Moms Make it Work: Amy from Missouri

Today Amy is posting for the Moms Make it Work series, and she is (yet another!) one of my 'wedding planning in St. Louis' friends from way back in 2006-2007. I reached out to Amy, just like I did for Lauren and Mary, knowing that she doesn't blog anymore but I still wanted her voice on this series. She works full time as a social worker for children and I know she juggles her roles along with the most put-together mamas, even if Amy thinks she isn't always 'making it work.' Ha! I loved her honesty on this topic and her sweet boys made it even better. Thanks so much, Amy!


Hi! I'm Amy, wife to Blake and mom to Brady (4) and Bennett (sigh, he'll be two in June!)  I occasionally blog at Motherhood Imperfected (I REALLY miss blogging!) and have a little Instagram obsession (@amyandblake)

I'm excited that Julia asked me to be a part of this series but I'll be honest, there are some days I'm pretty sure I’m not even close to making it work!  Ha!! I've loved reading each post in this series and I wish it had been around when I was a new mother, navigating through this next step of my life.

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

I'm a MIZZOU alum (Go Tigers!) and graduated with a BA in Human Development and Family Studies. Currently, I work full time as a social worker for children (and some adults too) with developmental disabilities. I have been at my current job almost 7 and a half years and saying that almost hurts, ha!  In 2009, I married Blake and we settled into married life nicely.
 As far as I can remember, I have always wanted to be a mom and I can tell you the moment I laid eyes on each of my kids, I knew motherhood was meant for me. Brady was born in October 2009 and and life hasn't slowed down since. Brady had a lovely case of colic/reflux and had what my Dr. called, ‘big personality’ and has rocked that title ever since!

Yes that's Vaseline.
Just so you know, peanut butter is the only thing that took that out of his hair. 

  In June 2012, Bennett was born and is the polar opposite of his brother. When he was five weeks old, we found out he had mild congenital hypothyroidism and he started taking medication for it at 12 weeks. He's a tough cookie for being such a little guy! He's my cuddle-bug and will always make you laugh. 

In February, I joined a health and wellness company and my husband is actually in process of staring his own business which is very scary and exciting at the same time.  I’m sure if I would write this 3 months from now, things may look a very different. Right now, Brady is in preschool three days a week and goes to the sitter where Benny goes the other two days. We leave the house anywhere from 7-730 and get home between 4:30-5:30 depending on my schedule that day. My schedule varies depending on home visits and meetings I have scheduled. Occasionally, I will have to work late but I do that only if I have to and it's rare. 

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

My job is very flexible. I find because of the flexibility I’m not as stressed about missing time for sick days, doctor appointments (we tend to have more due to the thyroid issue) and school events. I've attended every single field trip at Brady’ school and I don’t plan on that changing. I also have capability to work in the field when I need to which helps if I have to pick the kids up for a doctor’s appointment and saves on my drive time.

Challenges? I’m a social worker, enough said right? The biggest struggle I find is leaving work at work. My job is never done, I’m never caught up and it’s constantly stressful. I have to make the conscious decision every day to leave the stress at work. I've done a decent job of it but Spring/Summer is my busiest ‘season’ and it’s when I struggle with it the most. I find that the long drive home, as much as I detest it, it helps me decompress from my stressful day.

 My office is over 30 miles one way and it takes 45 minutes to an hour at the minimum. I also do home visits which can be a plus and a minus as it leaves me driving around a lot! On the days I’m in the office, I’m far away which as I mom, I hate. I always fear something happening and me being so far away.  I’m currently in process of attempting to work from home three days a week so we'll see how that goes!

Is this how you expected it to be pre-kids?
Heck no!  Motherhood is by far the craziest ride I’ve ever been on and I’m sure every parent will agree! I never had a clear picture on what I would do when we had kids and I think it was because my mom stayed home with us for a while but she also worked when I was older. What shocked me most was how hard it was to balance life as a working mom! Balance amidst chaos, right? 

I went back to work when Brady was nine weeks old and (after all the screaming) I was ready! The transition back to work wasn't easy and while I missed him, it was more about learning to manage this new role in life and that was harder than I ever expected.  I kept thinking I wanted to be a SAHM. One day, it dawned on me that I didn't want to be a SAHM FOR Brady but I wanted it for myself. I felt like it would be easier to concentrate on only one ‘job!’ at a time. I felt like I couldn't give my family 100% and be a good employee. I felt like when I was at work, I was thinking about my kids and vice versa. I can’t say that ever goes away BUT you find ways to balance it.  I think as you grow as a parent, you find more confidence in yourself and that goes a long way. I might be behind on laundry or forget to pack Brady’s lunch but I have also learned to not be so hard on myself because I’m doing the best I can. 

