Being a mom isn’t easy, but these women wouldn’t have it any other way
Being a mom is work enough. But the women featured in this issue nurture their children and care for their families, all while owning their own businesses, fighting crime, teaching or healing others. We think that makes them some of the mightiest women on the upper Texas Coast.
Children: Ellie Doggett, 12; Roy Doggett, 11
Spouse: Peter Bergin
Occupation: Fitness professional and owner, with her husband, of Urban Health and Fitness, Total Fitness and Island Boot Camp
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? I became a mother.
How do you define strength? Dignity and composure under pressure, with positive energy, creates a motivation and will for constant improvement.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? Time.
What have you gained from being a mom? Integrity, selflessness, compassion and courage.
How do you find balance in your life? I have my priorities that never change. I constantly remind myself of them and regain my center. When I work my priorities, the rest follows, but as soon as the scale shifts, I have to readjust to the balance.
What’s your health and fitness routine? Exercise is a celebration of ability; therefore, I respect the challenge. I try to get three weight-training sessions in per week and they have to be worth it. I don’t like wasting time in my workouts. My wellness and performance are directly linked to my nutrition. I am the most successful when I follow a very mechanical and methodical eating routine five to six days per week. It allows me to have freedom on weekends to recuperate missing calories or rejuvenate my metabolism and enjoy myself.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Any pastry, cakes, cookies and Champagne.
What would you tell a new mother? My mother told me, “Pick your battles.” I like that.
Carol Bunch Davis
Children: Kai, 10
Spouse: Peter Davis, chief of Galveston Island Beach Patrol
Occupation: Associate professor of English, Department of Liberal Studies, Texas A&M University at Galveston
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? Multitasking — juggling family life and work life — is an ongoing project. The mightiest thing I’ve ever done is currently in progress.
How do you define strength? The ability to trust my instincts and to honestly admit my vulnerabilities and anxieties, to address them as best as I can, and to move forward.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? My life is different than it was 11 years ago, but I don’t think I’ve really sacrificed anything. My priorities have changed. I do most of the same things now as I did before, but I don’t have the same amount of down time that I once had.
What have you gained from being a mom? I’ve definitely gained perspective on what really matters to me, more empathy and much greater appreciation for my husband and my parents. I’ve also gained a terrific daughter whose take on nearly everything requires me to look at the world from a different, more imaginative perspective. She encourages me to see the possibilities in everything.
How do you find balance in your life? It can be a challenge, but I try to listen to my inner voice rather than being distracted by external noise and to make choices about the next right thing to do based on what I know I need to be effective.
What’s your health and fitness
routine? I don’t have one. Kai and Peter are pescatarians (a person who eats fish but not other types of meat) and I generally follow them, but I do “go rogue” once a week and eat whatever I want. This time of year, we spend a lot more time on the beach, either walking our dogs, Riddick and Bruiser, or riding our bikes. I also go to McGuire-Dent when I can, and because Kai does taekwondo, Peter and I have tried it out and want to make it a family fitness routine.
What’s your guilty pleasure? The B4 at Pho 18 and “Scandal.”
What would you tell a new mother? I spent so much time reading all of the books and getting advice and while it was helpful, I was at my best with managing all of the newborn challenges when I relaxed and followed my instincts. Wish someone had told me to, “Just relax. It’s all going to be fine.”
Children: Michael, 17 (stepson); Zachary, 12; Charli, 10; Elijah, 8; and Oliver, 4
Spouse: Mike Dean
Occupation: I manage the human resources and finances of our restaurants, bars and events. (Yaga’s Cafe, Beerfoot Beach Bar, Float Pool & Patio Bar, Tsunami Exotic Tequila Emporium and BLVD Seafood.)
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? I’m not sure I would say any one thing I’ve accomplished would fall into the category of “mighty.” As honored as I would be to earn such a distinction, I would reserve that word for those who truly deserve it, those battling true hardships and our war heroes.
How do you define strength? I define strength in terms of inner strength. The ability to look at yourself honestly and strive to be a better person every day.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? I don’t find that I have sacrificed much as a mom. The ability to just pick up and go is certainly not an option. It’s hard to be spontaneous when you have to pack for five other people. The one thing I miss most is sleep. The days of sleeping in are a thing of the past.
