Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Kingwood?
Hey there, Kingwood Moms community! My name is Janie (Jennie) Selph and I’m mostly known as Fun2Go Misters, the Misters’ Mom or the dinosaur’s Mom. I’m a small town born and raised, but doing big fun things with my crew in Humble since 2009. Technically, the adventures began after having my Big Mister and find invigorating ways to spend time together. Liberty, Dayton, and Hardin were not as quick as Houston to be on the map for immediate service, but right away I knew that I needed to become familiar with what the internet was and how to network with other moms. I was a SAHM while Big Mister was small, we lived in Dayton and my family still lives in Liberty County. I was in a long term relationship with my teenager’s father, but I had to find my way through a nasty separation, being a single-working mom and transitioning into co-parenthood. While the separation and child custody wasn’t an easy quest, it was an experience that lead to so much of my growth and finding my husband. That’s how we ended up in Humble as a new blended family.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
Jacob – AKA Little Mister
Juliana – AKA Little Miss Jurassic
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I wasn’t quite sure what exactly would be mind-blowing for this topic, but I thought I would reach out to the closest source that could help me gather my thoughts and offer you some insight. Based on my husband’s response, he felt that maybe the audience should be aware that I love to rap, especially along with the old school rap that made much more sense than today’s music. It’s not just rap, I am practically across the lyrical spectrum, but brace yourself…no country music. It just isn’t my genre, even though I was raised in the boondocks. Give me anything else and you’ll see my Big Mister immediately cringe with embarrassment over a song and dance combo he knows is about to spark. You better “give me 50 feet” because this chunky mama can not “drop it like it’s hot”, but I can sure bounce to every beat. I’m typically shy for the most part, but once we reach a level of camaraderie, be prepared to witness a bunch of nonsense.
I actually finished school as a Certified Medical Assistant, I was in the early stages of becoming a nurse with the final goal to complete school as an MD and work for the practice I was able to intern and fulfill my medical duties as a CMA. I dabbled a little in art during that school chapter, but it was essentially a hobby. I had to lay my plans to rest on the day my Big Mister called his sitter, “Mommy”; the turning point I never imagined would dictate my agenda. I dropped everything I had dreamed of to be his “Mommy” with the intention to return to school once we were in the elementary phase. Life didn’t concede to my plans, but I have managed to somewhat reinvent a portion of myself that I left back in school through food art. I started practicing with food coloring and freehand cutouts to make food more tempting for my Misters. It grew out of necessity, but I have improved tremendously and am sort of an artsy quesadilla and sandwich connoisseur. One of the perks in disguise over being a mom of a picky eater.
What is your go-to activity for yourself for pampering or for fun?
Leaving the house with the radio on blast in my truck or bicycle. You know, where no one interrupts with a “hey Mom” or “whaaaa” during the best parts of the songs, your untrained cords aren’t able to match the key notes, but you give it your all like nobody was watching? That’s my favorite and such a huge stress reliever because these kids can really test their mama’s patience.
I just recently started bike-riding again, but it is stationary to help me rebuild the stamina I need to bring the toddler along on the bike trailer. As a matter of fact, since I can not leave the toddler behind for too long, we have been visiting a pump track. This allows her to ride her own balance bike and I bring my bicycle along as well to ride through the courses. A pump track is a bike course with hills, dips and elevated sections for bikes or motorcycles. Not your typical “pampering” activity but it gives us space and I don’t have the kid attached to my side. The girl can’t even let me go to the bathroom alone and if I try to leave her in a daycare or at home with family, she cries until she throws up. To be honest, getting away from the kids for a weekend would be the ultimate pampering during this period, but as much as moms tell me to just act on that idea, it is much easier said than done. We have had so many failed attempts because the crying, screaming and throwing up doesn’t stop and it truly is unfair to unleash that wrath on any person.
This is something that not many understand, but it is also the glue to my marriage. Sarcastic humor! Yes, that has literally been the escape to our challenges. Sarcasm and humor. It is sort of my husband’s and I “love language”. We are very fluid communicators in this manner and it helps alleviate the tension or laugh at the moments when our parenting isn’t what we had in mind. Finding the humour in the bad and the ugly is defense mechanism we use to deter us from the negative moments. There can be a pile of poo in the living room, a line of urine to the bathroom and diaper thrown on the floor with the clothing scattered, but one little comment of sarcasm from either one of us quickly shifts the tone and brings us more at ease. If we can’t laugh at each other, then we are taking life too seriously and not allowing ourselves to let go of the unnecessary stress caused by carrying negative energy over trivial hiccups.
