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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Working Mommy!

Today I read a message a reader sent me. It was a little different than the usual messages I receive. It went a little like this....

Hi Melanie,

I admire that you are so passionate about your career and are able to have a family. I am at a school where someone is pregnant every year and hear about the struggles of having a baby at home and working. I cannot imagine myself not working even when I do have children. Would you consider writing a blog post on this subject. You are able to be a mom, counselor, and stylish at the same time.

Bless this reader's heart. I thought she was super sweet and I felt so bad that people at her school had put this negative association out there regarding being a working mom.

This post is going to be my personal opinion and experience. I won't say being a working mom is right or wrong. I believe you have to do what feels right to you and what works best for your family. I don't believe there is a definite right or wrong. As with anything....it depends on you and what you and your family need!!!

When I first graduated from college and began a job as a teacher, a lot had happened in a short time. From May 2006 until December 2006 (yes, that's 6 months) SIX HUGE things happened: I graduated college, got married, we bought a house, I started my first year teaching, I started grad school, and I got pregnant!!! To say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. Getting pregnant wasn't part of our plan just yet (we were hoping to wait 3 years) but it was the biggest blessing imaginable.

Not working was never an idea that crossed my mind when I had Grayson (my son who is now 6). I taught all day and went to school at night. It was tough but I knew going to school was for a short time and I have an amazing hubby who supported me 100%. This brings me to my next point...a support system! A support system is so important for a working mother whether its a spouse, family member, or friend! This is what has helped me do all that I am able to do.

Now, let me say that every job I have ever had I loved. Now don't get me wrong there were days I would "vent" to my husband but every job I have had has brought me immense joy. Anything where I get to be a part of kids' lives and have a chance to make a difference is AMAZING!! I think that is another huge aspect...I love my job....I love what I do.

When I had Ella (my daughter who is now almost 4), that was a bit more difficult. I had two now and my time was definitely split. I felt like it was harder to keep up. I won't lie, there were days I would cry and want to just stay home but once I realized that God had put me where I need to be, it became easier. I found joy in being a teacher/counselor and I found joy in being a mommy. Some people feel that you can't truly be a good mom while working and I think that is simply not true. Again, it goes back to what you feel works best for you and your family. I have friends who stay at home and couldn't see it any other way and it works for them.

I would have to say that I could outline things that have helped me, I definitely don't think I am perfect and I KNOW I have tons to work on each day to be a better wife, counselor, and mom but these are the things that help me.

-Have a support system.
Whether it's a spouse, friend, cousin, whoever that can be there to help out!!
-Love what you do!
We can choose HAPPINESS. I choose to find the joy in my job and it makes being a working mommy so much easier.
-Be organized!!!
I jot everything down on my calendar. Whether it is a 504 meeting, group counseling session, swimming lessons, or birthday parties. Every bit of info goes down on my planner. My husband and I try to "meet" each week and go over schedules and things happening that week. We also write it down on one central calendar in the house. This helps balancing work and home! I also try to organize our house in a way that helps everything run in a routine manner.

My HAPPY place
-Enjoy YOU time!
Whether it's reading a good book at Starbucks, getting a pedicure, shopping with a friend, or even driving around the neighborhood listening to some of your favorite songs...you need time for you!!! I feel like I can be my best when I have had some rest and relaxation and this is where that handy support system comes in to watch the kiddos!

-Balance time with kids and that special person
My husband and I try to balance time with each kiddo and with each other. With two kids, we try to make sure they have just mommy time and just daddy time and that they get to do things with each one of us without their sibling. They love this and it's neat to see how different they act when it's just them. It doesn't have to be anything big or expensive. It could be a trip to Lowe's or pedicures with Mommy....or a visit to Starbucks to get a cake pop and chat. My husband and I also try to make it a priority to have time with just us. Date nights can be hard so we make sure to spend time together when the kids go to bed. That may be watching funny You Tube videos and talking about our day, just talking, or watching a movie. I have noticed that when we don't have that time together....we seem a little more tense so that's definitely a priority.

-Find the joy in the little things
Being a working mommy means finding joy in the little things. I may not be able to stay at home and cuddle and watch movies all day but I can enjoy time after work playing outside or having a picnic and knowing when to put work aside and focus on them. It's these little moments that are sometimes the best memories.

And last...how am I stylish? I don't know about all that. It was a catchy name and I love fashion...haha. I have always loved heels, dresses, makeup, and jewelry and when I became a mom that was no different. I believe that a mommy can still be fashionable!!! It's important for me to feel good about myself and to set an example of having good self esteem for daughter.
I wear pretty affordable and comfortable things (you may beg to differ on the heels). I just try to add jewelry to jazz up outfits or accessories like scarves or a cute jacket or belt to make a simple outfit look put together.

I also purchase higher end items to add to my clearance finds to balance out my look. For example, the other day I wore a $12 dress with $75 wedges, a $4 bracelet, and a Michael Kors purse...so it's all about balance!!! : )
The outfit above was a white shirt I got for $3.99 at Old Navy, $88 Seven Jeans, $4.99 wedges, $18 necklace from Groovy's, $30 bracelet from Norsdtrom...see all about balance! : )

I hope this post has helped someone out there. I am a hot mess most of the time...no lie...but I love my job and my family...and somehow with a positive outlook it all comes together and just works!

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