By Carole Townsend
Lawrenceville – Laura Vooris had never changed a diaper in her life. She never babysat the neighborhood kids. She never bathed or fed a baby.
At 39 years old, however, she got some news from the doctor that would change all that. “He told us we were going to have triplets,” Laura said. “I was a good kid. I never snuck out of the house. I never did anything all that bad. So I figured God was getting back at Tom for all the stuff he did when he was young,” she laughed, remembering the day that she and her husband got the stunning news.
“When I was pregnant with the triplets, our youngest daughter was always positioned behind her sister, so it was difficult for the doctors to get a good read on what was happening with her. One day, they told me that I might have to abort one of the babies in order to save the other two. I told them, ‘No. God gave me three babies because He wanted me to have three children.’” And to this day, according to Laura, that “hidden” daughter is a spunky, strong-willed child.
“Tom’s mom came to help me for six weeks when they came home and after that, I was on my own. You just figure it out,” Laura said. She remembers middle-of-the-night feedings, with her holding one baby, and the other two in their infant seats, bottles propped up with rolled towels. “I had my legs and feet up, rocking two while I held one, and we’d just rotate.”
Right: Laura posing during a competition
More advice: Pick your battles. “If the dishes don’t make it into the dishwasher at night, it’s OK,” Laura said. “Tomorrow, they might!”
Having two teenage daughters in the house can be hard for any family. It’s twice the drama, twice the tears, twice the pushback. “I didn’t let them have cell phones until they were thirteen years old, when they started high school. Of course, I was the meanest mom in the world because everybody else had phones,” Laura said. “But I stuck to my guns.”
Left: L to R: Conner (born first), Sydney (born second), Laura and Erika (born third)
Laura is a travel consultant, working from home. “I don’t know how moms who work a 9-5 job do it,” she said. “They work all day, then come home and have to plan and cook dinner, then there’s homework, sports and bath. It’s exhausting.”
Another piece of advice that Laura can offer mothers is to stop feeling guilty. She recalls a day when she spent some time and money on herself, and she felt so guilty that she could hardly enjoy the experience. “I was getting a facial and enjoying some spa time, but oh did I feel guilty,” she said. “When I told Tom later how I felt, he laughed and said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ But I felt like that money should be spent on the family.” Moms often fall into that trap, putting themselves and their needs at the bottom of the list. It’s just not healthy.
Right: Laura poses for the camera
One of the best things Laura has done for herself is to compete in fitness competitions. Years ago, she competed in a few body building competitions and did well, but didn’t pursue it any further. About 5 years ago, some friends encouraged her to get back into the sport, and she did. She has earned “pro” status in her (women over 40) category, and she feels very good about that. “When I’m preparing for an upcoming competition, I have to be very disciplined with respect to what I eat and how I train in the gym. But it makes me focus on me, and that’s OK,” Laura said.
What do her children think of their 50-something mom competing, in a bikini, with other very fit, bikini-clad women? “They don’t think anything at all about it. I walked in the house one day, wearing what I wore to compete in the “figure” category, which is a bikini and heels. My son just looked at me and shook his head,” Laura laughed.
The last piece of advice this super-mom offered to other moms out there who sometimes feel like they just can’t do it another day: “Keep a journal, from the time they’re very little and just start talking. Write down the funny things they do and say. You will treasure those little things as they get older, and they love to hear them.”
Great advice, from a great mom.
Tom and Laura Vooris live in Lawrenceville with their triplets. Laura is studying to become a certified personal trainer. The couple owns a restaurant delivery company called “Choices to You.” To visit that website, click www.choicestoyou.com.