What have you gained from being a mom? Everything! My kids motivate me to accomplish things I never would have considered possible. You mentioned strength earlier and this is where I find it. It’s easy to talk to your kids about making positive choices and to strive to be good people, but it’s when you have to walk the walk that you realize the hypocrisy of parenting. I’ve learned a lot of things about myself along the way, that it’s OK to ask for help — it really does take a village. I can now multitask like a mad woman. I’ve learned to be patient, to laugh at myself, and I’ve realized that you just need to go with it and not take life so seriously.
How do you find balance in your life?
I have to give my husband a lot of credit here. He’s incredibly supportive. I have a really great group of girlfriends who I can rely on for everything, and I try to get together with them at least once a week to blow off steam and relax. Also, making time to get in a workout, even if it’s just 20 minutes, helps me feel focused and balanced, and at the end of the day, spending time with my kids is just icing on the cake.
What’s your health and fitness routine? I live by the 80/20 rule when it comes to eating and exercise. I try to eat as clean as possible 80 percent of the time. This means nothing processed and nothing out of a box, just fresh fruits, veggies and lean meats. I usually cook a large meal on Sunday and portion it out for the week, mixing in fresh veggies and a light carb. When it comes to exercise, it’s non-negotiable. My husband and my kids know that is “mommy’s time.” I find that I am more clear-headed, calm and focused when I’ve completed a workout. I have to get up early daily to get my workouts in, and there are definitely days where the snooze button looks so welcoming, but I’ve never regretted a workout once it’s done.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chewy, sour candy of any kind, zucchini cake from Mosquito Café and pinot noir.
What would you tell a new mother? Just breathe. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily minutiae and feel so overwhelmed that you can’t see the light, but it will all work itself out. Babies cry, that’s just what they do. You’ll learn to distinguish between each one, so don’t panic every time. I would also encourage new mothers to be vigilant about their baby’s sleep schedule. I found the lack of sleep as a new mother the most difficult. You feel foggy-headed, edgy and you’re just emotional. Once you’re able to get solid sleep in, you feel so much better.
Children: Rylan Schroeder, 19 months
Occupation: Peri-operative nurse at University of Texas Medical Branch
City: Texas City
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? Had a baby during nursing school. Trying to balance being a new mom and school work.
How do you define strength? Having confidence and discipline in making the right decisions for my child.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? My body. Not being comfortable to wear the outfits I used to wear pre-baby.
What have you gained from being a mom? A lifelong best friend.
How do you find balance in your life? I still haven’t figured that one out.
What’s your health and fitness routine? I eat whatever, whenever I want. I haven’t been able to fit the gym in my daily routine.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Sweets. Any and all sweets.
What would you tell a new mother? Take advantage of help from family, don’t be scared to ask for help and sleep while you can.
Sharon Yvette Giorgi
Children: Stephanie Nicole, 25
Spouse: Sandro Giorgi, married 26 years
Occupation: Cosmetologist/makeup artist at La Moda Salon & Day Spa. Educator for Aquage & Biomega.
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? Gave birth to my daughter.
How do you define strength? The ability to focus and attain your dreams while resisting the odds.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? Nothing really feels like a sacrifice; as a mom, you just do what you have to.
What have you gained from being a mom? A best friend, joy and happiness.
How do you find balance in your life? My faith is the anchor for me that enables me to walk in love and forgiveness.
What’s your health and fitness routine? Some cardio workout three days a week, with some weight-training.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Movies.
What would you tell a new mother? Treasure each day and show them the love. Be a listening ear.
Children: Tito, 11; Isabel, 11; and stepkids Natalie, 13; Grayson, 12; and Noah, 19
Spouse: Brad, often referred to as “Poor Brad,” because he is a really good sport.
Occupation: Nurse practitioner
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? I made two babies inside of me at the same time.
How do you define strength? Perseverance, kindness, understanding and forgiveness.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? Everything! No, I’m kidding. Moms make little sacrifices everyday that add up to a beautiful life with their kids. I would hazard a guess that there isn’t a single sacrifice that any of us regret.
What have you gained from being a mom? Everything! As a mom you gain wisdom, patience and humility. When you are a mom, you experience true, unconditional love.
How do you find balance in your life? Definitely with exercise. My husband and I also carve time out of our schedules at least once a week to regroup and rebalance together.
