Name: Lauren Brooks
Children: Britton, 9; Braiden, 8; Benjamin, 5
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Occupation: Operations administrator for Palmetto Coastal Landscaping and Hardscapes and graphic design student
Go-to dinner: Hawaiian meatballs
Biggest pet peeve: Dishonest people. "Exaggerating is one thing," she said. "I appreciate a good exaggerator. But lying is something totally different."
Hobbies: Refurbishing old furniture
Volunteer work: Brooks said she doesn't volunteer with any official organizations, but she makes it her mission to reach out to as many people as possible. She recently helped a neighbor with cancer cross off some items on his bucket list.
Favorite mommy moment: "All of them," she said. "My kids and I try our hardest to have a little Bible study during dinner at night, and it always ends up being 15 million times longer than we ever anticipated. And sometimes I lose them. Sometimes they're not interested, but that's OK. Mostly they are, and they end up teaching me more than I teach them by far."
Most challenging moment: "The daily struggle of trying to maintain an extremely fast-pased work environment and then coming home to three kids and ending the night with an extremely hard class," she said. "I need a nap. If I look tired, it's because I am."
Stress reliever: Brooks uses her artistic talents to make a little extra money with some freelance work. She addresses wedding invitations, designs chalk menu boards for restaurants and more. "It is so therapeutic because I get to do something artistic that's not on the computer," she said. "And my kids are so respectful to leave me alone, so I get alone time. So I relax by working more."
Advice for other moms: "Listen to your kids," she said. "Hear them out. It doesn't mean they're right. And discipline. Please discipline your kids. I think the only reason my kids allow me to work full-time and go to school full-time and to have this little freelance business is because they respect me. And they know that there's discipline coming down the pipe if Mom doesn't get this stuff done. And I hear them. So if I hear that they're getting worn out because I'm not giving them enough time or whatever, I make sure I stop. I'll stop in the middle of anything to make sure their needs are met. Because as much as I have going on, they are first -- no matter what."
Follow Amy Coyne Bredeson at twitter.com/IPBG_Amy.