Have you ever met someone and the more you learn about them, the more you think, “She is SO much fun and so smart – how can I hang out with her more???” That’s exactly the sentiment most people have when they’re around Claire Aiello for any length of time. This vibrant local mom of two loves punny jokes, Wonder Woman, and gets to tell the world about Huntsville for a living as the VP of Marketing and Communications at the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce. They couldn’t have picked a better ambassador.
Let’s learn more about Claire and why we think she’s an Amazing Mom of Huntsville!
I’m passionate about a few things at the moment. Some of these I even get to promote for work!
Let’s VOTE: Encouraging people to vote in all elections, not just the Presidential election. You should vote every single time your polling place is open. Local municipal elections matter the most – these people actually call or email you back and can help with things that affect your daily life! They live down the street from you in many cases. Please also vote when we have school tax renewals. In my job, we don’t publicly back candidates, but we do get to support issues like this, and I enjoy waving signs in the school drop-off line, even in the cold or rain. It’s so important!
I’m also very passionate about standing up for our public schools. Not to sound preachy, but we’re all in a pandemic, and we need to cut our school systems some slack. Our administrators, school staff, teachers, and other personnel are working like crazy to keep things running. It’s not perfect, it’s not always smooth, but this is 2020 and I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone trying to manage this situation. Our kids are going to be ok, and they’re going to remember how we as parents handled this.Keeping a positive attitude will influence their perspectives too. Our community succeeds when we have strong public schools.
I’m a volunteer soccer referee in my daughter’s league. I really enjoy being out there with the players, and it’s good exercise and helps me feel like I’m part of something. Let me stress I’m a volunteer, so please don’t yell at me if I screw up. I’m just one of those people who saw an email begging for parent support and I said yes. Being a referee has made me a lot more conscious of how critical I am of officiating. As my daughter gets older, the games get more technical (and the field is much bigger!) Referees are often making split-second decisions, and there is no instant replay in a youth soccer game. It’s just a game.
Claire’s Motherhood Journey (So Far)
I didn’t grow up dreaming of being a mom, I just figured it would happen one day and I didn’t give it much thought in my younger years. I know now my husband and I were very fortunate it happened easily for us. I was worried when I had my daughter that I wouldn’t know what to do. It all changes when the nurse hands you the baby. It will come. It’s not easy, but the most important thing is to breathe and be patient – with the baby, with your spouse, with everything. And ask for help. It is OK to ask for help.
Her Quest for Balance
It’s hard. Some days you are exhausted and just want to go home and kick up your feet. That’s not how life is right now, though. The last few months have actually been better during the pandemic, where we could have a little more time to breathe with each other, no karate lessons or sports practices to drive to, etc. Now, those activities are starting back up.
My advice, you have to carve out time for yourself. You MUST take care of yourself, or your health will suffer and then you won’t be able to take care of anyone else. For me, I get up and exercise in the morning. I like taking care of it first thing – I know I did it — and it helps me have energy for the rest of the day. My workday can be pretty busy, and then evenings are pretty rushed with making sure the kids get to practices, cooking dinner, or helping them with homework, and then by 9 or 9:30pm I’m often struggling to stay awake.
I go to Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp five mornings per week. I love the ladies and we all love our instructor, Joe Martin. He is a force of positivity and we all need that this year. Thank you, Joe, for helping us stay motivated and for your ‘Dad’ jokes that make us laugh. Here’s a few:
“I mentioned to my wife we should name our son Lance. She said “what? I don’t heard of many kids being named Lance these days.” and I said ‘well, back in the middle ages they named their kids Lance a lot.” Or: What do you call James Bond when he takes a bath? Bubble-O-7
If you’re a working parent, I hope your job values what you bring to the table. You have to juggle, there’s no getting around it, but it also means you’re versatile and can adapt to change. I am so thankful my employer is supportive and understands the importance of putting ‘family first.’
Claire Shares Her Top Parenting Tips
- Make sure your child knows they are loved. Don’t go to bed angry (that’s good advice for you and your spouse too) but always make sure your child knows they are safe and loved, even if you are not seeing eye to eye on something.
