8 minute read

Lane county Cover MOMs: Liz Bainter & Jen Kern

For Cover MOMs, Liz Bainter and Jen Kern, parenting is a hole-in-one. This family foursome reminds us of the power of teamwork and trusting yourself.

Photo credit: Fremouw Photography

The Family

Cover MOMs Liz Bainter, Vice President Clinical Quality and Population Health at PacificSource and Jen Kern, stay-at-home parent and LPGA teaching professional, live in Eugene with their children: Ryley, age 10 and Ashlyn, age 7.

LIZ BAINTER

Every family has their own traditions, rituals or inside jokes. What’s one of yours?

We have a lot of traditions, but one of our newest is Dynamite Dinner Night where two of us are in charge of the menu (appetizer, main course, dessert) and two of us are in charge of entertainment (movie, games). We both keep it a secret and really enjoy the preparation, teamwork and anticipation of the meal and entertainment.

Tell us about one of your proudest mom moments?

I think my proudest mom moments are when both kids give their teammates high fives and cheer on others.

What is the most surprising thing you have found wedged between the sofa cushions or behind a car seat?

Glitter, Glitter, Glitter. It is in and on everything we own.

What is something you swore you would never do before kids that you now do?

Guilty. I have totally done a 6 AM drivethru coffee run on the weekend in my pj’s and slippers.

You know you’re a mom when you hear yourself say…

“If you two cannot find a compromise, I will turn the car around and we will go home right now.”

Your biggest wish for your kids is…

I wish that they always be true to themselves and enjoy the journey.

No one works harder than mom.

What have you learned professionally, that has helped you as a mom?

The power of Microsfot Excel. I could organize everything from chores to vacations to Thanksgiving dinner on a spreadsheet.

How do you balance (or not) motherhood, activities, work, volunteering, household responsibilities, and life in general? Typically, what falls through the cracks?

Balance is a journey for sure and my most challenging skill. I often prioritize my own self-care (exercise, sleep, mental health) last so this is one of my 2020 goals.

When was the last time you failed? What did you learn?

I fail at things all the time. I strive to focus on continuous improvement and not let perfect get in the way of better. I have also learned that sharing some of my failures with my kids helps demonstrate healthy habits for responding to failure.

Do you have a goal you’d like to accomplish within the next five years?

Yes, we have five-year goals for everything from finances to experiences we want to create for our family. I find long-term planning very helpful for allowing space to dream and helping us stay focused. I have a personal goal to complete a triathlon.

If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

Tell us about your community/upbringing. How did it shape the mother you are today?

Both of my parents were teachers, so everything was a “teaching moment.” My kids tell me I have Mike Brady moments when I try to make unloading the dishwasher a life lesson.

What do you think is the most important life skill or value your parents taught you?

My parents always did a good job of supporting my brother and me unconditionally and helping us sort through big decisions and challenges in our lives.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

February. We took a horse drawn sleigh ride at Odell Lake.

What is something you will NEVER do again?

Eat oysters.

What is one thing you never had that you want for your kids.

Travel out of the country. I didn’t travel out of the country till I was 40 years old, so I hope to create that opportunity for Ry and Ash.

What’s your superpower?

Humor.

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, in which event would you win a gold medal?

Cleaning the kitchen.

Tell us something about you that would surprise your kids (or your spouse).

I often daydream about dying my hair pink and getting my nose pierced.

What keeps you sane?

Outdoor adventures with my family.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My Peloton bike.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Elastic Girl.

Who is your favorite real life hero?

Ellen DeGeneres and Greta Thunberg.

They say that everyone has a book in them. What’s the title of your book?

How to sink your fourth putt.

Listen to mom.

Is motherhood what you expected? What surprised you the most?

I didn’t really have any preconceived ideas about motherhood, but I have been humbled by how much I want to be the best version of myself. Oh, and that I love Ry and Ash so much. I tell them I would eat them in a jelly sandwich if I could.

What advice would you give your younger mom self—what do you wish you knew then that you know now?

Trust yourself. Everyone will give you loads of great advice and opinions, but trust your instincts. You know your child and family better than anyone else, be confident.

What message would you like to share with other moms?

Time flies. Be present and slow down. Focus on the things that matter. Your kids will never remember how the carrots were cut for Thanksgiving or if the tablecloth was ironed perfectly. They will remember the love and laughter.

JEN KERN

Tell us about one of your proudest mom moments?

When our kids learned to hit a golf ball.

Now tell us about one of your most humbling mom moments?

Being a grown adult and not being able to get our toddler into his carseat. He would down right refuse to get in and would make his body go stiff as a board.

You know you’re a mom when you hear yourself say…

Please make good choices.

Your biggest wish for your kids is…

To grow up and do something they love and live a life without being overly critical of themselves.

No one works harder than mom.

We know that being a mom is a full-time job. Tell us about your work or volunteerism outside of the home.

I volunteer at the school as much as I can. I also give golf lessons a few days a week. Recently, I accepted the women’s head golf coach position at Sheldon High School.

What have you learned professionally, that has helped you as a mom?

Learn to control what you can control because you will encounter plenty of moments that are out of your control.

How do you balance (or not) motherhood, activities, work, volunteering, household responsibilities, and life in general? Typically, what falls through the cracks?

I do my best. The house is never perfectly clean. The laundry is never caught up. I’ve slowly learned to just accept that things will not be perfect.

When was the last time you failed? What did you learn?

I tend to be hard on myself and often feel like I’m failing in several areas whether it be parenting or working on myself. What I have learned is to let go and not worry so much.

If mom’s not happy, nobody’s happy.

Tell us about your upbringing. How did it shape the mother you are today?

I grew up spending a majority of my time outside. Bike rides, picnicking in the park, hiking and learning about every sport or activity I can think of. My parents did an exceptional job of exposing us to a wide variety of activities and it is something I strive to pass onto our kids.

What do you think is the most important life skill or value your parents taught you?

Hard work pays off and be confident in who you are.

When was the last time you did something for the first time?

A year ago I rode in a helicopter over Zion National Park with a good friend.

What is something you will NEVER do again?

Ride in a helicopter.

Which good habit do you wish you started earlier?

Making sure to get enough sleep.

What’s your superpower?

Patience

Tell us something about you that would surprise your kids (or your spouse).

I still dream of playing in a US Open someday.

What keeps you sane?

Being outdoors.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My espresso machine.

Who is your favorite fictional hero?

Snoopy.

Who is your favorite real life hero?

Ellen DeGeneres.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Serve a holiday meal to the homeless.

They say that everyone has a book in them. What’s the title of your book?

Breathe.

Listen to mom.

Is motherhood what you expected? What surprised you the most?

I didn’t have many expectations in regards to motherhood. What surprised me the most was how much I’ve enjoyed being a mom. Times aren’t always easy, but being a parent is so rewarding in so many ways.

What’s the best advice you’ve received from another mom?

Make sure to take care of yourself.

What advice would you give your younger mom self—what do you wish you knew then that you know now?

When parenting, trust yourself. Nobody knows your kids better than you do and you know what is best for them. Put your phone away and be present for them.

What message would you like to share with other moms?

Laugh often!

Time flies. Be present and slow down. Focus on the things that matter. Your kids will never remember how the carrots were cut for Thanksgiving or if the tablecloth was ironed perfectly. They will remember the love and laughter. - Liz Bainter