My Mom Life: Melanie Efaw

Hi Mamatoga readers! My name is Melanie  and I have been married to my husband, Kasey for 6 years.  We live in Amsterdam NY, have two great kiddos, Caelan, 6 and Carsyn, 3 and a black lab puppy named Finley. I am a photographer at Melanie Efaw Photography, and work part time as a head teller. My Mom Life

What is your typical schedule like during the week? I get up when the kids do, usually around 7ish, make breakfast, and get everyone dressed and out the door by 830 to bring Caelan to school.  Then Carsyn and I typically stop to do errands on the way home and are back by 10 to do some housework and have playtime . Naptime is at 11, she naps for about 1-2 hours and during that time I do some housework, eat lunch, take a shower –(uninterrupted!), or sometimes I just email my husband back and forth while she is sleeping.  Occasionally I fall asleep with her, or snuggle with her while she sleeps. When she wakes, she has a snack, watches some TV while I get ready for work and we leave the house around 250 to pick up Caelan at school. I drop them off at their Nee-Nee’s house and am at work at the bank by 4. I usually get out of work by 8 and stop at the market on the way home, then it’s home to do laundry, editing photos or other photography related work on my laptop.  I get the most done at this time of day as everyone else in my house is asleep by the time I get home and I can focus and really stay on task with few interruptions. I usually head to bed around 11 or 12.

What do you like best about your current set-up/schedule? I love that my husband works full time as an IT Network Analyst AND also delivers the newspaper in the mornings so that I can be home during the day with my 2 year old and cart my 6 year old back and forth to school.   My husband is fully on board with a parent being home the majority of the time and being able to be home with each of my kids during the day in the early years has been one of the highlights of parenting for me so far. We play games, do lots of craft projects and take lots of photos!

IMG_3833wm melanie2What do you find tricky about your current set-up/schedule? What would you change if you could? My son gets out of school at 3 pm and I have to be at work 25 minutes away by 4. I pick him up and drop him off at his grandparents along with his sister and only have a few rushed minutes to hear about his day while it’s fresh in his mind. I wish it wasn’t such a tight squeeze for me to get him settled and me to work on time.  It’s especially hard if he’s had a rough day and just wants some mommy time but I have to rush off.  We are really lucky that my step mother watches our kids during the overlap between when I have to be at work and when my husband arrives at home. She has watched both kids since birth and they absolutely ADORE her. I felt incredibly guilty returning to work when my first was born.  Being able to come home and pick up my 12 week old baby and noticing he smelled like my step-mom’s perfume-  I knew he was getting lots of hugs and cuddles and love.  Both kids can’t wait to go to her house each day! In fact, if I have a rare night off of work they are upset they aren’t going to her house!

Do you have time for yourself? What do you do during that time? I really try to make it a priority to give myself time alone every day, it wasn’t always that way though.  I’m a better mom if I have time alone each day when I can read or do craft projects but it took me several years of parenting to figure out that I shouldn’t feel guilty about doing something just for myself.  Sometimes it’s only an hour when my youngest naps and some nights I will stay up late just so I can be by myself and watch TV that I can’t watch with kids around.

melanie4 melanie5What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life? Don’t be afraid to ask for help, or admit you can’t do it all.  The “supermom syndrome” puts so much pressure on mom to do everything and do it well, but the reality is, it’s impossible to do it all by yourself.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Do you think people are open about it? Absolutely, I have a hard time managing and I am always interested to hear how other moms are doing it.

What are some of your top must have products for the parenting part of your life?

  • Aveeno diaper cream
  • Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates CD (a hit with both kids as well as parents!)
  • Semi weekly chats with my own mom to keep me sane

What are some non-mom must haves?

  • Naked II Palette by Urban Decay
  • White wine !

What is one thing you’ve realized/learned about motherhood that no one ever told you before you had kids? Your house will never be clean again. Some areas might be clean but others will not be. So maybe I should say, your whole house will never be completely clean all at one time ever again. Every time I turn around I have to clean something else up. And they trail behind you while you are cleaning up, making MORE Messes. It’s just one never-ending cycle of messes.

Is there anything you find yourself doing as a parent that you swore you would never do before you had kids? Oh yes there is a ton! I said my kids would never use a pacifier and my oldest used one till he was 2.5. Then I was bummed when my daughter wouldn’t take one at all!

Thank you to Melanie for taking part in the My Mom Life series, for more from the series, click here. If you would like to take part in the series, email me at jenny@mamatoga.com for more information. xoxo