Monday, February 25, 2013

A lesson in parenting from supermom Maya Christopher

c. maya christopher

 “…Because you know I had a stroke and that was a big eye opener for me.”

A stroke, I thought, YOU’RE 34!

“I had no idea what was happening. I felt my face tightening up, I didn’t know what was going on.”


I met Maya through a friend in the wonderful world of Facebook, after she posted this status. I had initially wanted to interview her about the stress of parenting.

My child just learned a tough lesson in being grateful. We never have a traditional Christmas in my household and open their presents early. I got her an iPod Nano and Lil Miss (while turning up her nose), "You couldn't et the BIG one?" ......... Well as it stands now she got tears and a $22 1Direction CD for Christmas. Nothing else. A small iPod is better than NO iPod. Not raising no ungrateful, spoiled, unappreciative kids around here. So while her brother enjoys $100 gift card and baby girl enjoys her toys; she'll be sitting here looking stupid. #NoPunkAssParentsAroundHere

I was so impressed! In an age where too many parents seem to be propagating an entitlement myth, it was refreshing to see good parenting in action.

So how did she respond?

She learned her lesson. The next day, she came and apologized. I said to her, ‘You still understand that you’re not getting anything for Christmas?’

She said, ‘yes, I understand.’

You’re not obligated to get these gifts. I don’t have to buy gifts. Christmas is not about gifts it’s about being thankful for what you have.
Anyway, her dad surprised her with Justin Beiber tickets.

Oh, very nice!

Maya shares custody of two teenagers and an 8 year old. They stay with their dad during the week, and see mom every other weekend and holidays.

I’m the disciplinarian when it comes to her. Her dad never really disciplines her. So, [He] is getting all the teenage trouble. I believe a lot of parents want to be friends with their kids, and if you want them to be active members of society you have to discipline them….They have their chores, I don’t baby them.

I’ve found that kids today are totally different from when I grew up. There’s no respect.

I became a parent when I was 20, I was a baby myself
I still go to my mom for help, we have a really good relationship. I try to mentor a lot when there are a lot of younger parents, like 12 year olds think it’s “cool” to become a young parent. No it’s not cool.

They have no idea that this is a child that you have to raise for the rest of their lives.
There’s a lot involved in being a parent, a lifetime job.

Back to the stroke,  How in the world did this happen?

It happened on New Years Day 2012. I was living in Louisville, KY at the time and was cooking, baby sitting a friends kids and about to eat. As I was chewing my food my face felt really tight. I went to the mirror and my smile was crooked. I immediately went to the ER and after many tests was told I had a stroke. I never had high blood pressure or any other health problems. I couldn't believe it. It took a minute to process I had a stroke and it left the right side of my face paralyzed.

But 33 year olds don't usually have strokes...

My body just finally got tired and just started pushing back
I would snack, snack, snack, snack, snack, and started gaining weight that was a wake up call.

I made the best of it though and used it to help others and become healthier and eliminate my stress.

How do you handle stress?

If I can’t control it there’s nothing I can do about it just let it go, it will work itself out. The big thing was that I learned to say no. I started to spend time alone, letting my brain relax. Working out helped a lot

First thing first, I pray and then you work out I pray about it and let it go.

So you do your exercise, and pray. The kids are agreeable about the alone time?
I would imagine they would realize the importance of it.

They are actually really good about that. Other people are shocked by that.

What sorts of things do you do in your alone time?

Things like walking, reading on the couch.

 How did your kids respond to the stroke? I’m sure they were scared.
We make jokes about it because that’s the way they [the kids] cope.
My son is my mini husband. We practice smiling.
We joke, we are still the same people our faces just don’t work the same.

How do your kids handle stress?
They are really open with me. They know they won’t be judged.
They can go to their grandparents and not be judged.
I have conversations with my daughter
I can pretty much hone in on what s wrong

c. 2013


  1. Awesome interview!!! It was really nice talking with you!! Thank you

  2. Thanks so much, Maya! So great talking to you!...b

  3. Thank you so much for this wonderful post! I appreciate all the advice and tips. They are really helpful and I learned a lot from it. :)

    1. Thanks, Janet. Maya was a great interview! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment!!...b

  4. Havingg read this i think we all should count our blessings. Much respect to Maya who has far more guts than I do.

  5. You are absolutely right, Russell. Motherhood is not a job for sissies. Thank you so much for reading and commenting...b