Working Mama Files is an interview series designed to support and encourage working moms along the path to having a fulfilling life.
Today I want to introduce you to my blogging buddy Melissa from Yours Truly, Melissa. She and I are both nurses (i.e. have non-creative day jobs) so we both love to be creative at home. On her blog she writes about life adventures, thoughts on family and motherhood, & creativity and DIY. She’s totally sweet and relatable and I’m thrilled to have her involved!
Who lives in your house?
I live with Matt, my husband of over three years, our one year old daughter Alice, and our German Shepperd, Penny Lane. Soon to join us is our second daughter due to arrive mid August! (Update: baby Elaine was born on August 13!)
Will you tell us a little about your current job and how you ended up there?
I generally don’t talk a ton about my day job online for privacy reasons, but I will share that I’m a registered nurse and I work in an out-patient clinic setting. Basically I work in a “doctor’s office” meaning we are open Monday through Friday during business hours and are closed during the weekends and holidays. I’m grateful for my current position because the schedule is really supportive of my family life. I actually came to my position via word of mouth. One day I heard there was an opening, which rarely happens, I applied, interviewed, and got the job!
You and I are both nurses, but our positions are vastly different. What are your thoughts on the different shifts & jobs you can have as a nurse? Would you ever want to switch to a different specialty or position?
I love that the career path of nursing offers so many different avenues. Like you say, we are both nurse’s but what our day to day looks like is entirely different. I’ve been a nurse for over 10 years now and have worked in several different areas. I’ve worked in the hospital setting which includes the 12 hour shifts. I’ve been an ICU nurse and a cardiac unit nurse. I’ve had experience working for different types of surgeons and general medical clinics. Most of my job changes are due to physical moves. I moved a lot during the beginning of my career and was luckily able to secure a new job with each move.
I’m happy with my current job and have no plans of leaving. The type of work and schedule is really the best fit for me and my family at this point in time. Of course I’m always open to new opportunities.
Your baby girl just turned one, and you are getting ready to have your second any day now! What kind of things have you done to prepare yourself for having two under two?
Ha! After I read this question I thought “Hmmm maybe I should do some reading about siblings” and then promptly scoured Amazon for a few books on the subject. Otherwise I just figure it’s going to be a very, very busy year for us :) I did more reading before our first was born on topics like sleeping, breastfeeding, basic baby stuff, etc. We also attended a birthing class and had great resources in family members and friends who’d paved the way in the parenthood department before us.
Since our kiddos are going to be pretty close together in age (15 months!) most of that material is pretty fresh. With that being said, I don’t think you can be fully prepared for the life change that happens once you have a child. You take what you know, what people tell you, and you hang on! I suppose I figure that it’s going to go somewhat like that.
Are you planning to continue working, and if so, how will you handle childcare?
Yes I will continue working. I’ve always had mixed feelings about this subject matter. On one hand, I obviously, have an innate desire to be home with my kids caring for them. On the other hand, I think daycare has a lot benefits in regards to socializing and learning, etc. Alice has been attending a small daycare that keeps only babies until they are one year’s old. She starts a new daycare class with one-year-olds this week. Baby #2 will follow suit and hopefully attend the same baby daycare that her older sister attended.
I’m always impressed with you and all the projects you have going on, especially around your house. What has been your favorite?
Well thanks so much! Home improvement projects are definitely an ongoing process around here. Luckily my husband is very handy so he’s able to tackle the bigger home improvement projects. My favorite “big” home improvement project is probably our kitchen remodel. Matt did all the manual labor himself (I was 9 months pregnant with our first child when it was completed!). I picked mostly everything out, from the subway tile backsplash and dark grout to the farmhouse sink. Matt offered a lot of input, he would never let me have complete say so! ;)
On a smaller scale, I would choose the DIY botanical prints that I put together last summer as my favorite home improvement project that I completed all on my own.
How do you find time and inspiration to stay creative?
