Allie Carpenter of Raleigh is fairly new to the blogosphere, just like she's fairly new to life as working mom – an adventure she started after her daughter, now eight months old, was born. Allie's blog, How She Does It, shares her story of navigating this major life adjustment and offers tips and topics for discussion based on what she's learning.
Q. Tell us a little about yourself, and about your family.
A. I am a 20-something outside sales representative who loves to craft, blog and bargain shop! I am originally from Florida and moved to Raleigh two years ago with my husband. We had our daughter, Shelby, in November 2011, and life has been an amazing whirlwind since! She is the happiest and most easygoing baby, and we have been unbelievably blessed by her. I'm just a regular mom trying to juggle motherhood and my family responsibilities with a demanding career.
Q. When did you start How She Does It, and why did you decide to add maintaining a blog to your already busy life?
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A. After I had my daughter, I started discovering tons of fun blogs online. I had a hard time finding ones that were specifically geared towards working moms. I started my blog in April and decided it was more than worth my time if I could help other moms achieve balance and find encouragement and inspiration. It's also a great outlet for me to share my ideas and challenges.
Q. You've written several posts about looking for deals to lower your grocery bill. Is that sort of fun for you, or is it purely necessity? Is the amount of time it takes to clip coupons, compare prices, etc. worth the money you end up saving?
A. It's part fun, part necessity. I'm trying to get our household finances in order and one of the easiest ways to save seems to be to trim the grocery bill. The amount of time it takes to prepare for the shopping trips is DEFINITELY worth it! I spend about an hour meal planning, printing coupons and comparing prices and I save about $50-$75 per week. Absolutely worth it!
Q. The tagline on your blog is "one woman's journey to discover if she can really have it all." What have you discovered so far on that topic?
A. I think women can have it all but it is very hard and everyone (including our families and bosses!) has to make sacrifices. The myth of the "supermom" who has a high-powered career, a strong marriage and lots of time for her children really is a myth. I think we're putting too much stress and pressure on mothers to achieve that ideal when I don't believe it exists. Something has to give. I just wish we would all stop expecting moms to "do it all" and do it all perfectly!
Q. Do you have any tips for achieving that work-life balance we all keep hearing about? What's the secret, do you think?
A. I'm still searching for it, but supportive husbands, flexible work environments and loving childcare can help. I don't think there's necessarily a secret, other than being realistic and honest about what you need and desire for your life and your family's life. Cut yourself slack and ask for help. For example, I was having a really tough time being away from my daughter full time, so I was able to arrange a flex day once a week to work at home and spend more time with her. I understand that's not realistic for everyone, but there's usually room for some flexibility somewhere.
Q. What's your favorite thing to do with the whole family in the Triangle?
A. Our favorite family activities in the Triangle are Tuesday night rodeos at Carousel Farms, playing at Pullen Park and eating out and walking around in Glenwood South and Hayes-Barton.
Q. What's your favorite thing around here to do when you get a few hours to yourself?
A. My sales job is very busy, so when I get time to myself I love to craft and do projects around the house! I'm completely addicted to Pinterest and recently learned how to sew.
Q. What's the best parenting trick you've picked up so far?
A. To try and be as relaxed as possible. My daughter is just starting to crawl and I've found that if I stay calm when she gets into something she shouldn't and redirect her attention, she doesn't protest too badly. When it comes to her schedule and our family activities, it's important to stay flexible!
Q. What's the best advice someone has given you about being a mom?
A. To slow down and enjoy every moment. The love I feel for my daughter is unbelievable and I want to slow down the days! She is growing up so quickly, just as everyone warned us she would.
Q. What's your least favorite part and most favorite part of mommyhood?
A. My favorite part is getting to experience all of her firsts and being present for them. I really don't have a least favorite part, except that it's gotten even tougher to juggle everything in our lives now that our daughter is here!