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December Mom of the Month-Stephanie Ruddell

Tell us about yourself and your family.

I am married to Ryan and we have a daughter, Hannah, who is 14-months old. We live in Bremerton in the Illahee neighborhood.

You're a working mom, tell us about your profession, what you love about your job!

I am a nurse on the medical-neurology unit at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. I love the diversity of the day-to-day work as each shift is different depending on my patients. I also appreciate the versatility within nursing because I can work in many roles and follow a non-traditional work schedule. I was a full-time nurse educator but I decided to reduce my hours after having Hannah. I am lucky to have that flexibility.

What surprised you the most once you became a mom?

I am surprised at my "mommy" sixth sense. It is amazing how in-tune you are to your baby's needs. From a neurological perspective, the brain changes so much during pregnancy and postpartum, which I find fascinating!

Why did you join FIT4MOM? Why do you love it?

l joined Fit4Mom as I really needed an opportunity to connect to other moms and to get a good workout. Exercise is a big stress-release for me so Fit4Mom helps with my sanity as well as gives me a safe place to express my woes/joys/concerns/etc. This mom-community is so open and supporting, whether your child is screaming bloody murder during class or you need any advice on anything related to motherhood.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? If you didn't have any obstacles, what dream would you pursue?

This question made me think! I hope to have another child in the next 5 years. It would be such an accomplishment if I could run a marathon in that time-frame. If I didn't have any obstacles, I would hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail.

What is your favorite go to piece of baby/kid gear?

My family loves to hike so we have used our backpack carrier for many miles. I would recommend any sort of baby carrying gear from wraps to more structured carriers.

Any advice for new moms? What about advice for veteran moms?

For new moms: Don't feel ashamed to ask for help if you are struggling with changes associated with motherhood. And please listen to the old adage, "Sleep when the baby sleeps."

For veteran moms: Don't compare kids as each child is unique in personality and stages of development.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us!

I have a second degree in Spanish. I really enjoy reading bi-lingual books to Hannah.