This is by far the biggest honor I’ve had in quite some time. Being an insta-mom is the biggest blessing and personal growth experience of my life and I’m eternally grateful to have three amazing kids that love me for me. Thank you Ashlea of Louisville It Mom for sharing this massive aspect of my life.
When choosing our representative for ‘It Mom of the Month’, we focus the feature on someone who fully embodies Louisville It Mom’s mission, but also different types of mothers. An “it mom” doesn’t have the same definition for everyone, it’s all about personal soul searching into yourself and truly finding, being, and owning who you are in addition to your role as a mother. I met our choice late last year in Feet to the Fire Writers Workshop. (You know the one I’m always talking about and encouraging anyone and everyone to attend.) Writing is a passion we both share, and a common interest that started our friendship.
As a fellow local blogger I had began searching for other local bloggers when I moved to Louisville. I had came across her blog, Bella of Louisville (named by her insta-daughter) and truly enjoyed how she chose to be so open and really put herself out there into the world. She is very raw and real and that takes a lot of guts and vulnerability to share yourself in that way.
I feel lucky to call her a friend as she is such an ideal role model for anyone, me included, still trying to figure it all out, but having the determination and tenacity to go after your dream life… to be a goal digger!
This woman completely gives all of herself in everything she encounters. She is all in with everything she cares about, she is a phenomenal listener, friend, philanthropist, and “insta-mom”. She is loving, passionate, incredibly kind, giving, and she truly has the heart of gold- which goes suitably well with her glittering throwing power she sprinkles all over her family, friends, and the city we all call home, Louisville.
I’m sure most of you are familiar with this stunner of a woman, but if you’re not, you’ll be glad to get to know a little insight into a beautiful human being, my dear new friend, our April/May ‘It Mom of the Month’- Bella Portaro Kueber.
• The Interview •
LIM: Describe yourself in 3 words.
BPK: Kind. Compassionate. Inspiring.
LIM: How do you find passion?
BPK: Passion sparks for me every single day. I find it in books I read. The music I listen to. The friends I surround myself with. Everything.
I joke that I can explode with kittens, puppies, and sunshine. But the reality is that I have to work at it. I have to keep myself surrounded with positivity every single day. If there’s a negative aspect than it wears me down and pushes me into a reclusive state.
My passion is fueled by my glittery outlook, which is manifested in the positive space of life.
LIM: How has becoming a mother changed your life?
BPK: Everything changes our lives if we’re open and willing to let it do so. Being a mother has been in my nature since I was very young. I take care of others; it’s what I was born to do.
The kids all add individual positives to my life. It’s an extreme honor to co-parent them and watch them blossom throughout different phases.
LIM: What is your goal as a mother?
BPK: This is so hard to answer because the goal is a variety of hopes that are put into one goal. The best way to answer with all of them combined is that I want to help raise them to be the very best people they can be. Parenting means you’re creating these little people that will be adults in the real world one day. You don’t want to release them unless they are aware, compassionate, hardworking, loving, open, and so much more.
LIM: What does being an “it mom” mean to you?
BPK: Gosh, I think we’re all an “it mom” in our own way. There isn’t a mama or insta-mom that isn’t trying her best to be the best mom and human that she can be.
The days I feel like I’m an “it-mom” are when I’m completely present. I own my own social media management company and I’m a blogger. Those two things keep me plugged-in and on my phone or laptop quite often and I work really hard to not lose my identity of the person I am. However, I am now an insta-mom too so it’s important to be present for them. The balance is an ongoing quest for me and always will be. I love both parts of my life and they both make me very happy.
An “it mom” is strong, compassionate, caring, hardworking, loving, and fierce. She works for what she wants and is building a life of substance for her children. I don’t know a mom that doesn’t fall into that realm. Women are so strong! It’s beautiful to take a step back and think about that.
LIM: Tell me about “insta-mom”.
BPK: Before I got married I had only fur-kids; two kitties and one pup. I was around my insta-kids for a few years before I married their dad but I knew that the marriage would place me into a different realm in the kids’ minds.
I had to throw myself into their life for the occasional carpooling, live-in babysitting, activities chairperson, cheerleader, professional errand runner, constant sock picker-upper, behavior influencer, and the reminder of positivity … A light maker of sorts.
I joke that I had become an insta-mom because my life changed dramatically the day I said vows to my husband and insta-kids. But the truth is that I’m all in, instantly.
LIM: What does being a new stepmother/insta-mom mean to you? (Let’s cross out stepmother, Bella is way better than that ;) )
BPK: That word “stepmother” makes me cringe, I had a few stepdads and they weren’t the best to me so I place that word on those experiences and Disney kind of ruined my ideas of stepmothers, so insta-mom seems much more fitting for my journey.
The definition of the word mother is a woman in relation to a child or children to whom she has given birth.
The action of being a mother, which is truly an art form, is bring up a child with care and affection.
I’m the bi-weekly insta-mom that tries to the best of my abilities to be loving, caring, spiritual, compassionate, creative, empathetic, helpful, fun, hardworking, humble, inspiring, kind, and positive.
I truly try to be the best me that I can be so they will allow my life to inspire theirs and I pray that their connection to me will allow them to seek guidance from me because they trusts me and for them to lean on me when they need a friend or a mom-ish mentor.
That’s what my role is in their life. If I’m at my best, then they’re going to be able to observe my life and my role in theirs and hopefully emulate the best parts one day.
LIM: How do you wind down, or stay balanced?
BPK: Walking in Cherokee Park makes me feel intoxicated on life. On a sunny day there isn’t anything comparable. My husband and I walk throughout the park all the time. I just love every little thing about it. Taking my love for the park and mixing it with being a KDF Marathon/miniMarathon Ambassador requires to me train. I’ve also taken up yoga in the last 9 months and it’s become my favorite way to unwind and makes my mind and body stronger.
