Kari Kampakis is the mother of four daughters and author of 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, which releases November 4 through Thomas Nelson. You can pre-order it now on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and Christianbook.com (links below). Kari’s writing has been featured on HuffPost Parents and reflects her passion for family and God. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Kari holds an MBA and public relations degree. Find Kari’s blog by visiting karikampakis.com, or connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
What is your favorite part about waking up in the morning?
The opportunity of a new day. Knowing that despite any mistakes I made yesterday, I get a second chance and fresh start today. I also love seeing my family and having the kids – mostly my baby – crawl into my bed for a quick cuddle before we start moving.
What inspires you each day?
Some days I’m more inspired than others. But I believe inspiration can be found anywhere if I open up my heart, eyes, and senses. Things that boost my mood quickly are uplifting people, music, writing, reading, exercise, nature, and God’s movement in my life. I try to leave myself open to being inspired, because the most profound moments happen when I least expect them…like when a someone says something thought-provoking that changes my entire perspective.
What are the 3 most important tips you would give to moms on parenting young girls?
1. Be the adult you want them to be. Model a virtuous lifestyle so they know what it means to be in the world but not of the world. Whatever you expect of them, expect more of it in yourself.
2. Be a good listener. Create a safe environment where they can tell you anything when they’re young, because this opens the door to hard conversations you’ll want to have as they grow up. Girls want to talk, and if you become their sounding board early on, you’re likely to stay in the loop. I also think it’s crucial to engage in their lives and know their friends and peers so that when they bring a problem to you, you understand the personalities and dynamics involved.
3. Model God’s unconditional love and forgiveness. Help them understand that even ugly emotions they want to hide and not talk about – jealousy, insecurity, anger – are part of the human experience and nothing to be ashamed of. I think it’s important to cultivate emotional intelligence so children know why they said something mean or why they acted out, because once they’re aware of that, they may think twice before indulging a negative reaction next time.
How can women stay inspired through life’s trials and tribulations?
Through family, friends, faith, and a great sense of humor. Recently I spoke with a guy who lost his wife to cancer, and as we discussed the hard issues that emerge with age, he said, “Life will kick your butt.” It’s true. And it’d be super easy to get depressed if you thought this world was all there is.
But when you believe it’s all leading to something beautiful, perfect, and eternal, today’s struggles become bearable. You understand how hope is never far away.
How do we begin to create a better life?
By dwelling on positive thoughts, being grateful for what we have, and keeping it all in perspective. Having four kids, I have a hundred things go wrong every day. Just the other weekend, I had one child stop up the toilet, another child throw up spaghetti and meatballs on my bed’s cream coverlet, and the dog tinkled on my duvet. Moments like these, I’m faced with a choice. I can get mad and frustrated over things going wrong, or I can remember that it’s all just stuff and be thankful for my life even if it is a comedy of errors. All of us have negative thoughts about our life circumstances, but how long we dwell on the negative makes all the difference in whether we see life as something to enjoy or endure.
How do we begin to create a better home for our family?
As moms, we tend to focus on how our home looks. But what I consider way more important is how our home feels. Is it a place where family and friends can relax, get comfortable, and be themselves? Is there palpable love in the air? I think home should be first and foremost a safe haven, a place to recharge, regroup, and fill up on the good stuff so that when we go head out into the hard world, we’re ready to pour into others.
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is casual. While I like to dress up on occasion, I’m most comfortable in jeans and basic pieces from stores like J Crew and Banana Republic.
What was your favorite thing to wear as a child?
I grew up in the 80’s, so whatever you can imagine from that era, I owned it.
What is your favorite thing to wear now?
Skinny jeans, boots, cute top, and a fun necklace.
What is your favorite quote?
I have so many I love. One that comes to mind: “Everything will be alright in the end. if it’s not, then it’s not the end.”
Who have played mentor roles in your life?
I’ve been influenced by so many people, but a few that stand out are my parents; my boss at Alabama Power, Chris Womack, now executive vice-president with Southern Company; and the priest at my church, Father Bob Sullivan.
How important is it that moms play a mentor role in their daughter’s lives?
It’s huge! As Dr. Phil said recently, “The most powerful role model in any child’s life is the same-sex parent.” Raising daughters has definitely made me hold a mirror up to myself and deal with habits and traits I don’t like. On the flip side, it also motivates me to address my weaknesses and recognize what I need to improve on, for my family’s sake and my own.
What are 3 things every parent should do in today’s society to make sure their children are centered?
1. Create a faith-centered home and take the kids to church.
2. Help them choose good friends and be a good friend back. Encourage friendships that lift your child up, not ones that make them cry and doubt themselves.
3. Point them to the truth in every choice they make. Remind them to trust their gut. Right is right even if no one is doing it. Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. There’s a saying that “You know the truth by how it feels.” That’s helpful to keep in mind at every stage of life.
Upcoming book signings include:
*THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6: Birmingham book signing at Alabama Booksmith in Homewood (open to the public) 4 p.m. Bring your teen or tween daughter! Contact: Jake Reiss at (205) 870-4242 *FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 7: Montgomery book signing with Girls Talk Ministry Contact: Amy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org *SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 9: Birmingham book signing at the Emmet O’Neal Library in Crestline (open to the public) 3 – 5 p.m. Bring your teen or tween daughter! RSVP to Katie Moellering at email@example.com *WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12: Tuscaloosa book signing at Part Two in the Tuscaloosa Galleria (open to the public) 3:30 - 6:30 p.m. Bring your teen or tween daughter! Contact: Betsy McAusland at (205) 792-7783 *FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14: Speaking/book signing at Liberty Park Junior High in Birmingham, Alabama Contacts: Jean Deal and Stephanie Holcomb *SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 23: Birmingham book signing at Sugar in Crestline (open to the public) 4 – 6 p.m. Bring your teen or tween daughter! Contact: Sarah Franklin Johnson at (205) 637-5042
Links to Kari’s social media: