Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Gina Skinner-Thebo
Gina Skinner-Thebo is one of my favorite people to follow on social media. She keeps things real. She talks openly about the struggles and joys of parenting. I think we all can relate to the many topics she talks openly about. I have had a few opportunities to attend events she has held through the Atwood Center for Women. She is passionate about connecting women and helping them find their mission. Learn more about Gina below!
Give us a little background on your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
I’ve lived in Ankeny during the past decade. I went to college in Kansas City, MO where my husband was born and raised and I convinced him to move back to Iowa with me to raise our children. I was born and raised in Newton and I wanted to come back to what was familiar.
We have four kids and a dog (a small circus really). My husband and I met on the street in Illinois when I was 16 (we lived in different states) and dated while I was in high school. When I graduated, I moved to KC to attend college and be near him. We’ve got a long history together. Adding all these little people to the equation has been fun but challenging.
What is your business, and what do you do?
I work full time as an Employment Investigator for a large company. I investigate allegations covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act- so anything dealing with harassment, discrimination, etc. It’s a really challenging role but one in which I find a lot of satisfaction.
In 2018, I founded the Atwood Center for Women to create spaces for women to come together and connect. A lot of women struggle with knowing their worth- my mission is to help them find it and realize it was there all along.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
We’re members of Trail Point in Ankeny and we go to the indoor pool a lot- especially in the winter. I’ve gotten really good at my cannonball this year.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
My husband takes our kids, especially our older two who are six and eight years old, all over the place. My favorite place to play outdoors, though, is our backyard. I’m pretty relaxed about our lawn and I allow them to dig holes, rake up the mulch into piles, plant flowers in the middle of yard… whatever keeps their imagination going and me sane. We have a trampoline, too, and that helps. We’ve got bikes and scooters and snow shovels galore! If you’ve ever driven by our house, you’ve likely seen one or more of my kids outdoors.
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
The only night (since our fourth baby was born) we’ve spent away from our children (together) was when we caucused last month. We’re in desperate need of a date night. We’re not very exciting- an uninterrupted dinner and trip to Target would be enough. Really though, I love being with my children. I’m a homebody.
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
I’m still trying to figure this out! I think the best tip I can offer is that make sure you’re enjoying yourself because if you’re not- what is the point? We parents like to tell ourselves that we’re creating memories for our children but really they’re for ourselves. Our kids won’t remember most of it. They’ll remember the feeling of being safe and loved (or not) but they won’t remember Christmas morning in 2019- but you will. Make sure that what you’re creating is as much for yourself as it is for them because the goal is for them to leave someday and we’ll be left with ourselves (and hopefully a spouse!).
What is your number one parenting tip?
Hell, I don’t know. (Can I say hell in this article?) I guess we’ll find out.
Touch your children. Kiss them, mess up their hair, hold their hand, look them in the eyes and let them see how much you love them. It’s really hard to screw a person up. We fret about every little thing and honestly- it’s most likely gonna be okay. Apologize when you overreact (like ugly scream) and laugh when you make a mistake. Life is short. The time with our children is a blip on the radar.