Meet Carla Gonzalez Reynolds
TDR Brands International spotlights Power Moms who show inner strength and courage, while simultaneously loving and nurturing family, during the pursuit of their dreams.
Tierra Destiny Reid: Please give us a brief recap of your career.
Carla Gonzalez Reynolds: I am a General and Special Education Teacher.
TDR: What is your current mission?
CGR: My career mission is to be an advocate for my students and youth in general, and to empower my parents to be advocates for their children, especially those with special needs. My life's mission is to be a living example for my girls by first living a life that's pleasing to God, and secondly, raising them to be fearless, women of God full of wisdom and grace.
TDR: How many children do you have? What are their ages?
CGR: I have two children. Ana Gabriella is a bright, smart, witty 13 year-old who is an overcomer. She has overcome many challenges in her short life including open-heart surgery at 2 1/2 months which led to major hearing loss, intestinal surgery at 7 months and spinal surgery in first grade. She also only has one functioning lung, but none of this has stopped her from being a vibrant young lady, scholar and musician. She has always been on the honor roll at school and she plays both the piano and clarinet. Isabella is my bright, compassionate, loving 9 year-old. She's very caring. She wants to take care of everyone. She is also an honor roll student and an artist. She loves to draw and paint.
TDR: How are you juggling your passion with parenthood?
CGR: I am a single mom, currently divorced for 7 years, so it hasn't been easy. I am blessed to have been able to teach in the same school district as my children. This makes juggling schedules better. As most people know, teaching is more than a full-time job as we take work home daily and spend a lot of nights and weekends creating lesson plans and grading papers. Fortunately, my daughters understand my position and don't mind sharing their mom with my students. They realize that my students pretty much become an extension of our family. They've made a lot of sacrifices along the way having a single mom who is also a teacher, but that it just a testament to their selflessness. Now, that they are older and more independent, it is getting easier to juggle everything.
TDR: What are some of the things you struggle with that would surprise other people? How do you overcome those struggles?
CGR: Having the responsibility of doing everything on my own is currently my biggest challenge. When Ana Gabriella was younger, her health was a great challenge, but no matter the issue, my faith in God is what gets me through. My faith gives me hope and assurance to know that no matter the situation, God's got me and he's going to give me everything I need to see it through. I am already victorious! I may not always see how's it's going to work out, but I already know that all things work together for my good because I belong to Him.
TDR: What are 2 resources that you use to help you stay motivated?
CGR: Two resources that help me stay motivated are The Word and my children. I'm not just here for me. It's not just about me. I want their lives to have meaning and purpose. I want them to make a difference. I have to keep pressing forward for that and the Word is my foundation.
TDR: What is your favorite way to ‘Pause’?
CGR: I love the beach, I love a good book, and I love to write. I'm a writer at heart!
TDR: What has been the scariest moment or crossroad in your journey?
CGR: The scariest moment was definitely going through my daughter's health issues, mainly the open-heart surgery which was a matter of life and death. By the time we discovered the problem the doctors said it was only a miracle that she was still living. After that, it was returning to my profession, as a single mom, after being a stay-at-home mom for 6 years and just trying to make everything happen and come together for me and my girls on my own.
TDR: What would be your greatest advice for other Power Moms wanting to follow their dreams?
CGR: Never let anything stop you. I started out as a therapist. I worked for a private agency that provided mental health therapists to students within Baltimore City Public Schools. Every time I walked into a classroom to pick up one of my students for therapy I felt like that's where I was supposed to be. I already had a bachelor and master degree, but decided to go back to school and get a second masters in Special Education. So, don't ever let anyone tell you can't, but also be willing to do the work. Trust your gut. I truly believe in instinct, especially as a woman and a mother. Most of all, believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself no one else will. When you do, you're unstoppable!
TDR: What word best describes the seed or legacy that you want to leave for your children?
TDR: Why do you choose this particular word?
CGR: I hope that I am an inspiration to them and I want them to be an inspiration to others.
TDR: How do you support other mothers and women today?
CGR: By giving of myself and my time to counsel, inspire, assist and uplift women and mothers. This journey is never just about you. We are here to serve and help others along the way!
TDR: How can others collaborate or support your mission?
CGR: As women, we need to support and uplift one another instead of putting each other down, but in order to do that we must first work on ourselves. When we as women have low self-esteem and low self-worth, we're not able to lift others. People put others down to make themselves feel better.
Connect with Carla Gonzalez Reynolds:
Facebook- Carla Gonzalez
Twitter - @dosangelitas