I am very excited to introduce Nicole Levine to you all. This Smarty Mom has recently gone back to work full-time after having a second beautiful baby girl. She has some great insight on being a working mom surviving the day-to-day!
Let’s get to know Nicole!
Smarty Mom: Nicole Levine
Name: Nicole Levine
Married to: Justin Levine. This year we will be married 5 years.
Children: Brooke 3 years old, Avery 6 months old
Years in Charlotte: I was born and raised in Charlotte. I went to Boston for graduate school then came back home.
Originally from: Charlotte, NC
Occupation: Social Worker
This isn’t your first rodeo. Talk to us about what your second pregnancy was like.
My second pregnancy was great. I had more energy and felt more prepared. I didn’t freak out about every gas bubble, hiccup or ache and pain. With a little one running around I didn’t have time to think about how I was feeling. I loved having Brooke around to experience this pregnancy with my husband and me. She would talk to my belly all the time and took part in the countdown to Avery’s arrival. Brooke knew the Avery’s name by week 12 and the best part was that she kept it a secret. Even when people would ask her she would smile and say “sister.”
You’re a working smarty mom – what was it like going back to work? Was it easier the second time?
Going back to work is never easy. There were so many mixed feelings at the time. I wanted to be at home to be with my children but I love my job. Going back that first day I was emotional however by lunch, I felt like I was on vacation where it was nice to have lunch and go to the bathroom without a little one. Having my mother around to watch both of my children was another source of comfort and made the transition back to work a bit easier. It was easier the second time around. I knew what to expect. I also liked having my girls together. I felt like they could comfort each other.
At work I have a great group of women that celebrate being a mom. There is flexibility and I have never had to be sorry for being a mom. Family comes first. Also going back the second time I did not feel the pressure to prove that I was still valuable to my work place. It also never hurts to have wonderful clients that were excited to have me come back, and want to see pictures.
What is your must-have item for a newborn?
Prior to Avery being born, I came across a portable sound machine that could attach to a car seat, diaper bag or stroller. This machine had a variety of sounds, volume control, and a timer. The ocean sound option helped Avery fall asleep almost instantly. Much better than the white noise phone app that wouldn’t allow me to use my phone at the same time.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for a first-time mama?
Enjoy every minute. Even when you feel overwhelmed and think “I just want to put you down”, remember that there will be a day you will want them to lay on your chest and sleep for a few hours. Also don’t be afraid to talk to people. Support is great and makes you feel apart of a group and not alone even when you are at times.
What’s your ideal date night?
Sleeping! Just joking. We enjoy going out to eat, walking around uptown, listening to live music and just spending time together.
What’s your favorite spot in Charlotte?
We love the Charlotte area. We like to be around the city and the energy that it has. We love all the festivals and events that are around the area year round. We are always looking for new places and events. Recently we have really enjoyed the new park Romare Bearden Park. We go to have picnics, there is tons of room for the kids to play, meet new people, and watch fireworks.
Something most people don’t know about you?
I love to scrapbook. I also love, sad to say, reality TV. I mix the two by electronic scrapbooking while watching TV.
Most recently we just sold our townhome and are looking now to move into a home. We are ready to grow. A new chapter is right around the corner.
Minivan or SUV?
Right now we have a SUV but I have to say we are loving our friend’s minivan and contemplating a change. Space is the key.
Favorite Smarty phone app?
For my daughter it’s Princess Pets. This app is free and great for any girl that loves princesses.
For me I enjoy looking at E! to keep up on all my entertainment gossip. There is also Pinterest. I can look on here forever. Although actually completing the projects is a different story. J
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself being able to sleep through the night, not buying diapers, not wearing nursing bras and continuing to grow as a mother, wife and friend. I will have a good balance of family and work. Oh wow and I will be celebrating my daughters Bat Mitzvah. At this point I am trying to enjoy each moment and appreciate all the memories. I believe that with the birth of my second child it was a reminder of how fast they grow. As well as how each of these moments pass without warning.
I could not live without ….
****Good friends and family. Oh and chocolate.