Hi friends! Today in the Celebration Series we're chatting with Sarah Simmons! Sarah is a mama to two of the most amazing little girls, a nurse, a fellow doctor's wife, and one of my very best friends from our medical school years in Charlottesville, Virginia. When her responses to my interview questions landed in my inbox the other week, I both laughed and cried while reading them. I laughed because, as you're about to find out, she's one of the most hysterical people that I know. And I cried because of her beautiful and honest descriptions about motherhood. And also because I miss her terribly.
Watching Sarah become a mother during medical school was such an incredible privilege for me and, quite honestly, she was the first person that made me actually look forward to becoming a mother myself one day. Sarah is vibrant, hilarious, brave, adventurous, honest, authentic, and never afraid to say what's on her mind. I so admire the way that she and Calvin have raised their girls and balanced their parenting responsibilities with their faith, marriage, careers, friendships and love of adventure. I'm so grateful for how Sarah has paved the way forward for me and I'm looking forward to sharing some of her wisdom with y'all today. So let's get into the interview! :)
Give us a quick background on who you are and how you got to where you are today.
I'm a basket case. A stay at home mom with an out of home job. A lover of fireworks but a hater of loud sudden noises, I shriek the whole way through the shows. An outdoor enthusiast who HATES bugs and dirt... and body odor. A big competitor who can't stand watching sports. With the exception of the Super Bowl because FOOD but I hate the NFL. A nurse who hates the thought of death and disease but is around it all the time. (this is the real reason I am afraid of old people or being old). A Christian who does a lot of un-Christian things, how many times have I used the word hate already?? An opinionated person who tries her hardest to act that she doesn't care, but I DO I ALWAYS CARE. And a wife who more often than not functions as a single parent due to my husbands rigorous schedule.
I guess I got to where I am today by not dying earlier... I wish I had an epic story of breaking through and finding my life's path but I really just made small choices everyday and kept on living until I got here. I'm not the astronaut or Dolphin trainer I set out to be in 2nd grade, but I am happy and I think that's really the goal, yes?
What about being a mother brings you the most joy and fulfillment?
Everything, everything about being a mom brings me happiness. I am not putting a rosy lens on things either, I really think every stinking thing about being a mom lends to my joy and fulfillment. Sure changing diapers and forcing kids to eat their veggies... who am I kidding chicken nuggets, is not fun but its part of the whole process. And its a process that gives me purpose i.e. joy and fulfillment.
Let me explain. Being a mom is really hard, frustrating, aggravating, tiring, messy, annoying, and thankless sometimes but the work and the struggle is the root of my happiness. There was a brief time before kids, when my husband had just started med school and was busy all the time. I had not yet started my career as a nurse and we were living in a new state so I didn't have any relationships yet. So I basically had complete freedom with my schedule and no responsibility. I would like to say it was the best time of my life and I partied all night and slept all day but it wasn't. I was bored, stagnant, I only had myself to worry about so my thoughts and heart were turned inward. It was.. not miserable but not good, it was just a nothing time in my life. Yes if you want to be unhappy think only of yourself. It's easy to see that the happiest people are constantly and unconsciously putting other people first. But putting other people first is a difficult thing for me and doing it automatically, without thinking — impossible!! It's unnatural, what's our survival instinct for?!? But that is why being a mother is so amazing and such a blessing — almost overnight you go from focusing on yourself to automatically and unconsciously focusing on a little wrinkly, red, bawling, poop machine. All of a sudden you'd do anything for this little stranger, you'd give up sleep, food, romance, money, social life etc... And you only just met. It truly is amazing.
So I guess just the act of being a mother, working, worrying, caring, consoling, loving someone other than myself is what makes life joyful and fulfilling. Sorry if that's a really general answer.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Oh dear, can I be super lame and say my kids? But not for the reasons you would think, they are by no means awe-inspiring individuals, they haven't done anything special with their lives, really they are nothing but free loaders! Technically they are making my life harder by spending my money, sucking away my youth, and giving very little back. And what they do give back is usually in the form of a kiss, hug, or song, nothing with market value. But that's just the thing, I love them more then anything even if all I ever get back from them is a kiss, even if I don't get that I suspect I would still love them. And it's this relationship that inspires me. It's a tiny tiny glimpse into our Heavenly Father's love for us. God does everything for us, and all we can give back (if we do give anything back) is our love because everything else is really His already. And He loves ALL His children. He loves the 'bum' who can't seem to take care of himself, the rude person who cut you off, the ignorant, the mean, the people who simply look different from me. He loves all His free-loading children and if I could just remember that then maybe I would be a proper Christian but I only seem to really remember that when I'm looking at my babies. Which is why they inspire me.
What has been difficult lately?
