As part of our Stork Spotlight series, we had the opportunity to sit down with April Norman, Webstore Specialist, to talk about her own struggles with HG, how she manages to raise and homeschool three kiddos as a working mom, and how to look at things with a new perspective.
What do you do at Pink Stork?
I’m a Webstore Specialist. I come in, print orders, and pack them into a box or bubble mailer. I always make sure they’re nice and pretty for our customers.
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Personalization for our customers. When I first started, I found out that Amy had the same thing that I had: I went through HG with my last baby. This company’s meant a lot to me because of the things we do and the women we help. I try to personalize each card that I write with a heart or make sure the box’s presentation is extra special.
When you were diagnosed with HG, did you have any resources or support?
I was completely blindsided by HG. I knew nothing about it. I went to two different doctors. The first doctor said, “It’s just morning sickness. You’ll be fine.” But I was losing weight and getting sick all the time. In fact, I was so sick at one point that I couldn’t help myself off the toilet or off the couch. And I went into another doctor, and he said, “What are you doing here? You need to be in the ER.” When they did bloodwork, they found out that I was close to having a major stroke that I wouldn’t come back from. I had two kids already. It was such an isolating experience because I didn’t have the resources. I didn’t know anything about it. Certain people were like, “Oh, you’re being dramatic.” So mentally and physically, I wasn’t in a good space. Now, I like to talk about my experience and what I went through because then I can help other women feel less alone.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
My biggest challenge personally is finding my “outside of work” time. I never stop working and always think about work because I really enjoy it. I go home and think about preparing for the next day and the things I can improve on. I’m such an overachiever. I have my goals and a strong work ethic. I always want to try to improve. I’m always asking what can I do better, but I also try to celebrate the little things, too.
Tell us your background. What did you do before your current role?
I used to work as a kennel tech. It was very challenging because animals, just like people, have their own personalities, and it’s hard trying to make sure all the dogs get along.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I like riding horses, spending time with my family, going to the beach, and sitting and reading in a quiet corner. I like mystery books, but I’d recommend any of the Nicholas Sparks’ books (like A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, etc.). I love all of his books. The movies don’t compare. Another author I’d recommend, who covers more controversial topics, is Jodi Picoult.
What inspires you?
My kids and my background. I grew up in a situation that wasn’t ideal, and I’ve seen the bad side of things, so I always wanted to be better and do more. I try my hardest. If I can sit there and say to my kids, “I may not have graduated college, but I’m still successful.” It’s an accomplishment to show them that I didn’t grow up with a lot but look: I’ve bought my own car or my own house.
Walk us through a day in your life.
I wake up and get ready for work. I like to walk my dog (I have a little husky). I also have cats and other animals that I’ll feed. I’ll check on my kids and make sure they’re all set for their day. I’ll come to work the full day. I’ll have morning orders done by noon or one. Then, I’ll go to lunch, come back, and finish any tasks that I need to do. At 4, I go home, cook dinner, help my kids with their schoolwork, take a shower, watch TV, and I’m pretty much in bed by nine or 10 o’clock.
How do you manage to homeschool your kids? Do you have any advice for others interested in that?
I set up everything for my kids on the weekend, like making their lessons plans and double-checking everything. Any lessons they need I do with them on the weekends. It’s a lot, but it’s worth it. I recommend finding a schedule that works for you. If I go shopping, they write out a grocery list with me and I say the amount of money we have to spend, and at check out, they usually hit their goals. That’s how they learn money management. My kids are very hands-on; they don’t do well sitting around just looking at a book. I’ve also learned that the same things I want, my kids want. Like think about what you do after you’ve had a bad day at work: you go home, take a shower, and try to relax and calm down. But if a child comes home from school after having a bad day, they’re still expected to do homework, chores, etc. So I fix my kids a bath with candles and little things to help them rewind. When I was in school, I did a lot of taking care of my family. I was always on the go-go-go. That’s where I get all of my drive from. And I expected that of my kids. You only have two choices in life: to take the bad, dwell on it, and be in a bad mood the whole entire day, or you can take it, run with it, learn from it, and choose to be better.
What do you love about working in St. Augustine and living in Florida?
I love having the history of St. Augustine right down the road from me. I love the weather here, and there are a lot of really kind, interesting people you get to meet from all around the world.
Favorite PS Product?
I eat the Total Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies every single day, usually sometime in the morning between 9 and 9:30. They’re my favorite because of the flavor. I don’t really eat breakfast in the morning because I get nauseated, and they help settle my stomach.