This week we are featuring fellow blogger: Shanna Wesolek
Tell me about yourself. (For our fans, please share what makes you shine)
I’m a 31 year old mother of two, Ollivander, 3, and Elliot, our sweet baby girl born only a few weeks ago. This past September my husband and I celebrated our fifth anniversary; however, we didn’t get to celebrate in style since we were busy celebrating our son’s third birthday and the birth of our second child that same week. September is a busy month for us!
I’m a full-time clinical pharmacist at Huron Valley Sinai Hospital during the day and a full-time burper, diaper changer, puzzle maker and zebra herder at night. My children are my world, but I also love having a career and am looking forward to going back to my colleagues at the end of this maternity leave. On the side, I run my own blog called The Wandmaker’s Mother. It was a passion of my mine to have something of my own and a place to share stories and projects. I’ve been writing for about a year and a half and I try to regularly share the things I love the most -my children, craft projects and house decorating.
What makes me shine? I’m pretty confident that it would be my organizational skills! I keep this family functioning even during the most chaotic of times. My husband definitely brings the fun to all things we do but I’m the one constantly searching for the next project/event we can do together as a family. We strike a great balance.
Tell me about your family.
I was born and raised in Frankenmuth, Michigan (known to most as the town with famous chicken dinners or the Christmas store). Thankfully, the world’s famous chicken dinners ended up serving me well since it is how I met my husband. We both worked for Zehnder’s and after seven years of dating, we tied the knot in 2009. Two years later we welcomed our first child/son Ollivander (Ollie) and dove into the world of parenthood together. Parenting is hard work, but also the most rewarding thing I have ever done. Since Ollie has become such a joy in our family, we decided to have another just this past September.
I’m also an animal lover and we currently have a six-year-old, one-eyed Boston Terrier named Madigan (Maddie) that completes our family. I am in love with the family we have and can’t imagine life any other way.
What is a normal day in your home like?
Well to start off when you have a newborn at home there is no normal day. My normal is doing whatever will make Elliot happy; however, we do try to put a little bit of structure into our days or I would go crazy. When I go back to work after maternity, both children will be in daycare full-time which is the norm for me. My husband also works full-time, so after taking Ollie into daycare, Elliot and I are left to fend for ourselves. Right now she pretty much just needs to eat, sleep and have a diaper change ever few hours which gives me time to work on cleaning, laundry, blogging and organizing. I’m a freak for organization and I pretty much always have a project I’m working on whether it be cleaning out the kids closets for fall/winter or transforming the living room entertainment center to also work as a diaper/toy storage area for the kids. The months of fall are also my most favorite time of the year so typically I’m planning a fall event like pumpkin decorating, apple picking or traveling to PumpkinFest in South Lyon.
Around 5:30 p.m. my husband picks up Ollie from daycare, comes home and puts together our family dinner. It is a nice coming together point after our day apart. After that, we’ll play with the kids for a bit, tuck Ollie into bed around 7 p.m. and try to get Elliot down too. Like I said, no day is normal but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mom?
Discovering the amount of love I am capable of is most definitely the most rewarding thing about being a mom. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find this much room in my heart to love these two amazing kids. This love is what keeps me going each day. It is behind every thought I have, every decision I make and every path I chose. I get to experience the world of being a child all over again through this love I have for them and it is by far the best most amazing thing I have ever gotten to do.
Finding the right balance between staying true to yourself and letting your world become completely filled up with the lives of your children is probably the biggest challenge of being a parent. Once you become a parent, you’re overwhelmed with all the decisions you have to make for this tiny baby whose life relies solely on you. I feel that most of my day is spent thinking of what I need to do for my children to better their lives, fulfill their dreams, and provide them an environment that will help them thrive and grow. At times I’m consumed with only them and a lot of times I forget to think about what I should be doing to better my own life and fulfill my own dreams.
How do you find balance between being a mom, working and having time for yourself?
Finding time for yourself and doing things you enjoy is a MUST in being a great mom! I’m not going to lie, it’s hard work trying to find time for yourself. I think it is innate in all mothers to try and always put our family, especially our children, to the forefront of our lives which is not a bad thing but it is not sustainable for a lifetime. I find the longer I go without having me time the quicker I become to get angry or stressed out with the kids (or husband!).
I constantly need to step back and take a few moments to enjoy something that is only for me; whether it is to sit down and blog about something I love, take a nice, long shower or go out for a hot cup of coffee or shopping. Finding this balance is not something I could do without my husband and in return I also help him find balance in his time for himself. We work together on our family time, alone time and couple time. This is my secret weapon to conquering this thing called parenthood and life… an amazing partner!
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned since becoming a Mom?
This to shall pass. Whether it be the horrible sleep patterns of newborns that constantly keep you up at night and bring you to your breaking point almost everyday or the phase that your toddler is in where all he wants is to hold your hand and tell the world that you are “his best friend”; I have learned that these things don’t last forever. So enjoy every second of the good times knowing that it may be the last time you get to experience it and don’t stress the bad times because they to will be over quickly.
Look at the things through the eyes of your kids - a balloon may just be a balloon to me, but to a toddler it is the most amazing toy ever and sharing in the joy with him is something I never want to miss out on. Everything is new and wonderful to a child and also at times scary and strange so remembering to look at it through their eyes reminds me to be sensitive to their little feelings and has helped us enjoy some moments that maybe wouldn’t have been so special if I had not taken the time to feel the experience with them.
The best advice I was given as a parent was back when my first baby had just been born. I was tired, stressed out and overwhelmed with how many unknowns I had about child raising. I read book after book on what to expect with a new baby in the house, but nothing prepared me for how clueless I felt when it actually came time to take care of this tiny new life. I constantly called my mother and asked for her advice thinking that someone out there had to have the answers- I just hadn’t found the right book yet. My mother told me to stop looking for the answers in a book or from others. She said that every new mother was as clueless as the rest and yet somehow each day babies are being raised and surviving. She told me to trust my instincts and everything would eventually work out. She was 100% correct.
What advice would you give to other moms?
The best advice I can give to other moms out there is to know that no two children are alike. This past year I have had over a dozen friends and family members welcome new babies into the world and with that has come question after question from new mothers. What has worked for me and my two children will likely not work for you and what ends up working for you would likely not have worked for my children. Approach each phase and each unknown with your child with love and I promise eventually you will find what works best and what your child needs!