This post is part of our series meant to encourage women in various stages of their lives and to remind each other that as women, we’re all in this together. I hope this series will provide you with new ideas, or at least the reassurance that not everybody’s home looks like those pictures on Pinterest.
Meet Meredith– wife, part-time employee, and mom to two beautiful little girls. (You can also check out Meredith’s blog, where she documents daily life with her sweet family.)
Meredith, tell us a little about your family.
I have been married to my college sweetheart, Walt, for six-and-a-half years. I stay at home part-time with our two beautiful girls, Eloise Betty, two-and-a-half, and Emerson Caskey, one-and-a-half. We also have a sweet little yorkie named Gracie Mae, who is almost seven.
As a mom, how do you find balance?
Goodness, I think I struggled with this a lot once my second child came, seeing that my girls are only 14 months apart. My husband travels a lot for his job, and we live no where close to family. I love being a mom, and it definitely is the missing piece to our family link; however, I knew that I still needed to be able to live out my passion, which is teaching. So, I found balance in staying home 2 1/2 days a week, and working 2 1/2 days a week. I feel I have the best of both worlds now…I have an identity as Eloise and Emerson’s mom, but I also have my own identity as a teacher, friend, and colleague in my work environment.
What steps do you take to maintain your own health?
I try to be as active as I possibly can. I make sure that I walk or run every day when I am home with my girls. If it is too cold or rainy outside, then we turn on music and have a dance party. I participate in afterschool workouts with other teachers on the days that I work. I also make sure that I eat dinner when my girls do. This means eating early, but it has really helped out because I am not eating late at night, and this has made a huge difference.
Are your kids picky eaters?
My oldest, Eloise, is a picky eater. I have had to be pretty creative with this little girl. I’ve made “pictures” out of food, I have her “help” me cook, I’ve done cheers for her when she tries something new, and I have pureed vegetables and put them in sauces, batters, or breadcrumb mixtures. Thankfully now, she watches me eat dinner and she wants to try what I am trying. If you have a picky eater, as hard as it is, don’t get worked up if they don’t want to eat something, and always have something healthy on their plate that you know they will eat.
How do you create healthy eating habits for your children?
I have a routine. My children have been on this routine since the day they came home from the hospital, and yes, there are days when the routine is messed up, but tomorrow is always a new day. I have a life planner that I use to plan out my daily activities and keep appointments together, and a food calendar so that I know exactly what we are eating every day of the week. My children go down every night at the same time unless we have a prior engagement or we are out of town visiting family. I have to do this so I can have time at the end of the day with my husband. I also have certain days of the week where I clean my house. Routine, schedule, routine, schedule.
How has being a mom made you view sleep/rest differently?
You know, at first, it was difficult. It really was, but I had to tell myself that every day will get easier and better, and it did. Now, since I have my girls on a schedule, they sleep 12-13 hours a night. So, I can’t really complain about lack of sleep anymore. But, there are some days where I am just beat. Maybe we did certain experiments or activities that really just wore me down, or I’ve been trying to clean a house and take care of 2 girls…so when they nap, I nap. I don’t feel guilty about that one bit. If my body is telling me, “Hey, I need to lie down for a bit,” I’ve learned I better do it, or else I will end up worn down and sick.
What mistakes did you make that you wish you could go back and fix?
Probably not to worry so much at the beginning. I was so worried about when my girls were going to start sleeping through the night, or when was the right time for them to give up their pacifiers. One day I was at work and I realized, none of these kids have pacifiers, they all sleep through the night, these things will come. I was not living in the moment the way I should’ve been.
What does a balanced life for you look like?
A balanced life for me is one where I hear laughter coming from the playroom, a husband who is happy and has a full tummy and the laundry has been folded and put away.
What advice do you have for fellow women?
Make sure you always do something for yourself…you always deserve it!