Moms Make it Work: Molly from Missouri

Today we are finishing up our twice per week posting for the Moms Make it Work series (tear). Don't worry, I still have plenty of posts up my sleeve/in process. I'm just dropping it down to be once per week or maybe even once every few weeks. I will put out a 'casting call' to specify the certain types of posters I'm recruiting for the next phase of the series, so sit tight! But today we have Molly from A Day in Mollywood rounding out our first phase of the series, and I've been excited to read her post since January! She was actually one of the first posters I had slated but then she was so incredibly sick with Sawyer's pregnancy, that we decided to push it back until now. Can't believe she has already had her third baby and returned to work in the meantime! Molly's post did not disappoint since she is one of the best writers in blog world (in my opinion). Enjoy!


Hey, guys! I'm super excited to be posting on Julia's blog today. I started reading her blog when I was pregnant with my second son, Brigham so that would have been winter of 2010? She was pregnant with Truman at the same time so I felt like I could somewhat relate. Not gonna lie - I was crazy jealous of her crafting and DIY skills. Oh, who am I kidding? I still am! I think I have asked her no less than five times already in the comments to please come decorate my house for me. I'm not so great at that kind of stuff.

I have been blogging for more than seven years. No idea how I have kept it up so long. But I do love to write and be creative with words so that is probably why I have stayed the course. I have really enjoyed this series because, as you'll see, I struggle weekly (daily?) with being a working mom. I am glad Julia wanted me to be a part of this awesome group of moms!

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

I started writing poetry and short stories from a very early age. I think I was six-years-old when I wrote my first short story. I was lucky in that my parents always encouraged the arts and creativity in me and my three sisters. My dad was a band director for more than forty years and so music, theater and dance were a huge part of my life because that's what I grew up around. When I left for college I had dreams of becoming a news anchor and I thought my major would be broadcast journalism. Unfortunately, due to severe depression, I did not have a good first year at college and ended up transferring and starting over the next year.

I spent three years at college in a small town and seriously could not WAIT to get out of there. The funnest thing to do was go bowling and/or drink in a fraternity's garage. Definitely not my scene. I had big dreams of moving to New York City and becoming a writer at a magazine. Nothing could or would stop me. It was going to happen. I started my last semester of college in August of 2001. But a month later, on September 11th, the US was attacked and my hopes and dreams, along with the rest of America, literally came crashing down. Suddenly being close to my family was the most important thing to me. I was in a bad relationship at the time (by the way I had never had a good relationship up to this point). But after 9/11 I really started thinking about what I wanted in a relationship. I was tired of being alone. So many people realized what love was all about that fateful day. But there I was - waiting from a call from my boyfriend - a call I never received. Not surprisingly, that relationship swiftly ended and one month later on October 11th - I went on my first date with my now husband. There was a connection from the second we met. I know it sounds cheesy but it was like something magical happened when we met. I knew we would be together from that time on.

So there went the big plans to move to NYC. I was in loooovvvvve (when it's new love you have to use lots of o's and v's, am I right ladies?) and I wasn't leaving because I really felt like he was the one! When I finally graduated with a degree in journalism I couldn't find a job. I live in Kansas City and it's not really a great place to find a job as a writer. Not to mention that the events of September 11th drastically changed the job outlook for new graduates. NO ONE was hiring. It was a really tough job market. So I started looking at other skills I had, one of which was event planning. I ended up landing my first job at an international non-profit organization headquartered out of KC managing fundraising events. I also planned weddings as my own side business. It was a lot of fun but I dreamed of the day when Naaman would finally pop the question and we could plan our own dream wedding! It took awhile because Naaman was going to school to become an RN. But the year before he was to graduate he finally got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife!

We were married on August 19, 2006. It was an amazingly beautiful wedding and reception and it will always be one of the best days of our lives!

