Name: Teri Lyn Eaton
Children: daughter Jenna, 10; stepdaughter Catherine, 10
Occupation: Special education teacher's assistant at Hilton Head Island Early Childhood Center
Go-to dinner: "Mexican because my whole family likes it," Eaton said. "But, honestly, my husband is the one who cooks."
Biggest pet peeves: Lying and repetitive noises, such as tapping, clicking or snapping
Hobbies: Photography and dancing Volunteer work: Eaton said she doesn't volunteer with any particular organization, but she does try to do something kind for someone every day. Most recently, she has been photographing a family in her neighborhood who is spending their final days with a family member who is dying of cancer.
"I try to lead by example for the girls," she said. "We've been talking a lot lately about random acts of kindness. And this is kind of what we go by in our house: 'Do unto others as you would have done to you.' Living around this area, especially Hilton Head, I don't want them to take things for granted. So I always tell them, 'No one really has to help you, but thank and praise them if they do. ... If someone helps you, it is a reminder to pay it forward.'" Favorite mommy moment: "I caught my daughter once saying, 'I have the best mommy. She loves me. She understands me and helps me with everything,'" Eaton said. "I about cried. And then my stepdaughter, I overheard her saying at a practice one day ... 'Yep, that's my stepmom. She's so nice and the best stepmom ever.'"
Most challenging moment: "Being a blended family and all it entails is definitely the most challenging for my mommy world," she said. "It's the juggling, the multiple households, schedules, parenting styles and still working as a team with my spouse and my family to do what's best for our household and still trying to be fair and still put the needs of the child first."
Stress reliever: "Photography has become my stress reliever," she said. "I call it my therapy. I did photography as a business in Illinois before I moved here. When I became a single mom, it was too hard with the hours. So that's how I ended up in the special ed field. And then about two or three years after we moved here, my husband surprised me with a brand new camera because he knew it was making me happy. That gesture kind of put the balls rolling of actually doing it as a side business during breaks. And that has definitely helped me a lot, especially since I have two little girls at home who are awesome to photograph."
Advice for other moms: "Words I live by -- the serenity prayer -- 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference,'" Eaton said. "And everybody goes by this 'Live, laugh, love.' Well, I also add 'learn' because you live to the fullest, you laugh often, love a lot and learn from everything. That's what I always tell my girls and my family -- always try to learn from everything you do."
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.