Mom to Know: Amber Kilts
The best part of ending a month? We get to introduce you to another fantastic mom in our community. This month’s Mom-to-Know is Amber Kilts:
Tell us a little about you and your family.
AK: We are a free-spirited family with a passion for community & new experiences! My husband, Jake, & I have four fabulous kiddos—Vera (7), Emmett (6), Lilah (4), & Alley (2). We homeschool (was never the plan, but loving it!), and we are starting our new homesteading journey on our long-awaited acre! That includes the spring chicks coming next month & huge garden plans for next year!
Before kids, I taught kindergarten, then went to full-time nanny/household manager, and we started a successful landscape business. After our second was born (a few weeks from Irish twins!), in 2016, we started our real estate business, and I quit my day job. We decided to go against the “sales tactics” grain and put everything into hosting fun, family-friendly events in Naperville to meet people and bond with our community. We hosted everything from themed kids’ events with crafts and characters to mom’s night out wine & wreath making. We met so many incredible people, and our real estate business grew. Once The Big Germ, as my littles called it, hit, we changed gears like the rest of the world. We threw everything into purchasing, remodeling, and renting out homes. We bought five homes in 3 years, invested all of our time & energy into them (my husband did most of the work himself!), and moved four times with our four littles. Was it the most chaotic, wild ride ever? Yes. Was it worth it? Definitely yes! We are now in our forever home and never moving again—but no one believes us!
Our focus has now shifted again to family & friends, our real estate business, and our little suburban farm. Check out Free Range Mama of Naperville if you would like to pop over for our Baby Chick Experience or other upcoming fun homesteading events!
What part of parenting do you find the most challenging and the part that is most rewarding?
AK: The most challenging part of momming has been giving up control and allowing for as much independence as their age will allow. I think it is vitally important to their well-being, to growing children who can make their own good decisions, but it is hard not to just do things for them! My parenting style has changed as we have added each baby to the mix, and after baby #3 was born, I naturally had to give up a lot of control. I am so thankful for it because it has made me a better parent. If they aren’t in danger or being unkind, we do our best to let them do whatever it is they are doing.
The most rewarding part of parenthood has been seeing the deep bond they have with each other. We have ensured they know that we value caring for the people you love. They try to cheer each other up when they are sad. They help each other when they are frustrated with a task or new skill they are trying to learn. They stop being immersed in something if someone gets hurt. These moments are the sweetest, and raising kind, compassionate children is our number one goal.
What has surprised you most about being a mom?
AK: I didn’t know you could have four children that are completely different from one another. I thought they would have to at least have some similarities! I also didn’t realize I would have to parent them differently so often. I have two bachelor’s degrees in Family & Child Development & Elementary Education, and I STILL was shocked to find out I constantly have to shift how I am parenting based on their personalities and ages. I have one that will negotiate all day, one that won’t say a word when he is mad, one that is inconsolable when upset, and the baby is so very sensitive. All of that nature vs. nurture is so interesting to me.
How do you rate your “mom guilt” level on a scale from 1-10. Explain.
AK: I am guilty of having a lot of mom guilt. I would rate it a solid seven most days, and that is an improvement! Having four is hard because I want to give them all individual and group attention, but I also have to do a lot of other tasks each day! I do a lot of the backend work for our business, so I have to jump on the computer throughout the day, and I just want to play! Logically I know I should not feel guilty as I am so lucky I get to be home with them, and this is truly something that I am prioritizing working on because I know it is just silly! They have each other, a dog, and a cat, and they are probably happy to have a minute away from me!
Who inspires you and why?
AK: The people who can work out daily and make healthy eating choices consistently inspire me. Being so busy in this modern world makes it tough, and I am in awe of them. Health has been a priority since we got settled this fall, and I am learning to take small steps to improve daily. Our habits have drastically changed, and I love learning from the moms that are killing it in this department!
Do you have a favorite hobby or activity that you intentionally make time for each week?
AK:< I am an Aries. I change my hobby of choice often and passionately get involved in a new one! Right now, I am VERY into my chicken project. I have also been enjoying committing to going to dinner/yoga/brunch with my few groups of girlfriends monthly. Life has slowed down a lot in the last few months, and my last baby is now 2, so I am getting a lot more of this time lately. It’s delightful.
If someone would describe you in one word, what would it be?
Fill in the blank: If I had one week to myself, I would ______ and ______.
AK: If I had one week to myself, I would travel somewhere I haven’t been yet and go on a walking/eating/wine tour of the city.
Any life lessons you would like to share?
AK: Just do it. Jump in. Figure out the tiny details later. If you are passionate about it, start, and your passion will bring you where you need to go. There is never “a perfect time” to do anything. The time is now. Enjoy the journey, even if it’s hard. Even if you don’t have the money.
My husband taught me this. I was more of a planner. I didn’t want to take risks. He would bring me a new big idea, and I would dissect the tiny details until it was no longer feasible. Somewhere along the way, I realized this is not how dreams are actualized. Figure out the details along the way. If you are in it, you are forced to do so. It’s funny because I am now generally the riskier one between my husband and I. He taught me well.
Words of wisdom for new moms?
AK: Don’t buy the baby gates (ok, buy the one for the stairs). Let your kids explore and teach them boundaries consistently. Let them bang on the pots and pans, shake everything in the pantry, take all the books off the shelf, and throw all the pillows off the couch. Let them “fold” laundry with you, and put their shoes on backward, and make pancakes with eggshells inside. If it’s dangerous or unkind, correct them. Otherwise….Let Them Explore.