Pensacola Moms to Know: Meet Becca McKeithen

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Pensacola “Moms to Know”

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Meet Becca McKeithen

Becca McKeithen and her family

Tell us about your family. How many kids do you have? What are their ages?

I have been married to Chase since 2007, and we have three beautiful children, Elizabeth is 10, Jackson is 7, and Benny Boo is one year old.

What do you do for a living?

I am the founder and executive director of FoodRaising Friends.

After teaching for several years and becoming aware of students’ food insecurity, I realized I wanted to feed children during those high-risk times. FoodRaising Friends serves kids during each long school break by providing a bag of food with meals for the child and their whole family at Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and summer break. FRF serves 21 schools and community programs during each break and runs a monthly food program for homeless teens with Children’s Home Society.

I am so thankful that I get to live my dream of ending childhood hunger as my regular job in the world. It’s all gratitude.

What do you like about raising a family in Pensacola? What is challenging about raising a family here?

Raising a family in the greater Pensacola area is a joy. Seriously where else can you find wide-open farmland to the north, the beach, great weather ninety percent of the time, and a hometown feel, yet have every luxury of a bigger city? Pensacola offers all of that! I love that parks can be visited every season. We live in a paradise!

While I tend to focus on the positive and see the bright side, I can’t deny that our area can face challenges in social issues and the small-town mindset sometimes holds us back from progress. We can be a substantially community-minded area, but progress always has hold-ups. I am excited to be part of the positive changes to make the community a better place for my children and others as we know better and do better.

What do you consider to be the greatest joy of motherhood? The greatest challenge?

I am grateful to be a mother at all. Motherhood is a gift, and my daughter is a walking miracle. After I birthed her, I found out that I have a very rare blood disorder and that my chance of carrying a child to term at all was slim to none, but I had no idea during my pregnancy. She is my miracle. We only found out because as we tried to expand our family, I began experiencing miscarriages. That took a toll on my mental and physical health but made me grateful for my daughter.

After some time and treatment during pregnancy, I conceived and carried our son to term. He was a Christmas season baby. What a gift. Our final son and current baby boy is a gift of the system, and he legally became ours on his first birthday!

The biggest challenge of being a mom is taking care of your mental health while having children and raising them. Dealing with loss, the sacrifice of giving your body to your children to house and feed them, and their constant needs and sleep deprivation is TOUGH!

I experienced postpartum depression and had to accept that it stuck around after my children were older, and my mental health matters and deserves care. Taking care of my mental health healed me and made me a better mom. I now practice Conscious Discipline from Dr. Becky Bailey and work with my physician to ensure my mental space is healthy for myself and my family.

What do you do to recharge? How do you practice self-care?

I am a total nerd. I love to learn, and going to conferences and education spaces refreshes me, especially if they come with a hotel stay and uninterrupted sleep! Daily, I love making a to-do list, and checking off lots of things on it makes me so so happy!

What is your favorite local thing to do/place to go?

My husband and I are big foodies. We love our downtown and all the great restaurants that our area offers. I could not name one place I love most, but I enjoy pasta from Angelena’s, tuna cubes from Global Grill, a quick poke bowl from Apple Market. Living in Milton, we frequent La Hacienda, Texas Roadhouse, and McKinleys Sandwich Shop.

What book are you reading (or listening to) right now? Do you have a favorite podcast?

I host a podcast with Social Icon Founder Briana Snellgrove called Empathy Evolution. I am also always listening to Ted Talks and Quint Studer’s Podcast. Right now, I am re-reading the Conscious Discipline handbook!

What is your favorite local business in Pensacola?

I am a huge shopper and prefer shopping local as often as possible! I love shopping at Alyssa’s for my house and you can find me there at least once or twice a month looking for treasures. S & K in Pace is my go-to for clothing and accessories, and I have a closet full of S and K, Fine Things, and Surprizes Instore. But if it is an excellent local boutique, I will find something to buy! I love to shop locally! For FRF, you can find me checking grocery costs at Grocery Outlet in Pace with their team!

What is your best advice for a new mom or a mom in a difficult season?

Keep going, be willing to try a different way. As I was parenting, I noticed myself doing things that I said as a child, “When I am a mom, I am not gonna do…” and then my mother came out of my mouth. My mom is amazing, she is my best friend, but I didn’t want to do things just like her, but I noticed I did.

Why?

Because I did what I was taught, shown, and I didn’t know another way. I spent time learning a different way, and it changed my life, me, and how I interacted with the world. I am so glad I did not give up and was willing to try something new, and while it took practice, it was worth it!

What is the one thing you wish you could tell ALL moms about raising kids?

I am a writer. When my friends started having kids, I wrote them all these long letters with things I had learned. The one thing several friends said spoke to them the most was this nugget of knowledge I gleaned “There are a million reasons to feel guilty as a mom; forgive yourself often.”

Anything else you would like us to know about yourself that makes you uniquely you?

Oh geez, I talk a lot in case it wasn’t obvious. I am not a perfect mom or person, despite the portrayal of social media. I love people, and I am available if you need help!

Pensacola Moms to Know

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The Navy brought Jen and her family to Pensacola in 2018 following a 3-year tour in Belgium. Born and raised in the Midwest, Jen’s career path took her to Washington, D.C., after college, where she lived until she married her husband, Tim, in 2007. Balancing family and career against the backdrop of military life has made her appreciate the importance of friendships, connections, and finding your “mom tribe” wherever “home” may be. While living in Belgium, Jen took on her most challenging role to date, that of a stay-at-home-mom to her two sons, Timothy and Charlie. In this position, she has been forced to face her fear of cooking, has learned that you never “catch up” on laundry and that she continuously works longer hours for less pay! Fueled by coffee, Pure Barre, and dry shampoo, she feels like she’s “winging it” when it comes to motherhood most of the time, but couldn’t imagine a more rewarding journey. She continues to learn from her kids every day.

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