How many kids do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have 3 kids, age 7, 5 and 3. They are in first grade, kindergarten and preschool.
How long have you lived in Orange and why did you decide to live here?
We moved to Orange 3.5 years ago, just before our youngest was born. We were living in Milford, where my husband grew up, but had been looking for a home in Orange ever since our oldest was born because we liked the school system here. We are big believers in public schools – both of us graduated from public schools, and both our moms are retired public school teachers.
What is your favorite family activity in the area?
We love the Orange Country Fair. Our kids have all gone to preschool at Orange Community Nursery School, which is at the Community Center, so my kids think it’s “their fair!” It’s even inspired my kids to want to grow their own garden, just to have veggies to enter at the Fair. And of course they love all the rides and the animals.
We are also Paugusset members – which is awesome for families in the summer. I feel like it’s a big secret and so many local families have never even heard of it – but it’s the local Orange pool and tennis club. The kids love it because they get to see and swim with all their friends all summer long, and I get to see my friends too. And the grill is awesome – I can feed the whole family for $15 – or we pack our own cooler with food and drinks!!
What is your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”?
What’s that? Just kidding… sort of. With 3 young kids, and this year with all 3 of them at different schools, “me time” can be tough to come by. I am an eternal bookworm, so if I have an uninterrupted hour, you can usually find me curled up with my iPad reading ebooks (did you know you can check out ebooks for FREE from our own Case Memorial Library?!?!?). I also am a big yoga fan – as a Type A, control freak, it’s really taught me how to quiet my mind and relax… and I am eternally grateful for Kids Club at The Edge, for giving me “me time” for yoga when I wouldn’t otherwise have it. Post
bedtimes, I’m also a Netflix / Prime Video binge watcher… my latest favorites were Homeland and Ozarks.
How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project you might be doing? How has it changed since becoming a mom?
I have always been a math nerd. It led me to a degree in Finance, and a career on Wall Street, ultimately ending up in Connecticut as a hedge fund research analyst, and later fundraiser. When I was pregnant with my oldest, we had hired a nanny… and two weeks before she was supposed to start and I was going back to work, she wanted a 20% pay increase and started to back pedal on our scheduling requirements.
I remember my husband coming home from work that night, and I just burst into tears. My career was such a huge part of my identity, not to mention the financial security and independence it provided, and I was terrified at even the thought of giving it up. But I also knew it was the right decision for our newly growing family, both personally and financially.
I had started a personal blog as a way for my family, who’s in Texas, to keep up with us across the country. And as my daughter got older and I started sharing the activities we did around town and home, friends encouraged me to do more with it. For 6+ years, I had a kids activities and parenting blog, where I also always talked about family finances, given my background. More recently, I started Family Finance Mom, which focuses exclusively on family finance content to empower women, especially moms, to be smarter about money and more confident in their financial decisions for their families. I want all moms, especially stay at home moms, to know that you can make a contribution to your family finances, whether it’s through income or just managing your money better. It’s been such a great mental and professional outlet for me too, and love that I can do it while still being home with my kids.
Now that all my kids are in schools and activities, I also volunteer, and use my hedge fund fundraising experience for the schools. I’ve run fundraising for 5 years at OCNS, the last 2 years at MLT, and am now the fundraising board member for Amity Little League Softball too.
How do you find balance?
I think a lot of moms out there hear the word balance, and mistake that for meaning having to do it all. They see all the celebrities and influencers out there, sharing their expertise on everything from style and design, to cooking and parenting, and they roll all those individual experts up into one person and think they are supposed to be capable of all of it. So you’re basically comparing yourself to the best aspects of a thousand other women, and when you can’t keep up, you feel like a failure and out of balance.
The best way to find balance is to stop looking outward, and instead focus inward. What makes you feel balanced? What makes you feel stressed? Do more of the first, and less of the second. We all have different things that make us tick and different non-negotiables. Balance is figuring out the ones that best work for you, and not stressing about the rest. Remember – all those experts? They are just sharing their expertise in 1-2 areas – they aren’t super mom at ALL of them!
For me, I thrive on routine… I need that consistent rhythm to my day, week and month to function, to plan, and to keep all my balls in the air. But since becoming a mom, I’ve also learned to prioritize. Kids can be unpredictable at times, and when those times happen, my job is a stay at home mom first and blogger, parent volunteer second, and it’s never a question: my kids and family come first. The rest can wait.
I also think it’s important to make time for relationships that remind you of who YOU are outside of being a mom. Date night with your husband, girls’ nights with your girlfriends, visits with my extended family – those recharge me, and make me feel like me again.
Proudest mommy moment?
My proudest moments are always when I see our kids echoing our values at their own doing. We talk a lot in our house about kindness, empathy and gratitude, and I love when I see them demonstrating those values all on their own. My girls love to make cards, and they started making cards for all their friends birthdays at school or when one of their friends is out sick. My oldest, at 7, recently started her own loom band bracelet business. Of course I was thrilled with her entrepreneurial spirit, but was even more proud when she told me she’s selling them to her friends and wants to donate the money to kids who don’t have any.
Best piece of advice for another mom?
I’m going to borrow a quote from Oprah… “You can have it all… just not all at once.” Motherhood, especially, has lots of different seasons, and there are pros and cons to all of them. It’s so important to acknowledge your season, and find peace with it. They really won’t be newborns and toddlers forever, I promise!
Something we’d be surprised to learn about you?
People up here are always surprised when they first meet me and I drop a “y’all!” I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas… I met my Connecticut born and raised husband when I was in college, and that’s how I ended up here. I don’t have an accent, but the y’all is always a giveaway. And I would eat Mexican food everyday, for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I could. Texas Forever, y’all!
You can find Meghan on Instagram here
And on Facebook here
Family photo credit: Meghan’s mom
Profile photo credit:Jaimee Soto Photography