This month in “Real Mom Talks” we are talking to my new, but dear friend Mary! I met Mary about two years ago through a mutual friend. We went from meeting at the gym for work-outs, to being pregnant, to having coffee dates with our babies in tow. She wasn’t here long, but we made a real mom connection! She is off to another state, trekking across the country with two kids, living that military life. She promised she’ll be back to the sunshine state to have coffee dates with me again! 🙂 She is a dedicated, incredible mom who is slowly getting back to ruling the court room!

Q: What did you do before having kids?
A:
I was a trial lawyer.  I owned and managed my own firm, handling a wide variety of cases.

Q: Can you think of one similarity between being a lawyer and being a stay-at-home-mom?
A:The need to multi-task.  In the courtroom or dealing with high stress, high stake cases, you have to be able to handle high intensity and many moving parts all at once.  There is also a lot of varying demands; all occurring simultaneously…and all the while, you have to keep your composure. I find the same is true with motherhood.  The difference is, I am not getting a paycheck and instead of clients and judges, I am working for tiny humans. 🙂 I have to admit, I was surprised to discover that being a stay at home mom, and doing it “right,” is way more exhausting and far more intense than being a lawyer.

Q: You’re husband is in the Navy and you’re about to move away (hopefully for the last time!) in the next couple of weeks. Moving Across the country, I might add!! I’m so glad I caught you before you leave! 🙂 How are you preparing yourself or your children for the move?
A:There are so many details that go into a move, and moving with children takes it to a whole new level.  This will be the second time I am moving across the country with a newborn baby.  It’s not easy and can be a logistical nightmare.  I can’t even list all of the details, house hunting, appointments, school wait lists and preparation that go into it, but I am definitely getting the hang of it after many moves.

On top of that, we are leaving a place we all really love and want to return to.  We are moving to WA State, where we have been stationed in the past. Although it is a beautiful area, we are definitely sunshine people.

This will be Henry’s (3.5 years old) fourth move in his short life and Charlotte’s (5 weeks old) first.  However, this will be the first move that Henry is more aware of the concept of moving and leaving his familiar environment.

I have slowly started preparing him mentally and emotionally that we are going to a new and difference place, but that we are going as a family and will have new adventures together wherever we go.  I have showed him pictures of our new house and let him see a map of where WA is.  Letting him know that we are all staying together as a family is really important since he is so young and nervous about leaving his home.  Also, he is not too happy that there wont be a Chi-Fil-A or Dunkin’ Donuts where we are going!  😉

 Q: Wow! You are amazing! I wouldn’t even think about a little child thinking leaving his home equals leaving his family. That makes me sad! The one thing I would be so nervous about moving to another state is childcare. How do you find childcare in a new city?
A: Finding childcare in a new place is really tough!  It takes a lot of forethought and I usually try to get personal recommendations from people I may know in the area already.  That can be tricky too, because most families don’t necessarily want to share their coveted babysitters in an area where there may not be many to choose from.
Fortunately, we previously lived in the town we are moving to, so I was able to scout out a babysitter that has come highly recommended.  The key is to start looking before you actually move, because it can take time.

 Q: What’s one question that people ask about the military lifestyle that annoys you the most? (Not that they’re trying to be rude or annoying, but probably because they just don’t understand.) LOL
A: “How do you do it?”  People mostly ask this when they learn I have children and my husband can be gone for anywhere from 6 to 9 months at a time.

It is a well-intentioned question, but there is not easy answer for it, so it can be somewhat annoying.  The simple fact is, you don’t have a choice and you just do it.  You adjust to a new way of life and step up to the plate when you have to.  I also try to remember that our family is making sacrifices so that my husband can serve our country.  Refocusing on the bigger picture can sometimes put the hardships in perspective.

Since Charlotte was just born, I have yet to experience a deployment with two children, and I am dreading it, but it’s surprising how capable you can become when you have no choice.

Q: Isn’t that incredible?! A mother never knows how strong she is until she has no other choice!
What is something you’ve done that gave you “mom guilt”?
A:
I never had true “mom guilt” until Charlotte was born!  I really gave Henry most of my time and attention and scheduled my personal time when he was either asleep or on a fun outing with his Dad.  Of course, there are exceptions, but I was really focused on him.

So, when Charlotte was born, and I wasn’t able to give Henry 100% of my time and attention, it was very hard.  It broke my heart to have to tell him to wait, that I couldn’t play with him or that I couldn’t hold him. Similarly, if I take a few minutes to give Henry some undivided attention, I feel guilty not giving my total attention to the baby.  I am still learning to adjust to wanting to give each child 100% at the same time.

Q: If you could recommend one baby product, what would it be?
A:
Only ONE?! Probably a white noise sound machine.

Q: When people ask “what you do”, what do you tell them?
A: I usually say, “I am a lawyer, but I am not working right now.  I stay home with my children.”  I am sort of in limbo because I had a career before having children, have chosen to stay home with them while they are little, but have plans to return to work thereafter.

Q: Give me one piece of advice you would give a new mom who’s husband is active in the military. 
A: My advice for a new military mom would be to stay realistic, but positive.  More often than not, you will have challenges in motherhood that many other, nonmilitary moms, will not.  At times you will be both mom and dad and wear a thousand different hats and fill a million different roles.  Remember that this is your way of being able to support your husband while he serves our country.  The hardest part will be putting your own desires on hold, especially when your husband is deployed and you are a one-woman show.  However, don’t lose sight of your own future and remember that you can have it all…just not all at the same time.

Q: Describe motherhood in one word.
A: Complicated