The Millennial Wives Club had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Millennial Wife and Mother Valerie, an influential millennial mom and wife who has a blog dedicated to the millennial working mom and wife. We wanted to highlight Valerie because we love how transparent and open she is about sharing her story and how relatable she is on her blog.
We talked advice she would give her son about college, challenges she faced as a new mom, wife guilt, and so much more.
Check out her interview below!
MWC: Give us an overview of the evolution of Valerie in regards to the woman you were and the woman you are today.
VALERIE: I’m still evolving, especially at this point in my life. I went from being a shy girl who loved to dance as child and teenager, to a wife, mother and professional who’s no longer afraid to randomly approach people to spark up a conversation. I’m definitely on a new journey right now. I look at myself and I’m sometimes surprised at how far I’ve come. At the core I’m still the same but what’s important is that I’m continuously maturing and finding ways that I can improve to be the woman God created me to be.
MWC: In your blog, “Maternal Millennial”, you share how you were raised a PK and how you did things backward. What has “doing things backwards” taught you and at what point did you decide to use your story to encourage others?
VALERIE: It taught me how important it is to hold on to the values that my parents taught me and the importance of a relationship with God. When I went off to college I just wanted to experience freedom in the way that I hadn’t before. It was a little over a year ago that I decided to share my story. Before we got married, there was a point where my husband and I were almost sure there was no hope left for us. We’re a living testimony that when two people are committed to changing themselves and can set aside past issues, such a change can be unlocked!
MWC: You shared on your blog how your career is different from what you studied in college. Do you think this is most common among millennials? What advice will you give your son about college?
VALERIE: Most millennials that I meet aren’t really doing anything related to the field that they received a degree in. My husband is a great example of that, he studied political science and is now a Financial Advisor for an investment firm. I plan on encouraging my son to explore different major options in early in junior high/high school and seek out people in those fields to learn more about what they actually do. All through high school I was convinced that I would be a journalism or some type of communications major. After I took my first journalism class I realized that was NOT what I wanted to do. I ended up switching majors three times! I think it’s also important to get involved on campus. My involvement internships in college and my involvement in organizations helped shape my career path into Human Resources.
MWC: Has your perspective of marriage/life/career/motherhood changed now that you’re in it? If so, how?
VALERIE: I’m more appreciative of my parents and the rules they set in place for my brothers and myself. I’m starting to understand so much more now I had no way of understanding back then. I think having a family teaches you some things that you’ll only be able to appreciate and learn once you have a family. I also realize how much my mother does...and STILL does to this day. It’s amazing how women put so much time and effort into motherhood. It’s a nonstop job that is forever changing.
MWC: What advice do you have for a millennial wife who has a successful career but thinks she wouldn’t be a good mother because isn’t sure how to balance career and motherhood?
VALERIE: The key is to have a support system around you and also have the ability to communicate when you need help. I recommend that all women who are expecting a child to have a conversation with their employer. You need to communicate any boundaries that you’d like to establish (i.e no phone calls after 7pm, not working on weekends, etc) and work with your employer to make sure that you feel fully supported. I understand that this isn’t the case with all employers. I’m fortunate that I work at a place where if I feel overwhelmed, I can talk to my manager about adjusting my work schedule or looking at changing up my work load. Even if you feel like you don’t have that kind of relationship with your employer, I encourage you to have a conversation around work life balance anyway. You may be surprised at the support you get! It’s also important to have a good support system. My husband is so amazing, and he’s willing to help out around the house and do non-traditional father roles. If I didn’t have that, I’d be constantly stressed out and I would not be able to successfully balance work and home.
MWC: What challenges did you face as a new mom? What is your #1 tip for new millennial moms?
VALERIE: My struggle was the fact that I was SO tired all of the time. I’m one of those people that really needs rest in order to fully function. So of course when we had our son, I was frustrated at how little sleep I was getting and how much energy I lacked. I encourage new moms to invest in making sure that they take care of their overall health, or you’ll be down and out for the count before you know it. You may be waking up every couple of hours for a few months, and if your child is like mine...almost two years. If you’re lacking in the sleep area you really need to focus on other areas of your health. That means exercising regularly, eating healthy, and creating some alone time for yourself so that you can mentally clear your head. I know it sounds like just adding more items to you to-do list, but you can be creative with how you make time for ensuring that you are taking care of yourself FIRST.
MWC: What was the transition like when you went from being someone’s child to someone’s parent? How long did it take for you to get used to the idea?
VALERIE: Ha! I’m not sure that I’m used to the idea yet! It’s so strange, I’m almost 27 years old and I have a whole human being that I’m responsible for raising. It’s such a strange concept to wrap your head around, especially since I’m still figuring my own life out. I feel like I’m still always texting or calling my mom and asking questions.
MWC: On our blog, we discussed experiencing “Wife Guilt”. Have you ever experienced Wife Guilt or Mommy Guilt? How do you find time for self-care?
VALERIE: I experience it all the time. I travel quite a bit for work sometimes, so I often deal with mommy and wife guilt at the same time. It’s natural to have those feelings, you just can’t stay in those feelings. My husband understands that I need a bit of alone time in order for me to give my full self. He does his best to make sure that I can get an hour or two of quiet time on the weekends. His support and ability to understand what I need is what helps me be the best wife and mother that I can be to him and our son.
MWC: What do you think is the most common misconception about Millennials in the work place and do you find it to be true?
VALERIE: I hate to say this but I feel like many millennials want instant success. I think that mindset can be attributed to social media and what we’re used to seeing people post on their timelines. I’ve found myself guilty of it as well! We want the success but none of the work and failures that come along with that success. What I’ve learned is that it really just comes down to just deciding to do the work and being patient with where you are in life. We have to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else because my chapter 9 might be your chapter 27. Do the work, stay consistent and the rest will follow.
MWC: Tell us one thing you love about yourself.
VALERIE: I love the fact that I’m so calm and patient. I honestly didn’t realize how great of a gift it is to have until recently. My friends and coworkers always point out how calm I am and refuse to let situations get the best of me. Life is to short for me to get worked up over certain situations. Everything will work out as it should, I just take a deep breath and figure out how to get it done!