Sister Support: An Interview with Lesley Harris and Alina Mauritz

By Martelle Esposito

This week we talk with Lesley Harris, mom to Joey (5 years old) and Alex (11 months old), and Alina Mauritz, mom to Nicholas (15 months old). These two sisters tell us about what inspires them about being mothers, what it’s like to have a sister to share the motherhood journey with, and how they unlock their mom power.

What are you most proud of in your life?

Lesley: By far, being a mother to my two boys, Joey and Alex, is my proudest accomplishment. Nothing fills my heart with more joy or pride than seeing them smile, laugh, or reach a new milestone.  Although parenting has its challenges and difficult moments, it’s also incredibly rewarding and fulling to be their mom.

Alina: I’m most proud of my family, my husband and son, and the home we’re building together. Success looks very different to me than it did a year ago. Motherhood has significantly changed my priorities. Now, seeing my son achieve milestones and watching my husband thrive in his new role as a dad makes me feel proud and like I’m doing something right.

Do you have any words of inspiration to live by to share?

Lesley: “The days are long, but the years are short.” Being a full-time working mom, I often remind myself of this phrase when the daily schedule of working and parenting become overwhelming and challenging. It’s easy to get lost in the stress and chaos. Every day, I strive to cherish the joyful moments of our day — an extra tight hug, an impromptu ice cream date, or a funny conversation before bed — and continuously remind myself of how fleeting this precious time truly is — even on the hardest of days.

Alina: “You can't pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.” After giving birth, I never left my son’s side. I pushed off appointments, blew off my girlfriends, and didn’t even have a date night with my husband until the baby was 6 months old. I realized I was isolating people and ignoring the part of me that was more than just a mom. I felt I was burning out and knew I needed to make a change. It’s important for moms to take a step back and have that “me” time. To give my son the best, I have to be at my best.

What’s the easiest thing about being a mom?

Lesley: The first thing that comes to mind is just the pure, indescribable, depth of love I feel for my boys. That’s the easy part of being their mom.

Alina: The love I have for my son. It’s hard to put into words, but it’s like breathing - it’s truly natural.

What’s the hardest or worst thing about being a mom?

Lesley: For me, parenting children who are in different stages of life and have uniquely different needs, is one of the hardest aspects of motherhood.  For example, as an infant, some of the hardest times in my opinion is seeing your baby sick and crying when they can’t tell you what’s wrong, running on very little sleep and then having to go to work the next day, just to name a few. I would often ask other parents, “does this get any easier?” And the consistent answer would be, “it doesn’t get easier, just harder in different ways.” I now have a better understanding of this with my five-year-old. The different challenges now become protecting his heart from bullies, making sure he has all the resources he needs to succeed in his school environment, enriching his life with valuable experiences, and guiding him to be kind and responsible.

Alina: The constant worry has been the worst part because I know it will never stop. It started for me as soon as my son entered this world, and almost any parent will tell you that feeling will never go away. Whether it’s worrying if your infant is breathing in their crib, if your 10-year-old is being bullied at school, who your teenager is getting in a car with, or the life decisions your adult children make, the worry will always consume you. It’s part of the journey.

What advice do you have for other moms for unlocking their mom power?

Lesley: Along with some physical strength—it’s not easy carrying around a 24+ pound clingy baby—I think “mom power” is all about mental and emotional strength. Take one day at a time and give yourself grace. As moms, we tend to give other people grace, but we are our own worst critics. Be kind to yourself, stop striving for unachievable perfection, and avoid comparing your life with others. Embracing this perspective is where the true power can come from.

Alina: They keys for me have been doing what’s best for my family. When I got pregnant I always planned on taking maternity leave and going back to work, but after having my son, something in me changed. I wasn’t ready to go back to my job, and it made me feel conflicted. I didn’t know any other women who were stay-at-home moms, and it’s not a role I ever expected for myself. But, my husband and I came to the realization that this was best for our family and we were lucky that we could make it work, financially. I never felt more in control of my life than making the choice to leave the workforce and focus on my son. I’ve stopped comparing myself to women who are both successful career women and wonderful mothers, although I remain in awe of them. I feel empowered knowing I did what was right for my family. Don’t compare yourself to other families and mothers. Every family dynamic is different, and all you can do is the best for your own.

What do you love most about your sister?

Lesley: My younger sister, Alina, can always make me smile and laugh. She’s a trusted confidante who is always willing to listen and be there when you need her. She’s a true reflection of “mom power” and mental and emotional strength. I’ve loved watching her naturally grow into her role as a new mother. She’s doing a phenomenal job. I truly admire how deeply she loves and nurtures her son Nicholas.

Alina: My older sister, Lesley, is my best friend. She makes me laugh, she’s always willing to listen, and gives me sound advice. She’s a great sister, daughter, wife, but she’s truly the best mom. Seeing everything she does for her sons inspires me to be a better mom, every day.

What is the best thing about having a sister who is also on her own motherhood journey?

Lesley: Since my sister became a mother to Nicholas, I love being able to share our motherhood experiences, the good and the bad, together. We’ve always had a close relationship, but now I feel that our friendship is amplified because we have a better understanding and appreciation for each other as mothers. For years, we were on different paths in life, and I feel so thankful that we are now raising our children close in age together. It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and talk to her about our kids’ milestones, foods they are eating, activities they are in, and funny stories about our days, while reminiscing about our own childhood together.

Alina: Lesley is my go-to guru on all things babies and toddlers. I usually call her before my pediatrician with questions, and she has an experience she can share that calms my fears after I read something horrifying on the internet. What I love most is that because she’s my sister and my best friend, anything we talk about is judgement-free. That’s critical when you’re a new mom trying to figure it out. I wish more women had a support system like we do by having each other. It makes this journey all the more wonderful.

 

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