Local mom Taryn Skees transforms her daily challenges into an inspiration via a very special blog, helping others along the way Taylor Riley brings us the insight.
Taryn Skees is the mother of four boys, and while others might find that in itself challenging, she’s overcome so much more. Taryn became a blogger after her son Aiden was diagnosed with Apert syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes abnormalities in the formation of the head.
Her blog, “More Skees Please” started as a way to keep her family and friends in the loop about Aiden’s struggles but soon became a platform for much more. Now, Taryn is taking on her very own nonprofit organization dedicated to helping families touched by Apert syndrome called Apert Owl. Taryn calls it “therapeutic” to write about the challenges of being a wife and mother, even if it’s not an Instagram-worthy perfect life. “And that’s OK,” she says.
Tell us about your family and the struggle with your son Aiden.
With Aiden, we were surprised by (Aperts syndrome) at birth, and we were thrust into this new world of medical terminology. To see everything that he’s been through and see how far he’s come; he’s touched so many other peoples’ lives. By sharing his story through the blog, I’ve been able to connect with other families (with Aperts) or those facing tough medical diagnoses. I try to approach life with a positive attitude and keep moving forward.
How did you start to write? And what do you enjoy most about your career as a blogger?
I’ve always loved to write; I got a communications degree from Bellarmine. After I graduated, I got a job in marketing and business development, and I enjoyed business part of writing. Always my passion was sharing and being vulnerable. It is my outlet. It’s very therapeutic to write. At first it was just for me, then family members would read for an update (on Aiden). In 2008, I started Skeesfamily.com, then as I started to write more, emails came from people who stumbled across my page. They called it “inspirational.” I then changed it to “More Skees Please,” and it evolved through the years. I’m sharing very openly and being vulnerable, being a real mom, but not trying to be something I’m not. And people say, “We appreciate your honesty.” Life isn’t always easy. It’s not shiny. I try to be authentic.
How do you balance career and family?
It’s hard; it really is a challenge, and I’m not great at it. I recently started a part-time job as a file clerk for a law firm. After raising four kids, I had to do something meaningful and flexible, but still be a present parent. It’s kind of hard to do, to find that unicorn of a job that allows that flexibility as a parent. Parents need that flexibility to be their best selves at work. I’m able to balance my time as mom...and I’m going into the office for much needed downtime.
What are some of your biggest challenges?
Learning how to cope with a child with a very rare medical condition. I’m wanting to be everything for my children … and not letting mom guilt get the best of me. I’m trying to figure out how to be an advocate. I do a lot of public speaking to raise awareness of differences. I tell the kids not to judge a book by their cover. It’s an incredible challenge but a rewarding experience.
Do you try to share any aspects of your work with your family?
Absolutely. Now that the kids are older, we do a lot more social media posting. And the older kids have a say in our Instagram posts. They will have their own thumbprint; it’s not mine to share of them anymore. They embrace it sometimes.
Do you have any time for hobbies?
Not really. I spend a lot of time at home hanging with family and having game nights. I’m trying to stay above water. I love to read. I like audiobooks and podcasts—I can plug them in with driving.
What values do you try to model for your children?
Honesty and authenticity. Be who they are, and not fall prey to “biggest, best, most” thing portrayed online. Stay humble, be kind. In order to instill that in my kids, I have to model that for them. I’m not perfect. I will make mistakes, and I will own up to that.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
Starting Apert Owl. I knew what I could do for families, making a difference and an impact. I didn’t know what I wanted to be until I grew up and had kids. Having Aiden, he was the catalyst, to create this nonprofit...my kids love seeing what we’re doing.
What is your advice to other women who are juggling careers and motherhood?
To just breathe. Give yourself grace. I’ve really learned in the last couple of years, having all the balls in the air, and I feel like I’m failing … I’m finally coming to a place where I’m saying “no.” I’m taking a step back and really evaluating what I want to do. I think that is crucial.