What's her secret?: 'Know that you're their inspiration'

abredeson@islandpacket.comOctober 18, 2013 

Kelly Andersen is photographed with her children Emma Grace, 7, and Jacob, 5, on Oct. 13 at the Church of the Cross overlooking the May River in Bluffton.

JAY KARR — Staff photo Buy Photo

  • REAL MOMS, REAL ADVICE

    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: Kelly Andersen

Husband: Michael

Town: Bluffton

Children: Emma Grace, 7; Jacob, 5

Occupation: First-grade teacher at Okatie Elementary School

Go-to dinner: "Salmon and green beans and risotto," Andersen said. "And that is prepared by my husband."

Biggest pet peeve: Bad manners

Hobbies: Working out, running, going to the beach and spending time with friends

Volunteer work: Andersen just moved back to the area a few months ago after spending years in New York. Before moving here, she was part of the PTO at her last school and volunteered whenever she could. She also likes to run for charity; she recently ran a race and raised $4,000 for cancer research for the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Favorite mommy moment: "I love it when my kids say, 'Mommy, I just love you,' " she said. "It stops you in your tracks. ... Sometimes, as parents, we don't give ourselves enough credit. But when you look at your children and you see how sweet they are, you know you're doing a good job."

Most challenging moment: "I've been very blessed with my children," Andersen said. "They've both gone through their phases, Jacob a lot more than Emma Grace. Jacob started walking at 7 months. ... He broke his leg before he was 1. (He had) ear infections every time I turned around. He had his adenoids out, his tonsils out. ... (It's) just making sure you're doing the best every day to meet your child's needs. When they're having a temper tantrum, it's hard to always know what the right thing to do is. And sometimes you just have to walk away and let them throw that fit because nothing is going to solve that tantrum. It's just a phase.

"Now I think my biggest challenge with Emma Grace is getting her to focus on her reading and really promote that responsibility within her, that she's responsible for her own learning and her own work."

Stress reliever: Working out, running, getting a massage, talking to her best friend

Advice for other moms: "Be positive," she said. "Keep a smile on your face and a smile on your heart. And know that every day you are creating a legacy for your children. Know that you're their inspiration. And I like the quote, 'Children are like wet paint. Whatever falls on them makes an impression.' So just be mindful that you always have those little eyes on you. Your actions speak louder than words; that's for sure. ... Those simple things in life matter -- those hugs, those kisses, those 'I love you's,' those 'I'm so proud of you's.' ... Surround yourself with good people."

Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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