Mom in Charge
Self-Description - Mom
Her Inner Light - A switch that reframes a negative into something positive.
Her message to women everywhere - “Be yourself. Don’t pay attention to what others are expecting of you. Be who you want to be."
Carmina Littlefield is a chameleon. She can be a clown when she needs to be a clown. A nurse when she needs to be. A driver, cook, juggler, creative artist, party planner, the CEO and COO of a busy, thriving operation. These are but a few of her job descriptions on any given day. Carmina is a full-time mother of two daughters and a son, all under the age of ten. “My children are very different from each other so mothering them requires very different job descriptions.”
A lover of learning, Carmina has been taking social psychology courses at the local college throughout her motherhood years. But life’s most important lessons are happening outside the classroom. Recently she and her oldest daughter Natalia were making art together. For a little while mother and daughter were content to enjoy each other’s company in the shared activity. Then for no obvious reason, Natalia threw a tantrum. Frustrated, Carmina stopped drawing and said, “If you don’t want to spend time with me, then I’m going to go do something else.” Carmina got up and left.
Later, she found a piece of paper slipped under her door. It was from Natalia. “I’m sorry, Mama, for my bad attitude,” it read. "I got upset because you’re a much better artist than me.”
In this humbling moment, Carmina saw how she’d completely misinterpreted the situation. The complexity beneath Natalia's misbehavior — her grappling with feeling inferior to her mother in something as simple as drawing — simply hadn’t occurred to Carmina. She was heartened that at ten years old Natalia could recognize her negative feelings, articulate them as jealousy, and be honest about them to the very person causing the intense feelings. The self-awareness. The courage. Not to mention the trust. Because Natalia was able to put her feelings into words, they had the opportunity to have a healthy dialogue about the experience. Carmina said to her daughter, “Understanding others is a gift just as is understanding ourselves. It’s only when you understand yourself that you have the capacity to truly understand others. And understanding yourself is a journey, a day by day thing.”
Life’s lessons are a lot of work. So Carmina sprinkles in the fun too. Miniature pails filled with green gummies, labeled River Frogs. A totem pole made up of a huge pile of donuts culminating in a top center piece with all the donut holes. A cheese, cracker and salami platter arranged in animal figures. A fruit salad is an owl whose eyes are orange rounds dotted with blueberries, whose wings are sliced apples. Carmina goes all out for her kids’ birthday parties. One has a campfire theme, another an owl theme, and another is all about race cars.
“Mothering is not all fun and games. There are moments when I am completely overwhelmed.” In those moments she sits down and takes a good look at her children. She takes herself out of it long enough to see that the moment will never come again. “They are always changing, and as they grow, they push me to change and grow also. So I remember to enjoy this experience that is so fleeting.”