Real Mama: Melissa V.

I met this gorgeous mama while we were both in college in Missouri. We’ve been Facebook friends since, where I’ve had the privilege of watching her family grow. Her little man Gabriel is such a cutie! Melissa is a wonderfully inspiring mama - she takes care of her family and of herself, and she works part-time for a non-profit, bettering her community. Read about her here!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a 27-year-old wife to my wonderful husband of almost five years and mama to our wonderful one-year-old son Gabriel. When I’m not playing with Gabe and our two dogs, I’m running, listening to Dave Ramsey or working part-time for a nonprofit that focuses on improving health in our community. I have a master’s degree in journalism, and I have a passion for editing and proper grammar.

Where is home?

Home is currently in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, about a mile from Oklahoma. I was born and raised in middle Tennessee, but my family moved to Arizona when I was in high school and I still consider myself part Arizonan.

What kind of mama do you consider yourself to be?

I’m a stay-at-home mama, but I just started a part-time job working for a nonprofit. I never thought I would work at all while my son was so young, but it’s a good opportunity for him to spend quality time with his dad, and it’s a good opportunity for me to keep up my journalism skills. Plus, I like having some time to hang out with adults!

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a part-time-working mama?

I’m still learning how to strike a nice balance among all the parts of my life. My husband is a huge help because sometimes he realizes before I do that I need a break. He’ll offer to hang out with our son in his office for a bit so I can work out or get coffee and have some “me” time. I think it’s essential to have something you do regularly to take care of yourself, and for me, that’s running.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration is my mom. She stayed at home with me (my older sisters were already in elementary school) and then went back to school and finished her degree and became a nurse. She was busy with school, but she always put her family first.

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?

Every kid is different! Just because your child doesn’t do what your friend’s kid does at the same age (walk, talk, sleep through the night) doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you or with your child.

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

My birth experience was not at all what I expected. My husband and I had hoped for a natural birth, but when I started having contractions I changed my mind. However, I progressed through labor so quickly, I ended up having the natural birth I’d originally planned. I definitely did not expect to have a baby within a few short hours of arriving at the hospital! I was one day shy of my due date, which I also didn’t expect. I’m so thankful I wasn’t late like most first-time mamas.

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

I often tell myself that this stage won’t last long and that I should savor the moments (especially at 3 a.m. when I miss sleep).

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

I think too often it’s easy to judge other mamas for doing things we don’t think they should. We should be each other’s allies, but instead, we’re judging each other for staying at home or for working, for breastfeeding or for formula feeding, for giving birth naturally or for getting an epidural… the list goes on. We should be cheering each other on. I find that my best friendships are with those mamas who, despite differing opinions, realize that we’re each doing what works best for our family.

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