Have you ever wanted to throw your kids a birthday party where they made their own cupcakes and followed it up with a dance party, but you wanted to avoid the clean-up? Have you been looking for a weekly summer camp where your kids can focus on gardening, pets, or even a Hawaiian Luau? Or are you just looking for a place to participate in messy art and creative play with your toddler and other parents? This month’s Runit mom can make all of this happen for you! Ms. Suzanne is the owner and imaginative mind behind The Little Green Tambourine, a self-described healthy living creative arts studio. She is a mom of three, a teacher, and a rock star at heart.
Suzanne’s Runitlikeamom Run-Down:
* I have three children: Hailey 19, Hunter 14, and Sarah 11
* I started The Little Green Tambourine six years ago. Before that I was a Nanny. I never had a job that didn’t involve children. I was a doula…I put myself through college when I was a mom and I became a certified Ed teacher. I have a head teacher certification, and I specialized in music and movement with kids. Way back in high school I used to skip a lot of history classes but you could always find me down in the child development wing. Basically, when I was 12 I would always be with my nieces and nephews and cousins…I’ve never done anything without kids.
* I think I’m a very healthy person. I try to be as active as I possibly can. I love yoga – that is the biggest thing…Pilates and a lot of dancing; I dance every day with the kids, and I roller skate every week.
* A while ago I wanted to do a marathon. When I run I hear my knees cracking, so it would feel good to be able to accomplish that even if I walk it, at some point. Right now it’s unreasonable for me to do that because I have so many other things and I kind of already feel like I’m running a marathon some days. I just want to move and be healthy and do what I can do while I’m young.
There will be a day where everything is going to hurt and I’m going to sit down in my chair and not feel guilty about not doing anything because I’ll know that I did what I could when I could.
* Funny things my kids said or did…everyday there is something!
Hailey is a quiet, shy girl who is very artsy… One time one of her teachers said they gave the class an index card and said, how can you fit yourself through this? And she was able to do it – she cut in a way that she could do it!
Hunter has Asperger’s. He is really high functioning; he’s in a great high school (EC Goodwin)…He’s never loved school as much as he loves it now. He’s doing what he wants to do when he grows up (HVAC). He will talk to you about converters… he builds stuff…he can take a fan apart and turn it into a light…he’s amazing.
Sarah is your typical sporty 11 year-old who does her hair in the morning. I’m in trouble with that one!
* If I were stranded on an island with my kids I would bring: my guitar, a knife, so we can make stuff, and a book “Island Survival for Dummies.”
* Favorite indulgence? Food…My whole idea of eating healthy has changed, and it’s been a progression…I eat lots of nuts, eggs, fish – my favorite night out would be sushi. I really don’t eat lots of carbs (bagels or bread)…I don’t get crazy, you have to let yourself live. If I really need something and it’s driving me crazy I think my body knows that I need it. If I find myself needing it a lot, then I need to evaluate.
You’re involved in a lot of fundraising for Autism, can you talk about that?
Every year we do the walk for autism and Hunter is there, he helps. I donate my time and I do little puzzle piece pins they can wear, and I blow bubbles 🙂
When was Hunter diagnosed?
At 15 months Birth through Three started coming. He would put blocks around him…total text book but I never saw it and I’ve always worked with kids. I’m such an emotional person, to have a child that’s not attached to you, and he just wasn’t. He is now, he loves his mommy. I tuck him in every night.
Can you talk about being a business owner with younger children?
I waited until Sarah was in kindergarten before I went back to work, and I didn’t want to get just any job…I tried doing Pre-K but it wasn’t for me. I happened to meet someone when I was working there and she gave me the courage – I’m not sure I would have done it with her, maybe someday but not at that time. We just decided one day we were going to do this, and we ran with it…I would try to get up super early before the kids got up – get my brain together, have my coffee, start my day. Before I’d go to bed I’d have everything planned – coffee almost ready to press brew, any little thing, the kids’ lunches made the night before (they make it now).
You have a nut-free environment and are very allergy aware, why did you make that choice?
I became aware of the peanut allergy when I was teaching Pre-K. The director’s daughter had a peanut allergy and I was going to do a sensory table with nuts in it…I had taught cooking classes at the YMCA and we made peanut brittle and I just didn’t get it. But then one day her little girl broke out because someone in the building opened a jar of peanut butter.
So, when I was starting my own business I thought, why would I have to change anything? Why don’t I just do it right? Why do we have to have nuts? … That was the rule from the very beginning. We decided we were going to do everything all natural and organic when possible.
Your business has grown significantly in the past couple of years, how are you balancing that?
I now have my daughter working with me full-time. We have a lot of fun and when she’s not doing something right I can just tell her!
You and your daughter seem like you’re a great team.
We’ve always had an amazing relationship. She’s totally different from me, but she does what she’s asked and she cares about my business. She likes kids, doesn’t want to have any of her own, probably because she watched me go through everything…but she’s been my saving grace.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
I would like to see more locations, and I’d like to figure out how to take what I have and make it something someone else could do…I’d love to work with a dance instructor – that would be amazing!
Do you have any advice for new moms? Working moms? Moms who are starting their own business?
Don’t forget about your friends. I didn’t think it was a priority for me to come home from work and not be with my kids, yet you have to! I sacrificed the social aspect, and when you’re really having a bad day and you want to just decompress, sometimes I just think if I just spoke to someone for 5 minutes, I would feel so much better! When it’s just you, you have no way of venting that. It can be really unhealthy, what do you do with all of that? Who do you turn to? You can’t keep all that inside.
Just knowing other working parents, and not getting caught up in the whole “my kid does this class, my kid does that.” It doesn’t matter. Every one parents in a different way, and I try so hard not to judge. You’re seeing a snippet of that person’s day, and you don’t know what they’ve been through…Friends can help you with that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would secretly love to be a rock star.
Thank you, Suzanne, for taking the time to sit-down with us. We think you rock already! If you’re interested in supporting Suzanne and her efforts for autism, check out Autism Speaks.
And now, what we’ve all been waiting for…Suzanne’s Giveaway! Leave us a comment to enter for your chance to win a gift certificate for one Open Play session at her studio in Canton!!! Check out her website, The Little Green Tambourine for her class schedule.
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