Meet this month’s Mom Life interview, Michele Mueller.
Title: Director of Special Events at Kennedy Krieger Institute
Lives: Parkville, Maryland
Family: Husband, Larry; son Tripp, age 2 ½; dog, Crème Puff (aka Cremey)
Five things you can’t live without?
My cell phone for the camera and photos; my calendar, because I schedule everything; cheese, because it makes everything more delicious; ballet flats, because comfy shoes are a must; and coffee. With a Starbucks in my office building, my son’s college tuition is in jeopardy. And my son’s photo is displayed at our local Dunkin Donuts—need I say more?
What’s your favorite chore?
I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a FAVORITE chore, but I do enjoy shopping for groceries. With my son in tow, I consider it a fun activity that we do together. Alone, I like to spend more time matching coupons with sales. It actually becomes a game to see how much money I can save!
What would you do if you had 1 hour without any responsibilities?
Take a nap or snuggle up on a comfy couch with a good crossword puzzle
What do you love about being a mom?
I wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember and it didn’t come as easily as expected. Moreover, because my son was born 9 weeks early and we both had extended stays in the hospital, I have learned to never take one single moment with him for granted. I love my son’s unconditional love, the way his face lights up when he sees me and he yells “Mommy!” in his sweet little voice, and that he believes my kisses can make his boo-boos feel better. It’s true, there is NOTHING like the bond between a mother and her son!
What do you find challenging about raising kids?
I often question if I am making the right choices for my son. Social media is both a blessing and a curse in this day and age of parenting. Everyone has an opinion and I need to learn to tune it out and trust my own instincts sometimes. Another challenge is that I also constantly struggle with whether I should go to bed early at night, or stay up to have some “me” time. I know the rest could do me good, but sometimes I just want to enjoy that time at night when everyone else is asleep to catch up on my DVR or watch the news in peace.
How are you able to maintain a social life between working and parenting?
Scheduling and planning is a MUST! I would love to say I am willing to do anything at the drop of a hat, but in reality, I tend to plan out everything as best as I can. I do find that one of the best ways to have a social life at this point, is to do things where I can actually include my son. I also make sure I am checking in with those I care about, whether through a text, phone call, or a comment/message on social media.
How do you take care of your mental and physical health?
Who says I am taking care of my health? LOL! I try to be involved in the local running community. I tend to spend January to June coaching 5k and 10k training groups and July to October training for my own race(s). I have to admit, though, it’s getting harder and harder to focus on this as my son gets older.
What’s something your family loves to do together?
Last year my husband built a patio in our backyard, so now we love to spend afternoons and evenings sitting outside, listening to music and playing with our son and our dog.
What’s something that makes the motherhood-career juggle a little bit easier?
My own mother. She is my son’s only living grandparent and I am so blessed to have her living nearby. She is always willing to help in an emergency when he may be sick or I have to attend a work event or meeting. Having a great employer helps too. Kennedy Krieger Institute focuses on families, and not just those it serves, but families of employees as well. This quote has always resonated with me, “You will never find a more loyal employee than a working mother with a great boss.” It is so true!