Features writer Amy Bredeson writes about Lowcountry moms who have advice to share. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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While most of us say we love to help others, few of us actually take the time to do it.
Let's face it -- we have our own responsibilities, our own busy schedules as moms. Who has time to watch someone else's kid or cook a meal for another family?
Janet Powell does. That's who. And if she doesn't have the time, she makes the time.
With a photography business and two young daughters -- Delaney, 7, and Addy, 5, it can be challenging. But Powell makes it work.
Sometimes that means her house isn't in tip-top shape. But to Powell, it's more important to know she is making a difference in people's lives.
Name: Janet Powell
Strength: Helping others
Question. Can you give me some examples of how you help people?
Answer. I keep children for other moms all the time because I'm home, since I have such a flexible schedule. Because as a photographer I pretty much work either early morning or later evening. So I have the day to be here, so there are moms that call like, "I have to go to a doctor's appointment" or "I have to work today." ... I love children. That really is my biggest passion, just making children feel loved and respected. I have such a fun time with other kids. My girls love other kids. They're not even used to ... having just the two of them around a whole lot. And I do that a good bit. And I really do enjoy it altogether. I want to staple my head to the floor sometimes, but, you know, it's really fun most of the time. And I love to cook. Anytime I can bring a meal to somebody, I'm delighted.
Q. So, what's your secret? How do you make time to help others when you have two children, a husband and your own business?
A. I get up really early and get things accomplished that I need to get accomplished. I definitely really try to start my day early without anybody in my face for a lot of reasons, but it's my only time to just be still before God ... I do want to give major credit to my husband, Willy. Without him supporting me in all my crazy adventures, I couldn't do what I do.
Q. Why is it important to you that you help others?
A. When you're putting people first, God really honors that. And it's not clear all the time right away. Like last week I taught art camp and I had kids over several times, and I got nothing accomplished ... He's blessed me this week. I just had somebody that offered to have my girls over for a little while, and the girls are in Vacation Bible School this week. ... All of that is just such a blessing. And it does come back. And if I can keep reminding myself of that, then the stress can just fade away because, you know, people are what matters. All the stuff you have to do, if my bathrooms aren't super clean ... I'm learning to just go, "You know what? It's all right."
Q. What advice do you have for other moms who want to help others but are too busy or stressed about getting stuff done?
A. I'm right there with every other mom. But I think if you can find what you love and go for that and make that ... where you're going to be involved. Not everybody loves children. I get it. And not everybody loves to cook. But everybody has a gift, and I think when you share that gift, it's just multiplied 10,000 times over. And it's not like you need to say yes to everything. I think that's a real problem with us as moms. A lot of times we feel like we need to be in everything and we need to have our kids in everything. And we've made it a priority here at our house that we're involved in one thing for the fall, one thing for spring, as far as dance or soccer or whatever. ... I think when you can really scale down what you're doing, you have more time to help other people do what they're doing.
Q. So you're great at making time to help people. What are you not so great at?
A. I have dead flowers all over my porch. I do not have a green thumb. ... I think it's because you're supposed to water plants, and I don't. Yeah, that's definitely not my gift at all. ... We tried to plant watermelons this year, and it was a big old bust. It did not work out. We will be purchasing watermelons from a local grocery store.