One From the Heart Featuring...

Gillian Alsko

"I could not be happier with my life right now," said Gillian Alsko. "I am blessed to have a wonderful husband and two healthy children. We live on an island where life makes you feel like you are on vacation most of the time." Gillian is a woman content at home. She is, quite simply, a happy person.

Gillian is something of a rarity these days too. She is not only a stay-at-home mom, but also one who truly relishes that role. In the days when almost all moms stayed at home, we called them homemakers. For some reason, that title went out of style. We started to say that homemakers were house builders, not women who kept house. Then, even the job of keeping house became something of a degraded position. Nowadays, I am delighted to tell you, the whole role of stay-at-home mom has come back into its own and has nothing to do with whether or not one "works" at something else outside the house.

I know many women who have made careers working from home and others who work only hours when their children are in school. Many others, like Gillian, have made the role of wife and mother into a highly satisfying career in and of itself.

Gillian and her family lived in Eagle's Point until they realized they were outgrowing their house. They also had a specific school in mind for their two children, so when a combination of circumstances arose that let them buy that "perfect" house in Hilton Head Plantation, they jumped at the chance.

"Our new house is perfect," said Gillian. "It sits on a large lot at the end of a cul-de-sac, and there is plenty of space for the kids to play safely outside. They really enjoy it. This is our first house that is mainly on one level, although we do have a bonus room above the garage, which has turned into our playroom. It is so nice to send the kids there. It can become a disaster zone and I don't have to worry about picking up toys across the entire house."

Gillian's house is not only a home with a full share of family love; it is also a gathering place for family and friends. She and her son,Wynn, age 2 are involved in a weekly playgroup, and they love it when it is their turn to have the other moms and children over to be together. She and daughter, Ella, who is a kindergartner, have regular play dates, too. The family also loves just being home and relaxing around the house. They enjoy family movie nights, doing craft projects on weekend mornings, and watching sports together.

Gillian says she loves staying home and that she always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. "I knew that once we had children, I wanted to be at home with them to watch them grow and to be there for all of their milestones," she said. "We have been lucky enough for me to do this, and it has been a true blessing. Before I became a stay-at-home mom, I spent a number of years in the hotel business as a reservations manager, revenue manager, and sales manager. In fact when I met my husband, we were working together at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington DC."

Gillian's house is also a kind of gathering place for her family in the area. Her parents live here on the island and her four siblings all live within a four-hour drive. Gillian also says she has made wonderful friends here and in her words: "Life is good!"

Life is good for Gillian, and in her family and her home is really a Home Sweet Home. But as busy as she is with her growing family, church life, and her many hobbies, Gillian still finds time to be an active community volunteer. In addition to all of her other activities, she was an early member of the committee that formed The Sandbox interactive children's museum. She served on the board for three years and served two full terms as secretary. She welcomed the responsibility, as it was a great opportunity to interact with other parents and children and to create a venue that serves both local residents and visitors alike.

Gillian also has that dreaded job that few can handle and many wish to pass on to someone else: She is a room mother. I have been a room mother myself, and I know what it involves-cupcakes, cookies, parties, trying to please not only the children, but parents and teachers as well. What kind of party, what to serve, do we do Chinese New Year and Christmas and Hanukah, and what about Halloween? Who is allergic to what and can we have a dress-up day? Oh, what a job! My hat is off to you, my dear.

Anyway, home sweet home does not have to be a particular kind of place anymore, does it? It can be a mansion, a log cabin, or even a tent. The expression "Home is where the heart is" is being lived out by Gillian Alsko and her family. It reminds me of that old Beatles' song: "All You Need is Love!"

Up Close

Q.    What is your favorite room in the house?
A.    Oh, it is my kitchen. I love to cook and bake!

Q.    What is the most common job you ask your husband to do around the house?
A.    He does not do much actual housework, but he likes outside yard work and I don't, so that is generally where he can be found.

Q.    Make a wish for your home.
A.    My wish would be for a screened in porch with an outdoor kitchen. I would love that.

Q.    Where do you like to shop for home things?
A.    I just love the Pottery Barn.

Q.    What is your favorite dinner menu?
A.    Everybody's favorite is pan seared pork chops, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, and a green salad with nuts, beets, and gorgonzola cheese. (Mmmm!)

Q.    What is your favorite family activity?
A.    What else? Spending the day at the beach.