Welcome to Monday Mornings with Moms in Green Bay!
Today we meet Tara Michiels.
Q: What town/city do you live in?
A: West De Pere
Q: How many kids do you have?
A: Two girlies: Lilah & Amelia
Q: What are their ages?
A: Newly 6 and nearly 5
Q: Do you work outside the home? If so, where & what do you do?
A: I’ve been a full-time working mom, a work-from-home mom and now a stay-at-home mom! I am a former Early Childhood Special Education Teacher turned licensed in-home childcare provider turned play-at-home mom. I never imagined myself as a homemaker, but I’ve embraced the role and feel so fulfilled! I also enjoy volunteering at my daughters’ school, teaching Cubbies for our church’s AWANA program and babysitting my niece and nephew.
Q: What is your favorite at-home activity to do with your kids?
A: We like to get creative in the kitchen! (I advise laying out towels in the kitchen and putting a smock on your child) I set out mixing bowls, measuring cups, measuring spoons, whisks, spatulas, wooden spoons, cups for pouring, turkey basters, glitter shakers, salt shaker… anything that looks fun! Then I give each child some small bowls of dry oatmeal, rice, water with food color, vinegar, baking soda, flour. Next they dig in and make their own “cooking” creations! This usually occupies them for a good while 😉 They have a blast creating and then also enjoy washing their own dishes afterward—here’s to hoping that will last forever!
Q: Where is your favorite place around Green Bay to take your kids?
A: We love to take family bike rides to Fraluz for frozen yogurt in the summer! In the winter we love to go sledding at Sand Acres Park!
Q: If you had one parenting tip to share that has worked for you/helped you, what would it be?
A: This is a hard question! Parenting is not without challenge, for sure. Being a parent has over and over again made me feel quite inadequate. I think what has helped me most is to remember that it is okay to forge your own path as a family. It’s tempting to look around and see what other parents are doing with their children in regards to family fun, discipline, extracurriculars, schooling, etc. However, we have to remember that the makeup of our family’s dynamic will never match someone else’s. Our family tends to be more introverted. We prefer not to be on the go all the time and rely on time with just the four of us to refuel. It’s easy for us to look around at all the families who thrive on being on the go and think that our children may be disadvantaged in some way. However, we know that the intentional relationship-building we focus on at home is something to be cherished as well.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do for yourself when you have time?
A: Ooooh, I’ve got two! I love to browse thrift stores for unique home décor treasures and I equally love to snuggle up under a cozy blanket and get lost in a book!
Q: Are you a night owl or an early bird (despite what you have to be as a mom)?
A: I am naturally neither. I am one of those people who needs a full night of sleep to function. I aspire to be an early bird so I can fit in a quiet time to myself before everyone else wakes. However, I often find myself pushing snooze and thinking…tomorrow, tomorrow I’ll wake early.
Q: What is something not many people know about you?
A: Something interesting about our family is that we have recently downsized our home by nearly half the size on a mission to live more of a minimalist lifestyle. After a series of events in our lives that led to much prayer and reflection, my husband and I found ourselves keenly aware of what was truly important in our lives and what we wanted to teach our children. We felt so grateful for the gift of our two daughters and the privilege to raise them; however, we also realized what a significant and challenging responsibility it is. We looked around our large 2 story home complete with white picket fence; the home we bought with the American dream in mind; our forever home where we would raise our kids and live happily ever after (naive-yes)… and what we saw and felt was excess. We saw conveniences that had become burdens: a home and yard that took more time to maintain than we wanted to spend. Don’t be mistaken, we were extremely grateful for provision of this shelter. It was a place where as a couple we stretched ourselves, matured and discovered what we value. It was the place that ignited a spark for something we are passionate about: simple living.
These feelings of excess led to many conversations. Conversations about how less time spent cleaning a home means more time to pour into our children; our family. Conversations about the consumerist habits we were modeling to our children and about the discernment we actually wanted to model to our children when choosing new items to bring into our home. Conversations about our desire to be more generous with our resources; how a smaller mortgage and smaller property taxes would allow us to give more, save more and participate in life experiences that may not have otherwise fit our budget.
What it all boiled down to was this: the way we were living and the way we wanted to live didn’t align.
The answer was clear to us, we needed to sell our “too big for us” home and downsize.
So, we did just that, because where we live isn’t nearly as important as how we live!
Thanks for sharing with us, Tara! Check back next week to meet another area mom!