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Blog: It's good to be back!
The Mommy Co-op!

Tomorrow, my husband and I celebrate 10 yrs together in marriage. I know, that's not THAT long…but based on last week's blog you can imagine the growth I feel in 10 yrs. How did I get here? So, I've been pondering my progress this week. My husband and I have a non traditional approach to parenting, since both of us work from home offices and over-night travel is required from both of us regularly we rely on a pyramid of friends and family to fill in our gaps. I am so blessed to live this life.

I did institutional daycare, corporate America, deadlines, overtime and it lead to guilty purchases to reward my kids for never being there and some personal rewards for working hard that I didn't need. All leading in the end to high credit card balances and some emptiness, it is exhausting! Not to mention it robs your JOY! 5 yrs ago this summer, I traded all that in for an adventure…I went from role playing in weekly sales meetings to spending my mornings dancing around to Laurie Berkner songs on Noggin and playtime with Weebles. I took a year off the roller coaster to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up…I found it! In the process I realized I was becoming part of a new trend… a growing trend of co-op moms, trading in suits and pantyhose for a road less traveled. Now I do what I love, work in a profession I adore, scheduling play-dates and doctor's appointments around organizing and decorating consultations.

I am not the only one scheduling time off the "mommy-track" to start a company or even a blog. We have started to dip into our creative reservoirs. If we enjoy making jewelry, making stationary, writing, exploring our fashionable sides, rediscovering the joys of painting, learning how to horseback ride or more we've decided it's now or never. We have realized there is so much more to our day than drop off and pick up, lunch in the car and projection reports.

We are multi tasking mamas becoming the CEO's of our own enterprises, doing more for charity than ever before and finding numerous ways to give back to our communities. Most of us volunteer or assist local charities on a monthly basis. We donate regularly and most all of us are involved in church and all the activities that follow. If we see a need we fill a need. I cannot think of one woman I know that has a selfish bone in her body. I have Facebook friends far away with husbands serving our country overseas and notice how much happier they are when plugged into a network of supportive women.
I have clients, friends and family that have incredible talents and have started to tap into that creating new business ventures doing what they enjoy. Seems everywhere I turn these days I run into another extra-ordinary woman.

We are no longer depending on the institutional daycare and 40 hr framework but trading out hours with each other, being flexible to make room for sick kids, or allowing our children more freedom of expression to play with their friends while we run errands childless, which is a tremendous relief.

We network more than ever. Gone are the days of the standard Tupperware party for Stepford's and usher in the trendy kids clothing parties, women who meet groups, weekly tv show viewing party, book clubs, painting parties, coupon swaps even boot camp. Another result of this creative renaissance in the modern mommy is the ability to negotiate our own trade deals. I have watched us ladies in the past few years get pretty inventive with what we are able to trade for either something we have or a service we can provide or need. I have friends that have offered to host "swap-parties" where party goers bring something they are ready to part with only to bring home another guest's toss as treasure.
Think if we operated not in currency but in services rendered. I have organized for many a friend as barter for something or a service I needed. Be it photography, furniture, babysitting or even pre-prepared meals!

So we continue to explore this new way of living. Simplified, organized, and creatively managing our time down to a science, living our best life possible giving our all. Finding a way to stay in the middle of the mythical stay at home mom (haven't met one yet that just "stayed at home") and the mommy executive. Somewhere that being nurtured and providing nurturing can dwell cohesively. We seek other ways to express our uniqueness and share our God given talents. Whether that is by organizing a women's conference, hosting a charity event, donating our services to auctions or agreeing to serve on boards and committees, we contribute more than ever.

It helps when we have husbands that support our quirks for constant refinement, nodding "uh-huh" when we come up with a new idea. Allowing us to explore our own avenues and coming to our own conclusions about what will work and what won't before squashing our dreams. I am fortunate to have my husband indeed. But we have also realized what tremendous blessings our girlfriends are. Finding inspiration from them and encouragement to pursue something out of the box. A great friend just told me this week, "well if you are looking for me to tell you no, I think it's a great idea". WOW! Now, what if that turns out to be the push I needed to open a store, become fabulous and live happily ever after? My 75 yr old mother would have said "Well, yea but if it doesn't work what are you going to do?"…like cement blocks tied to my ankles I would come back to earth…defeated! No risk taking allowed!! I worship my mother and her pearls of wisdom, but she is from a different time and believes all women should just retire from working for the State and do the crossword for 8 hrs. She constantly thinks I over-do it! But I'm having fun, why would I stop?

We make our own weather, we create our own storms, if we instead focus on behaving how we wish to feel we fulfill the basic need we have to be independent free thinkers contributing greatly to society. Expression comes so natural to us, don't you think God gave us that gift for a reason?

So, I think we are doing alright ladies! I'm pretty proud of us as a whole! We shouldn't be so hard on ourselves. Sometimes the housework can wait, that organizing project might just not happen some days, we are going to run late on occasion. It's a goal, we like our gold stars, but it's okay to miss the mark from time to time…and it is always okay to ask for help when we need it!! So as you go, think…do I know someone who can help me with that and what can I offer them? Don't take it all on by yourself, you'd be surprised what folks are open to, go cooperate it out!!

posted on: 2/25/2010 2:00:00 PM by Melissa Searcy
category: Family

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It's good to be back!

by Melissa Searcy

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About Melissa:

Melissa Searcy is a professional organizer and independent decorator now living in Jasper, AL. Formerly of Montgomery, Melissa owns Lulagrace Interiors where she was a regularly featured guest on morning television and had articles featured in the local newspaper and many local monthly publications. For more information you may visit her at www.lulagrace.com. Melissa is also a member of the Facebook community at Facebook.com/melissa.searcy or on Twitter at Twitter.com/LulagracePO.

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