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Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smarty Mom: Beth Southern

It's Smarty Mom Saturday and we're excited to introduce you to Beth Southern. Beth is married to hubby, Bill, for five years and is brand new mommy to Kate (5 months). Beth is a Greensboro native and she and her family currently live in King.

Beth is a full-time working attorney hailing from UNC-Chapel Hill undergrad and the University of Texas for law school. She is a corporate and securities attorney with Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC in Winston-Salem, while her husband is a District Court Judge.

Let's meet Beth!

As a brand new mommy, what was the biggest challenge in going back to work?
Mommy guilt! I feel guilty when I’m at the office, because I’d rather be at home with my family, but when I’m at home, I feel guilty for not working.

What was the transition like adding a new little one into your mix?
The first month or so was a little rough. I really am a creature of habit, and there’s no such thing as a routine with an infant in the house! After the couple of months, things started to calm down a bit and I think we’re starting to figure out this “new normal.”

How do you balance your family/work/friend balance and what tips can you share with your fellow Smarties?
While I started out working part-time right after my daughter was born, I’ve ultimately geared back up into working a pretty full-time schedule. I think it’s all about flexibility. I don’t really think of my day as being broken up into designated blocks for work, family and friends. Ultimately, there are 24 hours in every day and laundry, errands, client needs, diapers and the occasional girls lunch or date night have to fit in there one way or the other. For me, that means sometimes getting to the office a little later in the morning so that I can run by Target on the way to work (which goes MUCH faster when there’s no one else there and you don’t have a baby in tow!) or working at home in the evenings after my daughter goes to bed so that my clients get what they need when they need it. I think you also have to remind yourself that it’s OK to ask for help. I’m a bit of a control freak, but I’ve found that I’m so much happier at work and at home when I let go of some of the little stuff and delegate it to others.

Let's move on to gear and fun family digs! What stroller do you have and what is your favorite feature?
I have a Chico Cortina stroller, and it has worked really well. I’m not sure that I have a particular favorite feature, but I think it’s well built and reasonably priced (so I don’t have to freak out if it gets dinged or scratched—or pushed through the barnyard exhibit at the Dixie Classic Fair as my mother-in-law decided to do earlier this week).

What is your absolute favorite piece of baby gear?
At the moment, it’s definitely the Fisher Price Jumparoo—my daughter loves it! It keeps her entertained long enough for me to start dinner, fold clothes or read the occasional magazine. I’m also a big fan of the Fisher Price Cradle n’ Swing, the official sponsor of naps in the Southern household!
Minivan or SUV?
SUV. I definitely appreciate the comfort and convenience of the minivan, but like elastic waist jeans, it’s just not a place I’m prepared to go.

How have you made new mommy friends and what advice can you share?
Luckily, most of my friends have become my “mommy friends” by default as we’ve all had kids within the past year or so. I think that getting involved in local organizations (church, Junior League, etc.) is a great way to meet other moms in town.

What is your favorite place to buy baby clothes/gear?
I love Once Upon A Child and eBay for smocked and boutique-quality outfits at a fraction of the price of some other shops. When I’m looking to splurge or buy cute baby gifts, I really like the Lollypop Shoppe in Greensboro and Rolly’s in Winston-Salem.

What is your favorite place to take your whole family to dinner?
Love, love, love El Maguey Mexican restaurant in Pffaftown. The food is great, and the service is fast enough that we can get in and out before my daughter starts squirming all over the place.
Favorite date-night spot?
Lately, the living room in my house! Getting a babysitter for a 5 month old can be a little tricky, so my favorite date night splurge is sushi from Sakura in Winston-Salem. They have a great drive-through window, so I can call in my order before I leave the office on Friday afternoon, pick it up on the way home, and leave it in the frig until after my daughter is asleep—voila—wine and sushi date night!

Favorite girls lunch spot?
The Loop at Thruway Center or Village Tavern on Reynolda Road.

Favorite mani/pedi spot?
Van Davis Salon at Thruway Center.

Best thing about raising a family in the Triad?
I think the Triad area really does provide the best of all worlds—there are great shopping, dining and entertainment options all in an area that has manageable community, great schools and an affordable cost of living.

Smartiest way you save $? is a great place to find super deals on diapers, wipes and baby food. When you sign up for their free “Amazon Mom” membership and choose auto-delivery, you can save 30% on all of your diaper and wipes purchases—and have them delivered right to your door for free!

Favorite TSP article so far?
Mommy Guilt from June 2010.

As a new mommy, what topics would you like to see covered on TSP that would help you through this crazy little thing called mommyhood?
I’d love to see some articles about typical challenges with kids (teething, sleep issues, the “terrible two’s”, etc.) from moms who have been there and done that. I always love hearing what tips and tricks worked for other people’s kids—or, at a minimum, knowing that I’m not alone!

Best book you've read lately?
“Balance Is a Crock, Sleep Is for the Weak: An Indispensable Guide to Surviving Working Motherhood” — incredibly funny, with some good advice to boot!

Favorite Smarty phone app?
Google reader. It lets me keep up on all my blog reading (including TSP!) when I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, getting a pedicure, etc.

I could not live without my...
...husband. That man is a saint and there is no way I could be a working mom if I didn’t have all of his help with the cooking, cleaning and childcare.
I wish someone told me sooner about...
... The book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”—I swear, those techniques have been a lifesaver for us!

Best kept secret in the Triad?
New South Diner. The food and wine list are special enough to qualify it for a date night, but it’s causal enough that you can bring the whole family.

Thanks, Beth, for your super Smarty interview today! Smarties, if you have a Smarty Mom OR Dad that you think needs to share their story, please email us with a "momination"! We'd love to hear from you!


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