-What are the best parts of your situation? What are the biggest challenges? 
I work for an amazing national non-profit managing a huge event that raises $1.5 million. Yeah, no pressure ;) I have gone back and forth throughout the years, trying out different careers, but I have always had a heart for the non-profit world and I love planning events! This job is fairly new for me. It is full-time and has the potential for flexible hours and work set-ups. Most of my coworkers have kids and understand how challenging it can be to be a working parent. So that's definitely a plus! I look forward to getting my footing in this new position. My coworkers all work four 10-hour days instead of five days a week. I haven't figured out how to make that work yet. You'll see why below! But it is definitely the plan for the future because having a four day week sounds amazing.
Challenges - oh boy - there are so many challenges right now. Most of which stem from the fact that we just added our third (and final!) child to our family in January.

-Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?
I know this might sound horrible but I was never one of those girls who felt called to be a mother. I mean, yes, I played dolls and house and I always figured I would end up with a kid or two. But I never thought much about it in high school or college. I didn't even think about it that much when Naaman and I got married. It was never a big topic of conversation for us. I figured it would come up eventually when I was in my thirties.

My mom and dad both came from very humble beginnings (my mom and dad used outhouses growing up!) but they worked hard, put themselves through college and both got masters degrees in education. My mom worked as a public school teacher until she got pregnant with me (her third daughter). She then quit to be a stay-at-home mom to us. So I grew up having my mom around for everything and I loved it. When I got home from school she was there waiting at the door to hug us and always had a snack for us. Warm cookies, anyone? I considered myself pretty darn lucky! But I never really thought about what I would choose because I honestly never thought about kids!
Naaman and I had been married for one year when baby fever unexpectedly hit me hard. We went to the hospital to visit a friend who had just had a baby. They asked if I wanted to hold her. I was so scared because I had never been around babies and she was tiny! But they put her in my arms and the rest, as they say, is history. As we left the hospital I asked Naaman when he thought we would start a family . . . I was pregnant four months later ;)

Our first son, Landon Neil was born on 08/08/08, a week before our second anniversary. Suddenly I understood what all the fuss was about. Motherhood was the most amazing thing I had ever experienced.


I'm not going to lie. I struggled A LOT with being a working mom. I was never so unhappy as the day I first went back to work. I cried so much those first few weeks. My mom took care of him his whole first year but I felt so incredibly guilty that I was not there. It hurt so much to not be there for all the milestones. I missed him so much I actually became depressed and quit my job! I just had to be with him more. My heart wasn't in my job and that's okay!

We knew we wanted to have another child however we wanted to wait a couple years. But when Landon was a year old, and right after I quit my job, we got the surprise of our lives - we were expecting again! I stayed home during my entire second pregnancy. On May 2nd, 2010 our second son, Brigham Douglas, came screaming into the world.

Being a family of four was more amazing than I ever thought it would be. But unfortunately, after staying home for ten months on one income, our finances were stretched too thin. I had to go back to work full-time when Brigham was only eight-weeks-old. This time I dealt with being a working mom much better. Although I look back now and I'm honestly not sure how I even functioned. Brigham was a very challenging baby. He never slept and was sick throughout much of his first year. We love love loved him but man, that was a rough first year! I think I survived on coffee and cat-naps at the office. Shhhh, don't tell anyone ;)


We continued as a family of four for three years until we finally decided that we were done having kids. I struggled so much with this decision because I truly wanted another baby so badly! But things started to get easier when Landon was five and Brigham was three. So I reluctantly gave in and told my husband, who was set on having only two children, that I agreed.

Can you guess what happened next? Yup . . .


Surprise! God had other plans for us and we found out we would have a third baby after all - A GIRL! Sawyer was born on January 18, 2014 and I don't know how we ever lived without her. We are all completely and utterly smitten!

The boys are such good big brothers to their little sister. And yes, I bawled my eyes out when I saw the photo below :)

This brings us up-to-date with the whole growing our family thing. Sawyer is three-months-old now and I just started a new full-time job. Yep, there are definitely challenges, for sure!

