What's her secret?: 'Give your children jobs and be patient with them'

abredeson@islandpacket.comJune 29, 2014 

Audrey Olmstead Kaney and her daughter Kensley, 5, both of Bluffton, at DuBois Park in Bluffton.

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  • 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: Audrey Olmstead Kaney

Town: Bluffton

Children: Kensley, 5

Occupation: Fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Red Cedar Elementary School

Favorite mommy moment: Snuggling! We start and end each day with snuggles. I wake up earlier than Kensley so that I can be completely ready for work before she even wakes up so that there is time to snuggle. There have been times it didn't always work as I planned, and I have been late for work because I was snuggling, but that's OK because snuggling trumps all. We end each day by snuggling. We read bedtime stories, do two bedtime math problems (it's the teacher in me) and talk about our day. Even though she is only five, we have had many meaningful discussions during snuggle time.

Most challenging moment: I am a tomboy raising a girly girl. I grew up playing sports, playing with Legos and digging in the dirt. Kensley is the complete opposite. She loves dress-up, princesses, dancing, styling hair, playing with dolls and wearing dresses. She likes to play sports and dig in the dirt, too, but it's often done in fairy wings. This is a learning process for me. I didn't know which went on first -- the tights or the leotard. Now I do. I didn't know how to do a bun, but I'm slowly getting there. I can't French braid, which stinks because she really wants to look like Elsa and Anna from "Frozen." One day, she even wanted to play "modeling." I had no idea how to play that. So we watched some instructional YouTube videos and set up our catwalk in the hallway. It's a challenge for sure, but one I am quite enjoying.

Favorite books: We love books. I can't just list one favorite. Kensley loves some of the books that my mom used to read to me: "But No Elephants," "Those Terrible Toy-Breakers," "Dirty Feet" and the Sweet Pickles series. I like to read her "Tikki Tikki Tembo," because it's fun to say his great big long name. I also love "I Love You, Stinky Face" because the mom in the book loves the child no matter what. I am looking forward to sharing chapter books with her when she gets older. "Where the Red Fern Grows" will always be a favorite, but a couple of years ago I read "Wonder." It's a story with a great message about being kind.

Beach must-have: The Wonder Wheeler Beach Cart. Once you are past the stroller stage, which you used to pile everything on, you definitely need this to get all your must-haves to the beach.

Embarrassing mom moment: I am not easily embarrassed so nothing has been too embarrassing, but she has a camel stuffed animal with one hump, which she named Hump. She used to run with it yelling, "Hump the camel! Hump the camel!" It tends to be a bit embarrassing in the grocery store.

Guilty pleasure: Moose Tracks ice cream

Biggest pet peeve: It really bothers me to go to a restaurant and see kids and parents on devices, such as phones or iPads, instead of having conversations and enjoying each other's company.

Phrase you can't believe that you use with your children: "Because I said so." I never thought I would use that. I always thought I would give the explanation or reason as to why my child can't do something or needs to do something, but I have learned that sometimes "Because I said so" is enough of a reason.

Advice for other moms: Give your children jobs and be patient with them in learning to do those jobs. Yes, the beds won't be made as neatly as you would like. The dishwasher won't be unloaded as quickly. Laundry won't be folded as neatly. The dog food will end up all over the floor, and a lot will get dropped when the table is being cleared. But not only will your children learn responsibility, they will also feel a great sense of pride knowing that they help contribute to the family.

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

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