It is Smarty Mom Saturday and I would like to introduce you to my dear friend Michelle Vigor. Michelle has lived in Charlotte for the past 11 years, is married to Drew and mom to almost seven year old daughter, Porter and she is expecting a baby boy anyday now. They live in Cotswold and she works for Wachovia in Marketing as a Meeting and Event Planner. She has achieved a great life balance in work and home and I am excited for you to meet her.
A new baby anyday – how are you doing?
I wish I could smile and say, “Fantastic, never better, hardly feel pregnant at all!!” Unfortunately not the case. But the finish line is in site! I am trying to stay positive and I am thankful for a supportive husband, great friends and colleagues and a wonderful OB.
You found out the baby’s sex – excited to be having a boy?
Yes, we decided to find out the gender of the baby and I am thrilled, one of each! Porter originally wanted a sister, but she has warmed up to the idea of a brother and is really looking forward to his arrival.
Have you caught yourself splurging on boy’s clothes after so much girl stuff?
No, I have left that to my mother-in-law and friends who have gotten us the most precious things. Who knew they made seersucker shorts for infants?
There is almost a 7 year difference between Porter and the new baby, do you feel like you are starting all over?
I was just at the point where I could bring a book to the pool and relax…what was I thinking??? Actually, I don’t feel like I am starting over. I view this as such a blessing. There was a point that I thought I would remain single with my one perfect child, and I was just fine with that. And now I get the opportunity to do it all over again, and I couldn’t be more excited! My husband is already talking about having more, he has placed an order for another girl.
You were once a single mom, what advice do you have for single moms on blending your family?
Each situation is different and learning what works best for your family is an ongoing challenge. I think the biggest piece of advice that I can give, and one that is sometimes hard to take, is “You can’t have it both ways.” You can’t seek a partner who loves your child as much as they love you and who is active in all aspects of the child’s life and then feel that you are the only one who has the right to have an opinion about or weigh in on a decision about the child. While you are still the biological parent, and you have known that child since birth, you have to move past the mindset of “this is my child” and see that “this is our family.” I appreciate that this can become a sensitive situation for the step-parent, especially if mixed messages are given and their thoughts are welcomed sometimes but not at others. The key for us has been to talk openly and always remember to respect one another. And sometimes agree to disagree and pick our battles, just like many other parents.
What made the transition easier for Porter and for Drew?
Drew has a natural love for children, and he and Porter have a very special relationship. Porter was almost three when we started dating, and we were very slow to introduce her into the relationship. She has now known him for more than half of her life, and most of her childhood memories will include him. I think what has made the transition easiest is there is no question that he loves her unconditionally- not because she is my daughter and “came with the package” but for who she is and for what she means in his life. This has strengthened our marriage as well, and I can’t imagine having found a more perfect fit for both of us.
How do you balance work and home life?
I work for a company that values the “whole employee” so this has been easier for me than for some. And my family will always come first. I think having this at my core makes me a better employee because I come to work happy to be there and not resentful that it is a “necessary evil.” For me, having flexibility in my work has been key. I am a list maker for both work and home tasks, but I have to admit that I fly by the seat of my pants at times as well.
And sometimes I just have to say no. It may mean missing a function or activity that I would really like to participate in, but you just can’t do it all. And you have to know when to ask for help. I am fortunate to have a support network that some moms don’t have, and it is something that I am thankful for each day.
I love my job, and the people I work with. Having spent the majority of my career in the non-profit/education sector, Wachovia was quite a change. But I have never worked in an environment so supportive of my work, and so invested in helping me to create a positive balance between my professional and family life.
What is your favorite activity with Porter?
Getting manis and pedis. She likes to sit in my lap and dangle her feet in the water. It’s just a polish change for her, but she feels like such a big girl and loves picking her own color! Usually something horrible like bright blue or purple.
What is your favorite restaurant with Porter?
Hands down, Eddies. We go once a week, at least. We also go to Ru Sans a lot, she loves to watch the chefs roll sushi.
What is your favorite restaurant w/o the kids?
Primo. It’s been our standing date-night and special occasion restaurant for a couple of years. The food is fantastic, and the service is excellent.
Funniest thing she has ever said?
Porter is a pretty funny little girl, not always intending to be. At dinner one night she asked us what the “f-word” was. My husband and I nearly choked and stared wide eyed at each other before she said, “I think it is a bad word for toot.” Whew. I also took her shopping with me for a (maternity) bathing suit. She sat on the little stool, legs crossed, chin in her hand giving me the up and down, and she said, “That is absolutely not the one for you, you look enormous.” And when we found one she approved of she said, “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” and gave me two thumbs up.
Best birthday party you have attended?
I always joke that “The cobbler’s child has no shoes.” I am an event planner, but I far prefer traditional low-key parties to outrageous hooplas. In fact, for Porter’s 5th birthday, I had planned to have friends over to play in the backyard, have cake and ice-cream and pizza. Birthdays are a HUGE deal in my husband’s family, and he decided to kick it up a notch, and on his own hired a clown/balloon artist and rented a bounce house. I think he would have gotten her live elephants if she had asked for them. It was very sweet, and although it took him a few adult beverages to make it through the party, I think he had as much fun as she did.
Porter has been to some great parties from petting zoos to tie dye at Ben and Jerry’s, but the ones she really enjoys are small groups doing crafts, or slumber parties. I will put in a plug for my friend Janet Woodson at La-Tea-Das, her girlie tea parties are just the cutest!
Favorite kids boutique?
It is a very excusive and high-end boutique called Target. Unless it is a really special occasion, I just can’t stomach spending more on an item for my child than I would for myself. And I have an aversion to paying full price, so I head straight to the sale rack in any store.
Where do you go to find great deals on kid’s clothes?
Porter attends a school that requires a uniform, which makes me happier than I can tell you, so to me you can’t beat Land’s End for value. Place an order, it arrives at the door and the clothes last. My child is not one to stand in a dressing room and try on clothes.
What are your favorite parks in town?
I can’t tell you the last time we went to the park! Freedom would be my pick, though.
Minivan or SUV?
SUV. I know this is a passionate subject, so I will just say to each her own!
Favorite weekday activity?
Eating dinner with my family.
Going to the pool.
Favorite weekend getaway?
Lake Toxaway or Charleston
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
The small-town feel with the opportunities of a city. My in-laws are here, and we have the most wonderful network of friends who have become our family. We are big supporters of the public school system, which unfortunately makes me feel in the minority at times. Porter is having a wonderful experience with CMS, and is really blossoming.
I could not live without my…?
Blackberry. I fought it, and openly mocked my husband for his addiction but I have to admit I feel lost without it.
Best kept secret(s) in Charlotte?
This is the first thing that comes to mind, but I searched high and low online and in-stores for an upholstered club chair/rocker for our nursery. I found the best deal on the chair I wanted at Lucy and Co., and also got great inspiration from their showroom. Driving by I had assumed that the store was over-the-top high end, but I found that they have a wide range of price points and really unique items-and by shopping there you are supporting a local female business owner.
Also, you can get a shampoo and blow-out with really short notice at Carmen Carmen for $20, which is well worth it if you have hair like mine.
I wish someone had told me sooner about…?
What a pain finding affordable full time summer care can be! I am thankful that the childcare center that Porter attended offers a summer camp program that she loves as well as a super Vacation Bible School program. I started off with the grand plan of piecing my childcare together with a variety of different camps, and I just couldn’t manage the deadlines and mounds of paperwork! Next summer she will go to overnight at Camp Thunderbird where my husband was a camper and counselor. She can’t wait.
Thank you for all the great information Michelle. Best wishes as you await the newest Vigor!