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Meet Diamond | DSH

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Category: Adoptable Pets

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Movin’ and shakin’ NOLA mamas: Lauren Darnell of Son of a Saint

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Mother’s Day might be over, but we’re celebrating NOLA mamas all month long!
Lauren Darnell (Son of Saint) and Tenzin (3 years old)
As the Director of Partnerships & Programming for one of our favorite organizations, Son of a Saint, NOLA mom Lauren Darnell is not only busy making sure the Son of Saint boys are taken care, she’s also busy raising one -- her three-year-old son Tenzin! And Lauren is loving it…especially doing it in the city she also loves!
“A New Orleans Mother is adaptable and amazing,” Lauren mused. “She explores and exposes her children to all the sensorial experiences New Orleans has to offer -- art, culture, people, music, and food. A New Orleans mom goes with the flow and can traverse any scene, from an outdoor movie to riding a carousel to a party at the New Orleans Museum of Art to miniature golf to live music to street car rides to the lazy river at the Zoo. New Orleans moms get that not a lot is needed for a great time; the city is our playground!”

Raising three-year-old Tenzin has been an incredible journey for Lauren. “Tenzin is a playful, creative, intelligent, caring and wonderful child,” smiled Lauren. “He is clever and curious about life and the world. He loves trains, train tracks, rocks, the color red, rock and roll, and being outside. Tenzin and I are outside as much as we can be, enjoying, exploring, or simply just being.”
She continued, “I love discovering new things and having new experiences with him. It is great to see what he gets excited about -- planes in the sky, Aerosmith, a big yellow bus, or even tacos!  I smile when I think about how he says ‘thank you’ and tells me when he’s upset or happy. I love hearing about his day and I smile thinking about him because he brings so much joy to my life. I learn from him and I am thankful I get to experience life with him.” 
For a child who loves being outside, Tenzin attends the perfect school for him to excel. “Tenzin attends St. Martin’s Episcopal George Cottage,” Lauren explained. “We selected their program for their Reggio Emilia approach to learning, which is play-inspired learning. He is outside for most of the day, which he loves, and he gets to develop his interests as the teacher supports whatever activities the students have a natural interest in. The curriculum evolves and is organic. I have seen him develop and grow with great creative support in a loving environment.” 
As a working mother, Lauren notes that routine and self-care are imperative. “I think children are a reflection of you. You have to eat well, sleep well, and schedule down time for yourself and your children. Children need to sleep well, eat well, and have time to be with you. In my opinion, having ‘mom guilt’ is normal and unavoidable. If I am busy with work and I know that I can’t provide what he needs at that time, I ask for help. I rely on family and friends to share the love and provide support for us.”
She added, “As a working mom, the best thing you can do is to be aware -- aware of your needs and those of your child, and even being aware of when you are being too hard on yourself. It might not look like you expect it to look, but you are enough. Ask for help, accept help, and be present. I believe health and happiness come from being present with your child and in each moment you spend with them. We may be ordering pizza tonight again, but I am going to sit and eat it with you and witness all that we do have that is working! I enjoy life so much more when I simplify and appreciate what it is as opposed to what I think it SHOULD be.” 
Lauren concluded, “I organize myself so that I can provide a consistent, stable, and nurturing environment at home. I plan my downtime and I plan time for myself in addition to scheduling breaks and quiet time for him as well. I see it as an act of love to take care of myself so that I can take care of others. I believe women are extraordinary, strong, and courageous more than we know. The more love we show ourselves the better. Schedule that massage, pedicure, or time with a friend. You are important and you deserve it too!” 
Here are some of Lauren’s favorites:
Favorite Park
Lauren: City Park hands down!
Favorite Snowball Stand
Lauren: Pandora’s.

Favorite Restaurant
Lauren: Dat Dog, Café Navarre, and The Blue Crab. We love al fresco dining.

Other Favorites
Lauren: Lafitte Greenway on a bike ride, riding the streetcar, Morning Call (beignets in City Park plus live music and they serve red beans and rice!), baseball games, walking on the Bayou, and Cool Zoo at Audubon Zoo!

Check out our other movin’ and shakin’ NOLA mamas:
Donna Crump (Good Dance Since 1984)
Genevieve Douglass (Uptown PR and KINDRED Studios)
Tamica Lee (WWLTV and New Orleans Saintsations)
Jolie Bensen Hamilton (Jolie and Elizabeth)
Melissa Mendoza (Family attorney)
Cat Vo (Professional makeup artist and hairstylist)
Tracie Tervalon (TraElle Salon Exclusive)

Cherie Melancon Franz (Thinkerella)

Last modified on Thursday, 18 May 2017
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