What’s your health and fitness routine? Any and everything as long as it isn’t processed. If it’s fun and gets my heart rate up, I’ll try it. My garage has an assortment of exercise equipment, all of which I use. But mostly, I run. Everyday. Anywhere. Any weather.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Chocolate and coffee.
What would you tell a new mother? Look at the beautiful life you created. Savor every single moment.
Mary Claire Haver
Children: Katherine, 15; Madeline, 12
Spouse: Christopher Haver, married for 19 years
Occupation: Obstetrics and gynecology physician at the University of Texas Medical Branch, founding director of EVER Skincare
What is the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? Balanced motherhood, marriage and medicine.
How do you define strength? The ability to meet the challenges that life throws at you with grace, and to come through the experience a better person.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? My vanity, my privacy and occasionally my sanity.
What have you gained from being a mom? The greatest happiness I have ever known in my life.
How do you find balance in your life? I am constantly reinventing balance. My needs change, the needs of my husband and children change, and the needs of my profession change as well. At least every year our family “reinvents the wheel” and redefines what our schedules look like so we can all find some balance. We have built healthy eating into our daily routine and carve out time for exercise on a fairly regular basis.
What’s your health and fitness routine? Do what I can when I can. My schedule is very unpredictable so I hired Le Bergin to help me with fitness routines and she and I work out together once a week at Total Fitness, and that time is sacred to me. She has developed fitness routines that I can do at home with minimal equipment that will give me maximum benefit in minimum time. She made me realize that what I was attempting to do before was not working for me at all. I am also very, very careful about my food choices. I try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and try to follow a 40 percent carb, 30 percent protein and 30 percent healthy fats split in my meals. I wear a Fitbit and track my food intake as well.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Icy cold Champagne and the laughter of my best girlfriends.
What would you tell a new mother? Every day in my physician job, I meet incredible women, whom after finding a life partner and/or motherhood, put themselves at the bottom of a very long list of things to take care of — for sometimes years at a time. These women come to me with complaints of weight gain, lethargy, depression, poor sleep, anxiety, decreased or absent libido and the list goes on and on. Almost without fail, when we start talking about diet, exercise, relaxation techniques and asking partner for more support, they just look at me with a blank stare. My advice to all women is please not to put yourself last on the list of important things in your life that need attention. Women have a hard time taking care of loved ones when they can’t take care of themselves. My best medical advice: meditate or journal for 20 minutes, twice a day, exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, avoid processed foods, eat plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, spend more time in nature and less indoors, stop worrying about things you can’t control and completely ditch the TV and smartphone.
Children: Alejandra Gabriela De La Fuente, 3
Occupation: As of January 2015, my family and I decided I’d quit my job so I could dedicate myself to be a full-time boxer and mixed martial arts fighter.
City: La Marque
What is the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? The mightiest thing would be letting God pick me up after I had touched rock bottom in every aspect of my life. I reached 170 pounds and was facing some family difficulties, but God blessed me with an amazing family that was able to help me rebuild myself stronger than before.
How do you define strength? Strength to me is not defined by how much I squat or bench, but the ability to wake up at 3 a.m. to feed your baby when you just went to bed at 2 a.m. It’s being able to wake up at 5 a.m. to pack lunch for your husband when you were on baby watch all night. This is a rare strength not many crave but I’ve seen that strength in my own mom. Seeing how strong she was for all of us inspired me to want to have that strength to balance my own family.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? I’ve learned to sacrifice my selfish way of thinking. We never realize how self-centered our thinking is until we have to start thinking of another little life before ours.
What have you gained from being a mom? I’ve gained a maturity and happiness that I’m aware I wouldn’t have if I wouldn’t have become a mother. I’ve learned to enjoy every little detail of life because life keeps its route and doesn’t slow down for anyone. One day, you’re walking out of the hospital with your newborn, and the next you’re enrolling them in school.
How do you find balance in your life? I have been blessed with an amazing family that is the greatest support system I could’ve ever had. God and my family is where I find my balance.
What’s your health and fitness routine? Aside from two weeks after competition, I’m always in competition mode. I workout three times a day, six days a week, which includes weight-training, boxing and jiu-jitsu. The months before competition, my eating habits are strict, for I’ve learned firsthand that in fitness, 80 percent of the progress is in the kitchen.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Movies. I love watching movies with my family. And as weird as it may sound, salted crackers and tacos are my biggest weakness by far.
