Name: Alicia French
Children & Ages: Joseph (4 years) and Veronica (8 months)
Hometown/Current Location: Grew up in Orangevale, Ca and live currently in Sacramento, Ca.
Quick Bio: A California native, I grew up in a small town in the suburbs of Sacramento. I started dancing at a private studio at the age of 5, where I found a passion for dance that has stayed with me and served me well my entire life. I danced there throughout all of high school, eventually joining the Company and traveling and competing extensively.
With strong family roots, I chose to go to college close to home and graduated in 2003 with my degree in Criminal Justice from California State University Sacramento, where I also danced on the Dance Team, performing at football and basketball games and other sporting events. After graduation, I was certain that I still wanted to dance and set my hopes upon dancing in professional sports, having enjoyed my college dancing experience so much. In 2004 I was so fortunate to be selected to be a member of one of the most elite cheerleading teams in the NFL, the Oakland Raiderettes. I spent 4 wonderful years as a part of that team, my final year as a co-captain.
After living that dream, I started a new dream, of getting married and starting a family. I have been blessed beyond words to be married to my amazing husband Nick, who has taught me more about myself than I have ever imagined I would know, and to be mommy to two wonderful children; Joseph and Veronica, the absolute light of my world. Having worked in and around politics for over a decade, I currently work for the California State Senate.
Q: How do you balance being a Mommy and keeping your sense of self?
A: I often remind myself that when listening to the emergency information on an airplane before takeoff, they always say to fit yourself with an oxygen mask *before* attending to your children. This is because you can take better care of your children if you take care of yourself *first*.
I find this to be analogous to parenthood in general. In order to be good role models, to be good teachers, mentors, supporters and guides to our children, we must live a life by example – showing them that you can be successful in a career, teaching them that you should be kind and generous with a giving heart, that you can be fun, you can be strong, you should have hobbies and interests that you pursue and dreams that you chase. One of the most important values I hope to instill in them that happiness is a daily choice. If a child sees a parent living a fulfilling and joyous life, it will inspire them to do the same. Everything I do, everything I say, my children see. Therefore, it is incumbent upon me to know who I am, I must choose a wonderful life and live for me.
Q: What is your favorite piece of advice to new Moms?
A: Trust yourself and don’t listen to too much advice! When you become pregnant, everyone becomes an expert on how to me a mom. Your sisters, your mother-in-law, the stranger at the grocery store, everyone will give you “words of wisdom” and advice – whether advice was asked for or not. Do this, don’t do that. It can be quite intrusive and overwhelming. Definitely listen, as these words can often be wise and learned from years of experience. Read all the books and articles and blogs so you feel comfortable with what is about to happen to your life, for undoubtedly it will be the most major change you will likely ever experience. *But take it all with a grain of salt*. Your child will be different than any child that came before! What worked for your husband’s cousin’s babysitter’s neighbor may not work for your child! Try the suggestions, try a million different things – but if it doesn’t work don’t stress out! As mothers and parents, we certainly don’t need more pressure to feel as though we are doing something right or wrong. When I was potty training my son, I had several friends who SWORE by this new 3 day method. Potty training in three days? Sign me up!! In reality, it took much longer than that for my son to learn to use the potty – but it did happen eventually and now that he is four it didn’t matter that it took 3 days or 8 months.
Just listen to yourself, and what works best for your individual family, your individual child. Only you can possibly know the extenuating circumstances that surround your family. Not every piece of advice can or should apply, not every method works, not every suggestion is valid. Parenthood is trial and error, and though we are all scared, we all eventually find our way!
Q: How do you incorporate fitness into your daily routine?
A: It is VERY hard for me to sacrifice my time with my children. Being a “40 hour a week, 9-5” working mommy with an hour long commute to and from the office, I already feel that my time is precious and limited. That being said, I get up at 5 am, work out before the kids wake up and that way I don’t feel that I have to surrender any of my priceless time with the ones I love the most. Being physically active helps my emotional well-being and I am a more patient mom, more attentive wife, more diligent employee and a happier person in general if I do manage to squeeze fitness into my schedule. While being up so early is sometimes difficult, the gym is never packed, and the other people who are there are generally as motivated as myself to get in a workout and get out – there is much less chatting and loitering. And an added bonus that I didn’t count on…I get to see and appreciate the sun rise nearly every day.
Q: What’s your most memorable Mommy moment to date?
A: When I became pregnant with my second child, an irrational mommy fear set in. What if my son (my first born) resents me for having a second child? What if he is deprived of my already precious time, now that I will have two children to attend to? What if he thinks I don’t love him enough and need another child to fill some sort of “void” in my heart? I felt an immense sense of guilt, these questions burned in my mind, even up until my 9th month of pregnancy. But the day my daughter was born and my son met his sister in the hospital, every fear I had faded away until it seemed positively silly that I ever had worried at all. The look on his face when he saw her for the first time was pure unadulterated joy. I hadn’t deprived my child, no quite the contrary – I gave him the most precious gift. For me, my most memorable moment as a mommy isn’t a single experience. Rather, it is a series of moments. From that first moment that he laid eyes on her, it has only gotten better. When I see him singing her to sleep in her crib, when he acts silly to make her laugh, when she crawls around to follow him because she wants to just be near him, when he shows her how to do something, when they play together in the sand at the beach – these are the moments that are most memorable and give me the validation as a mother that having two children was the best decision of my life.