December Mommy of the Month
Meet Ocean City Momma of 2, Jill Kozakowski!
Jill's love for her community:
My favorite thing about living in such a tight knit community is the PEOPLE! There exists a familiarity among residents and a spirit of collective support that you can't find anywhere else. Whether it's Caitlin at Bowfish greeting my children by name, or staff at the Lindsy James salon, Alyse’s shoes, Mew to You, Miss Helena’s Consignment boutique, 7th Street Surf Shop and Glazed Over welcoming us with enthusiasm, every interaction feels personalized and sincere.
My dad and Sebastian go to the Acme every Monday, and the employees treat them like local celebrities. And I'm always taken aback by the willingness of other local moms to help us out with childcare when we're in a pickle. I also LOVE the Community Center, Arts Center and our incredible library too! Between its family values and amenities, the tight-knit community is what we appreciate most about living here.
Jill on growing up close to the sea:
Growing up close to the ocean is a dream come true! As my Pop-Pop used to say, “There’s nothing like the smell of salt air”. The sights and sounds of the ocean can lull a baby to sleep, and it has so many healing properties. For my kids, the ocean is basically nature's greatest playground. During the summer, they spend countless hours playing in the waves without a care in the world. It's really special to watch. Even in the dead of winter, the ocean's beauty and power make you feel so engaged and present.
If Jill had one super power:
If I could have one mom-super power I would like to be invisible. I would love to see how my children conduct themselves in the presence of others. The best compliment I receive is when others tell me how kind and respectful my kids are. I would love to observe Sydney and Sebastian in different settings without me around. I'm proud to know they're growing and developing into pretty stellar humans. Once again, I am eternally grateful for our “village” that has guided them along the way.
Jill's values on shopping local:
I love shopping in Ocean City! It's comparable to shopping in a Hallmark Movie. Ocean City boasts so many locally-owned businesses that offer something for everyone. Christian and I really enjoy walking our children around Asbury and on the Boardwalk. Whether it's casual browsing or finding the perfect gift for a friend or loved one, having daily access to specialty shops with high-quality products is a fringe benefit we don't take for granted. And during a time when so many brick-and-mortars are struggling to compete with online retail giants, supporting local business is important for all of us. Not only do local shops add to the unique charm and fabric of our town, they're a critical part of our economy.
Jill on balancing work & motherhood:
Balancing work and motherhood can certainly present its challenges, but having a strong support system has proven vital. The saying “It takes a village” absolutely applies to our family. Christian (my husband) and I are both fortunate and grateful that we're able to share a home with my parents. They enrich our children's lives daily with ukulele playing, dancing, and homework assistance. My parents also accompany Sydney to and from school several days a week and watch Sebastian, which includes taking him on their daily 5-mile walk on the boards, to toddler time at the Library and out to lunch. Their daily involvement affords our children opportunities we'd otherwise be unable to facilitate due to our stringent work schedules. We also have an incredible babysitter, Jenny, whom we trust completely with the care of our children on the days (weeks) when my parents are traveling or have other obligations.
Another tip I'd suggest is to implement a shared calendar. Sydney is involved with many activities after school and on the weekends, and the shared calendar is a tool we use to effectively manage our busy schedule and alleviate miscommunication.
Finally, I'd say maintaining a healthy and positive perspective is key to achieving balance. During times when I feel particularly spread thin, I remind myself what a blessing and a privilege it is to hold the titles of both Mother and Teacher. My two kind and loving children are life's greatest gifts, and my job as an educator has been a source of great pride and fulfillment for the past 19 years.