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Friday, Jun 22, 2018
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Busy moms prioritize to get quality time with kids

TAMPA - Moms don't typically get a lot of alone time but it wasn't a surprise to find many of them spending time with their families on the one day reserved just for them. 
Mothers from all over took advantage Sunday of free Mother's Day admissions in various attractions around town. With their bundles of joy in tow, they got a moment to reflect on what motherhood is all about and how they have to carve time out of their schedules to be the types of mamas they want to be.
Holding quiet towheaded 18-month-old Jesse and heading into The Florida Aquarium on Sunday morning Jessica Fleming sported a “New Mom – 2011” T-shirt.
“It's thrilling,” said Flemming, a first-time mother from St. Petersburg. “Every day is an adventure and I love being a mom.”
Working and caring for her new family isn't easy, though, she said, and making time for Jesse can be challenging.
“Every day after work, I take him to the park, before rushing home and doing all that other stuff, like laundry and cooking dinner,” she said. “It's quality time, even if it's only for a half hour a day.”
Ebony Primus of Tampa made her way to the aquarium, strolling along with 4-month-old Jayden and dad, Kevin Fernandes.
She too is a first-time mom.
“I'm in love with being a mom,” she said. “It is trying, but very fun. I get to see all the first times for him. The other day, he rolled over for the first time.”
She too is a working mom who juggles career, family and child rearing. Sunday was her day, though, her first Mother's Day as a mother.
“I get Sundays off,” she chuckled. She squeezes mother duties in whenever she can. Sometimes, she lets other, less important, household-chores go so she can spend time with her newborn.
“I have learned not to stress a lot about that stuff,” she said just before going into the aquarium. “Last time I was here, I was just a few months old.”
Outside the Tampa Bay History Center, where moms also were admitted free Sunday, were Ley Martino, her husband, Michael, and 3-year-old Dennis, who was a Tasmanian force to be reckoned with.
Ley is a working mom who relies on Michael for help. She too is a first-timer at the job.
“He helps a lot,” she said. “It takes a lot. It's a team effort.”
The family wasn't planning on going to any of the attractions Sunday but was considering a trip to Splitsville in the Channelside district for some free bowling for moms.
“I do know that he's going to cook tonight,” Ley said, nodding at Michael, who offered no rebuttal.
A short ways up the Hillsborough River, Tina Wala of Bushnell gathered her flock of Tristan, 4; Jacob, 7 and Caleb, 6, at the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park to head for the Glazer Children's Museum, where she, as a mom, got a pass on admission.
The mother of three rambunctious kids admitted being a mom is no easy task.
“It's very busy,” said the working mother, who carves out as much time as she can to be with her kids.
“When I'm not at work,” she said, “I'm with my kids.”
Inside the museum, a group of moms sat in massage chairs on the third floor overlooking the river and downtown, while dads and granddads watched the kids down below.
Tampa attorney Kathleen Scher sat in one of the chairs with 4-month-old Clark, on her lap. Her schedule often keeps her from spending as much time as she would like with her kids, though she is able occasionally to juggle schedules around.
“It's a lot of work, but rewarding,” she said. With her newest addition, she will make time to be with her two children, including a 6-year-old. “I have to find some kind of balance,” she said. “I'll just have to say no to certain things. The kids come first.”
In the next jiggling massage chair sat Alyson Lankford of Lithia, whose two sons, 6 and 4, were downstairs with their grandfather. She works at home, so she is able to schedule quality time with her boys more than most.
“I work after they go to bed and when they are at school,” she said. “It's a good occupation – kids – but sometimes you get tired of playing superhero.”
Kerry Falwell, the museum's director of education and community partnerships, took time out from her job and motherhood to sit in one of the chairs, her 1-year-old son, Zachary, downstairs with dad.
Her one year of motherhood has been a joy, she said.
“No matter how bad a day you've had, the moment they smile at you and say 'Mama,' is just the best,” she said. Making time “is a constant challenge.” Fortunately, her husband, Calvin, is a classical musician and has time to spend with the toddler. “That's good quality time he has with each of us,” she said.
With the massage chair tilted all the way back, Sarah Post from Rochester, N.Y., took a breather from her two kids, a 5-month-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
“It's sometimes frustrating when your 3-year-old melts down in the middle of a Target,” she said, “but motherhood is the most amazing thing.”
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(813) 259-7760

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(813) 259-7760

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