I am very excited to introduce this week’s Smarty Mom, Shellie Tedford. Shellie grew up in Raleigh and has lived in Charlotte for 10 years. She currently lives in the Steele Creek area and is married to an incredible husband, Jason (3 years). They recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Lillie, into their family 6 months ago. Shellie and I have worked together at “the Bank” for several years now and became fast friends. Recently she decided to switch gears and left the corporate world to take a part-time job at her church and spend more time with Lillie. Shellie embodies the characteristics of a true smarty friend and mother … meet Shellie!
Shellie’s Smarty Survey:
Congratulations on joining the ranks of Mommyhood! What was the biggest surprise you encountered as a new mom that you weren’t expecting?
I never knew that “mommybrain” was a real thing! I often wonder what happened to my brain. I also did not realize how much joy I would get from the smiles and giggles. I love those. How can you not smile at that??
What do you think prepared you most for becoming a mommy?
I never felt like I was prepared. I don’t think it ever sunk in that I was going to become a mom! And since she was 5 weeks early, everything seemed to happen so fast. Having support from my family, friends, her pediatrician and the lactation consultant was really helpful. Having faith in God that He will take care of us and prepare us for the future gives me peace.
What was your experience like returning to work after maternity leave?
That was one of the hardest days of my life. I was glad to have so many great girlfriends at work to help me feel better and take me for coffee and lunch. It was so hard to leave her at daycare even though I knew she was fine- I was the one having a hard day. I missed her terribly! It got easier over time, but I never stopped missing her and after 3 months I still had days where I cried after dropping her off.
It did put work in a new perspective. I still wanted to be a great employee, but issues didn’t seem to stress me out as much. I looked at her pictures a lot and talked about her, that helped me get through the day.
You’ve recently decided to start a new chapter of your life – congratulations! That is very exciting and I’m sure a little scary too. Was it difficult to make the decision to leave the corporate world behind?
It was difficult from a financial perspective because we were cutting almost half of our income. My husband jokes that we are going to have to become Amish now.
But, I have been hoping to work closer with the Children’s Ministry at my church for a while – I have been volunteering for several years. So, when this part time position was offered to me, I felt like it was the right thing for me and my family. It was sad leaving my friends at the bank behind… I had been there 10 years! Walking out that last day was really strange.
I have fears that I will be lonely and I won’t feel “important” or that my job isn’t impressive anymore. I also worry everyone will think I just play with the baby all day. When in actuality, I don’t know how I will find time to fit everything in!
Working part time puts you kind of between worlds … not quite a full time working mom but also not quite a stay at home mom. How do you think you will find the right balance?
I guess I just want to do I all- have the house clean, dinners cooked, 20 hours of work, run, playtime with the baby outside the house, keep up with friends, work on my crafts… I am going to have to prioritize, cut myself some slack and set a schedule so I can have time set aside where Lillie and I get to do fun things together. If we don’t get to do that I won’t feel like I am making the most out of this opportunity. Besides serving in the Children’s Ministry, the whole point of me doing this was to spend more time with Lillie. Oh- and I definitely need to make sure my wonderful hubby and I get quality time together too, since I will be working at church a few evenings a week.
You’ve also started your own line of adorable baby and mommy crafts called Sillie Lillie. Tell us about that.
I am making pacifier clips. I just didn’t like the ones in the stores. I could not find many cute ones, and most of them used metal clips to attach to the baby. I use plastic clips and each one is unique made from ribbon attached to silk flowers, cute wooden animals, etc… pretty much anything fun and safe that I can find in the craft stores.
I also started making diaper pouches/ clutches. I got tired of taking the big diaper bag with me everywhere when all I really needed was a couple diapers and wipes. These clutches can double as a purse and hold keys, credit cards, etc. It’s a fun creative outlet for me. I hope to get a website up and running soon.
What is your favorite kid’s boutique?
I don’t shop at boutiques- unless Target, Old Navy and Kohl’s count! I just can’t justify spending a lot of money on clothes that she will only wear a couple of times. I’ve actually been really fortunate and haven’t had to buy much. We have been given a lot of hand me downs that look brand new, and my mom and friends have bought her a bunch of cute stuff.
Where is your favorite place to eat dinner out with the family?
I try to cook a lot but we do treat ourselves to a dinner out occasionally. We really like Portofino’s and anything Mexican.
What is your favorite weekend activity?
And anything outside- going to the Whitewater Center, hitting the pool or beach, going for a run, or just sitting out the deck.
What is your favorite date night spot?
Ummm… I can’t remember the last time we went on a date. Maybe it was to the new City Tavern that opened near us. We don’t have family here to babysit so we don’t do many nights out right now. My parents live 5 hours away and Jason’s are a least 18 hours away! I have friends that have volunteered to watch her, I just need to take them up on their offers.
I could not live without my…
Family and my church. Since most of our family lives far away, we consider our fabulous network of friends here as extended family. I feel so blessed to have so many great friends that I know would help us out at any time. We love our church. There is a great ministry for kids and adults.
Best thing about raising a family in Charlotte?
Having a site like CSP to tell me what’s going on around town! That is my favorite part of the site. It helps me feel connected. I also love that Charlotte feels like a clean, young and family friendly city with great weather.
I wish someone had told me sooner about…
Baby laundry. I had no idea how much laundry a baby goes through in a day. Before she was born I bought his cute little basket for her dirty stuff. It is always overflowing!
Thank you, Shellie! If you have any advice for Shellie to help her transition from working full time to working part time, please share! Also, if you have a Smarty Mom or Dad to nominate, please email us here. We’d love to meet her!