How to Rock the Working Mom Gig Like a Boss! (My Interview with Melissa Mares)

The Mares' family
 "Be yourself. Shine your light. Be present, the real you, aware and alive in every moment."-
Melissa Mares, Esq
Since I shared my admiration about Serena Williams, a working mom rocking it at tennis. I thought I'd share my admiration from a working mom who is like me--but more together-- Melissa Mares, Esq.. I met Melissa because our kids used to attend the same preschool. She my respect from the moment I met her.
Melissa is the kind of mom who shows up at a kids birthday party looking like a model, and yet you like her anyway.
Before I get into the specifics of my interview, I'd like to share five life lessons I learned from my interview with Melissa.

 Five Life Lessons From a Working Mom

  1. Make time for yourself every day, even if it is just five minutes.
  2. Marry the right guy and commit to sharing your life with him.
  3. Love your kids for the miracles that they are.
  4. Be authentic.
  5. Ask for what you want.
BONUS:  Invest in a great pair of sunglasses!

 My Interview With Melissa Mares, Esq.

She is married to her physician husband, Aaron Mares, whom she met when they were kids. She is the mom of a boy and a girl. And she is living the career dream that many lawyer moms dream about, she is working part-time at a major firm in her chosen practice area. That means that she has the time to mother in a very present way and she is able to keep her skills sharp. Her success is a testimony to the power of flexible work. 

That said, she is just like the rest of us. One morning when it was time for her son to get on the bus she discovered that all of his school shoes were covered in mud. Rather than panic, she pulled out his dressy shoes and said, "Go"! Talk about changing the game plan in real time without missing a beat! Below are some other facts about her to inspire you on your own working mom journey.

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

I learned so much from my interview with Melissa. First, I'm a sucker for a good love story and she is living one!I learned that she has been deeply in love with her husband since high school, which amazed me. Marrying your high school sweetheart and still loving them 21 years later seems like a fairy tale. And here she is living it! I learned that she practices self-care by ensuring that she has quiet time every night that includes indulging in chocolate. 
Like most of us, she works in order to use her degree, because of her professional ambition, and to inspire her kids. Despite working part-time, balance remains a challenge. She makes it work by doing work at non-traditional hours--late at night. Experience has taught her that flexibility is one of the keys to success. the other is partnership.
She describes her relationship with her husband as symbiotic. Indeed, they are true equal partners who are united in their support of one another and their children. They eat dinner as a family 6 out of 7 nights. They put the kids to bed together. they attend the children's activities together. In a word, she finds her husband to be part of the way she is able create mommy magic! She says, "That constant togetherness is priceless and continues to bond Aaron and I."  It blows me away that she's achieved this kind of partnership with someone she met in high school. I thin that it must be amazing to experience parenting life with someone you've known since you were a kid.

Below are some more nuggets from our interview, in her own words.

I'm blessed and happy. My kids and husband love me and think I'm a rock star.

 Motherhood Makes Life More Meaningful

  1. Has being a mom met your expectations? Exceeded!! It has been hands-down the greatest thing that has happened to me (and Aaron). It has been overwhelming at times, but has brought many more moments of joy than I ever expected. Life is more meaningful with my children in it.
  2. Do you have an overall parenting philosophy? If so, what is it? Not so much a philosophy but I do try to impress upon them: (i) They are the author of their own life stories. Every day is one day they'll never get back. How will they spend each day? Each month? The years ahead of them? They must make make good choices for themselves and the world and live each day to the fullest. (ii) There's no better compliment than hearing someone say that he or she is a "good" person. We pray every night that we have the strength to exemplify all aspects of a good person. So I guess I use those guiding principles in how I parent, how we operate as a family, and how we teach and guide our children.

 Being Clear About Your Priorities Makes Balance Easier

      1. What's your daily routine like? I try to exercise before the family is up. Then it's making breakfasts and packing lunches for Aaron and the kids. During the day, I juggle household chores, finances, legal work, running the kids around to school or activities and playing or reading with one or both of my kids. Evening involves family dinners, sports and homework and putting the kids to sleep. The hardest part about being a part-time mom without any true babysitter or nanny is that I have to fit my "paid" work into my "free" time. That unfortunately doesn't happen until 8:45 pm when I'm trying to fit in another 2-3 hours of work. The only day I go into the office is Wednesdays, when my parents help out with the kids. It's quite the juggling act but I wouldn't have it any other way.
      2. What do you do about child care? My parents help out on Wednesdays. Otherwise, I fit my work into other open moments. I do not let non-urgent work slip into my play and learning time with my children. Being mom is my #1 priority at the moment.
      3. Favorite meal to cook for your family on the run? Fresh bread and dinner salads
      4. .How do you make being a working mom work? I just try to keep smiling and thinking about my next vacation. I absolutely live to travel with my family. Those thoughts help me through the challenging moments of being a working mom.
      5. Do you think it is possible to do it all? I'm type-A (maybe like many readers). I plan and dream of doing more … full-time work, volunteering more, playing a team sport again, cooking all meals from scratch, making more time for "me" etc. I certainly try my best to do it all and do it all with 100% effort. Sometimes, though, I feel like I'm failing miserably at something, everything. I beat myself up over it. But then think, why? I'm human. I'm blessed and happy. My kids and husband love me and think I'm a rock star. My clients like me. I'm healthy. Life is good.