Personal Space: Bethany Meadows


A One on One conversation with Bethany Meadows 

A lifetime ago, Bethany Meadows was a successful businesswoman, a dedicated mom to her daughter, a wife, and an active member of her church. She is still all of those things—only between then and now, her role as a mother went from raising just one child to adopting four more, teaching herself to homeschool, going through a divorce and later remarrying, and taking her career in a different direction to accommodate the chaotic changes in her life. Having succeeded at raising five children (the youngest is now 24), Meadows now runs her own, full-service marketing agency and just released a new book about parenting, Getting a Grip. 

B-Metro: What motivated you to adopt not one but four children, all at once?

Meadows: I didn’t intend to. I had one child, I was very career oriented, and my hands were full. Then when my daughter Ashley was 10, I felt like I’d waited too long, because there would be a huge age gap. But I thought, maybe I’d be open to adopting a child who’s a little bit older. (A friend) said, ‘If you guys are going to adopt, I really want you to adopt these kids I know who have been in and out of foster care.’ It was supposed to be two of them. Well, it turned out they had two other siblings, so ultimately we went to court and fought to get all four.

B-Metro: How did you make such a giant transition?

Meadows: To be honest, I spent about six months in my closet on my knees, asking ‘God, why me? I’m not equipped for this.’ And he said, ‘Yes you are, because look at all your business experience. You know how to manage people and processes.’ So I started doing that in my house.

B-Metro: How did you end up homeschooling?

Meadows: I had started homeschooling Ashley about a year and a half before we adopted the other kids. We became closer than we had ever been, and her self-esteem improved dramatically. Then when we did the adoption, the other children had so many special needs the school couldn’t provide what they needed. So I just kept on doing it.

B-Metro: How did you have the energy?

Meadows: Honestly, I don’t know. But you don’t know how strong you are until you have to be. When I got them, the kids were eight, nine, 10, and 11, and they couldn’t even read at a kindergarten level. They had been yanked in and out of schools for so long, and were under so much duress, they hadn’t been learning anything. But within a year everybody was where they were supposed to be.

B-Metro: You were working all this time?

Meadows: I had an insurance agency I had built from scratch, and I could run it from home. So we would all be sitting around the table, and when the phone rang I would hold up my hand and everybody knew not to say anything. Then when I was done, we’d get back to what we were doing.

But after the divorce, I had to figure out a new way to provide for my family. I took a job selling ads for a magazine where I could work from home. And it turned out I was pretty good at it. By the time I was done, I was the marketing and sales director. We increased sales of the magazine by 800 percent in a year. (Eventually) I decided to start my own marketing agency, Vertical Solutions Media. I have six employees, and we’re celebrating our 10th anniversary.

B-Metro: You also host weekly radio show, Sundays at noon on 92.5 FM WXJC. What’s your favorite part of doing that?

Meadows: I started hosting “Dancing in the Rain” in October 2016, and Kim Brayer joined me in May 2017. I was very nervous about hosting a radio show. I was afraid my mind would go blank and I’d be staring at a microphone in silent horror. However, the experience overall has been amazing. I learned that it’s not about me. “Dancing in the Rain” is a platform to inspire others through women’s stories of courage, strength and faith. It is such an honor and privilege to meet these women and be a part of sharing their incredible journey.

B-Metro: What prompted you to write a parenting book?  

Meadows: I had read a lot of parenting books and was frustrated, because they were all like Three Easy Steps to Perfect Kids, and that wasn’t working. I was dealing with serious issues—reactive attachment disorder, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, and the kids were grieving. I feel like a lot of parents feel that way. They read parenting books with a picture of the author and their perfect family, and they all have bows the size of Texas and matching dresses, and you’re like, ‘That’s not my family. My family is crazy and wild and messy.’ So this book helps parents figure out what parenthood looks like for them, while sharing all the really practical things I did that I know worked. 

Bethanys HOUSEHOLD CHORE TIP:

“By age 12, the kids were required to do their own laundry. I know. I’m a monster.” 

 

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