What's her secret?: 'Go easy on yourself'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJune 22, 2014 

Eileen Bertagna is photographed with her children, from left, Katie, 3, Ryan, 5, and Matthew, 7, on Friday near their home on Lady's Island.

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: Eileen Bertagna

Husband: John

Town: Beaufort

Children: Matthew, 7; Ryan, 5; Katie, 3

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom and graduate school student (getting her master's degree in early childhood education)

Volunteer work: I volunteer with the schools, and I'm a Family Readiness volunteer/Command Team adviser for MCAS Beaufort Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.

Favorite mommy moment: Morning cuddles and anytime I get to spend unhurried moments playing with the kids

Most challenging moment: I don't enjoy cooking, so making dinner, especially when someone is melting down, is always a challenge.

Go-to dinner: Whenever John is deployed, I have a set rotation of meals, and once a week we have pancakes for dinner.

Favorite movie: I have several. Some of my favorites are: "Steel Magnolias," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Terms of Endearment," "The Color Purple" and "Life is Beautiful." I suppose I like movies about strong women and parents doing anything to protect their children.

Favorite local spot: Anywhere on the water, but recently it's been The Sands in Port Royal because my oldest likes to look for shark's teeth.

Who inspires you? Linda Peters, my youngest children's teacher. She is one of the hardest working, most caring and peaceful people I know.

Best family vacation: Walt Disney World

Tips for chaos management: I take a deep breath and am mindful that my children are still learning to self-regulate and look to me for how to handle stress. I try to set a good example by demonstrating flexibility and maintaining a calm demeanor. It doesn't always work, but I do my best. And sometimes I sing what I want the children to be doing when I'm ready to snap. It lightens everyone's mood.

Advice for other moms: I don't know that I'm qualified to give other moms advice, but I guess I'd say be there. Be there physically but mentally and emotionally as well. Life is hectic, but there is nothing more important than showing your child you love them and are invested in them. We have such a small window of time to shape the foundation of their lives, and everyday moments count more than we realize. Go easy on yourself. My mother always tells me I'm too hard on myself. There are only 24 hours in a day, and I have just two hands and two feet. I often feel like I need eight arms and I should listen to my mom. She's a smart lady.

Follow reporter Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.

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