HOMETOWN(S) Born and raised in Queens, NY now living life as a Jersey Girl
NUMBER OF CHILDREN One
Michelle is the creator and host of “Is That Your Child?!”, a live weekly podcast on Blog Talk Radio for moms and dads of color to mixed children. Thanks to a powerful online community of parents, the ITYC podcast boasts well over four-thousand listeners, and counting. She also blogs at BrownMamaUnderground.
I made the switch from working outside of the home as an entertainment publicist to working inside the home last year as a mom, podcaster, and blogger.
At some point, we all have these nebulous visions of parenthood in our lives. In all of my wildest dreams, I never pictured a moment when people would ask me if my child was in fact my own, or mistake me for the nanny. Having these experiences made me realize that our definition of family needs to expand beyond the confines of heterosexuality, race and biological kinship ties. Modern families are not just one thing. Motherhood doesn’t look or behave one way, or have one color, nor does fatherhood. As parents we always hope for a better future for our children, but I think the better future starts now. I want to show my daughter a world where there’s no question that I’m her mom and that families come in all shapes and sizes. Families like ours exist and I think it’s my job as a parent to let her know that.
My husband and I have been together for almost five years, but we got married two years ago when I was
two* eight months pregnant. My friends called me “Shotgun Shelly.”
*corrected at the request of the author
HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?
Before I stopped working outside the home full time, I have to admit that the work/family balance was hard for me. I’d see my daughter for about two hours in the morning every day and all day on the weekends. That was it. I was really miserable being away from her and I cried a lot more than I care to admit. My husband is a teacher, so he was able to take care of her when the babysitter left each day and he took care of her all summer when I was working. That was our balance at that point. After a time, we realized that childcare was eating up a huge chunk of our budget and that it would make more sense for me, much to my joy, to stay at home full time. Once we did some number crunching and decided what we could do without, I made the switch. Now I’m able to share in the childcare and the home care 50/50 with my husband. He also helps me when I need the time and space to do my blogging and my live weekly podcast. Ultimately, that partnership has been the real key for us to balance work/family.
HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL?
I’m not the most organized person in the world and I learned very quickly that a lot of parenting is about planning and organization. Suffice it to say that now my prep and org game is greatly improved. There’s no more spur of the moment. No more blowing where the wind takes you and not looking before you leap. And that’s in all things. I’ve become much more circumspect about everything in my life. I think about how things will affect her before I think about how they will affect me, which is a little bit of a double-edged sword.
HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP?
We definitely have to make time to be adults together. Planning comes into play for everything we do, even the sexy times. Bodice ripping happens on a carefully planned schedule.
WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?
Both sets of grandparents are always ready to volunteer for childcare. It’s a true blessing to have their unpaid services available pretty much at all times.
WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?
Any time I’m unprepared, which I feel often lately. When I’m not prepared to be unprepared it usually turns into a bad parent moment.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?
I think that all of the moments I see my daughter turning into this little independent person are my best moments. She’s very big on trying to do things herself now and we try to let her do it within reason. Also, when I see her being happy and silly and able to snap out of her grumpy moments quickly, I feel like we’re doing something right.