We have been getting to know some pretty amazing mamas in this series and Amber Massey is definitely AMAZING! This mama of 4 is not only a dietician working in a NICU, but she is a stylist for Stitch Fix! She loves a good iced coffee like many of us, never goes to bed with a dirty house, and even fits in time to work out 3-4 times some weeks. We told you she's amazing and we know you will love getting to know her! Enjoy mamas!
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
I'm a 32 year old married mama to 4 babes. My husband and I have been married for 12 years this August and we live in a suburb about an hour outside of Dallas/Fort Worth. We made this our home about 5 years ago while I was pregnant with the twins. We have four year old twins, Parker and Jolie, Baker Bree who is about to be 2 in July and a 12 week old baby boy named Brady. I've been a Registered Dietitian for the last 8 years and have worked as a personal chef (pre-babies), nutrition counseling, and currently work 4 days/week in the NICU at a hospital. As if I wasn't crazy enough, a little over a year ago I started working from home as a Stitch Fix stylist for fun and have fallen in love with the company.
Describe a day in the life of you.
Right now a day in the life is all up in the air… we are all still getting to know Brady and he's finally on a regular "schedule". We are able to plan around his eat/sleep times during the day and I'm on maternity leave. Usually we are all up by 8am in the morning- Parker wakes me often before 7am and I send her back to bed until at least 7:30am because it’s hard for me to function before then, ha! The twins drink smoothies for breakfast and watch Disney channel or read books in their room while I nurse Brady and then Baker wakes by 9:30am (she's an amazing sleeper!) and she has her own smoothie. If we have errands we usually leave the house by 11am and we are out and about making Costco runs or hitting up the splash pad now that the weather is warming up. I pack a lunch for all the girls and we often eat on the run! Usually home by 3-3:30p and I put Baker down for a late nap while the girls color or chill out and watch a movie or a couple of recorded Bubble Guppies on the DVR. I take that window of quiet time to straighten up the house, unload the dishwasher, or play catch up on email and the blog.
Do you have help? A nanny or housekeeper? Family?
Oh my goodness- YES. 100% yes. I am so thankful for the help that I have. First of all, my husband is amazing. I wouldn't have survived the twins, let alone have two more after the fact if he didn't help me the way that he does. He does the laundry, manages the kiddos, runs errands with all four in tow, and he and I take turns cooking. He is a firefighter and his work schedule allows for him to be home a lot more than a normal 40 hour 9-5 type job. We also have a housekeeper that comes every two weeks. Jordan and I both tend to put actual cleaning at the end of our list of To-Dos and we can agree that we would literally give up our cell phones to keep our wonderful housekeeper if it came down to it. Since the twins were born, my mother in law has kept the babies on the days that I was at work and Jordan was on shift- about 2 days per week. After Brady was born we made the decision to hire a nanny three days per week to replace the help my MIL has given for the last 5 years.
How do you manage to have “me” time?
As I mentioned above, my husband is around quite a bit, but that also means that I am home alone often, too. Days that I am solo with all four of them for 24 hours while he's on shift can be exhausting! Because of that he makes it a priority that I get in some “me” time. So about once a week or every other week he allows me to go to Starbucks and work on the blog, meet a girlfriend for brunch, or get my nails done. Just about 2 hours of uninterrupted time to myself.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet? Since Brady was born we are still figuring that out :). I usually like to go to the gym early, around 5am to get it in. Jordan and I both go to the same boot camp, so if it’s been a rough night or I just can't seem to get myself out of bed at 5am, we go together with all the kids! I try and get in 60 minutes about 3-4 days/week. I also eat relatively healthy- of course I love my fair share of junk and Vente iced coffee is my weakness, but over all we maintain a balance pretty well and try to limit eating out to once a week, for both health and financial reasons. Feeding five mouths, including a toddler that out-eats everyone, can be so expensive!
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children? Definitely NOT! There are some days (when I don't leave the house) that I stay in my pajamas all day. The kids don't get dressed either! Other days I throw a ball cap over my dirty hair, do a little touch up with some concealer under my eyes and get whatever errands I need to get done wearing a t-shirt and jeans or leggings. Honestly, these days, if my hair is fixed I feel put together, more so than a full face of makeup. I wash my hair about twice a week and I'm lucky that it only take a little touching up with the flat iron between washes (including those days that I hit up boot camp) I just blow dry that sweat right out! Outfits are never curated unless we have set plans for the day (lunch date, church, family outings, etc). I have found that if I have an idea of what I want to wear before the rush of getting one billion people ready for the day it helps with the overall management of chaos.
Has your style changed after motherhood? Totally! There was a time in my life before kids that I would never leave the house without a full face of makeup and a shower. I dressed very conservatively for work (slacks, blouses, blazers, and heels) so that carried over into my weekend life, too! Big chunky accessories (early 2000's that was all the rage, am I right??) and I didn't understand how valuable sneakers were to my life until after I had children. These days I wear scrubs to work and live in my favorite boyfriend jeans and a casual tee, and sneakers. Oh how I love my sneakers.