This is a hard question because I really can't complain about anything. I truly have an easy life, and writing that probably makes me sound like poo. Like the people on your facebook account who only post pictures about their beautiful house, which vacation they are on now, and how much weight they have lost. Dad-gum-it I know you get zits like the rest of us!! But really my life is easy, which in a way kind of makes me feel guilty when I see all the struggling for equality that is currently happening in our country. I feel like I have been so blind to so many people's battle against injustice. I have never been gay, black, Muslim, etc. I have never been a refugee like so many of my patients. I have never been disliked for something I couldn't control. I am a woman so I have that going for me, equal pay for equal work grrr!! Ok just kidding even that I have had no issues with because I'm a nurse and most nurses are female. Shoot if you are a male nurse you have to get along with a lot of alpha females and reposition a lot of heavy patients, you probably should be getting paid more...
So nothing has been difficult in my life lately per se, but the world does get me down if I spend too much time dwelling on all the problems, there is just so much that needs to be fixed :(
What makes you different from everyone else in the world and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?
WHA?!?! How am I supposed to answer this? Everyone else in the world, Linds? I would have to know everyone else in the world to be able to answer this. Which would be awesome, but is also impossible. So I will answer this question: "What makes you different from everyone else in this room and how does that uniqueness manifest itself in your work and life?" — much easier
As I am alone in this room I can really say whatever I want. I am cheeky, and sarcastic, but all of that is just to hide an abundance of positivity and naivety. I'm the type of person who thinks everything is going to be fine, and sometimes its kind of obvious to everyone else that it isn't. This is a good thing in the hospital because I don't get stressed, and I have a demeanor that helps my patients also feel like everything is going to be fine. Mind you I don't EVER tell them that, I learned my lesson about being over-positive with patients when I told a new mother that her baby is going to be fine because the kid looked great! His vitals were solid, he was eating, his fever had gone down. But sure enough the labs came back and he had meningitis and he nearly died. Thankfully they left the hospital together a month later, but I have always felt so terrible for giving her (the mom) that initial false hope.
Still I think the hospital, of all places, is a good place to be inwardly positive and outwardly calm. I think I would otherwise be depressed about my job because there is some dang sad stuff that trundles through the doors of the pediatric unit. Watching a child die is NOT the worst part, watching the parents watch a child die IS the worst part. And sometimes I cry because how can you not, but when tragedy strikes I really need and use my mantra of "everything will be fine." Not immediately, and maybe not in this life, but eventually when all of this makes sense and we finally understand the big picture everything will be fine. Better than fine.
So I'd say my positive inner fluff combined with my sarcastic crust makes me unique of all the other people in this empty room :)
What's the most embarrassing thing in your google search history?
That Google thinks I don't exist. Ouch Googs
What's your spirit animal?
Platypus- am I the offspring of a beaver who mated with a duck?!?! What happened to my genetic code, why do I lay eggs but then nurse my young from milk that seeps through my pores and pools on my abdomen — is that really the easiest way to do things? coolest freak show ever right?
What's your Meyers-Briggs personality type?
What is this Meyers-Briggs, sounds like an ice cream company so I'm going with Brownie devastation as my personality type.
Tell us something funny that your child has done recently.
Well Ellie yesterday informed me that I can't yell (remember I have a temper) to get what I want, and I quote her "that's not the way the world works mom."
Today Penny was playing with a balloon and I'm afraid of popping balloons (the anticipation that it could just pop whenever gives me palpitations.) Well anyway she laid down on top of the balloon and I couldn't stop myself from frantically yelling "penny you are going to pop it!!" I startled her so much that she jumped up yelled "i pop it!" and ran head first into the couch -and then cried. Good work mom.
Tell us about an embarrassing childhood memory.
6th grade sleepover, all the ladies were stuffing our bras with those squishy pool toy splat balls. Well all of the ladies WERE stuffing their bras until they got distracted by something else and I was the only one left doing it. And as chance would have it, while I was solo-stuffing my older brother and all his friends (one who I had a serious crush on) were watching through the window. Don't worry they rang the doorbell 10 minutes later and let me know all about how funny it was. I still don't have a chest to this day :(
What's the longest amount of time you've gone without showering?
a day! unless sponge bathing in a sink, without a sponge, doesn't count as showering — then a couple weeks... we were traveling people.
What's your guilty pleasure?
Stupid tv shows i.e. the bachelor, the bachelorette. Lets stop lying to ourselves — they are stuuuupid and I love them.
Which Monopoly game piece was your go-to?
Do you have any weird quirks?
If you owned a food truck, what would you serve and why?
Sticks of butter, ain't nobody not like butter, except them Vegans I serve them kale... with butter mwahahaha
Sarah, thank you for your wisdom, your ridiculousness, and for the example you've set for me since the day we met. I'm so grateful for your friendship!
You can find more of Sarah on instagram and I TOTALLY recommend it because her captions make me laugh out loud in public.
Love & Respect,