- If your spouse offers to help, just say YES. Don’t try to do it all. Just say “yes, thank you, babe. That would be GREAT.” I am so thankful for my husband Joey! We’ve been married for 19 years and he is such a wonderful support to me and to our kids.
- Don’t blink. My daughter is 15, a high school sophomore, and my son is 12, in 7th grade. They’ve grown up so fast, and my daughter just got her learner’s permit. My son’s voice has recently gotten deeper and he’s now taller than me. In a few years our daughter will leave the nest and it will be the three of us, then a few years later our son will graduate high school. It was just yesterday I was holding our daughter in a rocker trying to figure out breastfeeding – it was so tough to get established. I am thankful for the great support from Huntsville Hospital’s lactation consultants, and my Mom. Also, I am Catholic and said several strong prayers to Mary to keep me going.
Her Rocket City Favorites
I really enjoy getting away from technology when I can. Our family likes to hike and it’s something fun we can do with the dog, too. We have a lot of beautiful trails thanks to the great work being done by the Land Trust of North Alabama.
We also enjoy our local restaurants and breweries. Please support them right now, any way you feel comfortable doing so. They really need your business. It’s been a very hard year for our small businesses and hospitality industry.
I love St. Patrick’s Day weekend every year! It’s a perfect weekend, because Huntsville’s parade is always held on a Saturday. My maiden name is Kelly, and we love the parade and walk in it as a family. The kids are of the age where they’re embarrassed by it, especially because Joey wears a kilt every year (only one day, he’s a great sport) but they will thank us one day.
In my spare time at home I love to do yard work and piddle around in the garden. I have yet to have a huge harvest but I’m getting some cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, beans, okra, things like that. It’s fun to plant something and watch it grow through the spring and summer. The younger kids on our street enjoy picking the vegetables, so hopefully they will remember “Miss Claire” one day and start their own garden.
Funniest Parenting Moment
There are several, but one that comes to mind is about music. My husband and I loved to play The Wiggles for the kids when they were younger. We even went to a few concerts. We had The Wiggles on the iPod, and I can still sing all the songs by heart. (Fruit Salad.. yummy yummy..)
Well, we had a few friends over one evening and it was mostly adults in the kitchen – you know, it’s where people usually congregate. We had the iPod on shuffle, and a Wiggles song comes on. I think it was Rock a Bye Your Bear. Everybody clap.. (clap, clap, clap), Everybody sing (la, la, la, la la!) The people without kids were like “what the heck is this?”
The Super Power She Wishes She Had
I like how Mary Poppins could snap her fingers and clean up a mess. That would be awesome – I could keep my kitchen counters so clean!
Also, I would love to be Wonder Woman. I have a poster of her in my office, a WW phone case and a license plate on the front of my van. She is strong and beautiful, but above all, she believes in the power of love. Our world could use a lot more of that right now. I would also like to use her lasso of truth on a few people.
I must say my musical taste is all over the place. Some are these are influenced by my Dad, who forced me to listen to “his music” when I was a kid. We would be driving in the car, and would play a little game we called “Name It, Change It.” He’d put it on his radio station and I had to name the artist before he’d agree to change it to one of mine, to listen to a modern song. Then, back to his station. Back then, the radio screen didn’t list the song information! It is tough to play this game with my kids now. Thank goodness we played this game, because there’s a lot of good music I would have never known about otherwise.
Name the song you think of when you need to:
- Get your Gameface on: anything by The Chicks or Lizzo
- Energize yourself: Def Leppard, Van Halen, Foo Fighters, Dropkick Murphys
- Recover from heartbreak: The Chicks and Lizzo also work for this
- Let loose and have fun with your friends: Anything by John Fogerty/CCR, The Band, Traveling Wilburys. I also like the B-52’s and Beastie Boys
Do you know a local mom you think we should feature as an Amazing Rocket City Mom? We want to hear from you about her – send us your ideas and we’ll get in touch!
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.