What’s your guilty pleasure? I could not live without coffee. I actually love the flavor and drink it for that rather than the caffeine component (I usually drink half-caf or decaf while nursing). I have been known to drive through Starbucks twice while being out and about running errands. While I work out the only thing I can think of is the fact that I get to have a coffee afterwards, and when I am up nursing Brady through the night I cannot wait until the 'morning' when I can brew my first cup. I've turned into my mother.
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings? I usually try to breastfeed Brady right before we leave the house. My goal is within an hour of leaving so that we can actually get out and about and have some time to get things done before I'm sitting in the car to nurse him. He usually takes his first nap around 10:30am, so if I feed him right before then he will sleep in the car (most of the time!) until it’s time to eat again.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
I'm usually in bed between 10 pm-11 pm and I'm up at 4:30 am for my 5 am workout OR if I don't get up that day for boot camp I'm getting up about 7:30 am. I'm dragging by dinner time and then will get my second wind around 8 pm after the kids go to bed. So I would say between 6-8 hours at night.
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
I'm such a stickler for my house being "put together". It sounds silly, but it drives me batty to come home a messy house (like the playroom turned upside town, or dishes in the sink). That being said, it comes last on the list when we have somewhere to be or if I have to work on getting something done. No matter what, the house is put together and the kitchen is clean before I go to bed at night, so it might fall under "a clean house over sleep" ha!
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
Because of Jordan's schedule I only cook about 2-3 nights/week. We eat out once/week and the other days me and the kids just eat whatever we feel like (macaroni from a box, cereal, peanut butter toast). When I meal plan I do it early in the week while I'm making my grocery list so I have all the ingredients on hand and it keeps me motivated to actually cook the meal when I have a plan in place.
Have you ever felt like you are losing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
There was a time before Baker was born that I felt like I couldn't get in the groove of life with kids. I was trying to find my voice, routine, and manage working and being a wife, too. Thankfully I have a husband that is a huge advocate of ME. He knows how important it is that I have “me” time and allows me to do pretty much do what I need to feel secure in my role, both at home and professionally.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
Jordan is a huge help to my day to day but also as my number one supporter in this crazy life we live right now. I can literally look at him and say "I need a break" and as long as its an appropriate time he will let me go decompress or take off and grab a coffee by myself.
How do you manage motherhood and marriage? Jordan and I are a TEAM, an incredible team. We work together to manage our kiddos and some days we are going through the motions of life to just make it to bedtime, but we always make time to catch up. Date nights are few and far in between these days, but we try to chat in the car, before bedtime, and always ask each other "how are you doing" looking for the real answer outside of "fine". We have learned the right time to actually ask these questions is when we can actually finish the conversation and the wrong time is to try to have this conversation in the middle of wrangling babies for bath, dinner, and bed.
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week? I work both in and outside the home. Four days per week I work as a dietitian to newborn and premature babies in the NICU; and I work from home in between those four days as a Stitch Fix stylist. Being a stylist is more of a hobby for me than a job- I love it! We have a nanny to help on days when I am not home, and I try to do SF on the days that Jordan is around or fit it in early in the morning before the kids wake or after they go to bed in the evening.
Have your circle of friends changed now that you're a mother? if so, how do you meet new mommy friends?
Thankfully my closest girlfriends and I have all sort of grown our families at the same time. I have met some of my closest mommy friends through social media! It is such a powerful platform to meet amazing women.
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Laundry!! I don't mind putting it all in the wash and transferring it to the dryer, but getting it folded and put away is my ultimate demise.
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
I start back to work soon, and we have a nanny helping us when I am away. She came for a "trial run" a couple weeks ago and I totally didn't explain a million things that probably would be helpful in knowing before she starts watching my FOUR kids! She didn't text me to ask (which is probably better) and just figured it out on her own (which is awesome!). After I got home she gave me a rundown of questions she had for next time. I felt so defeated in that I was NOT ready to go back to work and not ready to leave my kiddos with someone else other than myself. I regrouped, bounced ideas off on Jordan for helping me remember what the nanny would need to know for next time, and hopefully she'll be set up for success when she starts!
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to __________________
Wash my hair. I am thankful I am able to find time to actually shower, but washing my hair is the last on my list of to-do's!
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
Balance does not come easy. It is something that is constantly changing and my once type A personality has taken a major backseat to the ins and outs of motherhood. We work hard at attempting to keep everything in order and balanced, some days it works and some days it totally doesn't.
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I love style and fashion. I have been a dietitian for a long time, and still love food and nutrition, but would absolutely love to grow my career with Stitch Fix. Styling and helping women (and men!) find themselves comfortable in clothes that are perfect for them is so much fun!
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
I've become a night owl since having kids. I still wake up early, and actually prefer to be an early riser, but giving myself at least an hour or two to chill out, watch reality TV, or surf social media is something I've learned that helps me get through the end of my day. My mom always stayed up so late growing up and I couldn't ever figure out why, well I have three brothers and now I can completely relate to her!
What is one question you'd like to ask our fellow mama readers?
I didn't really grow up with dreams and aspirations to be a mama, let alone having four babies of my own! I always thought in the back of my mind that I would have children, but even when I was dating Jordan very seriously, children didn't cross my mind very often. I have discovered that now I was born to be a mama. I would have ten more if Jordan and my body would let me! So, my question for you all is: Looking back now, starting with your first thoughts of becoming a mother as a little girl, how does it feel to watch your children grow up now?