Real Mama: Mindi Steffens
Tell us a little bit about yourself…
I’m a 31-year-old working mama, just livin’ the dream with my hubby and our 22-month-old son Jacoby. I dream of owning my own photography business someday and am going back to school in the fall to pursue that.
Where is home?
Home is in the suburbs north of Detroit, MI. Some people think of Detroit as a scary place, but we love it. It’s a vibrant city on the verge of a comeback. There’s a huge movement of artists flocking to the city that makes for great street fairs, bazaars and farmers markets.
What are your secrets to balancing your life as a mama, loving wife and your full-time job?
It’s never easy to juggle everything as a working mama, and there are days that I wonder how I do it.
My hubby and I work opposite shifts, so making sure that spark stays alive is a priority for us. We meet up on his lunch break, leave each other sexy notes using the alphabet letters on the fridge and are very protective of the time that we do get to spend together.
But working opposite shifts also means that our little one gets either mama or dad’s undivided attention all day and isn’t in daycare or with a sitter.
The key to this, I think, is having a hubby that is an active parent, a great partner and willing to help out around the house. There is no way I could do it all without him.
What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, you’ve given as a mama?
The best advice that I’ve received, and the only advice that I think is worthy of passing on is, “Watch the baby, not the calendar.” Just because the “average” child is sitting up, walking, talking, eating solids, etc. at a certain age doesn’t mean that your child will be on the same timeline. Don’t let it stress you out; it’ll all come in time. Revel in the things that your little one IS doing, instead of worrying about what they AREN’T doing.
Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?
Honestly, I never really had an image of what kind of mama I’d be.
Mothering has come very naturally to me.
Part of that I think comes from my “bury my head in the sand” attitude and just going with the flow. I haven’t read a single parenting or child development book since my little guy was born.
That’s not to say that I don’t educate myself on things like vaccines or whatnot. In our house we take all of the information out there with a grain of salt, but all of our parenting choices end up coming from our gut.
Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?
The one thing I find myself repeating over and over is, “I am enough, I have enough and I do enough.”
I saw it on Pinterest and it’s stuck with me. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rat race of keeping up with the Joneses, but when I take a step back (and a deep breath) I love my family, my life and the direction that we’re headed and that mantra reminds me of that.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I grew up in the country and our ten year plan is to give our kid(s) the same kind of childhood: playing outside from dawn until dusk, riding dirt bikes and quads, 4-H and the like. So owning property is on the list. Ideally at that point, both the hubby and I will have our own businesses and the flexibility for family time that will provide.
If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Way back in eighth grade, I had to do a report on Ronald Reagan and I found his story amazing enough that it has stuck with me until this day. He was born into a struggling family, and with a tour through Hollywood ended up in the White House. Talk about living the American dream! I think having a meal with him would probably be as laid back of a learning experience as they come.
If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To be able to move at lightning speed would be great as a mama, and being able to turn invisible would certainly have its perks. But, if they were passing out super powers, sign me up to be able to heal people. Everything from that knee scrape on the kiddo to life threatening illnesses that take loved ones too soon.
Was the birth experience for your baby all that you hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?
Headed into the pregnancy, we prepared ourselves for the most natural hospital birth possible.
We took hypnobirthing classes; I was seen by a midwife group and planned on a medication free childbirth.
All of that was (slightly) derailed when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia at 34 weeks pregnant. Plans changed to bed rest, a high risk OB and an induction date. When it was all said and done, I managed to take bed rest seriously enough to have the induction date only two days before my due date.
My midwife was by my side during my Pitocin induced back labor, reminding me of my hypnobirthing techniques and keeping me serene until I gave in and asked for the epidural.
Because of complications (he was born forceps assisted, sunny side up with the cord wrapped around his neck) the moments after birth were nothing like I had hoped for… but that doesn’t change the end result, that amazing little miracle in my arms. The things I would’ve wanted to change, no one had control over besides Mother Nature, so I came to grips with my birth and can hope the next will be more like we wanted.
How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?
I don’t think my parenting has changed much at all actually, but again, I’m a pretty laid back mama that was blessed with an easy, happy child.
Both my hubby and I have taken the “just go with it” parenting style from the beginning. Every day is a new learning experience, not just for our kiddo, but for us as well.
As far as the “I’ll nevers…” there were things that we were hoping we wouldn’t have to do (i.e. bottle feed formula), but because of circumstance became a necessity.
But if there is one thing I’ve learned as a mama, is you just never know, so don’t judge a situation until you are living in it.
Is there anything else you wish to share with the “Mama Say What?!” audience?
Surround yourself with an amazing support system, and let the cynics and naysayers fall to the wayside.
There is no way I would have been able to be as successful as a mama as I am without the mamas behind “Mama Say What?!” blog —cheering, crying and laughing with me, my hubby and my family.