If either of those fail, my guy makes me an Old Fashioned.
LIM: Where is your favorite spot to write?
BPK: Anywhere quiet … I have hid in my closet and written before. Not kidding. I had to get away and write for my sanity. It was the best option at that moment.
Any other time, I prefer my office. It explodes with glitter, positivity, and happiness. It’s my oasis of creativity in the chaos of life.
LIM: What is on your bucket list?
BPK: I have a growing bucket list. I add things to it and take things off of it quite frequently. Every day I try to push myself to do something that borders on where my comfort zone is. I love doing things that I’m afraid of. It shows me that I can do whatever I want to do; I just have to be willing and open enough to do it.
Staying open is half the battle. The other half is battling my generalized anxiety disorder. Our minds can trick us into believing that we can’t do things that bring us the feelings of fear. Unless it’s a life-threatening event, I push myself.
I’m not an excellent swimmer, so getting into the ocean scares me because I’m not sure if I would survive. I plan on changing that this summer and pushing myself to learn how to swim. It sounds so silly buy I don’t want to limit what I do and have it impact my insta-kids.
Kids see everything we do and everything we don’t do. I want to live a life of adventure and willingness to remain open at all times, that’s a unique bucket list in itself.
LIM: How do the kids inspire you?
BPK: I’m going to cry as I explain this. *Sigh, here we go.
My insta-kids are amazing creatures. They’re happy because the sun is out but they’re willing to play in the rain. They’re curious about everything and know no boundaries on life until we tell them about them.
They love everything till they experience a negative factor about it. They approach situations with an open mentality ready to try something new or to try and try again.
They create bonds that we forget to do as adults. They teach us handshakes, dances, new words, new ideas, and then they look to us for guidance.
At moments I don’t know if they inspire me more than I inspire them but I’m grateful for it. The life they put into my journey is far more than I even imagined possible. I’m blessed beyond belief for their love in my life.
LIM: Talk about Good Girls and how it came about, and why it’s important to remain relevant.
BPK: Good Girls started as joke. Literally.
To make a long story short, a guy I thought was a friend told my pal Al and I that we were debutantes. When I stared at him and asked why he put us in that weird label he said that it’s because “You’re always out and about, smiling, and having fun. You all are just good girls.”
I laughed and felt agitated. At that time, the life I posted online didn’t reflect every second of my existence. During that era I was going through a huge amount of heartache and sadness. If I would have posted about the reality of the situation, it would be a drain on everyone that followed me and that’s not who I am.
I want to inspire light not darkness.
So that night Allison Myers, Elizabeth Myers, and I were at dinner and decided to make a joke of it and call ourselves “The Good Girls Club” because we’d rather make a joke of ourselves than allow others to do so. Ever since then we decided to make our group about what the joke was; we want to be girls that promote good in other girls lives and in the city we all love.
We don’t strive for relevancy. Good is always relevant past the trends. Good prevails bad any day of the week! Long live The Good Girls of the world!
LIM: Being a philanthropist, what cause has remained close to your heart- why?
BPK: Everything cause makes me cry because I have all the feels and my empathy for others runs rampant. When I envision myself in someone else’s shoes then I instantly have to volunteer for the cause.
Once kids came into my life, bi-weekly in a physical sense, I realized that I had to pick and choose what causes I will volunteer for because I’m not Wonder Woman. I have to save myself from the flame of wanting to be everything for everyone because I can’t function that way.
With all that being said, I have narrowed my causes down to Blessings in a Backpack, Animal Care Society, and I’m looking into different organizations that are close to my life because of my mother’s battles with brain tumors and her brain injury, along with my autoimmune diseases of Crohn’s and Colitis.
LIM: What upcoming project are you most excited about?
BPK: I have a mixed plate of projects that I’m excited about. One is a project that I’m working with my husband. It’s for container homes in the Germantown/ Schnitzelburg area. It’s exciting to be a part of such an innovative concept.
LIM: What does being vulnerable mean to you and why do YOU think it’s important for people to feel and experience?
BPK: Vulnerability is essential and uncomfortable. Who wants to show people the places that we’ve been hurt? No one. Telling people what hurts and how it hurts is super scary but when we share our raw vulnerable realities and feelings, we invite other people to do the same.
This cultivates a connection that isn’t on the surface because it’s in the fiber of who we are.
We can live and die without being vulnerable but it’s not a wholehearted life because we all have walls we strategically build to save us from not sharing our pain, yet they become the same walls that will ultimately isolate us away from everyone else.
Break the walls. Share your life; the good, the bad, and everything else. We’re not going to get of here alive so we might as well make the best of it and try to live free and vulnerable. I promise it’s safe out here in the vulnerable sea. Take a deep breath, let it go, and jump.
LIM: What is your piece of advice for other moms trying to find their passion, or themselves through motherhood?
BPK: Dig into who you are and go from there. If you know your strengths you can use them to get you through anything.
Motherhood isn’t for the faint at heart. You have to be strong and power through life so your kids can watch you be resilient through the rough patches.
Also, you must be forgiving with yourself. You’re a human being, which means you are not bullet proof. You have to take time for yourself and forgive the moments where you could have been better. Just note the moment for what it was and keep on trucking.
The show must go on and you must lead it with confidence, a compassionate heart and an open mind.
How amazing is this woman? I feel so blessed she has come into my life, and I can call her a friend. She truly is a remarkable role model for all women, and I hope you all can see the inspirational care and love she spills out onto her family, friends, and our beautiful home … the city of Louisville.
What a bright light! She can teach us all a little something on “throwing glitter” into our life and all around us. Be sure to follow her on Instagram and Twitter for a daily dose of happy and/or inspiration.