Is this your ideal situation? If not, what is?-Do you see yourself making a a career change (whatever that means) in the next 5-10 years, or is this current set up staying put for the long haul?

To be honest, absolutely not. I’m probably in the minority in this series who isn't quite in love with her job but we are working on changing that and it's scary. If his company does well, I plan on quitting to help out where he needs it and continue my side job since it's something I love to do.  Ideally, I'll always work part-time.  In a perfect world once my kid are in school,  I will be able to take my kids to school and pick them up and not have to worry about aftercare. Our family is kind of in transition right now so it’s really hard to say where I’ll be in 5-10 years.

Tips on how you make this work for you?
I kept finding we were running so many errands on the weekends and I was over it. I wanted our weekends back so now I usually get what I need done on my lunch break (on days I actually take one!) If I can’t seem to find time during the week to do that, we run to the store on Friday's for essentials after I pick them up from school/sitter to get it out of the way.

Mornings are really hard for us. We get everything ready the night before. We recently found out that my oldest has a dairy allergy so I have to prep his food now and that add to the mix. What I found that helps most is that we have a rule. No milk, Tv or toys until everyone is dressed. Most days that helps us get out the door on time. 

The house was a mess and my to-do list was insane.  I picked up the kids and it was too nice out to run to the sore so I surprised them with a picnic in the park. Sometimes, I have to put aside what we 'should' do and have more fun! 

Learn to say no and ask for help, even with your husband. I am a control freak and felt like I could do it all. I took on more at work than I could handle. There were times I felt overwhelmed and didn't ask for help. I just assumed my husband knew that I needed help so I've had to learn to communicate better but more importantly, STOP trying to do it all. 

I'm almost embarrassed to say that this has taken me almost 4 year for me to do this. Make time for yourself. After I weaned Benny, I was struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. I was cranky, exhausted and couldn't think straight. I shrugged it off as being a busy mom of two. I had missed a ton of work due to a string of sicknesses and Benny's surgery so I put off going to see a doctor. Later on, I knew something wasn't right.  My insurance required a physical for a discount on our premiums so I made an appointment. Well, guess what? There was something wrong. I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which causes hypothyroidism and I needed medication. I look back and I wasn't enjoying life and feel like I missed months of my life. Needless to say, my heath is just as important as my kids and they need me healthy too. I actually have talked to two other moms this week that have had similar experiences and I know how had it is to put yourself first.

 Lastly, I make time to meet with friends by scheduling it in advance so it's on the calendar and there are no excuses. Most of my friends are moms too and struggled to stay in touch. This works well for us!

How do you handle mommy guilt that comes with each role?
I can’t say I had a lot of it with Brady but after Bennett was born, I struggled a lot. I think I felt like I was already dividing my time between the boys, my husband and now work too? It didn't help that Benny was a very needy baby. I think the medication/thyroid issue played a huge part in that and he cried and ALL day. I cried. A LOT. We just chugged through it because as a wise friend of mine says, "This too shall pass'' and it always does. 

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

I remember the anticipation. I cried and I didn't think I could do it. I’m not sure if it was because I was leaving both kids or because I took a longer leave but I took it HARD the 2nd time around. The anticipation is always worse than reality. It takes a while to get into a routine and I feel like once you get that down, it gets easier. Also, don’t let guilt eat you up. Not everyone wants to stay home or has to option and I know that guilt can be powerful . Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to be a SAHM or if you worked hard for your degree and want to stay home. Only you can make the best choice for your family! 

On the days when there's more meltdowns that I can handle or I'm struggling to get the kids out the door, I just remember, this too shall pass. I also look back at this post I wrote last year and I find that it helps keep things in perspective. 

(Thanks, Amy! Find the entire MMIW series here)


  1. Really enjoyed this! I relate to a lot of it as a fellow mom of two boys who are just about your boys' age! (I'm erinmich82 on Instagram.) Your boys' personalities so match my boys' - my 4 1/2 year old, Henry, is the BIG personality, and my 2-year-old Benny is my snuggle bug!

    Good luck to your family as the new business gets off the ground!

  2. Love reading all these. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Interesting read. I am fortunate to work part time, but wonder what I'll do when kids are school-aged. I too would love to be able to drop off and pickup. Hope your husbands business venture works well for your family and am curious to hear about your side job. Thanks for sharing. Always a great read in this series!

  4. Amy - I absolutely adore your posts on instagram. The boys are too cute.

    I completely understand when you talk about taking care of yourself too. Often times we forget to do that. With my six kids I feel like I am constantly on the move and I often forget to do things for me. I can't tell you when the last time was that I actually had time to even blow dry my hair. :)

    I can't wait to watch your kids grow through IG & FB and see how things change. I look forward to future stories of Brady & Benny when they are teens! I can speak from experience when I say that once they are teenagers you will long for the days when they were young. :)


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