Real Mama: Rachael Dailey

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a 26-year-old stay-at-home mama and Air Force wife. We have three kids, ages nine, three, and 16 months. I had my first son at age 17, the summer before my senior year. I was a single mama for the first four years of his life, before I met my wonderful husband. We will be married for five years this coming January.

I have a passion for animals— always have since I was a child. I also love crafting and crocheting, though it’s hard to find time for either of those with three busy kids. I love to cook and bake, I try to fit in a few new recipes into my meal plans each week.

Where is home?

This is always a tricky question for me. Currently we are stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, and before that we were in Fayetteville, NC. However, when someone asks me where I’m from my answer is always “Ohio.” I lived in Ohio for 21 years of my life, and that is where all of my family lives, so that is where I consider “home.”

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

I feel like I’m constantly learning new ways to balance life as things change. My most recent secret has been a planner. I carry my planner everywhere with me and write everything in it! Each night I check my planner to see what I need to do the next day, and every weekend I sit down and add or adjust things as needed.

I’ve always struggled with organization, but am slowly working on becoming and staying more organized. I feel like there is much less chaos when my home is in order. I take 20 to 30 minutes after the kids are in bed to straighten up the living room and clean up the kitchen. I swear that makes all the difference in my mood the next morning.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I’ve received inspiration in so many different ways. My grandmother married her childhood sweetheart, and they’ve been married for 55+ years; that has always inspired me to be the best wife I can and keep my marriage strong. All of my military mama friends have inspired me over the past four years. I admire so many of them for being able to hold it all together, often with their spouse being absent. They seem to do it all, and keep a smile on their face while they do it!

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?

The best advice I’ve received is to raise our kids the way we want to and not worry about how other people feel about it. The best advice I can give to a new mama is to follow your baby’s lead. From the day they are born they know exactly what they need, and following their lead will make both of you happy.

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

Yes and no. I’m not the “perfect” mama that I pictured in my dreams, but I feel like I’m doing the best I can for my kids. I’m there for my babies physically and emotionally; I love them to no end. I never pictured myself being that soccer mom on the sidelines, screaming for their kids, but every Saturday that’s where I find myself.

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

To be in more than one place at a time. With three kids, it’s hard to be everywhere all the time. Over the weekend, I had to miss my oldest son’s soccer game because I had a sick baby at home. I missed seeing him score three goals during his game, he was so bummed that I didn’t get to see him play.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

I have absolutely no idea where we’ll be living, but I do know that we’ll have a 19-year-old (*gasp*), 13-year-old, and 11-year-old! That’s hard to imagine! All I can say is that in the next ten years, I’ll be home loving my babies and being the best mama I can be. I can’t picture myself doing anything else.

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

Each birth was different for me, but I wouldn’t change any of them. For my first, I had my mom by my side the whole time and she was wonderful support. For the second and third, it was just my husband with me and I loved every second. It was so special for us to just be alone and have that time to bond with each other and our baby. Our youngest was born in Germany, and if I had to choose a favorite delivery, it was hers. Germany is so much different than the states in terms of birthing. She was my first natural birth (even if it wasn’t by choice, haha) and the way I felt after I had her was amazing!

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore you’d never do?

For me, mothering is constantly evolving. I’m learning that for each age, and even each child, things have to be done differently. What works for one child, might not work for the next! I’ve learned that you can never say “never.” I never thought I would breastfeed for an extended period of time, but my second son weaned at 17.5 months and my baby girl is still nursing now at 16 months with no plans of weaning.

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

“We can start fresh tomorrow.” I tell myself and my oldest son this all the time. While some days may be rough, tomorrow is always a new day and you can have a fresh start!

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

Enjoy motherhood, even on the tough days. We may not be the perfect mamas overall, but we are the perfect mama for our children.  

 

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