Another lesson we learned in the journey of raising a nuero-divergent child was seeing the good from the bad. While there were several obstacles, we embraced the new goals and integrated more fun into skill development that many take for granted. Through slowing down, we were inspired to change our perspective altogether and enjoy the small accomplishments as if they were the big goals. It is never easy to accept a diagnosis that is life altering, but we chose to take the strengths out of the deficiencies to create a conducive environment for our family. It’s not easy, but you have to dig and hold on to patience, it’s a must.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
A little bit about Fun2Go Misters, while I don’t have a blog, I do have an online journal that documents our adventures thanks to these apps that allow us to share life. We do tend to be more private with our intimate, family activities but as Facebook kept growing and I shared some of our outings, I had friends wanting to know more about and forward our posts. I was beginning to become uncomfortable with being “friends” with strangers in a personal space and that is what lead to creating a Facebook page. It was initially called something else because it’s true intention was to be used as a neighborhood info share, but the page kept growing and I revamped the page as Fun2Go Misters. Having Misters 9 years apart and starting to learn more about sensory processing was the focus of sharing family fun activities. What some may not know is that there was a struggle with having children, but during the difficult process of expanding our family; we learned that the chances of even having another one were low and the odds of having a girl were even an extremely lower rate. Therefore, I believed that Fun2Go Misters would be a good fit, since I was raising 2 Misters and we were sharing a portion of our lives with many. Append Instagram to the social media circle and I started to be more open with our IG stories, which created an easier format to be more personal on stories than it was on Facebook. So to avoid redundancy, I have chosen to allocate the Facebook page for upcoming events and sporadic reviews, while adding more of our home and mom talk on Instagram.
I love to promote kindness at home and expect my children to inherit the spirit as they grow up and contribute to society in a fashion that can profoundly impact or encourage paying it forward. One of the bigger ideas we follow is the Kindness Rocks Project. We set up stations at home or at public venues to have friends join us in decorating rocks to hide and leave outdoors for others to find as they are out and about. We like to have the rocks decorated with something positive so that it brings a smile to someone that could use a kind gesture. There is a process to have them sealed for weathering, but it’s always a unique manner to give back to the universe. Along the lines of sharing kindness through rocks, we also like to decorate lunch sacks to be delivered to Kids Meals Houston. It’s an organization that feeds thousands of children and is progressively working on ending child hunger. These two projects allow kids from all ages to lend their art skills for a good cause. If you would like to find out more about either project, please feel free to contact me through email or social media. Keep a lookout in our stories for our next set up so that we can accumulate more art pieces to share in our communities.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
Although I am not able to physically socialize, it helps that every now and then there is some intellectual stimulation from other Moms responding to a post or striking a conversation via one of the platforms. It is an incredibly lonely and underrated job to be a SAHM. Cutting the wings of a social butterfly was not a social isolation action by choice, it is just the way it is for most moms. We fully give ourselves to our homes and being the caretakers for our children. Not only that, we find ourselves being volunteers within the community or schools our children attend so that all needs are met at home and school. I didn’t necessarily know that I was building this community, but I have been honored to meet incredible moms with similar values and call them friends. We have also had the opportunity to help families navigate their way through some of the stages of Autism or sensory processing based on our experiences. Little Mister was evaluated for Autism, but did not qualify to be on the spectrum. Spreading sensory awareness along with the gems our city and beyond has to offer, has been a great way to connect with phenomenal women of various backgrounds. It is rewarding to receive feedback from followers that have taken a piece of information and transformed it to a memory or gain of any level. Of course, you can’t beat the amount of friendships built on social media that later become extensions in real life.
What is the best advice for juggling mommyhood and running a business (or volunteering, working, etc)?
I am not always the best at planning ahead, but it is the best advice that I can give to anyone in any position. I have been working harder at portraying this life manner to my boys. One is soon to be moving out and he needs to learn that planning ahead is a skill he must adapt to so that he can become successful in life.