What would you tell a new mother? Being a mother is about learning about strength you didn’t know you had and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed. Being a mom is a blessing and if God chose you to be a mom, then there’s a reason why. You may not understand it now, and the idea of becoming a mother might be a little frightening, but once you see those little eyes staring back at you, you’ll understand about 50 percent of the questions you had. The other 50 percent, you’ll figure out as time goes by. Nobody is perfect, and no one is truly ready to be a mom. There’s just no such thing. But if you were lucky enough to become a mother, then that means God thought you were ready, and in the end, that’s all the approval you need.
Children: Josiah, 7 months
Occupation: Police officer
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? I swam to save someone who fell asleep on a float and woke up to find that they were too far out in the ship channel.
How do you define strength? I define strength as resilience. To never give up and to keep going. To find a way and figure it out. We must have that inner fire that drives us to continue. It might not always burn at 100 percent, but we can never let it burn out.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? I took a year off from college. I graduated in the summer of 2014. University of Houston-
Clear Lake did not have commencement until December 2014. I found out I was pregnant four days before graduation, and I walked across the stage carrying the most important little person in my life. I am returning in August to the master’s program.
What have you gained from being a mom? I feel I have gained patience. Everything in life can’t be fast-paced. Would it be faster and less messy for me to feed him during dinner? Yes, but when he feeds himself, he gets to practice independence. He feels so accomplished when some of it actually makes it in his mouth.
How do you find balance in your life? I achieve balance by being organized. I dislike being rushed or having the feeling of being off-kilter. Everything has a time and place. The more I plan and organize in advance, the less hectic I feel and the smoother my day goes.
What’s your health and fitness routine? My fitness routine has changed since I had my son. Instead of walking/running in the park, fitness now doubles into the cleaning routine, instead of saying “I don’t have time!” And guess what? Chasing a toddler around isn’t that much easier than chasing a criminal.
What’s your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is social media. I can have some adult time without leaving home.
What would you tell a new
mother? I would tell her that she will receive a lot of advice. Most will be unsolicited, but to take it all in. Ultimately, do what is right for you and your baby. There is no “catch-all” advice; what works for one child might not work for another. But there just might be something that you hadn’t thought of or what is considered an old remedy that might get you through that 3 a.m. screamfest.
Courtney Paige Walker
Children: Paloma Walker, 18; Sage Walker, 16
Partner: Brian Peper
Occupation: Owner of The Body Space; Pilates and yoga teacher
What’s the mightiest thing you’ve ever done? Having and raising two children as a single mom. Starting my own business, The Body Space, on Galveston Island.
How do you define strength? 1. Strength is believing in yourself. 2. Strength is getting back up when you have “failed.” 3. The ultimate strength is forgiveness — forgiving yourself and forgiving others.
What have you sacrificed as a mom? When you become a mom, you learn very quickly that you must sacrifice to raise children. However, the rewards are worth the sacrifices. Specific things I have sacrificed besides my sanity (joking), is that I sacrificed my time I once had for myself and other relationships. You put your time and creativity into your children that could’ve been used growing a career or other ambition.
What have you gained from being a mom? Most of all, I gained new perspective. Seeing life from a child’s eyes, learning how to laugh at myself and life and try not to take life so seriously. I learned about what unconditional love feels like and that my mom was right when I was growing up and I should’ve listened more to her advice. Parenting is lifelong.
How do you find balance in your life? Balance is never really ever achieved. But to center myself, I love going to the beach to clear my mind, surround myself with loved ones and be at home and in my garden.
What’s your health and fitness routine? I believe in the power and effectiveness of yoga, Pilates mat and Reformer. I really enjoy barre and cardio classes — I blend them all according to my body’s needs and what I have time for.
What’s your guilty pleasure? My guilty pleasure is having time doing nothing and not feeling guilty about it.
What would you tell a new mother? In the beginning, slow way down. Take long walks with your baby to clear your mind. Remember to take deep breaths and know “this, too, shall pass.” Take time out for yourself and keep working on developing who you are and what makes you happy. Ask for help, and remember your support system reaches far beyond you and your spouse. I am so grateful for all of my family, friends and my children’s friends’ parents who helped to raise my children. I couldn’t have done it alone.