As a mom of six children, life is undoubtedly busy, but it’s important to make time for one-on-one connections with each of them. What does that look like for your family?
At this stage in their lives, I have to adapt my schedule to theirs! They are busy with careers, sports, and academics. I work to be there to listen or help when they need me. With a large family, there is always someone to grab lunch with, go to a sporting event with, or chill, which is something I love.
You have five boys and one girl—how would you describe your parenting style?
Mike and I try to maintain a healthy balance between allowing our children to make independent decisions and encouraging them to “keep it between the navigational buoys”. We feel it is important to support our children in their varying interests and encourage them to play to their unique talents.
You have kids ranging in various ages and stages. Two married with careers, two more working in their fields, one in college and one in high school. What is it like navigating that?
Exciting! Fun! Never a dull moment. Although it was much more challenging balancing the kids’ lives when they were younger, it has been so rewarding to see our parenting come to fruition. Mike and I find so much joy in sharing in their successes and happiness. Whether buying their first home, getting accepted into college, a sports or academic achievement, a promotion at work, or partaking in the sacrament of marriage, we have loved to watch them grow and succeed.
The new year is here, and a time for planning. Do you have a routine to prevent mom burnout?
My “routine” is not a routine at all. It is necessary not to fall into the trap of feeling like you have to check items off a list. Instead, I evaluate what works best for our unique crew (that’s always a moving target), and I make decisions based on that. I try to assess what is most important in that given moment and offer my energy towards that. One item that’s in my New Year’s plan, and has been in my plan for years and years is starting and ending each day with prayer. It keeps me focused on the end goal of life. Gratitude and prayer are at the top of plans for 2022.
Understandably so, it was difficult for you to let your daughter, Gracie, peel away from your protective arms to college. How are you adjusting to the change?
Honestly, it was tough at first. Since I have five boys and one girl, my relationship with my daughter looks very different from my relationship with the boys. It has been a process to navigate this new normal. It has been so exciting to see her independence and self-assurance. But, still, it’s been challenging to let go. I try to recognize that I have done a big part of my job and allow myself to sit back and watch her success and happiness. This new phase of life makes our shared moments together even more special.
You are a professional photographer and the cover photographer for River Region Parents. Do you find it somewhat daunting to get your kids together for a family photo?
Absolutely. To this day, it is still challenging to get all of the children together for a family photo! As they grow older, I have watched them develop a newfound appreciation for our family photos. We have pictures dating back to before digital photography was accessible, and we feel lucky to have those moments documented.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Live in the moment! I feel it is so important to enjoy the chapter you are in. Don’t try to rush to the end of the book. Those pages turn quickly. Each stage of childhood is beautiful, and you can’t get those days back.
What is the best part about being a mom of a large family?
Well, I can tell you something not great—the laundry! But in all seriousness, the love and support system are the best part of having a large family. In the good times and bad times, our family is there. In addition to my children having Mike and me for support, they can also go to each other for help and advice. Lastly, our family keeps each other humble. We are the first to praise and cheer each other on and the first to call someone out if they need it.
Judy is married to Mike Barranco. The couple has been married for 37 years. Judy is a native of Asheville, NC, and Mike, a native of Birmingham, AL. Both attended Florida State University and have six children.