Real Mama: Tiffani Barb

This first-time working mama has aspirations to be a stay-at-home-mom, travel anywhere near water and, of course, spend as much time as she can with her little beauty and hubby. Her mama mantra is “It won’t be like this for long,” a phrase I think we can all relate to whether we want to quickly move on or stay in the moment forever.

Image by Nina K Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a 28-year-old wife, mother, teacher, graduate student, daughter and friend. I am currently working on balancing my many roles, especially my most recent one as a new mom. My husband and I have been happily married for going on 4 years now and this past September we welcomed our first baby girl, Brooklyn Rose. We love to travel anywhere sunny and near the water. We spend lots of time at the beach and frequent our favorite vacation destination, Charleston, S.C.

Where is home?

Home is in Anne Arundel County about 10 minutes north of Annapolis, Maryland.

What kind of mama do you consider yourself to be?

I am a working mama. I am a teacher in Maryland and currently working on finishing my graduate degree as a Reading Specialist. I teach second grade. My career has been something I have very much dedicated myself to for the past 7 years and ever since welcoming my daughter, I have had to try and rearrange my priorities while still honoring the job that I had within the classroom. This is still something I am working on figuring out! However, if everything goes as planned I will be taking an extended leave of absence to be at home with my baby as a stay-at-home-mom.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a mama?

I really try to be fully present wherever I am. When at home with my family or even out with friends, I am 100% present. This goes the same for when I am at work as well. A few months ago, when returning back to work, I came to the decision that each day I would do my very best at being the teacher that I would want my daughter to have one day. With that said, when I am at work, I attempt to put my full energy into just that. Once I get home, I leave all of that behind me and my time is for my family. Beyond that, I try and slip in some time for friends too!

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

I am surrounded by so many inspiring moms, some more “experienced” and some brand new just like me. I am constantly inspired by the many incredible moms in my life, especially my own mom. My daughter makes me work harder, pray more often and all around try and be a better person.

Image by Nina K Photography

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama?

“The first few months, especially the first, is tough, really tough! Remember to get outside and grab some fresh air and know that eventually you will get the hang of things.”

I am so glad someone told me this early on or I may not have thought there would be an end in sight! Again I remind myself, “It won’t be like this for long,” so enjoy every little moment.

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

I always thought I would be a “hands-on” kind of my mama. I am fascinated by child development and learning in general and being a part of my own child’s growth and learn has been amazing!

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

I would love to have the power to have time stand still just for a bit. I really try to embrace every little special moment with my family and friends and some moments, I would love to just have last just a bit longer. I guess that is what makes some moments so precious, knowing they can neither go on forever nor can they be revisited.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In a state of mind where I know my family is happy and content. I am not quite sure location-wise where that will be, preferably living near the water, raising our babies and enjoying all of the things we have worked hard for.

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 really amazing and not at all what I expected! My daughter surprised us and came 10 days early. I swore that she would come late and we would be waiting around, but I sure was wrong! Instead of “nesting” at home, I began nesting in my classroom preparing for maternity leave when I began having back pains. I pushed myself to work until about 7:30 that evening. Once I got home, the pain progressed. My husband helped me labor at home for the next few hours until we finally decided to head in to the hospital around 4 a.m. Before I knew it, Brooklyn was in our arms by 9:12 a.m.! Speedy delivery!

Image by Nina K Photography

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore you wouldn’t do?

I have learned to follow what I believe is right for my baby. I still research, read and ask lots of questions, but when it comes down to making a decision for her, I go with my gut. I am also learning to savor and enjoy every little moment as opposed to just trying to get by. Bedtime used to be such a stressful time, now it is my favorite time of the day, even if it means my baby wants to be rocked or held just a little bit longer.

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

“It won’t be like this for long.” I think of this both in situations where my baby might be having a difficult time or a really enjoyable time. When remembering this, it helps to get me through or just savor the moment even more.

Image by Nina K Photography

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

“Motherhood is a choice you make every day, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is… and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” ― Donna Ball

By Melissa T.

Melissa is a full time working mom to her first baby boy (born 3/11) and beautiful baby girl (born 6/11)! Melissa was married to her best friend in September 2009 and lives in Maryland with her little family. When she is not working or being a mom (is there time for other things??) Melissa is always on the go... she loves to go out to eat with her hubby, a good glass of wine, reality television, spending time outside and hanging with her friends and family.

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