What's her secret?: 'Enjoy your kids while you've got them'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJanuary 28, 2013 

The Brigstock family, from left Moxie the dog, Lexi, 11, Julie, Chaz, 6, Caleb, 4, and Mike are photographed in their back yard on Jan. 11.

JAY KARR/STAFF PHOTO

  • The moms featured in this column are not bragging about themselves. They often have no idea they are even being selected for the weekly feature until they get a phone call. Most are recommended by readers. Please send your suggestions of Lowcountry moms to features writer Amy Bredeson at abredeson@islandpacket.com.


Name: Julie Brigstock

Husband: Mike

Town: Bluffton

Children: Lexi, 11; Chaz, 6; Caleb, 4; Jayla, deceased

Occupation: Encore specialist at Marriott's SurfWatch on Hilton Head Island

Go-to dinner: Breakfast -- bacon, eggs and muffins or toast

Biggest pet peeve: She can't stand it when people say they're going to do something and don't do it, unless it's an emergency, of course.

Activities: Julie is on the board of the local Christian women's group Princess Warriors. She volunteers at Cross Schools. She and Mike lead a Bible study, and they soon will begin running the youth group at Creative Church in Hardeeville.

Favorite mommy moment: "You pour in all this stuff to your kids that you want to teach them, that you want them to learn -- to become good people," Julie said. "And you wonder if any of it is sinking in when they're not behaving or when they're having a crazy day or when you're stressed out. And then you get this God wink because they look at you one day and they go, 'You know, Mommy. You need to just say a prayer to Jesus right now. That will help you.' And you're like, ah, they heard me. So I'd say a great mommy moment is when we're all together as a family and my kids are telling me about how their day went and they're incorporating what God has done for them in that day. ... It's like, OK, I'm doing my job. It may not be good. I might've yelled at them today, or I might've gone with no patience today. But in the end, my greatest mommy moment is when my kids give glory to God and when they tell me they love me, without me saying it first."

Most challenging moment: Julie's second child, Jayla, was diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which means she had a hole in her diaphragm. The baby's stomach was in her chest cavity next to her heart. Jayla only lived 82 days and spent the entire time hooked up to life support. Julie said she wasn't allowed to hold Jayla because moving her could put her in danger. The surgeon eventually agreed to let Julie hold the baby.

"A mother's touch is better than any medicine out there," Julie said. "Babies respond to their moms. ... It is a loving, healing touch, and they know it. She always responded well to my voice or when I'd hold her hand. ... If we'd have known we could've put our foot down a little bit, I would've probably asked my surgeon a little more seriously if he could pull some strings. It wouldn't have changed the outcome, but I think it would've made her life a little better."

Stress reliever: Reading the Bible, praying and taking naps

Tips for other moms: Julie said she's pretty organized but also is flexible. "You've got to be willing to let your schedule change," she said. "If the laundry doesn't get done and the house doesn't get clean because I'm spending time with my family, it's OK. The order of things for our family is God, family, faith family, job."

The Brigstocks go to church twice a week, lead a Bible study one night a week, and Julie prays with the Princess Warriors once a week. But she said she tries to schedule activities so they don't take away from her time with her family. She works full-time but arranges her schedule so she can spend one day a week with her youngest child, who only goes to school three days a week. Mike also spends one day a week at home with Caleb.

Julie said it's also important to set aside time alone with your husband. She and Mike work together so they get some quiet time but also go on dates when they can.

"Life's too short to get wrapped up in the little things," Julie said. "Enjoy your kids while you've got them. And parent with love -- unconditional love, not fear. ... And most importantly, teach them who God is."

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