Our April Momma of the Month, Anjanette Burkett Robinson, LPC-S, NCC, has learned that you are never too old to see your dreams come true. I recently spoke with the newly minted doula.
Tell me about yourself.
Anjanette Burkett Robinson (Alabama alum). I turned 45 years old this past November (#TeamScorpio). LOL. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I am married to my husband of 20 years (almost) Jesse Robinson, III, and we have a blended family of three children. The oldest is Jaquon, 26 (Auburn fan) who was recently married to his beautiful wife, Arianne (undecided), our daughter Devin, 15 (Bama fan) and our youngest son Harrison who’s 10 (Auburn fan). I am a licensed professional counselor supervisor (LPC-S), a national certified counselor (NCC) and most recently I had the pleasure of doing something I’ve always want to do, becoming a birth doula. For over 20 years I worked at a local mental health agency as many things over the years but recently an outpatient therapist. In April of 2016 my time there ended. While it was a bittersweet moment, it led me where I am right now. I am currently building my private practice, contracting privately with the Stronggirl Program at Creative Wellness Counseling Center and Jefferson County Family Court as well as volunteering as a birth doula at Birthwell Partners, a non-profit program that provides pregnant women who would like a doula during birth to have one despite their ability to pay. I’m now able to be involved with my kids in a way I wasn’t able to be previously. They may not like Mommy all in their business, but I live for it.
What are the best and worst things about living in Birmingham?
One of the things I love about Birmingham is its size. I like that I can get almost anywhere in the city in under 20 minutes and sometimes not even have to get on an interstate. I have friends and relatives who live in larger metro cities who complain about how long it takes them to get to work or shopping, and I just feel sorry for them. I also think Birmingham is full of many hidden gems that only the longtime locals know. They’re like our little secrets since they don’t make the big brochures. Places like T-Bones on the Southside (best Philly cheesesteaks in Birmingham), Tuxedo Junction in Ensley, Corey’s in West End (biggest hot dogs in the city), the “Top of the City” overlook on the Southside, Quilan Castle (which no one I know has ever seen the inside of but we still marvel over), Roadside Barbeque in East Lake (best BBQ hands down), Ruffner Mountain Park, the awesomeness of Ensley Rec Center/park, Avondale Park’s rose garden, Kairos Café and the Carver Theater/Fourth Avenue Historic District are just a few places that come to mind.
If you could change one thing about Birmingham, what would it be and why?
If I could change anything about Birmingham, it would definitely be the city’s commitment to improving the school system. I received a very rich, full and diverse education in Birmingham City Schools (Northside Elementary, Scott Elementary, Daniel Payne Middle and Ramsay High). I know there are many reasons the schools are where they are, and no one thing can fix what’s wrong. However, I do believe that focusing on the things that are going right and supporting those things would help. There are so many wonderful teachers in Birmingham who are doing a truly amazing job despite the challenges, but they can’t do it by themselves. I believe as long as everyone is committed to the students, then changes will happen.
What is your proudest mom moment?
This is a tough one because I have so many. However, anytime I see my children’s tender, caring hearts displayed in their actions, I think that maybe me and their father have done something right. My children are especially sensitive toward those in need. They have a tender spot in their hearts for the homeless, children who may be hungry or abused, people being bullied and children with special needs. Despite how they are toward each other, they will put all of that aside to help someone else.
What is your proudest wife moment?
This is another tough one since we’ve been together 26 years—married 20 years this May. A recent proud wife moment was maybe four or five months ago when my husband was delivering a powerful Men’s Day message entitled “Boys To Men” at a local church. In that moment I realized he had grown so much as a minister that I saw him as Rev. Jesse Robinson, III, servant of God and not “Jesse” who forgets to empty his pockets before putting them in the hamper. I know he prays every day that God would help him grow in the word and in his ministry. That day I believe his prayers were answered.
What advice do you have for women juggling a career with raising kids?
I would say to them to remember balance and boundaries. You can’t’ give everything to your husband and kids and nothing to yourself. You have to carve out time and space for you to recharge, reenergize and refill so that you have the energy you need for your family. We also need to protect that “me” time by saying no sometimes. I wish I could say that this is something I have mastered, but I’m not even close. I usually find I should have said no after I am all up in the project, activity, store, car, etc. I’m definitely a work in progress. When I was in grad school, I had a newborn that I was nursing and was working full time. It was one of the most ridiculously stressful times in my life that I would never wish on another human being. One day my supervisor sat me down and told me that something had to give. She introduced me to the idea that caring for myself and saying no actually made me a better mother and wife. Having her support meant the world to me. Now, I try to remind myself of a quote I found some time back that says you can’t pour from an empty cup and find ways to refill my cup.
What’s next for Anjanette Burkett Robinson?
I hope to continue my work as a counselor, helping families thrive and doing more doula work.