Meet Anna Claire Vollers, Huntsvillian, married mom of three, investigative journalist for al.com, and a tenacious local champion for women & children’s issues.
We’re big fans of Anna Claire’s work here at RCM, and if you aren’t familiar with the issues she’s covered, you should really check them out. She’s helped to reveal important stories about maternity care, breastfeeding discrimination, and loopholes in the law for child care facilities here in Alabama. In fact, she’s helped to make a huge impact in legally closing those loopholes, especially after the death of a 5 year-old at an unlicensed daycare in Mobile.
So, yeah. She’s pretty great, and definitely an Awesome Huntsville Mom.
“Aside from my family, I find much of my passion in my work. Being an investigative reporter has given me the opportunity to dig into issues that are important to me – in particular, the health and well-being of women and children. Throwing sunshine on underreported problems is what gets me going in the morning (that, and coffee). I love listening to peoples’ stories and connecting those experiences with broader issues that need solving.
Every person has some kind of talent and some kind of platform on which to use it. We’re responsible for taking those gifts and doing as much good as we can.”
“I feel like I’m just now starting to crawl out of “The Blur” – that physically exhausting period when your kids are little and need you for so much. My boys are now ages 3, 5 and 7. They’re, um, energetic, to say the least. Lots of wrestling, poop jokes and jumping off of things at our house. But at least everyone is potty-trained now and capable of entertaining themselves!
I had a difficult introduction to motherhood, and sometimes it’s hard to join in when other moms talk about their birth stories. My first pregnancy ended at 28 weeks when my twin boys were born via emergency c-section. Our younger twin, Graham, died six days later from complications of prematurity. His brother Will spent nearly three months in the NICU before getting to come home. I think that colored a lot of my early views on motherhood in ways I’m still working through. But Graham’s short life has been an anchor point for me in both my faith and in my motherhood journey. It helps me refocus on what’s important and let go of the rest.”
“I am inordinately lucky to have the work/life situation I have, and yet it’s still a challenge. My employer gives me flexible working hours so that I’m able to take my kids to school, attend daytime events and stay home when they’re sick. My husband has flexible hours as well, and is the best and most involved parenting partner I could ask for. Both sets of grandparents live in town and provide childcare for us during the week. We’re extremely, embarrassingly fortunate.
And still, it’s hard. I’ve had to come to grips with this reality: Some days I am an amazing reporter and a mediocre mom. Some days I’m a mediocre mom and a rockstar reporter.
I am never good at both things in a single day. And this has to be OK. My kids need me, but they don’t need me hovering over everything in their lives. I love my work, but it has to take a backseat to my family when it really counts.
You can’t have balance unless you have help. For some it may need to be friends or fellow moms. For me it’s family members. Parents can’t do it alone and we make ourselves crazy when we try.
Her Rocket City Favorites
Huntsville has so many great events now for families (and most are free!). During warm-weather months it’s almost difficult to choose because there’s so much to do.
We live near downtown Huntsville, and a favorite evening excursion is to hit up Sam & Greg’s on the Courthouse Square for pizza and gelato, and then attend a downtown event – Movies in the Park, a concert, a light show, mini-golf, art market, or just feeding the ducks at Big Spring Park.”
Funniest Mom Moment
“We try to teach our kids the appropriate names for body parts. It’s been a balancing act, helping them feel comfortable using those words without embarrassment, but also getting them to know when it’s maybe not appropriate to talk about private parts. One time at the playground, my oldest was 3 or 4, and was swinging. He yelled to me across the playground, at the top of his lungs, ‘Mom! The wind tickles my penis!'”
Anna Claire’s Top Parenting Tip
“Relax already. We all have way too much information at our fingertips about how to be a “good” parent. The result is we make ourselves crazy overthinking everything. I dropped out of most parenting groups on Facebook a couple of years ago and it’s one of the best decisions I made.”
The Super Power She Wishes She Had
“Invisibility. When I was a kid I was obsessed with spies (Harriet the Spy was my favorite book) and loved snooping around and writing down my observations, Harriet-style, in little notebooks. Now for my job I do sort of the same thing (legally, of course!). Invisibility would definitely help me know ALL the things. Plus, I could hide from my kids when they’re driving me crazy.”
Parenting Book Recommendation
“Real talk: I’ve never gotten all the way through a parenting book. I think I’m allergic to parenting advice. But the one book that really helped my husband and me when we were new parents was On Becoming Babywise. We followed the sleep recommendations in that book with each of our children when they were infants, and it made them incredibly good sleepers. That has done wonders for our sanity.”
Name the song you think of when you need to:
- Get your Gameface on: “Lose Yourself” – Eminem; “Live for the Drop” – Capital Kings; “My Shot” – The Roots feat. Busta Rhymes
- Recover from heartbreak: Any song by Audrey Assad
- Energize yourself: “Safari Song” – Greta Van Fleet, “On a Roll” – Icona Pop
- Let loose and have fun with your friends: “Good as Hell” – Lizzo, any 90s/early 2000s radio hits
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Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.