I also suggest to write down ideas, notes and reminders. This is a tangible and tactile ability that is imperative for proper time management, which is more impressionable than texting into a gadget. Sometimes going back to basics is key.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Parenting books do not prepare you for parenthood, but they do help, just know to absolutely “expect the unexpected”. You don’t have to let yourself go, keep as much of yourself as you can during the changes in life.
What is your proudest mommy moment?
When our baby girl was due to make her entrance, I felt so much anxiety and was stressed over how I would be able to bridge the age gaps in bonding. Here is our third child and introduction to having a little sister in the family with Misters much older. I felt it was going to be a rocky transition as we adjusted to so many changes, but I was wrong, she has two built-in body-guards by default. It is more common to have my Misters throw a fit over asking them to bond with their sister, but once they get over their tantrum, it is evident that my trio can be marvelous given the right scenario. These mentally captured events are by far and in between, but nonetheless, it’s those moments that make you forget about previously getting on to the kids a few seconds prior to euphoria taking over your state of mind. Too bad they can’t let you live there more often, but definitely proud moments to cherish.
Greatest gift about being a mom?
The greatest gift about being a mom is the glow of joy, no, I can’t even say that with a straight face.Being a mom is…exhaustive! Great, but geez it takes a toll. To be honest, the first time around was essentially the easiest out of all 3 kids. Even then, there were a separate set of struggles. However, while being a Mom does have it’s joyous benefits, I will have to say that the best gift has been “mom intuition”. During Little Mister’s repeated sick visits and not choosing to accept that a variety of my concerns were dismissed as him “being a boy”. Issues surfaced with the persistent ear infections and intuition motivated me to pursue answers that would help us find a solution. After going through practically a majority of the doctor staff at our pediatric office, we finally met someone that gave us the referral to consult with an ENT. We discovered that our little guy had a hearing deficit and his frustrating outbursts stemmed from being unable to communicate. Immediately, we had our first set of ear tubes procedure and almost within minutes, the sensory issues were becoming evident as sound was now a working function for Little Mister. Thereafter, we were presented with the challenge of moving into the next phase and we decided that speech therapy was our next move. This is all new territory for us and we had limited information to base our decision making, which led us to having the worst experience at our first visit. I will not disclose where we encountered our first appointment with a speech therapist, but it was an absolute gut punch entering special needs parenting. We can bypass a couple of chapters and move on to exploring our new world of sensory processing disorder. To some, it’s known as “almost Autism”, which means that we have several of the minor diagnoses found associated with Autism. Sensory Processing Disorder can also be a diagnosis on it’s own, but like Autism, has a spectrum of sensory feedback. We learned so much from our Neurologist and Occupational Therapist, which is how we landed with Speech Therapist #4. Yep, third time was not indeed not a charm, but our fourth Speech Therapist was just so magical and englightning for our family. Beyond our pivotal meeting, we gradually began to harmonize with a team and school that would catapult fundamentals we thought were lost for Little Mister. Could you imagine a childhood without imagination? That is how my Little Mister lived his young life and it was my mission to seek solutions to nurture play and creativity. During ages 1-5, our Little Mister underwent ear surgeries for tubes placement or removal. This experience has also given me the tools and ideas on how to raise a rambunctious toddler that could possibly also have some sensory defenses herself.
Moms, I plead with my whole heart that if you sense a lack of development, don’t stop until you find a solution. Ours is still an ongoing venture, but we have made tremendous leaps with sacrifice and tenacity. It is imperative that you follow your heart and instinct, it’s a superpower that ignites our brainpower to be supermoms.
Best mom hack that makes momming easier?
Mom hack to live by. By this, I mean, do not let curated feeds dictate your value, self worth or interfere with your self esteem. We all love to share in the areas we shine on because we are more comfortable with sharing the good. Don’t let Karen’s pristine kitchen make you feel any less because you have dishes in the sink. Don’t let Brenda’s healthy choices make you love yourself any less because you had a taco. Don’t let Janie’s fun foods deter you from sending lunchables, I send them too from time to time. Adhere to life as you feel suits you best. Be the best Mother on your terms! When I share the ugly, that’s when most of the moms share their chaos and feel better about having those bad moments knowing they are not alone.
