I’m excited to introduce Smarty Mom Vivian Mize. I am fortunate to work with this creative-minded mama every day. Not only does she have an amazing creative vision for marketing communications, she is a stellar mom. She is one of the most candid, funny and thoughtful people I know. Let’s get to know Vivian!
Smarty Mom: Vivian Mize
Name: Vivian Mize
Married to: William Mize
Kids: Whitson (Whit) 16, Josephine (Josie) 14, Harley 4 (a.k.a. little ball of energy)
Years in Charlotte: 1+
Originally from: moved here from Atlanta
Occupation: Creative marketing/design
You are one of those working mamas that always seems to have it together. What’s your secret?
Planning, organization, multi-tasking and – most importantly – ability to not stress.
What advice do you have for a soon-to-be-mom or new mom about returning back to work?
Don’t sweat it. You will be sad, very sad, but your baby will be okay and so will you. I have always known that I was not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom (it would drive me crazy and I love my job) so I came to peace with it rather quickly knowing that I was doing the best I could for my family. I knew my child was cared for properly because I planned it well in advance. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. Being a parent is NOT about being a slave to your children; you need to take care of yourself just as much as your kids so if that means going back to work because you love what you do or because it keeps you sane, then great.
You have two kids in high school and one in pre-school, what is that like? What advice do you have for other parents considering “just one more”?
We had always planned on two as long as we got one of each gender, but were willing to go for number three otherwise. Since we got a boy first then a girl, we were good… that is until my biological clock started ticking again at 36. My husband and I met in college; I was 18. We were together 8 years before kids so we had them early. Not sure I would recommend such a big age gap but I love having three kids. Had I known it was so wonderful, I would have done it sooner. Rearing children at 28 is a whole different ballgame than doing it at 38! There’s a lot less time, energy and patience, but a whole lot more experience. Harley, my youngest, has definitely gotten a different life than Whit and Josie. Whit and Josie got the Martha Stewart birthdays and were enrolled in every sport/dance/ballet/gymnastics known to man. Harley, on the other hand, gets half the effort for all that. I don’t have the time or energy to hand make invitations and favors and nowadays it isn’t as necessary as it was 16 years ago. There’s a lot more off-the-shelf amazing party stuff out there today so NO GUILT. His birthdays are still memorable and special to him. PS they won’t remember their first birthday.
Regarding the sports, experience taught me to enroll the kids in only ONE activity per season, I REPEAT, ONLY ONE. Again, experience taught me that kids don’t need as much as “we” give them; it’s too much. Plus, you put yourself in a position of being a slave to their schedules. Kids need time to play and they need time to themselves; don’t fill their days with activities. Let them learn to treasure their own company and entertain themselves. It’s important for them to find happiness and fulfillment in doing whatever they choose to do.
What convinced you to move your family to Charlotte?
A new job. I love what I do as a career; I’ve know I wanted to be a graphic designer since I was in 9th grade. However, I realized when this opportunity crossed my path that I was bored with my current position and I decided to make the leap and try something new. My husband and children supported me, which was very important to me. I’m making the point here again that it’s important to take care of yourself — as a mother, a wife. If you don’t, your family will not thrive. There’s such a stigma that taking care of yourself is selfish but it is quite the opposite. Happy wife (or mother in this case), happy life!
You have a very artistic family. What and where do you find your inspiration?
Creativity flows through my veins and my husbands’ (fine artist/painter) so we feed off each other. Nature is also a big inspiration for me; it clears my head and heart. We love to be outside, go hiking and camping as a family. We spend a lot of time at the lake!
Are your kids artistic? What inspires them and how do they translate it into art?
Most certainly. My oldest son already knows what he wants to do as a career (he’s a lot like me); he wants to be a game designer or animator. He’s great at drawing too and is the best artist at his school. Josie is more like her dad and is more of a free spirit. She would be great as a fine artist, a sculptor. She’s amazing with clay. But she doesn’t know what she wants to do as a career yet and hasn’t really expressed interest in being an artist of any kind though she is talented and creative. As a 14-year-old girl, she’s more interested now in fashion and friends. There’s plenty of time for her to figure that out though. And Harley, he’s just four but is crazy good at drawing already.
What’s your favorite family outing in/around the Queen City?
Hiking at Kings Mountain and eating out at a new restaurant (the kids are foodies).
You love to cook – what’s your favorite meal to make for your family?
Cuban food is what they like to eat most (not necessarily what I like to make most though). I like to try new recipes and have been doing Blue Apron for a few months now. It’s great. Very easy for me; I cook every night and the kids love trying new foods.
What’s your ideal date night?
Date night? What’s that? Ha, ha. That’s something we certainly need to do more often here in Charlotte. We used to go out more in Atlanta, to art openings and dinner mostly (my husband’s ideal date night), but we haven’t been good about doing that here. Ideally though, I’d like to get out and explore the city, maybe try a comedy show or an event at the Mint or Bechtler. My husband has been travelling back and forth from Atlanta for work and we’ve been renovating our new house so we haven’t had much time for ourselves. Not good, I know. Perhaps that will be my new year’s resolution!
Minivan or SUV?
SUV is what we’ve had for the last decade but I did have a minivan before that. I never thought of myself as a minivan owner but we broke down and bought one after our first child was born when I repeatedly hit his head (on accident, of course) on the interior ceiling of the car while attempting to get him into the car seat in my Pathfinder. I do recommend a minivan for a family with small children; it makes like SO much easier and more comfortable.
My iPhone camera (not sure if that counts as an “app”) because I am always taking pictures – for prosperity ; ). If the camera doesn’t count, then Facebook because it lets me keep up with family and friends that I don’t get to talk to or see on a regular basis.
Finish this statement. I could not live without…