Moms Make it Work: Leah from Texas

Today we have Leah posting on the Moms Make it Work series, and I recently met Leah through a different guest blogging series that she hosted on her blog about Our Journey to Parenthood. I told her I loved the concept of her series and mentioned my own idea, and she offered to exchange my post for hers. Sweetness! Leah does a great job of balancing her life at home with Avery Grace while running her own business out of the home. I'm still loving all of the glimpses into other moms' lives and how we all make it work under different circumstances, and hope you are too. Enjoy!


Hi, my name is Leah.  I'm a newly thirty year old wife and mama to a 19 month old sassy girl, Avery Grace. I have a family focused lifestyle blog, Everyday Love and occasionally share my kitchen and crafty creations over at Simply Made with LoveMy days are filled with playdates, working from home, toddler meltdowns and some crafts here and there. You can find me on IG (LeahEverydayLove), where I share an abundance of pictures of my mini and our everyday life.

I am thrilled to be a part of this series. I've enjoyed reading all of the other posts and getting to take a peek into the lives of so many other mamas out there. I can't tell you how many times I've been able to relate to a story shared through the series.  Most of all, I love how this  series is bringing moms and bloggers together. Thank you for having me Julia! 

-What is your background story? What was your career/schooling before you became a mom? And now where are you?

For as long as I could remember, I dreamed of being a teacher. It was the first job I told my parents I wanted to have, my mind never changed.  After high school, I decided on staying close to home (45 minutes away from where I grew up) and attended the University of South Florida. After almost five years of college, I received an offer to teach at the school where I did my final internship in Tampa, FL (along with my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education.) I was hired to cover a maternity leave for the remainder of the school year in Kindergarten.  It was the perfect opportunity for me.  It allowed me to get to know the school.  I learned it was where I wanted to start my teaching career. The following school year I was offered a position in third grade, which is where I stayed for the next seven years. During that time I continued my education and received my Master's Degree in Reading Education. I loved going to work, making a difference and working with a wonderful group of women.  Teaching was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. 

During those first years in the classroom, lots changed in my personal life. My husband and I originally met when we were in college. We were both involved with greek life and had the same circle of friends.  We dated briefly back then but it never really went anywhere. During those early years of teaching we reconnected (thanks to a friend and the Great American Teach In.)  A year and a half after dating, we were engaged. A year later, in 2010 we were married and bought our first house.  

After we were married, we started thinking about starting a family.  We took the we're not going to prevent it method, hoping things would just happen.  Unfortunately, that is not how it played out.  You can read (the long version) about our journey to parenthood here.  In short, after over a year of trying and two miscarriages, we finally made it past the first trimester with our third pregnancy. 

While I was pregnant, I noticed my feelings towards teaching started to change.  I was the kind of teacher who spent the majority of my nights planning lessons and preparing for the following day.  I stayed at work late, went to my students sports games and was very invested in my job.  Little by little, things changed.  I stopped working late.  Stopped taking work home with me.  Started spending my lunch period planning the nursery and doodling baby names. It was about four months into my pregnancy when my husband and I started talking about the future of my teaching career.  

I never dreamed of being a stay at home mom full time.  I dreamed of being able to do both, stay home and teach.  I had hoped I would be able to do a job share once children came, meaning I would work only in the morning or afternoon totaling 20 hours a week.  In my eyes, it was the best of both worlds.  That plan changed when we found out our daughter would be born in August. The week school was supposed to start. I couldn't imagine leaving my little one after 6 weeks and at the same time couldn't imagine missing the beginning of a new school year (the time where are the rules are set, foundation is laid and so on.) So hubs and I started crunching numbers and saving money in preparation for me to take off the entire school year. 

In August of 2010, Avery Grace was born.  In that moment, my life changed forever.  I was a mom, something I had dreamed of for so long.  Motherhood, although hard, was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. 

Staying home during Avery's first year was the best decision we made. I cherished my time home with her, celebrating milestones and soaking up the newborn and baby stage. Enjoying each day. Although I missed teaching, I didn't miss it enough to want to go back.  I spent a lot of time talking with hubs about my feelings, our options, and what would be best for our family in the long run. Ahh the joys of being an adult! 

During the year we learned that I could financially be able to stay home full time with Avery. We had to stick to a budget, but we would be able to make it work.  I still wanted to do something to financially contribute to our family, so I started my own business, Simply Made with Love.  I had been doing embroidery and appliqué for about a year as a hobby.   I sold things here and there. Nothing consistent enough to be considered an additional income though. After starting the business, I started a FB page and things have steadily grown from there. I enjoy being able to do it while staying home with Avery. It also feels good to contribute, even if it was just covering our car payment and some groceries.  

