Momma Dreamer Week 4 | Mindy from a {day} with lil mama stuart

Today I want to welcome my long-time friend Mindy to the Momma Dreamer series.  We’ve attended the same schools from kindergarden through high school and our parents still live little more than a block away from each other.  I love it that we have so much history in shared experiences and that there is so much future ahead of us . . . our kids are now becoming friends too.  

Mindy blogs at a personal favorite of mine – a {day} with lil mama stuart.  I love the creativity and ingenuity she puts in every post.  If you’ve been a long time reader at grateful for a coffee break, you will remember Mindy has taken some fabulous pictures of our family HERE, HEREHERE, and HERE.  Make sure to leave her some comment love here and then go back and check out what she’s working on in her neck of the blogosphere.

Thanks for having me Christine! I’m Mindy (mama to Mia, 2) and I blog over at a {day} with lil mama stuart.  Christine and I have known each other since we were SIX years old!  And now here we are over 20 years later with kids of our own! I’m a certified public accountant, but really, I love all things creative from cooking, DIY crafting, party planning to photography.

My story is a lot like Christine’s.  Where being a mom didn’t take away from my dreams but gave rise to new ones and that it may take ten years (after college graduation) to really know what it is that I’m doing with my life. But, let’s back up a bit, shall we?

- High School -

Senior year in high school, when it was time to choose colleges, majors and decide where you wanted to take your life, people asked, what do you want to be? I thought, “Hmm maybe I’ll be a CFO someday.” I never really said this answer confidently. It just seemed like a logical and feasible response. Did it really excite me? No. But I didn’t really have another answer, so I went with it. 

- College -

Sophomore year in college with the competitive atmosphere amid crowded career fairs came pressures of deciding where you should try to get your internship and did you want go public or private, audit or tax? Did I know what any of that meant? No. But everyone said audit was the path with the most open doors, so that’s where I headed.

My senior year, before getting my masters, I studied abroad and roamed around seven European countries and countless cities. While sipping wine in the late afternoon sun with a warm refreshing breeze overlooking bustling cobblestone plazas or rolling country sides, I often pondered “Why I am I even getting my masters in accounting? Do I really want to do this for the rest of my life? I grew up with a stay at home mom and loved that she was there for me at any given moment. I want my kids to have that too. That means I’m getting my masters and enduring painful hours of studying for the CPA just to not use my degree and certification 5-10 years from now when I stay home with my kids?”  Hmmm, these were important questions that truly crossed my mind time and time again.

- After College -

I went along with the plan I had set in place. Masters? Check. Pass the CPA? Check. Work at a Big 4 Public Accounting Firm? Check. Get engaged, buy a place in the city, and get married? Check. Check. Check. Doug and I anticipated the next four years to be filled with traveling and enjoying nights out in our beautiful city of Chicago. But plans changed.

- After Baby -

Baby? Check. New job with a less demanding schedule? Check. After being in the business field for five years, I knew my “dream” of being a CFO was not what I wanted. What did I want?

I’m still trying to figure that out.  After planning all the DIY details for my wedding and baby shower it clicked. I realized that I am passionate about making thoughtful and meaningful memories, gifts, décor, and photographs without spending a ton of money. I love seeing beautiful creations that I made with my own hands especially when I repurposed an item or thought of how to use materials creatively to get the best bang for your buck. Now that I know what I love doing (sometimes it’s hard to realize exactly what that is), I noticed that I’ve always enjoyed “art projects”, since I was a child. From going to art class, cooking Sunday pancakes, making my dad order food from my play kitchen, puffy painting camp clothes for entire cheer squads, to painting my own artwork for my college apartment. Creative projects just make me happy!

- Future -

That’s it! I need to be doing something creative. Is accounting going to fulfill that need? No. Does it pay the bills? Yes.  But just because I am a mom with a full time job doesn’t mean I can’t also do the things that make me smile inside and out.

 

When I first started blogging, party planning and being a photographer, the deal I made with my husband was that my new found hobbies/side job could not interfere with my normal household tasks and family time. It’s hard to make time for everything. I get asked ALL the time, “How do you do it?” I’m a night owl, so after Mia’s in bed at 9pm, I’m blogging, crafting or editing pictures until 2am. My husband gets Mia ready in the morning so I can sleep in until I have to get ready for work.

I do get burnt out. But you have to take a moment to rest. I sleep at 9pm at least once a week. It gives me energy to work late the rest of the week. I make time for myself to watch my DVRed shows or grab dinner with girlfriends.

You will be tired. But doing what makes you happy and working hard for it will be worth the sacrifice. Having support from family, friends, peers or even bloggers/FBers/tweeters you haven’t met is absolutely necessary. With people cheering you on, accommodating your schedule, or simply bouncing ideas off of, you will move forward.

It’s never too late. It’s ok to not know where you’re going, just do what you love. I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t know where all these sleepless nights are taking me. I don’t have a precise business plan – yet. But I feel there’s a time and place for everything. Opportunities will arise when the time is right as long as you keep working towards your goal. It hasn’t all clicked in place for me yet, but I have a good feeling it will.  And I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

As for my business experience… that’ll be an asset when I launch my party planning & photography business. Whenever that is. If it weren’t for having Mia a little earlier than planned, I may never have started this path towards my creative endeavors…So thank you little Miss Mia J, for making me a momma dreamer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Mindy!

If you’re just joining us, click HERE to catch up with all our Momma Dreamers!

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