Photos by Howie Mac Photo.
We want to introduce you to our May cover family, the Tingley family of Tampa. For the last year we’ve partnered with Julie Tingley, the director of local women’s organization KNOW Tampa and KNOW St. Petersburg | Clearwater, to feature the accomplishments of Tampa Bay Area moms each month.
Now, as we celebrate Mother’s Day during these unprecedented times, we decided to turn the spotlight on the mom of two to find out how her life has changed due to the pandemic.
How did life under a Safer at Home order impacted your life as a mother?
Julie: When the order was issued, I was scared. I stockpiled board games and snack recipes not knowing how long this time would last. I made long grocery lists and planned meals weeks in advance. Then one morning, I just decided to focus on that day only and make it count. Though my husband and I have run out for essentials, the girls have not left home since March 13–and they are completely content with make-believe travel to pretend destinations. I know this has everything to do with my mindset.
How did it impacted you as a leader of a women’s organization in Tampa Bay and keeping women connected when we can’t be together under the same roof?
Julie: We believe every woman deserves to find her tribe, and in this time of uncertainty, it is our privilege if we can be that for her. Though we can’t meet in person at the KNOW Tribe’s monthly events, we are committed to staying connected. We re-opened our private member groups to encourage local online interactions, and we introduced an open KNOW Tribe Facebook community for nonmembers. With over 1,400 women from all over the United States and Canada, the page’s offerings include daily Live sessions with valuable personal and professional trainings, including complimentary online Master Classes with industry experts.
Our team recently rolled out an Instagram giveaway with an impressive prize pack to boost awareness for and engagement with our Tampa Bay members. KNOW Tribe creator Sarah Benken and I are on the phone daily dreaming up new ideas to support our members. We know that we are stronger together and better days are ahead.
You’ve made it your mission to connect women which is needed now more than ever. How can we continue to build on the power of connection in our community to help others and other small businesses?
Julie: We are not meant to do life alone. We are not meant to grow businesses by ourselves. We are not meant to raise children in isolation. Yet, we feel lonely and we are isolated through social-distancing. Now is the time to be a helper or ask for help. I suggest connecting to the social media accounts of Tampa Bay’s KNOW Book + Tribe women.
Visit www.theknowtribe.com to view the publications from Tampa and St Pete | Clearwater. Follow the featured businesses and play Tampa Bay Takeout Bingo™ created by RSBP Events + PR to support local restaurants; donate supplies to the women of our Fashion sections who have pivoted their product manufacturing to mask production; and contribute to local collaborations to feed and support essential workers.
Tell us about the World of Hearts! What inspired your family to participate in this worldwide movement?
Julie: One of the best things that has come from the Safer at Home orders is our daily evening walks and bike rides through the neighborhood. On one walk, I noticed bears in the windows at a time when kids were “going on a bear hunt.” The next night, I noticed rainbow drawings. Every time I saw a child’s untroubled creation from the street, it was a reminder that someone inside that house felt happy, and they wanted to share it.
I searched online for window art and the messages behind them and stumbled upon #aworldofhearts. It brought me so much peace to find people across the globe connected through a pandemic by hearts in their windows, and I knew I wanted to be a part of spreading love and happiness.
As you look back and reflect this Mother’s Day–how has your outlook on motherhood changed over the last few months?
Julie: I’ve always known that being a mom is the hardest job a woman could ever have, but these past few months have made that conviction completely irrefutable. Mothers are coming together now like never before.
For the first time, we’ve all been given the same rules and expectations with bringing school into our homes, turning our dining rooms into classrooms and administering someone else’s curriculum. We are all living very similar lives, and mothers are uniting in solidarity and empathy. I’ve learned that I have a lot more patience than I give myself credit for. I know what is best for my children (like old school math)… and everything my girls need to grow into amazing world changers is already in our home.
Any favorite moments/activities to share you think others can try at home too?
Julie: We loved doing the DIY-To-Go kits from AR Workshop Tampa. We learned so much raising caterpillars into beautiful painted lady butterflies with Insectlore.com. We planted terrariums to see different plants grow from inside the home. Decorating cookies from Angie Q’s Sweets was fun.
I have picked up great craft and resource ideas from the ‘BRIGHT IDEAS | Parenting in Quarantine Facebook’ page. I have also tapped into my creative side to finish writing a children’s book with local coach Patricia Wooster. However, our favorite moments have been our celebrations. I recommend throwing a birthday party for your pets. Play Pacific island music and turn your backyard into Hawaii for a dinnertime luau. Arrange an afternoon tea with the royal tree fairies or set off on a dinosaur dig excavation with your favorite paleontologists.
Keep making memories, keep having fun, and make the days count.
Originally published in the May 2020 edition of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.