Even though the business was going well, I still wanted to keep my foot in the teaching world.  Part of me still wanted the best of both worlds. While I was gone, a lot had changed at my old school and I knew it was no longer the best place for me.  I did a lot of research and looked into a lot of schools. I interviewed at a new private school in the area that specialized in reading.  I was offered a job working about 8-10 hours a week pulling small groups for remediation and enrichment.  It was my dream job. Working with kids, without the stress of a classroom. D.R.E.A.M. The best part of that situation was that Avery would be able to come to work with me.  There was a toddler class (the job started in August after her first birthday) she would go in on the days I was working.  It seemed everything was falling into place. Or so I thought... 

In June, just after I accepted the job, talk of a promotion for my husband started to come up. It was one of those career opportunities that you can't pass up. The catch was that the job was in San Antonio, TX. When the job talk first came up, I immediately shot it down.  One thing I said before we were married was that I would NEVER move.  NEVER leave my family, friends and all I had ever known.  The thing I said over and over was no amount of money could buy what we had in Florida. I wrote a lot about my feelings, spent countless hours talking with friends and my family and ultimately decided that I needed to support my husband and his career.  Our deal was that this would be a temporary move and we would be back to Tampa sooner than later. 

So in September, we packed up our lives in FL and moved to TX. I had to tell my new job that I wouldn't be able to start but hoped to be able to come back there one day. The move was really tough for me.  To this day, it still is.  We've met some great friends.  I've joined a moms group that I spend a lot of time with.  My goal each day is to keep busy. I try to make the best of the situation but with the more time that passes, the urge to move home grows bigger and bigger.  

A positive about moving is that I was able to invest in a new embroidery machine.  It's a commercial machine, which allows me to do a lot more in a quicker amount of time.  I put a lot of energy after we moved into growing my business. These days I work about 25-30 hours a week, which is a challenge with an 18 month old at home at all times. What I love about it is how flexible it is. Somedays I don't work at all, while others may call for a 10 hour catch up day. 

While I do love what I do, my most important job is mama. My first priority is my little one. From the minute she wakes up to the minute she goes to bed. Her activities come before the work I need to get done. If she has a fussy day, work can wait until she's in bed.  I know how blessed I am to be able to stay home with her day in and day out. I will never take that for granted, no matter how tough some days can be. 

-What are the best parts of your situation? What are the biggest challenges? 

The best part of my situation is being able to be home with Avery everyday.  Making her breakfast in the morning.  Snuggling on the couch watching a show as she drinks her milk.  Going to library time or gymnastics or to playdates.  Rocking her before she goes down for her nap and reading books.  Hearing mama on the monitor when she wakes up. The list goes on and on. Little things that may seem mundane but are the highlights of my day.  There is no better sidekick to have day in and out. 

The biggest challenge is finding a balance. Most days I don't have any down time. I try to keep the mini entertained, answering work emails here and there, attempting to keep the house clean and hoping I can have dinner made before hubs walks through the door. Which honestly is only accomplished half of the week. I'm sure most moms are thinking "story of my life" right now, whether your a SAHM or a working mom. Even though I do get a 1-2 hour nap break each day, I work during that time.  After hubs walks through the door, I go straight to my office and work for another hour while he does bath and bed. It's exhausting most days.  But it is also my choice. I do have little rules in place to help keep things balanced. I make sure to wake up early in the morning for some me time. I also stop work at 8pm. No exceptions. 

In the past I used to stay up until midnight each night working and get up at 6 to get started the next day.  I quickly realized that wasn't good for me or my marriage.  I realized I needed to cut back on my orders and the time I spend blogging.  Family is the most important thing, I don't want to look back and realize I didn't enjoy those early years because I was too busy trying to do it all. 

-Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?

Yes and no.  Until you become a parent you don't know how hard it can be. There is absolutely no predicability when it comes to parenting. I could have the best day planned for the mini and if she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed….forget about it! One thing that may work one day, will most likely not work the next.  Somedays, it drives me bonkers.  On the other hand, you also don't know how absolutely amazing parenting is.  Definitely the toughest, yet most rewarding job in the entire world. 

-Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?

My dream right now is to be back in Florida. Baby #2 has been a topic of conversation a lot lately and I would love to be back home before that day comes. I pray daily that we are able to make the move back sooner than later.  We both agree it is where we want to raise our kids. 

Work wise, I am happy with where my business is right now. Being able to stay home with the mini, take her to all of her activities and make a little money along the way is an ideal situation for me. I hope that I can continue this way until my kids are start school. 

-Do you see yourself making a career change (whatever that means) in the next 5-10 years, or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

I've always said that I would love to go back to school and earn my PH.D when my kids were older.  I would love to teach intro to education courses at a local college. I hope that I can continue my embroidery business and if I have the itch to get back into the classroom one day, I would love to make that happen.  

