Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I was born in Louisiana but was primarily raised in Branson, MO. I moved back to Louisiana for college and attended the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, where I obtained my Bachelor of Sciences-Biology degree. Next, I moved to Shreveport, LA for graduate school and graduated with my Masters in Occupational Therapy from LSU Health Shreveport in 2011. In 2015, I moved to Nashville on a whim and haven’t looked back! I love calling Nashville home.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Thatcher, 1 year old
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I think one of the most interesting things that has happened in my life was meeting my husband…on an airplane! Yes, it’s true, I promise. Little did I know that the stealing a window seat on an airplane would result in a marriage and baby 5 years later.
Anyone special you’d like to thank for helping you through parenthood?
I could not survive this journey of parenthood without my husband, Victor. He has not only been an amazing husband and father this past year, but also standout student in his pharmacy program at Lipscomb University. I have so much respect for single parents because I just could not do it without my husband.
Favorite things to do with your kids in the Nashville area or local to your suburb?
Thatcher is a lover of outdoors. We love to visit the recreational center on Concord Road, where we also let our French bulldog, Lucy, play at the dog park. We’re excited for summer visits to the various local farmer’s markets and the Adventure Science Center!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I am the proud owner of Parents and Play! Parents and Play is focused on helping new parents feel confident about development using play and getting connected with local experts that specialize in care of little ones and new parents. I love being able to take my professional knowledge and help new parents succeed in what is often a very tough, and can be lonely, transition into parenthood.
We offer 2 programs at Parents and Play: private & group sessions. Our private ‘Itty Bitty’ program occurs in the comfort of your home during the 4th trimester because we realize that getting out of the house just isn’t happening yet. Our group sessions occur in Franklin and are arranged to help bring together parents with little ones in similar developmental stages. We offer 3 groups: Peapods (0 – 5 months), Rolly Pollies (6 – 12 months), and Tiny Tots (1 – 2 years).
The goal of both our programs is helping new parents feel connected, confident, and having the tools to care for their little ones. We aim to help parents feel confident about development by giving them play activities they can use daily to help their little ones achieve new skills. Groups are not only great for parents but also little ones, as it gives them a chance to interact with peers.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I think the saying “It takes a village” has been around for so long because nothing rings more true when talking about parenthood. I love connecting with people in real life. Each and every meeting I have with new parents feels like magic to me, as I know people are getting the support and confidence they need to survive another week. Our groups help me, as well as our participants, find a tribe IRL, and that’s something that the internet or Facebook groups just cannot replace.
What exactly is a pediatric Occupational Therapist?
A pediatric Occupational Therapist (OT for short) is a therapist that specializes in development. They are equipped to assist with milestones, fine motor development, gross motor skills, feeding, engagement, and so many more ‘Activities of Daily Living’. Pediatric OT focuses on helping children develop the skills they need to grow into functional, independent adults through play activities, since play is the occupation of the child.
What is your background before creating your individualized program?
I’ve been a pediatric OT since 2011 and have worked in many different settings in order to learn everything I can about development and how to help parents at whatever stage they may be in. My dream has always been to own a private practice, but the timing was never right until I had my son last year. Becoming a new mom myself helped me realize how little our community had available for new parents, and I wanted to change that so all new parents have access to support, as well as good education about their little one’s development.
How can all moms benefit with some time with you?
New parenthood is hard in so many ways and doing it alone can be a daunting task. I aim to give new parents confidence, along with some tips and tricks, that their little one’s development is on track. We cover all topics of development: Milestones, tummy time, sleep routines, bonding, feeding, language development, tantrums, potty training, and so much more! I also work with parents on being able to advocate for not only their little ones but also themselves. We believe in making informed health decisions using evidence-based information!
What has been the most unexpected thing about being a mom?
I’ve been shocked and surprised at my ability to be flexible. I’m the definition of “Type A”, but I find more and more than I’m learning to go with the flow of things. It’s been quite freeing. #recoveringperfectionist
What has been the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
Unconditional love. Our son can scream all night, throw his cup on the floor 500 times, get sick and make me miss a close friend’s wedding, and I still love him to pieces. It’s an overwhelming feeling to have a piece of your heart walking around in this world.
This post was sponsored by Parents and Play.