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

Honestly, no. It's not. My goal during my third pregnancy was to find a job working from home. Due to blogging for so long I have a lot of experience with social media. But I could not find a stable job that paid enough working from home. When the job I have now popped up I knew I had to apply. I knew it would be stressful starting a new full-time job with three kids, especially with one so young. But the timing worked out and my boss is incredibly flexible - she has three kids too - so I feel like it's a good fit.
Naaman is an RN in the ICU at a local hospital close to home. But he is gone before the kids wake up and gets home after dinner. It sucks that he is gone for so long. And with 13-14 hour days that means that daycare drop-off and pick-up is always my responsibility. I get the kids ready in the morning, pick them up and have to get dinner on the table.


It is our hope that Naaman can soon go back to school to get his masters in hospital administration. We hope that someday he will have a more regular schedule. But he works 3-4 days a week so he is home to take care of the kids twice a week! He loves his job as a nurse and we are so grateful for the stability and flexibility that his job has afforded us throughout these years.

-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 think I will be in my current job for a long time. It has great potential to be the career of a lifetime! But my ultimate dream is to write books and be a published author. If that ever happens and I am able to make a living from selling my published books I would probably leave a full-time job to pursue that dream. I would love to travel and do book readings and signings. It may not sound like a realistic goal but I am still working on it. I think it's important to keep your dreams alive even when you're a mom. I have told Landon and Brigham that I'm a writer. It's somewhat true because I do make money on my blog and I also do freelance writing for pay here and there. They know about my blog and have seen me writing on it and ask me what I'm doing. I tell them that I want to publish a book that you can buy in the store and they think that is pretty cool. Someday when their friends ask them what their mom does I want them to be able to say - my mom writes books. I think it' so important to teach them to go after their dreams no matter what they might be.


-Tips on how you make this work for you?

I'm gonna be really honest and tell you that I am still figuring this whole parenting/working thing out. I think life is a work in progress. One day I wake up and I feel ready and everything goes as planned. The next day I wake up and everything is a hot mess. On those days you might find me hiding in the bathroom letting myself have a good cry. I fully admit that even after nearly six years as a parent, my kids can get the best of me. Our transition from two to three kids hasn't been easy. There are A LOT of behavior issues right now. I'm not one to read parenting books but I'll admit that I have downloaded a couple recently because I am a little lost as to how to deal with the boys when they absolutely refuse to listen!

But things are definitely better lately and we are getting into more of a routine. I know it will happen with time and I will get more comfortable parenting three kids. But right now we have good days and bad days as a family.

I have recently been reading a website called Aha Parenting and it has a TON of good tips on every subject of parenting you could ask for. I highly recommend it!

Also, I am not the most organized person in the world. I am a bit messy and sometimes get really overwhelmed with housekeeping. I hate doing chores. Naaman actually does most of the laundry and dishes. I know, I know. I'm kind of a domestic failure? In fact, I'm pretty certain I belong on that show "Worst Cooks in America." But I promise I don't belong on an episode of Hoarders or anything. I just didn't get the domestic gene.

But most recently we started using a website called Cozi. It's an online calendar you can share with your family. They also have an app for your phone. This way Naaman and I can communicate our work schedules. You can also put to-do lists and shopping lists on it to stay organized. It has been working amazingly well for us!

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

The guilt can be overwhelming sometimes. There are days when I really wish I could stay home and snuggle my new baby and my boys. There are also days that I am really glad to head to work and be productive and drink my coffee in peace! I worry daily about how being away will affect my kids. But I also know that we have an amazing preschool taking care of and teaching our boys. It boggles my mind when people will say that we have strangers raising our kids. I mean, yes, they were strangers when we first met them. But these teachers have now watched our kids for three years! I assure you, they are NOT strangers to us. They are a part of our kids' lives. They care about them, love them and teach them valuable lessons to get them ready for kindergarten. We are beyond blessed to have found a safe, loving preschool for our children. I never worry about them while they are there. So that definitely helps with the guilt! They have always gone part-time because Naaman's schedule is pretty awesome as a nurse and we have grandparents who love to help watch them.

