Molly Barker from Girls on the Run

10980760_850261625031635_3179742926955357494_nThis awesome parent in Charlotte is Molly Barker.  She is the founder of Girls on the Run and a social entrepreneur who loves being a parent for many reasons…the greatest of these is her conscious awareness of the capacity she has to love unconditionally. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC and because of her work with with Girls on the Run, she is “inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

In what city were you born?

Charlotte, NC

How many siblings do you have?

Three. I am the fourth of four. My brother is fifteen years older, my sister, 13 years older and then my other sister, 10 years older.

Where do you fall in the birth order?

I am the baby…by a lot.

Did you sleep with a special blanket or animal? How old were you when you gave it up?

I slept with a Raggedy Anne doll that I had to give up when I got very sick in college. I had a life-threatening illness my freshman year in college and the physicians required me to throw away many of my personal items.

What does it say next to your senior high school yearbook picture?

I believe I had some VERY sappy quote from the book Jonathan Seagull, Richard Bach. I’m laughing now as I recall this.

Where did you go to college?

UNC-Chapel Hill

What cities have you lived in?

Charlotte, Atlanta, Charleston and Chapel Hill

Have you ever been in a car accident?

Yep…nothing serious though I was, however, hit by a car while I was out on a run. The year was 2007. I had a severe injury to my right leg. I learned more about “what I was made of” from that experience than many other life experiences.

How did you meet your spouse?

I met James while I was out on a bike ride. He was a professional cyclist and I was a triathlete. He and I are now divorced but we co-parent very well.

Where did you get married?

Elizabethton, Tenn.

How long did you wait to have kids?

One year. I was 36 when I had my son and we didn’t want to wait a whole lot longer!

Did you find out the sex of your babies?

Yep…loved talking about them by name(s) before they were born.

How did you feel when you saw your first child?

I opted for completely natural childbirth so I could be completely present. When Hank was born, I pulled him to my breast and he began to nurse right away. It was one of only a handful of times that I’ve ever felt myself with one foot in the human realm and the other in the spiritual. I won’t ever forget the joy of those moments.

What was your hardest day as a parent?

Making the decision to divorce their father.

What traits do you see of yourself in your children?

My son Hank is easily distracted. Some might refer to this as a learning challenge. The traditional school setting doesn’t always suit him, but his creative side flourishes when allowed to do so. He can connect dots between seemingly random ideas, events and concepts better than anyone I know.

He can also navigate through a wide variety of groups. He is has a lot of charisma and is warm. Highly sensitive to the feelings of other people, he can be quite emotional. Helping him channel these emotions into a healthy series of choices is much of what our exchanges are all about these days. He is 16.

My daughter Helen is 13. She is a very artistic child as well, but has my more strategic view of the world. She is very organized and very funny. She loves to be the center of attention, on stage and in the public eye. While I don’t necessarily LOVE these things, I am not afraid of them. They do not intimidate me. She can stand before a large group of people and engage them with her charisma as well. She is a natural born leader.

Where do you love to vacation as a family?

Anywhere with a beach and an ocean. We are definitely sandy shores and crashing waves kind of people.

When do you find time for yourself?

When I run, when I meditate, when I practice yoga…and believe it or not…one of my favorite places to find time for myself is on an airplane. No phones, no computers…just me and my thoughts and the wide open sky. I love it. (I spend a lot of time on airplanes these days.)

What is the greatest lesson your father taught you?

Integrity. Be honest. Work hard. Say what you mean and mean what you say. He was also a marvelous story teller and I learned that craft from him. He was also AMAZING with crowds and with names and faces. I am happy to say that I received this gift from him…something I don’t take for granted.

Do you still make a recipe that your mother made?

No. I am absolutely the most horrific chef you can imagine. I actually have someone help me out with that. My kids would not survive if I cooked. I also, for whatever reason, bypassed the fashion, landscaping and interior design gene. My daughter somehow magically received it. She and Hank both are great cooks…but I guess it’s because they’ve had to be.

What living person do you most admire?

My sister Emily. She has somehow remained rooted in her humanness and yet serves the world through her spiritual strength. I long to have that kind of balance in how I serve those around me.

What are your children’s nicknames?

Hank: Sugar muffin or Hanky Panky (He is going to kill me when he reads this.)

Helen: Soda pop, or monkey butt. (Sorry, but it’s the truth.)

What is the moment each day where you find a little peace for yourself?

I can find it right now, as I write you. One deep breath with a focus on it and where it lands within me, reminds me of the spirit within. A bit hokey perhaps, but it works for me. Anytime I am stressed, frustrated, anxious or increasingly angry, I do this and I am brought right back to center.

What makes you a modern parent?

I admit my vulnerabilities, my imperfections and the “hard parts” about being a parent. I can look back at how I have parented my children in the past and see, perhaps, how I could have done it “better,” but I am not hard on myself about this. My kids and I are on this human journey together. We chose each other and every day, we are evolving, sometimes as a result of knowing each other and sometimes singly, but we are always evolving, growing and supporting each other in the process of revealing our greatest potential and being our greatest selves.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on Google+
Kelly Yale

Kelly Yale

Kelly Yale has written for many parenting websites and wrote a weekly column for Charlotte Parent called “Diva Mom” for many years. Kelly created Modern Parent in social media several years ago and is excited to relaunch a new Modern Parent website. When she isn’t working as the Marketing Director for a mortgage company, she plays wife to Matt and mom to Ryan & Josh in Charlotte, North Carolina.