Being Mama: Kimberly Chandler

For journalist and philanthropist Kimberly Chandler, falling pregnant just after her honeymoon with husband, Phoenix Suns center Tyson Chandler, wasn’t exactly part of the plan. But three beautiful children later, the happy mama says motherhood is “everything” to her.

“I found out I was pregnant about a month or so after I was home from my honeymoon. I was in complete and utter shock. Only a year before, I had graduated from college and was planning to dive head first into a career as a journalist. I was 23, and my husband was 22. We were like, ‘What do we do now?!”

“I have four siblings and I remember my mom telling me that she slept a lot in high school to prepare her for motherhood.  Once she became a mom, sleep went completely out of the window. During pregnancy, I heeded her advice and slept as much as I possibly could. I lay on the couch and watched a lot of Lifetime movies. I drank Snapple Ice Tea, ate beef jerky and enjoyed doing absolutely nothing because it was allowed. I also got a lot of massages – being pregnant by someone who is 7’1” is very uncomfortable.”

“All of my pregnancies were quite different. With my first child, Sacha-Marie, I had to go on bed rest and I was ill for most of the pregnancy.  With Tyson II and Sayge Jozzelle, I stayed pretty active throughout the pregnancies, which allowed me to be more comfortable in my pregnant skin. It was a much more pleasant experience. With all three pregnancies I had a condition known as ptyalism or sialorrhea, which is excessive salivation. This meant that I walked around with a ‘spit cup’ for nine months. It made for interesting conversation.”

“Prior to having children, my husband and I decided that I would stay home with our babies because his job required him to travel. It was an easy decision as I grew up with a stay-at-home mom and I wanted my children to have that same experience. It was definitely an adjustment for the entire family, including me, once all the children entered school and I began to pursue my career. Life felt a bit chaotic as I adjusted to trying to be in three different places at one time. I attempted the impossible task of being 100 percent available to my husband, children and to outside expectations and to my deadlines.  It took me quite a long time to realize that something had to give. Now I understand you can’t be everywhere at once. You have to prioritize and be content in the understanding that you are making the best decisions for your family, yourself and your aspirations.”

“As a parent I am very big on discipline, manners and order. I believe children thrive on structure and correction, especially when they see that it comes from a place of love and care. When my babies were younger the main focus was to nurture and love them. I am now molding them into the people I want them to be as I nurture and love on them. I don’t take the job of raising respectful, intelligent and well-rounded human beings lightly. It will be the hardest yet most fulfilling and rewarding job I will ever have.”

“I’m still always surprised at how exhausting it is to be a mother. I didn’t realize the saying, “No days off,” was so literal. I find my ‘me’ time in the solace of a quiet hotel room when I have to travel, when I only have to wipe my own behind (!) and in the mental escape of a good book in the midst of a busy day.”

“The best parenting advice I’ve received is to stay and live in each and every moment with your children because they are adults in the blink of an eye. And as my children have gotten older they have taught me that they are true reflection of me. Who they are is a reflection of my character. How they love is a reflection of the affection I give them and who they will become is a reflection of how I rear them. The accolades and career milestones will never compare to what I hope to be my greatest accomplishment: My children!”

Kimberly’s advice for families who travel

“Organization is the key to an easy travel experience.  I am always sure to have a bag packed with all the essential items and snacks my kids enjoy along with sources of entertainment such as iPads, books and art supplies. I keep items stocked at home so I don’t have to make a last-minute trip to the store prior to traveling. It will only add to the stress associated to traveling with children!”

Kimberly’s must-have pregnancy items

  1. Mothers Special Blend Skin Toning Oil
  2. Ginger tea to combat morning (or, as I like to call it, all day sickness)
  3. A great body pillow

Kimberly’s must-have items for new moms

  1. A breast pump so you can get a break from those middle-of-the-night feedings
  2. A co-sleeper to allow your baby safely to sleep nearby
  3. A Boppy Feeding Pillow to support the baby and your back as you nurse
  4. Baby Trend Snap N Go Car Seat Carrier Stroller for moms who travel a lot. It has a huge basket and is super-easy to manage
  5. Anything from the Pump Station & Nurtury. It’s a resource center that offers services such as breast-feeding support, parent education and array of unique and essential items.

Kimberly’s favorite kids’ clothing brands

“I love Stella McCartney Kids for my children’s staple pieces. I usually by their clothing a size larger than what they need – they get longer wear out of the items. I also like Zara Kids. My absolute favorite children’s clothing labels are based out of Australia. Cotton On Kids and Bardot Kids are two that I frequent the most. The Aussies have a great sense of style and it translates into their children’s apparel. The clothing is absolutely adorable.”

Follow Kimberly on Twitter at @KimJChandler and Instagram on @KimberlyJChandler