Real Mama: Amanda Lipsey

Tell us a little about yourself…

I am 28 and a wife and a mama to four kiddos… ages 6 months, 3, 6 and 14. And before you do the math, NO I didn’t have a child at 14; Sidney is my super fabulous bonus child! SO I am also a step-mama too.

I work from home as a child photographer (Amanda Marie Photography) and I LOVE my job so much. Some of my current obsessions are urban homesteading, vintage anything, all things handmade, receiving mail and thrift shopping.


Where is home?

Home is Charlotte, Michigan. I have moved around quite a bit, but I always end up back here. I don’t believe the saying “you can’t go home again” because yes, you absolutely can. 

Home isn’t exactly where you grew up. Home is where you find yourself, and where you can be yourself. You know in your heart where home is.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a work-at-home-mama?

Oh wow. Hmm this is a HUGE challenge for me. I am a WAHM, but I do send the kids to daycare two days a week.

By nature, I am really disorganized and a real hot mess sometimes. I have to make lists for what to get done every single day. If I don’t make a list of what I need to do, something ALWAYS gets forgotten. 

I have found a few ways to help make the day go smoothly. I pack lunches and lay out clothes and paperwork for the next day. I try to clean up the kitchen before I go to bed. There is nothing like waking up to a messy kitchen; it instantly puts me in a bad mood.

I answer emails and other messages while standing in lines or sitting in waiting rooms. I try to start a load of laundry as soon as I get up in the morning. Now, remembering to switch it to the dryer is a whole other task – HAHA.

I try to rise earlier than everyone if I can. And I do a lot of work after the kids are in bed. I give myself one day just for me each week. You have to take a little time for yourself too! Mine is usually on Wednesday mornings. I like to go knit with a few fabulous ladies at a local coffee shop. It’s a good two hours that puts me in a fabulous mood for the rest of my day.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Oh this is a hard one. Pretty much just other mamas. I have a great respect for my own mom. She was a single mom to three kids and I have no idea how she did it.

I am always inspired by moms who home-school. That is something we toss around here regularly. I really wish we could do it. Our kids are only in our homes for such a short period of time. I want to soak up every second!

Image by Amanda Marie Photography

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, that you’ve given as a mama?

I think some of the best advice is just from those who remind me how my children will only be small for such a short period of time. Read the books when they ask and get on the floor and play.

And I once read a quote that says “if you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money.” I believe this to be true. My children tend to remember times playing and being silly more than they remember any money spent on an expensive toy.

Image by McShane Photography

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

HAHA no. I mean, I was going to be the perfect mom! I was going to spoil them rotten and we would travel the world together. I was going to be the most patient mom. My children were never going to get dirty and would NEVER throw a fit in a store, because I was going to be the most perfect mother ever. HAHAHA. Well… it turns out, I am just human and so are they; none of us are perfect. I yell, I make mistakes and have had some super mom failures, like losing my own child. We have all had meltdowns in public and well, my kids love to get dirty. But I love them more than I ever imagined I could love anything.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I am hoping to have my photography business well established and maybe a home in the country. I would love to have a little family run homestead. And I just realized my son will be nearly graduating in 10 years so this question made me sweat!

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Hmmm, I think it would have to be the ability to move things with my mind. How amazing would it be to be cleaning the house while I work or play?!

Was your birth experience all that you hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

With both of my girls, I had a pretty easy time. However, my son’s birth was an absolute nightmare. I wish I had been more educated and had taken a bigger role in the process. I mean, I had the lead role, did I not?

I was young and uneducated on childbirth. It was my first. But I let the doctors and nurses tell me what to do and pump me full of a lot of drugs. I was hallucinating and throwing up through the whole thing. It was very traumatic. It wasn’t until after my first daughter’s birth that I realized it wasn’t supposed to be that way. I truly believe that it was because I was induced with him. He was forced out and my body and we were not ready. I don’t believe that a due date is a definite thing. Babies come when they are ready. My girls were both overdue but came right on time for them. And labor was short and less painful and traumatic. I was so terrified to have another child after him.

People say you forget the pain and that is true in a way. But you never forget how terrified you were or the mood of the day. I would definitely change a lot of things with his birth. I would have gone to a different hospital and learned more about how the body works during birth.

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? 

Oh wow. I had no idea what I was doing when I brought Jeremiah home nearly seven years ago. I over-protected him so bad. I second guessed myself constantly. I rushed him to the doctor for every little scratch. Now, I am much more easy going, I think, on letting the kids run and play. However, my brothers would tell you that I am still over-protective. I always swore I would never yell, never lose my patience and never use the words “because I said so.” And I have done ALL of that.

I really thought I was going to be this amazing perfect Parents Magazine type parent. I realize now, that it is impossible. Parenting is hard, it’s frustrating and it can feel darn right impossible some times. But it has beautiful chaos; it is so rewarding and joyous too! My kids are my everything. I can’t even imagine where I would be right now if it were not for them. They make my days crazy and hilarious. They teach me about me. I learn things right alongside of them. 

Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

Yup! I just keep telling myself “this too shall pass,” because it does. Some days are hard and some days are amazing. And there are people out there dealing with things harder than me and they do it with a smile. So I can do this!

Is there anything else you wish to share with the Mama Say What?! audience?

As mamas, we are raising the future. The future won’t be perfect, so don’t fret if you are not a perfect parent. I think with all of the pressure on moms these days to work full-time, be the soccer mom, do all of the Pinterest projects all while having perfect hair and a perfect smile is really unrealistic. 

Don’t be overrun by the Mommy Guilt. Don’t read the articles about moms with iPhones. Just do what you can do, where you are, with what you have. Your children just need you and your time. You don’t have to be perfect and composed all of the time.

By Miriam R.

Miriam lives in a tiny town in mid-Michigan with her hottie husband Craig, and three daughters, Ryleigh (06/06), Lilah (03/11), and Evelyn (01/13). This busy mama spends her days cleaning, organizing, couponing and crafting with her three fabulous girls. She spends her nights going to school to complete her RN. Her husband and her recently moved to a farm and look forward to the adventures that follow. You can find more post from Miriam in the Real Celebrations and Real Homes Sections

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