As I’m sure you can imagine, being a working mom to two little ones yourself, I don’t have a ton of extra free time. However, I realize that finding time for just myself is important for my mental health and so I do my best to seek it out. Matt and I usually give each other one night a week to do something on our own. He usually golfs (especially in the summer when it stays light out later) and I’ll usually meet up with girlfriends for dinner or do something like take an 8 week watercolor class. Otherwise I try to carve out a little time to do something creative during nap times on the weekends or for an hour or so after the baby goes to bed in the evenings.
As for staying inspired, I read a lot of inspiring blogs, magazines, books, and of course there’s pinterest. Also I try to actually do creative things like write, take photos, or make something crafty/arty. When I took a watercolor class earlier this year I often didn’t feel like going because it was after a long work day and I was just tired. Instead of skipping out, I would made myself go (hello! those types of things aren’t free!) and I always left class feeling creatively inspired and like I had learned something new. I never regretted going.
What has been your biggest struggle, doubt, or resistance so far being a working mom?
Mom guilt is the worst! I struggle with not being home with my child day in and day out. I feel bad that she has to go to daycare…I worry that she’ll feel neglected or less loved because she didn’t have a stay at home mom.
The rational part of me realizes this isn’t true…I was raised by a working mother (and father) and many of my friends were as well. I’ve never personally felt or heard any of my friends raised by working moms say that they felt neglected because they didn’t have a stay at home mom. Even so, these thoughts enter my mind and honestly I’m conflicted about wanting to be a stay at home versus maintaining my career. However, at this point in time, it’s best for my family if I remain working but if that situation ever changes and it becomes just a matter of preference I can’t say that I’d continue to work. It would be a tough decision for sure!
In your experience, what is the best part of being a working mom?
I’d have to say that the best part of being a working mother is getting out of the house and only being responsible for myself for a set amount of time each weekday. Taking care of a child all day is not easy and going places with them isn’t exactly easy either! It can seem overwhelming (all the stuff you need) especially for a new mama. Also being at work, feeling productive in another aspect besides being a mother, and having adult conversations can be so mentally rewarding. For me it’s refreshing to have that time away and I come back to my daughter with even more appreciation for her. After some time away, I’m able to focus on my child more fully than I do when I am with her all day, every day.
Do you have any tips or tricks to pass along that help you lead a more joyful, fulfilling life?
No. Just kidding. :)
Not to be trite, but laugh out loud and often! It’s hard to be anything but joyful when you’re laughing. Also, count your blessings. Focus on the things you have to be thankful for as opposed to honing in on the negative things. The latter is so easy to do for some reason. Focusing on the positive should be our knee jerk reaction, but it’s usually not. I find that I’m much happier when I put in an effort to focus on the positive things in my life.
Now a few questions for fun…
How do you like your coffee? Or are you a tea drinker?
I drink both. Occasionally I’ll go through seasons where I’ll drink hot tea but I often drink iced tea, unsweetened.
I love coffee and have it most mornings with whole milk and real sugar. I haven’t figured out a way to like black coffee.
What was the last good book you read?
I just finished The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It’s filled with magic and I just love stories about magic for some reason.
What’s on your nightstand?
Besides my lamp? A roll of toilet paper (because I forget to buy kleenex), a jar of Aquaphor for my lips and cuticles, a water bottle, Tums (pregnancy heartburn!!!), library books, my cell phone, and the baby monitor.
Favorite social media site?
Instagram for sure.
Can you recommend one blog you read?
Just one? There are so many! :) I’ll share a new to me blog that I’ve been reading lately: Belgian and a Half. Amber is a working mama and wife that lives in the Pacific NW. She always has such pretty photos and her writing is straight forward and honest.
Please join me in thanking Melissa for her thoughtful answers in the comments! Connect with her on her blog, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest! And let me know if you have a recommendation for someone to be featured in this series, or if you have ideas for topics you’d like covered.