San Diego Mom Spotlight: Coffee and Sweets with Amy


As a writer, you often learn that you are not the only one who has a story to tell.

Therefore, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog post towards sharing a story about an everyday San Diego Mom.

Amy is a childhood friend of mine from the beautiful desert city of Phoenix. We always kept in touch in some way all those years ago – and now our paths intersect in lovely San Diego. On a hot September morning, I meet Amy at Nutmeg Café and Bakery, in the otherwise quiet suburb of Sabre Springs.

Even before we walk in, she makes a comment that makes me laugh. Her big blue eyes sparkle beyond her eyeglasses as we admire the pastries and sweets out to tempt us behind a glass window.

Now, I said otherwise quiet, because Nutmeg is a happening place among suburbia’s hipsters and stay at home moms. Lots of organic, gluten-free, and vegan options.

Amy has a quality that I think you will find quite powerful in today’s culture: she actually listens and respects all opinions. She obviously forms her own perspectives. But she remains a safe place for open and honest dialogue.

I ask her what being a San Diego Mom is like.

She mentions that since she has been a mom both in Seattle and San Diego, she can make a pretty good comparison. One thing that really surprised her from the start was how nice people are here, “They actually show up to parties!” 

Betweens sips of her latte, she remembers when she tried to create a Meetup for moms of autistic children in Seattle. Disappointingly, no one would come. Conversely, she was pleasantly surprised at the number of support groups available here in San Diego. One in particular: the Autism Society of San Diego. She couldn’t believe it: people would actually go to support group parties and events.

“I really think it’s because of the weather. I mean, how can you not be happy here?” Her laughter rings out during the last portions of that statement.

I then ask her what she thought about having been a stay at home mom as a graduate student versus now, as a mom that works outside the home.

“It’s both good and bad, because you have the flexibility, which is so nice when your kids are little and so many things come up, it’s also hard because I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to and because my husband was the one working, I’m not getting paid, so of course I’m the one that has to take them to daycare…so there’s always something getting you out of your schedule.”

I ask her what are the biggest joys of being a parent she has experienced.

“Seeing the world through their eyes. Their amazement in life.”

She talks of those seemingly small achievements, that came with great struggle. Like when her son finally put his head underwater at swim class. Amid quiet parents on their phones, she wanted so much to cheer and celebrate.

I go on to inquire what would she say are the biggest struggles of being a parent.

She talks about mom guilt. As a mom, you assume certain things for your child. And when you find out they’re different, you feel bad because your assumptions or expectations need to change. And then you feel guilty for feeling bad! Amy came to realize how silly it is to hold on to these beliefs when life happens.

She exclaims with conviction: “He (her child) is perfect the way he is!”

There is a short pause, and then mentions a time she had to take her son to school after having been sick all week, but was technically “well enough” for school. He was still sniffling and probably could have used a snuggle at home with mom or dad. But dad was at work, and mom had to attend class.

She says she listened to a song from Jars of Clay called “Lift Me Up” after dropping him off. After years of giving no thought to God at all, in fact, denying His very existence, she suddenly found herself asking Him for help,

”To lift me up.”

Amy has a BS in Electrical Engineering, as well as her Masters in both Electrical Engineering and Economics, along with a PhD in Economics.

In addition, she volunteers with a division of IEEE called the Humanitarian Activities group. This division of IEEE basically provides technological solutions for people in need throughout the world.

Amy beams as she talks about “Smart Villages” in developing countries, even connecting people on the Galápagos Islands.

She’s also gotten involved with Catholic Charities and Border Angels, to immerse herself in their work, and see how IEEE can help.

I’ll be honest, it’s really easy for people who do nothing but judge from the sidelines of social media posts, to make this about politics. But Amy illustrates that this is about basic human decency, and putting action to our ideals.

This is why Dr. Amy, also known simply as “Mom” to her babes, is a thinker and a do-er; a modern day heroine.

There is a hero in all of us; who is yours? 


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