(My favorite): Advice for new moms struggling with returning to work outside of the home? Or struggling to decide if staying home is the right choice?

My advice, if you're on the fence about staying home, is to try going back to work for a little bit. The first couple of weeks is difficult but the guilt starts to lighten up a bit. Now that I've been through this I just tell myself that some days are harder than others. Maybe it sounds selfish but I love being able to go to Target and buy stuff we don't need. We also recently took our whole family to Disney World for a week. If I didn't work we couldn't do any of those fun extras. It's definitely a trade-off.

When I stayed home with Landon I enjoyed my time with him but I was also terribly worried about our finances and it put a lot of stress on our marriage for Naaman to be the only one contributing to our finances. I was constantly anxious about whether we would be able to pay our bills. Neither of us liked that feeling. So the decision for me to work is mostly financial and we're okay with that - for now.

If things need to change in the future I'm fine with that. The only constant is change! Our routine is about to change a lot when Landon starts school in August. But you've just got to roll with it. I have found that the chaos is part of the fun! How boring would life be if nothing ever changed or got challenging?! It is our challenges that make us who we are and force us to become better people.

Above all else - give yourself permission to feel whatever it is you're feeling. Becoming a mother doesn't mean we no longer have feelings! Talk it out. Get a babysitter so you can have some alone time! Go on date nights. Start a journal! Even if it's not a public blog it still helps to write things out sometimes. My blog and my readers have been some of my greatest supporters through my journey as a mom. I'm so grateful for this outlet.

I hope a look at my life as a working mom of three will help someone in the future.

(Thanks, Molly! I'm inspired! Find the rest of the MMIW series here)


  1. I loved this, Molly, and I knew I would! You are a total inspiration as the working mom of three! Your family is just beautiful and I think every single mother would say that life can be a 'hot mess' at times - it's normal. I think it's wonderful that you got a new job you really love and that you still have aspirations and plans to be a published writer. I know you will do it!

    Many things I wanted to comment on this as I read ... Dave and I met just a week before you and Naaman, and we got married just two months after you. :) I did not know you stayed home during your second pregnancy - I don't think I read your blog yet back then. Working four-days weeks is my ideal once I have three, too - I sure hope I (and you!) can make that work! And it also boggles my mind when people use the term 'strangers raising your kids.' I feel like my kids have been so lucky to have had such wonderful caregivers in their lives. It takes a village! And they just have more people to care about them, teach them things and spend time with them - I think it's a good thing! Of course I'm sure they miss me, and I miss them like crazy, too, but it's what they know and they are thriving, just as your kids are, so I think the guilt, usually, is pretty pointless!

    Also loved "the only constant is change!" Isn't that the truth?! Just when you think you've got one stage nailed down, boom! Here comes another! Keeps life interesting, that's for sure.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!! A good note to end this phase of the series on. :)

  2. Loved this post! It really is just so crazy how life turns out. If only our 18-year old selves could see where we would be at 35 - they'd be shocked, but hopefully also comforted to know that it all turns out just fine :) I'm also basically a domestic failure too - I can cook but cleaning only happens in the 30 minutes before company comes over - and Ben usually does most of that! Your job sounds fascinating to me - if I ever did leave career counseling, I'd love to work at a nonprofit and planning events is something I already do at my job a ton.

  3. Thank you for having me, Julia! This has been a fantastic series and I'm thrilled to hear it will continue!

  4. Reading Erin's comment made me remember that that's another thing I wanted to say - I'm a total domestic failure, as well. My husband makes fun of me often for it, though thankfully doesn't get too upset about it. And luckily he pulls more than his weight in that department. But it's a big job, and not very fun! I do the bare minimum to keep things semi-orderly in my home. ;)


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