A Night with Amy Brown – Exclusive WMB Interview


If you’re not listening to Amy Brown’s podcast 4 Things with Amy Brown, stop what you’re doing and go subscribe right now, I’ll wait. You won’t regret that. She’s funny, honest, and offering some really useful advice, four things at a time. Brown is also known as Bobby Bones’ side-kick on his syndicated country music radio morning show, and for choosing joy through adversity showcased by the hashtag #pimpinjoy.

Brown recently held her first solo speaking event in El Dorado, KS arranged by the Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital Foundation. All proceeds went to the Susan B. Allen Cancer Center, a cause near and dear to Brown’s heart, and to mine.

While Brown was preparing for the event, she sat down with Wichita Moms Blog to dish on all things mom-related. Brown and her husband are new parents, having adopted two older children from Haiti. After waiting for five years, the children came home to Nashville, TN just over a year ago.  

Wichita Moms Blog: The Wichita Moms Blog is built on the idea of community and connecting other moms. Who is part of your community?

Amy Brown: My sister. Not a lot of my close friends have kids. But I have a high school best friend, Andrea and she’s a mom of two. Then I have a sister-in-law and I have a mother-in-law. But I would say the sister/friend route is where I go.

WMB:  How do you make friends?

AB: My kids are still learning English, and they haven’t made a lot of friends yet. It’s been a little bit hard and we are working on that. We do have some families we hang out with. We rotate houses and each mom is in charge of games for the night and food. It’s something we are creating for our kids. But I can’t wait for them to be like “Mom, can I have my friend over?” that hasn’t happened yet.

WMB:  What was the most surprising part about becoming a mom?

AB: I’m an adoptive mom. I wasn’t surprised because I had heard that is was going to be difficult with them because they are older. I adopted older kids. And there are attachment disorders.  There’s issues there. I thought, I’ve been visiting them in Haiti for five years so my story is going to be different because they know me and they are going to be comfortable, it’s fine. They are going to get to our house and it’s going to be great. So I was most surprised by the fact they went straight textbook on us when we got to the house, and I spent the first three months crying every day because they went from calling us “mom” and “dad” to calling us by our first names, to telling us to take them back to Haiti every day and doing really defiant things.

But what they were doing was testing us. I knew this was possible but I didn’t think it was going to happen to us, because we had known them for five years. So I was really surprised that it happened to us first of all and then how hard it hit me. I have a mentor that has adopted from Haiti, and she’s in Nashville and I call her for any advice. She’s so sweet and I would call her from my closet crying or my husband and I would show up at her house for coffee just to like, “Please tell us this is going to get better.” Almost like when a mom gives birth if she experiences any kind of postpartum or not connecting with her baby, that’s what I felt like was happening to us but with older adopted kids. I know they are still hurting, and I know it’s so hard. But we had the language barrier, I mean it was just…It was a hot mess. On Instagram it looked so great.

So many people prayed for them and cared for them and wanted them to be here finally because it’s an experience that’s going to change their life. They still don’t know that yet. I still don’t think they will know that coming here was the best thing for them and it will change their life, right now they just miss all their friends at the orphanage which is hard.

WMB: What are your best practices being a working mom and making sure everyone, including you, gets the best parts of you?

AB: I would say self-care. Whether that is a hot bath, which the only bathtub we have is upstairs in our kids bathroom which is a little bit different experience for me now that the kids are there because there is all this kid stuff there but I still just turn off the lights and make it happen. But whether it’s a hot bath or putting a mask on my face or doing a 20-minute yoga on my computer.

That’s one thing that has changed since becoming a mom, I used to go to yoga all the time which would be about a two hour experience where you had to drive there and get to class early. The class is like an hour or sometimes a little more and then you drive home so that’s a long time I dedicated to that and I always felt great. I don’t have that time anymore so I do 20 minute yoga videos on YouTube. So it could look like that or it could be a little bit more like me going to get a massage or something. But I think it’s important, that’s how I can maintain my sanity and be better for everyone else is doing little things for myself. I think at one point in my life I would have found to be selfish and been like I can’t say that out loud. But I think more moms need to do that. So I have no shame in my self-care game! Because I just think that that’s important or you’re gonna fall apart .

WMB: Borrowing from your podcast, what are four things that you want to instill in your children at this stage in their lives?

AB: Mine might be a little different since my kids came from an orphanage where the rules were very very different. But I would say right now things we are working on are

First, respect for their elders, like “please”, “thank you”, “yes ma’am”, “yes sir”, that sort of stuff is so lost on them. My daughter rolls her eyes more than me.

Next, loving Jesus. I want them to have that relationship.  

 Also, I want them to understand freedom and choices. They didn’t have that at the orphanage. I want them to have a voice, which is something they didn’t have at the orphanage.  They didn’t have choices. It wasn’t like what do you want for snack what do you want to eat. It’s like, “Here’s what you’re eating. You don’t have a choice.” Or, “Do you want to take a shower when you wake up or when you go to bed?” Some kids have that choice. They didn’t. They showered whenever it was their room’s turn. It was Groundhog Day there., so I love giving them a voice and a choice. My daughter, she wants to shower at night and my son wants to shower in the morning, and they got to choose that.  

I want them to be kids and have fun. Again, they got to play at the orphanage and they had friends but it was Groundhog Day. I love watching them be able to have fun and figure out what’s fun to them. They are learning what basketball is and what football is, and my daughter wants to take ballet. For me that’s fun and I want them to try it all! Experience it and figure out what’s going to be best for you.

WMB:  How’s the podcast going? (I’m a big fan!)

AB:  Great! It’s good, it’s fun! And the feedback has been really good and I feel like it’s like my little grassroots project we’re just growing it one listener at a time, so leave us reviews because that’s how people hear about it!

Brown hinted that there were new things coming to The Shop Forward, and maybe a project or two in the works, but nothing she could talk about yet. Be sure to follow @radioamy on Instagram to stay in the know.  

Whether listening to Amy Brown on the radio, one-on-one, or in a sold-out auditorium in El Dorado, KS, her connection to all those around her is palpable. It’s like getting to dish, in full honesty, with your best girlfriend. We laughed at Brown and host Chase Locke as they recounted Brown’s path to radio and early living conditions, and she cried with us while sharing her mom’s battle with cancer and the birth of the #pimpinjoy movement. She FaceTimed her sister and father, who is now engrossed in his own battle with cancer, while on stage. The evening turned into quite an adventure when the power went out at the El Dorado Performing Arts Center (as well as most of the town) as a sudden snow-storm blew up while we were all inside.  

I was over the moon with excitement at the opportunity to interview Brown. I love the podcast and had followed her adoption story closely. To discover she is such an authentic woman, who chooses joy but acknowledges and lives in her hard times too, was beyond expectations. We so hope our role models are in real life, who they seem to be. In the case of Amy Brown, she’s even better.

Thank you, Amy, for donating your time to our Cancer Center, for connecting to our community, and for sharing your mom stories.   

Photos courtesy of The Studio in El Dorado KS.

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Kristina is an El Dorado native who spent a lot of years trying to live "anywhere else.” She returned to El Dorado with husband Chuck (m. 1994) and their children Isaac (b. 1998) and Isabelle (b. 2003). A SAHM for 16 years, Kristina is now a wine rep for Demo Sales Inc., living her dream of a wine-saturated life. Kristina is a Geographer (BS K-State), Historian (MA WSU), and wrangler of two tiny dogs. She loves to travel, shop for shoes, and spend time with her teenagers, though she’s probably on her back porch saying “there’s no place like home.”