#MomsWhoShine is a series about moms who have some kind of talent. The series was inspired by Dad of Divas Dads in the Limelight.
I know Michelle as the co-owner of Nature's Playhouse in Ferndale. Michelle is a creative, positive, pro-child influence in our community.
Tell me about yourself. (For our fans, please share what makes you shine.)
My name is Michelle McEvoy and I am a co-owner of Nature’s Playhouse in Ferndale. Nature’s Playhouse is an all-natural play and wellness center for families of young children. Before having kids I completed my undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, after which I travelled quite a bit and lived abroad as well as in a few different states, searching for a place to call home and a career that would fulfill my desire to work with kids while making a difference in their lives. I landed back in Michigan, where I grew up, and decided to put my energy into teaching. I taught both 5th and kindergarten before having my first child and have since balanced life between caring for my children and growing the Nature’s Playhouse community.
Tell me about your family.
My husband Tom and I have been married almost 4 years. We have a three and a half year old son, Zander, and a 16 month old, Zoe. We live in Ferndale and are lucky enough to have a wonderful support network of both friends and family in the area.
What is a normal day in your home like?
Is anything in the home of young children normal? Although Tom travels quite a bit for work, when he’s in town he works mostly from home. Because of the flexibility in his schedule when he’s home, he helps quite a bit in keeping our lives in balance. We alternate getting up with the kids, who go to bed early and therefore get up early. Zander goes to the Ferndale Montessori and although they wake up early and he doesn’t have to be at school until 9, it feels as though every minute is needed in order to get them fed, clothed and ready to get out the door. On the days that I’m at Nature’s Playhouse, Zoe comes with me and on the days we are home, I try to balance housework, cooking, running errands and running Nature’s Playhouse. Zander alternates between half and full days at school. On his half days we all spend the afternoons together, on his full days by the time he gets home its nearly time to get ready for dinner. The kids eat dinner at 5, and although I have dreams of all sitting down to eat dinner together, usually I’m standing in the kitchen cutting food in to bite sized pieces for Zoe, while coaxing Zander to eat something, anything green. After dinner its bath time and after baths its story time. This is my favorite time of day. Tom usually reads to Zander and puts him to bed and I read to Zoe. Both of them love being read to and it’s the only time of day they are still and snuggly and I love every minute. They are asleep between 6:30 and 7 and the evening is time to catch up on everything that doesn’t get done during the day, and time to spend with Tom, or even just by myself
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
Experiencing both the giving and receiving of unconditional love is the most rewarding thing about being a mom for me. There are so many different kinds of love in the world, but nothing compares to that between a mama and her babies that is pure and true and unfaltering through the worst of times and the best of times.
What is your biggest challenge of being a parent?
For me the biggest challenge of being a parent is keeping perspective and staying present. I often get caught up in the possible long-term effects of the decisions I make as a parent instead of keeping in mind the fluctuations and constant change that children go through every day as they grow.
How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself?
Keeping the balance is the second most challenging thing about being a parent! I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it and I’m lucky enough to have help when I need it, most of the time. Life with kids is busy and can get overwhelming so quickly when left to do it all by ourselves. A strong support network is essential and is my driving force behind the work we do at Nature’s Playhouse. Our goal is to create a community of support and make it easier for mothers to find that network that can be lifesaving amongst the craziness of parenting.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned since becoming a Mom?
I’ve learned to expect the unexpected, no matter how sure I am of how something is going to turn out. I’ve learned that laundry piles grow exponentially when you have kids. I’ve learned that patience is not just a virtue as we’ve been told our whole lives, it is the work of saints and I will forever be chasing after my more patient self. I’ve learned that perfection is impossible and that my kids, my home, my husband, my self are good and clean enough. Well, maybe I haven’t learned that last one yet, but I’m working on it every day.
What is the best advice about being a parent you have received and who gave it to you?
A dear friend of mine Melissa clued me in to something that I try to keep in mind through every challenge as a parent and that is that everything is a phase (at least almost everything). Eventually the thing that seems impossible to overcome passes, and even though another challenge arises, it’s a little easier to accept when I acknowledge that it won’t last forever.
What advice would you give to other moms?
Trust your instincts and make decisions for your children that make sense for you and your family. There are so many parenting “philosophies” that we can so easily get caught up in, I think we often forget to listen to our gut feelings and then get stuck in the battle between someone else’s truth and our own. You know what’s best for you and your children. Listen to your own voice first.
Have a question for Michelle? Please leave a comment below and I will make sure I forward it to her!
Thank you Michelle for taking the time to answer our questions:) Are you a Mom Who Shines or know a mom who would be great for this series? Email me their contact info at firstname.lastname@example.org