Fun foods – get creative in the kitchen if you have picky eaters, it is not full proof, but it has encouraged more bites from my kids.
Vertical writing/drawing – I know many feel like this is only for sensory kids, but is not and neither are most therapeutic activities, they are super effective for proper development. In this case, spatial awareness, motor skill planning, fine motor control manipulation and creativity expression. Buy dry erase or window color tools; let the kids draw on a window, you can use dry erase vinyl decals to place on a fridge or wall to use while you try to cook dinner or wash the dishes. There are also chalkboard decals that can be placed and removed for kids to write or create art pieces as you need a tiny break. (This has also been great for writing, math & reading.)
Balloons – These are great to have and a cheap tool to leave in your purse or car. Not only used for celebrations, but a balloon can be used to have the kids shake those wiggles out. You can add a racquet and have them play balloon tennis with each other or a wall, which helps with gross motor skills and exerting energy. There are tons of activities that can occupy the kids while you have a sip of coffee in the morning.
Extras – Keep an extra set of clothes, diapers, wipes, hand towel, small toys, bubbles and stickers stashed in your car or stroller! Accidents happen and way too many times, those extras become life savers. In the summer, if you have littles, just keep a towel, wet suit, plastic bag and water shoes in case you come across parks with splash pads because sometimes spontaneity plays a role in not being prepared.
Social media is an incredible source, follow hashtags and find groups with common topics to help you navigate through parenting, school or health encounters. There are communities of moms ready to share their story and help with information.
CFA app- download the Chick-fil-A app. You can order ahead of time for pick up, order as you plan to dine in from your table and even have food delivered if Timmy didn’t take a lunch.
Gas station apps – download gas station apps from stations you typically use for those quick runs you forget your wallet and you can pay from your phone.
Food delivery apps! Plan for dinner to be delivered on days you just can’t make it in time or don’t have the energy.
I’m a SAHM, but my husband has shown me how much unnecessary anxiety can be prevented from outsourcing a few things.
The best hack of all time has been bringing home some of the therapy activities into our home and including them in a daily routine. Big Mister wasn’t the best student, but once I had him complete a couple of therapy routines with his brother in the mornings, even his behavior improved because both Misters were working out the jitters prior to school bells ringing.
Not as life altering as you’d think for a hack, but these have been great plans of actions in momming my misters and their sister.
What’s your favorite part about what you do?
I am elated and beyond thankful for the Moms that value, respect and support our social growth. It has been an added bonus to creating this virtual means of communication. In addition, meeting new people and being exposed to the diversity in our grand melting pot has been great for picking up tips to try at home. I commend moms raising creatures based on a variety of elements and recognize we are all trying to find our ways. We handle motherhood differently and I think it is safe to say that we are all also “losing our shit’ along the way. Those are the moments I relish in sharing while we talk about how hard it is to be a mom; when we are raw about our emotions and not afraid to share real life vs reality, it makes another mom feel relatable. (Set the judging aside, it makes life less complicated and more pleasant to converse when speaking from the heart.)
I am enthusiastic over the abundance of things to do around us, so I enjoy discussing with people about our finds and being able to provide assistance with whatever is within my realm. To be quite frank, it is also remarkable to find followers in person and catch up on posts or details we have seen on each other’s feed. Those are the best and it sort of gives me a reason to keep a virtual active stream for those invested in following our stories. I can only hope that something along the way was a piece of wisdom, hack, fun or inspiring in some way. I appreciate the voice we have been given and outlets to be heard, not a voice of authority, just a mom here for the conversation.
What is your favorite thing to do in the HKA area?
Now that Little Mister is attending a school closer to home and we are no longer on the road for 5 hours a day for school commute, this has allowed more time to explore HKA. Here are two of our favorite things.
Hiking the trail to John Jacob’s Observation tower at the Sheldon Lake Houston State Park for a picnic at the top of the tower and overlooking the cities that surround us.
Did you know that there was a dinosaur park in Kingwood? It is known as that by my crew, but it is the Infinity Science Park at Pines Montessori. Yes, it is open to the public, but only in the evenings or when not in use by the school in the evenings. Just make sure you abide by their rules. Feel free to bring a picnic, have dinner and let the kids play to wrap up a day on a fun note.