-Tips on how you make this work for you?

Planning, lots and lots of planning.  I recently did a day in the life post, check it out to see what our typical day looks like.  What you'll learn fast is that I live by my planner.  If it's not written down, it's unlikely to will get done. I forget everything.  Baby brain never went away in my case. The key for me is waking up before the mini.  Taking some quiet time for me, to first spend time with God. Second, to look at what I want to accomplish that day, what is on our schedule and then I prioritize. I make sure that I can see my priorities in my daily schedule and that I am realistic in the time I have allotted for certain tasks. 

I used to say there aren't enough hours in a day.  It wasn't until recently that I realized, there are.  I just took on too much and I needed to take some things off of my plate. It's an overwhelming  (and defeating) feeling to not feel like you're accomplishing what you want to day in and out.  Keeping a small list of must do's and a few other to do's is key for me these days.  Set yourself up for success, not failure.

It is also important to take a break each day. This is something that is always a work in progress for me. I started marking my alone time in my calendar, which for me happens in the morning for a half hour. Whether it's first thing in the morning, when your kids go down for a nap or when your spouse walks through the door. Take a breather. Time to regroup. It could be 5 minutes of quiet time in a dark room, or 10 minutes snuggled in a chair with your coffee and a good book. 

I also make sure the communication lines with my husband are open at all times. We are a team, in this together. There are a days and weeks I may need more from him and vise versa. Staying on the same page is imperative in order for our household to be successful and for everyone to be happy. My husband wakes the mini up every morning and gets her dressed. When he gets home at night, he gives her a bath and puts her to bed. I am unbelievably grateful to have a husband who not only supports me staying at home with Avery but also supports my business and will pick up my slack whenever needed. 

Last but not least, friends. I don't know where I would be without the support of my friends. Especially my mama friends. I have a handful of friends I can call when I have a rough day, need advice on teething, need ideas of different meals to feed the mini because she's so picky and so on. These women get it. They are always so supportive and honest. No matter how many thousands of miles apart we are, they are always there for me. 

-How do you handle mommy guilt that comes with each role?

This is a daily struggle for me. I know there is no such thing as doing it all. No such thing as a perfect balance, like I mentioned before.  I am constantly striving to find a balance that works for my family. This involves reevaluating every so often (sometimes daily), making adjustments here and there. As women, we tend to wear many hats. Whether you're a SAHM, work inside the home or outside the home, I'm sure you can relate. There are nights I am cooking dinner while trying to clean dishes as the mini is throwing food off her dinner plate because she's all done as the phone is ringing and my embroidery machine is beeping because it needs my attention. It's those kind of moments that make me stop and think…just because we can juggle a lot at once, doesn't mean we have to.  I could easily shut the machine off and finish my work after the mini is in bed.  I could wait to cook our dinner until after she's done with her dinner. The dishes can wait. Just because I could juggle it all, doesn't mean I should.  

Something else that be can to fill my head was wondering if I was doing enough for my daughter.  Was I teaching her enough, providing her with education experiences, making sure she wasn't watching more than x amount of tv per day, etc. Reading this back, I realize how hard I was/can be on myself. I think this is how a lot of moms are.  We worry if we're doing enough. We aren't as confident as we should be when it comes to parenting and the job we're doing. We don't give ourselves enough grace.  

One thing I recently started on the blog and at home is Mommy School. It's a time of day where we focus on learning through books, songs, sensory play and various activities. It's uninterrupted time for the two of us. This eliminated a lot of the "am I doing enough for her" guilt I used to feel.   

-Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying home is the right choice? Both can be so hard and overwhelming for new moms.

My advice for new moms is to do what works for you and your family. There is no right or wrong answer. Each family is different. One thing that may work for one may not work for another. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to go back to work after baby or walking away from your career to be a SAHM. Also, things may change and that is okay. You may decide that staying at home isn't what you thought it would be and going back to work is the best decision for you or vise versa.  Do not feel guilty if that is the case. Focus on what is important to you. 

Thank you, Leah! Find the rest of the Moms Make it Work Series here.


  1. Such a great post! So inspirational! Thanks for sharing! -Xo

  2. Thank you so much for having me Julia!

  3. I loved hearing Leah's story. I think it's so crazy how the second you become a mom it feels like everything changes instantly! You start basing your decisions on your family instead of just for yourself.

  4. such a great post! I love this series! Thanks for sharing your perspective Leah - looking forward to reading your blog and mommy school posts! :)

  5. What a beautiful little girl! Must have been hard to make a big move like that but good for you for supporting your hubby. I hope you can get back to Florida soon! Best of luck when trying for #2. :)

  6. Love it! Leah you are such a wonderful mom! :)


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