I asked Courtney’s wonderful husband, Marc, to do the honors of introducing her, this is what he had to say — and I honestly couldn’t agree more.
“Courtney will let you know if you stink. She will also be the one to drop by a cupcake on a day you need one. Both actions will be sincere and genuine. She has an incredible ability to be herself, which compels people to get to know her. She loves to laugh and make you laugh, both of which will happen often if you have the pleasure of being around her. She is a thoughtful friend, a loving mother and a beautiful wife. Your life can’t help but become more fun by getting to know her.”
How has being a mother changed your perspective on life?
Before having Cannon I thought I had a pretty good idea about what being a mother was going to be like. I had been a nanny to four children for two and a half years, taught at a preschool and graduated with a degree in Child Development. Being naive, I thought to myself, “Hey, I’m not so bad at this mothering thing.” While nannying I was organized, got the kids to their activities on time, came up with a special reward system, thought of endless activities for entertainment, knew how to discipline, cook, clean, do laundry, and other things that came along with being a nanny. I was as prepared as I could be to have a baby, or so I thought.
Although I had a deep love and interest in the children I was responsible for while being a nanny, I didn’t realize the kind of unconditional love and concern/anxiety I would have for my own child’s well-being. I also battled with the thought that everything Cannon did was a reflection of my parenting and my ability to be a good mother. Every time he hit another child, threw a tantrum, didn’t sleep all through the night, wouldn’t say thank you, wouldn’t sit still in church, and other typical child behaviors, I internalized it and thought these things were because of my failures to discipline him properly or be a good mom. I didn’t have to feel these things for the children I nannied because I wasn’t their parent.
Thankfully, four years later I have a little better understanding and perspective on what being a “good mom” actually is. I started to realize that my son wasn’t the only stubborn and defiant two year old on the planet and actually everything he was experiencing were normal behaviors. I’ve also come to realize that no matter how perfectly I discipline or try to correct difficult behaviors, my son is who he is and some of those qualities that I thought made him more difficult can actually be huge strengths in his life if I teach him how to use them properly. Being a good mom isn’t about having the perfect well-behaved child, it’s about spending quality and memorable times with your children.
To me, being a good mom is validating my son and helping him understand that he is a loved and unique and cherished individual. He is a child of God and he is loved no matter what choices he makes. I’ve learned that putting down my phone and watching him balance on one foot for the millioneth time shows him that I love him and care about him. I try my best to spend some time every day giving him one on one attention and do something with him that helps him learn and become the best person he can be.
Being a mother has changed my perspective on life by helping me see that playing chase or getting into a laughing tickle fight and making memories with my son is what matters most in this life. When he is grown up and if he can look back and remember the traditions and fun things we did together and overlook all of my many flaws and faults as a parent, I would count that as a huge parenting success.
How has struggling with infertility changed your perspective on motherhood?
Who knew there was such a thing as secondary infertility?
I was unaware of this until I experienced it myself. It was a long, confusing and frustrating time. Ironically it made me realize just how blessed and grateful I was to have the husband and son that I did already have. I did start to think dramatic thoughts and thought, “What if Cannon is the only child we ever have? What would I have done differently if I knew I was only going to be doing this one time?” These thoughts helped me be more present and aware in mine and my family’s life. I made sure I was spending quality time with Cannon and vowed to never take him or my husband for granted. I also gained a stronger testimony of my relationship with Christ. I felt his presence in my life and knew that he was aware of the monthly heartaches and letdowns my husband and I were experiencing. I never felt alone during the process and had faith that when the timing was right, we would have another child.
I am happy to announce that time finally came. We are expecting our second son this November and I still thank Heavenly Father every time I feel tiny baby kicks inside of my tummy. I believe that because of our struggle to get pregnant this time I will truly cherish and value and understand what a blessing it is to be able to have and raise children. I am grateful that Heavenly Father has given me another opportunity to love another child. I truly can’t wait to kiss and squeeze his face off!
You have an obvious love for your family, both immediate and extended, why is family so important to you? What have you learned from your family?
Family is everything. They are my support, love, entertainment, encouragement and the people I want to spend my time with. I am so glad I was raised in a family where my aunts feel more like sisters and can call my siblings and mom my best of friends. I have a deep love and appreciation for my family. We have always supported each other and lifted each other up in good and hard times. I see my family on a weekly basis and love that Cannon has such a close relationship with his cousins. Those are the kinds of relationships that last a lifetime.
You are a really funny person, how has humor and your ability to laugh at life helped or benefited you? How has it helped those around you?
Thanks for calling me funny, Tif. I used to tell my husband that being told I am funny is a way better compliment than anyone ever telling me that I’m pretty or beautiful. I love to laugh. I love a good, honest, belly-aching, cheeks-hurting-from-smiling, tears-running-down-my-face, laugh. Laughing creates memories. I feel like I can remember those times when I laughed so hard my face hurt. During those times I remember who I was with, what we were doing and it still brings a smile to my face. If you’re able to have a good, honest laugh with someone I think that proves that you are sincerely being yourself and feel comfortable with the people you are with.
I don’t take many things in life too seriously. I don’t know if that is because I’m super immature, or because I’ve realized life is so much more enjoyable when you can laugh things off. I’m not ashamed to laugh at myself and I think sarcasm and laughter can lighten the mood and make people feel comfortable. I mean come on, who doesn’t love a good laugh?? I hope that because of my sense of humor I’ve allowed people to feel more comfortable around me.
As your children grow up, what do you hope they have learned from you?
I hope that they can accept me as I am and realize that although I am not perfect at being a mother, I truly love them and tried my best. I hope that specifically that can learn to always be themselves. I hope this is something I can show them by example. I feel that I have always tried to be honest and true to myself, no matter who I am with. I am honest and open and hope that my children will always be honest and open with me and in their other relationships. I hope to teach them to love who they are, exactly who they are. I hope that they can learn to seek for validation through Heavenly Father and personal accomplishments instead of through their peers or outside sources. I want to have children that are confident and know that even though they’re not perfect they are so deeply and unconditionally loved. I also hope they can learn that family is the most important thing. I hope they will always want to have a relationship with me and their dad and feel comfortable telling us anything.
What has brought you the most joy in life?
He is my favorite thing in life, the end.
Really though, Marc brings me so much joy and happiness in my life. He is somehow able to look past all of my flaws and faults and make me feel like the most loved and cherished wife and mother there ever was. He has made me laugh since the first day I met him and continues to make me realize what a blessing he is in my life. I don’t care how cliché it is to says this, he is the definition of my best friend. Also, watching him in his role as a father only makes me love and appreciate him more.
Other things that make me happy are my son’s creative and interesting dancing skills, silly faces and the look of accomplishment he gets when he learns something new. I love any kind of baked good and take my time to enjoy every last bite. I love owning and decorating a home that I hope we are making lasting memories in. I love traditions, winning at anything, good friends and of course, a good laugh!