fire Questions:

  1. Morning or Night? I can’t believe I am saying this, but morning!
  2. What is your favorite word? Cake
  3. Sweet or Savory? Sweet
  4. Vacation or Staycation? Vacation
  5. Indoor activities or outdoor? Outdoors

Katherine McKenzie and her husband, Brad, have been married for 12 years. Katherine describes him as the calm to her worry. They have two daughters, Ellie (4) and Isla (2). The girls have wonderful, unique, and strong personalities. On the weekends, you can find the family at the Opelika Public Library or Town Creek Inclusive Park.

Author: Staff

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Mom to Mom with Katherine McKenzie

by Staff time to read: 3 min