Real Mama: Michelle Webster

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hey, I’m Michelle! I am a Marine wife and a new mama. Our daughter, Elizabeth, is six months old and the light of our lives. I love to work out, quilt and sew, read, bake, clean and travel. I spent the years between college and becoming a mom as a nanny… you could call it ‘real world’ training. They say opposites attract and that must be true because I have salt water in my veins while hubby loves the mountains. Country and Christian music are my favorite music genres, but if I’m alone in the car I’ll totally belt out some early 2000 R&B/rap.

Image by Tina Thomur with Artisan Events

Where is home?

Everywhere! I was raised in Chicago, my driver’s license says Texas and our home address is in southern California!

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

First and foremost, I am a stay-at-home-mama, though I do sell Scentsy on the side. I love every moment I am with our daughter, but to stay sane I joined Stroller Strides so I can work out 5-6 times a week with other mamas. I also make a point to put on ‘real’ clothes every day, as well as throw some make up on— but just enough to look polished and never enough to feel like I wasted my makeup because I didn’t leave the house.

Image by MCS 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?

‘Every child is different’ is the best advice I have received, as well as the advice I always give. It is such a great reminder that your baby is a tiny human who has quirks, talents, likes and dislikes, and feelings. It is so important to cherish your child as is and avoid getting caught up in the “mommy-wars.”

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

So far, I think I am! I have three years of nannying under my belt, so I entered motherhood with very realistic expectations. Some days have really difficult moments (such as when Elizabeth only takes one 20 minute nap in the car), but most days I truly love every second I get to spend with my daughter. I can be a huge worrier, but I have learned to relax as she gets older.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In 10 years I’ll be a mother of three (hopefully!) and working part-time at our kids’ elementary school. My husband and I would love to be in the midst of building our dream home by then, too.

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

Is being able to never feel tired a superpower?! I was a napper before Elizabeth was born. So as luck would have it, my daughter hates to nap. She sleeps through the night like a champ, but naps? She has better things to do. So I really need the ability to thrive off of my nighttime sleep. Unless Starbucks stops charging for their drinks, of course.

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

I went in to the whole “labor thing” with zero expectations. Honestly. I prayed for a safe delivery and a healthy baby, but besides that? I didn’t want to set myself up for undue stress or disappointment by trying to achieve a birthing nirvana.

My ideal labor would have looked like this: go in to labor naturally right around my due date. Labor at home for a while and then head to the hospital. I would labor for a little while longer while walking around and bouncing on a birthing ball. Then I would get an epidural and soon thereafter welcome our daughter in to this world. 

Reality: go 5 days past my due date with Elizabeth sitting at a +3 while my parents AND in-laws were in town waiting to meet their first granddaughter. I ended up being induced, blacking out from the epidural and needing Pitocin.

But I was not the least bit disappointed about any of it! My hubby was home from deployment and my OB and delivery nurse were both absolute rockstars. Everything happened as it needed to, and I would not have changed my birthing experience for anything!

You can read Elizabeth’s birth story here.

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’ve learned to accept help, which has made me a happier and a more relaxed mama. I was trying to be a supermom and wife for those first few weeks when I should have been allowing my hubby to take care of me. I also used to be very worried about her lack of daytime sleep and how petite she was (is). It wasn’t until her pediatrician finally convinced me that everything she was doing was her normal. After that lesson, I stopped reading baby books and have been running on instinct. And it is so liberating! I never thought I’d be the mom who didn’t read the classic baby development books, but I have enough experience with baby-through-childhood development that if something was truly amiss, I would know.

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

I tend to have two mantras floating around my head.

The first is “it’s OK.”  Poopy diaper while we are out of the house with no extras? It’s ok, we can go home. Elizabeth has been awake for five hours straight? It’s OK, she will sleep eventually. Hubby is going to be at work late, I’m crabby and Elizabeth is cranky? It’s OK, but where the hell is my Starbucks?! I try to be a calm and relaxed mama when it comes to circumstances that I just can’t change. If Elizabeth is dry and has a full tummy, the dog didn’t run away and I remembered to eat, then the day has been a success.

The second is “she’ll never be this little again.” Those times when I nurse Elizabeth to sleep for a nap in our bed are some of my favorites. I get to have my baby cuddled up close and my massive to-do list can wait because I know how quickly little moments like that will pass. Tomorrow she’ll be older and slightly bigger. One day she won’t need to nurse, or nap, or want my cuddles. When I feel as if I’m being overwhelmed by various obligations all I need to do is look at my daughter and remind myself that everything else can wait, because she’ll never be this little again.

One Response to Real Mama: Michelle Webster

  1. Great interview! I love how you see yourself in 10 years. And it’s great advice to learn to accept help: I think that’s something so many mamas (incl. myself!) struggle with often.

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