Real Mama: Tiffany McAvoy

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Tiffany McAvoy, I’m 30 years old and from a small town called Leamington, Ontario Canada. I’m married to an amazing man named Paul, and mama to the most beautiful little girl, Mischa. I attended Fanshawe College for photography. I work in insurance, doing photography on weekends, and cake decorating as well. I love sports and spending time with family and friends.

Image by Britton Images Photography

Where is home?

I still consider Leamington my first “home.” It’s where I grew up, and all my family is there.

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

I’m currently on maternity leave until the middle of August. I will be going back to my full-time job where I work Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mischa will be going to a home daycare, which luckily for us is just six houses down from where we live. I’m very lucky that my husband and I both have great work schedules, his schedule is more flexible than mine. When I book photo shoots, cakes, art shows… Paul normally keeps his schedule clear so he can be with Mishca. My mom is also amazing, she and my step-dad come to visit us a lot, and if they don’t have anything planned when I book a weekend job they will drive up to help Paul with the baby. With other things like going to the gym, walks, etc. we take turns! It will be nice when Mischa stays up past 6:45 p.m. and we can all go for walks together!

Image by Real Image Photography

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

First and foremost my mom, but also my closest girlfriends and friends I went to high school with. I know so many amazing mamas! I’ve been given great advice, ears to listen, shoulders to cry on, and awesome women to laugh with! I love how creative my friends are. Sometimes being a mama can feel so crazy and busy, I forget to take time for myself. I love all the positive things my friends do for themselves, for their children, I’m inspired to do more for my baby and myself!

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 have been given is to not listen to all the advice I’m given, instead do what feels natural to me and what I feel is best for Mischa. The next best piece of advice I’ve been given, and the advice I pass along, is that it’s okay to let your baby cry things out. Mischa was a terrible sleeper. I went in to the room any time she cried. All my girlfriends said to just let her cry it out a while. I did, and the change in her sleeping was remarkable. The change in MY sleeping is remarkable too. I think we’re both happier!

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

For the most part, I’m more of a softy than I thought I would be. I’ve always wanted to be a mom, so I just try to be the absolute best I can be. I want my daughter to have great experiences and memories.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Hopefully with one more child, I would like to be able to leave my full-time job and do photography and art full-time. I would love to be taking my kids on fun trips and have them involved in as many activities as possible! 

If you could have lunch with anyone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

Ellen Degeneres

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

That’s a tough one… to read minds maybe… there are too many superpowers to pick just one.

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

I really didn’t know what to expect. Mischa was ten days late. I ended up getting Cervidil, and when I was in the hospital with an epidural. By the time I was ready to push, the epidural wasn’t working anymore so I felt everything. So I guess if I could go back, I would have just gone naturally. It probably would have happened a lot faster.

Image by Real Image Photography

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’m much more relaxed now than I was in the beginning. I didn’t fully trust others to hold or care for her. I guess as a mother you think no one can do the job the way you can. I have a lot more trust in others, and I’m getting better with leaving with Mischa with other people so I can get out for a while, or go and shoot a wedding all day. I also thought I would make all of her food but I don’t, I use some of the jarred food that I didn’t plan on using.

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

The hardest thing I’ve had to deal with is extremely bad sleeping. I sometimes felt like Mischa would NEVER fall asleep and stay asleep for a decent amount of time. I realized that after a few crappy nights of sleeping that she would at least have a couple amazing naps and I could catch up on sleeping. Babies need sleep, so I just had to remind myself that eventually I would get sleep too, I just had to be patient. Even now at almost nine months, if she has a couple nights where she wakes up once or twice during the night, I know the third night she will go down at 6:50 p.m. and wont get up until almost 8:30 a.m., and her morning nap will last at least two hours. She always catches up on that sleep, and so do I!

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

Always do what you feel is best for your baby and for you. You will get a lot of advice from a lot of different people, some will be great, some not so much… follow your gut, you will be right!

Don’t feel bad about letting someone look after your baby so you can take a nap or just get out of the house for a while, it will save your sanity. 

Babies are very resilient, so you don’t have to treat them like they are glass figurines that will shatter.

Even if the weather is kind of crappy, try to get out of the house with your baby at least once a day. Don’t stay cooped up in the house or you will go crazy (speaking more about winter months).

Don’t always compare what your baby is doing to other babies. Babies learn things at their own pace, and do things ( ie. walking, talking, crawling, etc.) when they are ready!

The most important thing is to have fun. Enjoy every minute and take as many photos and videos as you can. Your baby will grow up SO QUICKLY, it’s amazing to look back at all the photos and see the change your baby has made. The first couple of months can be exhausting, no matter how tired you are, take out that phone or camera and snap away!!!

By Kathy S.

Kathy S. is Mommy to a beautiful daughter named Cassidy, born in January of 2012. Currently living the small town life in South Western Ontario with her handsome hubby, she is a Sales and Marketing professional with aspirations of being a stay-at-home-mom one day. In her spare time she enjoys cooking/baking, reading, scrapbooking and being outdoors. You can find posts from Kathy in Real Mamas, Real Recipes and Real Reviews.

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