What's Her Secret?: 'Expose children to as many experiences and cultures as (you) can'

abredeson@islandpacket.comMay 25, 2014 

Jayme Lopko of Hilton Head Island, center, sits with her children Jayden, 8, left, and Jake, 11, right, outside of the Coastal Discovery Museum on Hilton Head.

DELAYNA EARLEY — Delayna Earley 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: Jayme Lopko

Husband: Jason

Town: Hilton Head Island

Children: Jake, 11; Jayden, 8

Occupation: Senior planner for the Town of Hilton Head Island and member of The Hilton Head Island Sea Turtle Protection Project managed by the Coastal Discovery Museum

Favorite mommy moment: My kids are getting older so the random hugs, kisses and "I love yous" mean the world to me.

Most challenging moment: Every time I have to choose between my kids. One will have a soccer game, and the other will have a baseball game, and they just happen to be at the same time. How do I justify going to one over the other? We try to divide and conquer and have one parent at each event, but sometimes Dad works on the weekend. That only leaves Mom trying to be in two places at once.

Favorite movie: I don't know if I could pick just one. Right now, I would have to say "Frozen." The message of family love, sacrifice and learning to deal with uncertain things is presented in a way the kids understand. The music is so wonderful; both my kids know all the songs and sing along every time we watch it.

Biggest stressor: Not being on time or in control, both of which I have had to learn to deal with as a parent.

Stress relievers: Anything with the family -- a movie, playing cards, cleaning the house, doing yard work, taking a bike ride or a weekend trip. My husband and kids, while they may cause some stress, can take my mind off anything stressing me out.

During sea turtle nesting season, the turtle patrol is actually a great stress reliever. Riding the beach at 5 a.m. is peaceful, listening to the waves and nature, watching the moon go down and the sun come up, all while protecting sea turtles.

Beach must-haves or favorite beach activity: You would think living so close to the beach we would be there all the time. We just do not go to the beach as a family much. I am there all the time for turtle patrol, and I actually take the kids out to experience the nature and habitat more than I do for fun. When we do go, we bring as little as possible. The kids can have fun just playing in the water or using their hands to craft something in the sand.

What would you tell a younger you? Relax, and do not take things so seriously. Go out and have some fun.

Guilty pleasure: Pedicures and chocolate. I go every couple of months and get a pedicure. It is very relaxing, and my kids like to see what color my toenails turn out to be. I cannot say no to all things chocolate. I cannot remember the last day I have gone without having something chocolate. I think I may need a chocoholics group.

Volunteer work: I'm an assistant soccer coach and team mom for my son's soccer team. I love to be involved as much as I can with all my kids' activities. This way, I never miss a practice or game, and I always know what is going on with the team. We have a wonderful but very busy coach, who needs a little help getting things started and communicating with the parents, so I have taken on that role for him.

I'm a parent liaison/unit coordinator for Boys Scouts of America Troop 245. I was the den leader for my son when he was a Cub Scout, but now that he is a Boy Scout, where the boys lead themselves, I have taken on a new role. I coordinate the communication for the troop and make sure everyone is up to date on all happenings with the troop. I am sure this role will grow as I become more involved. This is one of the most important things to me -- to see my son involved with and enjoying Scouts. He can learn and experience things that will stay with him for life.

I'm also the troop leader for Girl Scout Troop 118. I was a Girl Scout and wanted to give my daughter the opportunity to be a Scout as well. There is a great need for adult leadership in Scouts, so in order for my daughter to be a Scout, I had to become her leader. I have been her leader for the past three years and hope to continue until she graduates high school.

Advice for other moms: Travel with your kids. We have taken ours to Vancouver, British Columbia; Alaska; Hawaii; the Caribbean; and Cozumel, Mexico, to name a few. We are also planning a trip to Ireland, Scotland and England for next year with them. We try to expose our children to as many experiences and cultures as we can. It is amazing what they learn and the different ways they see the world. It may be costly and time-consuming, but it's well worth it in the end. There will be family memories and stories to last a lifetime.

Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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