It is always so inspiring to hear of people that don’t feel shackled by their present day situation. In the moment, it is always hard to recognize an opportunity when you are presented with a challenge. However, once you are out of that situation, and into your new reality you are always then able to see things for what they were. I experienced this when I made the choice to be home with my family. Check out the challenging decision I had to make after I invested over a decade into my career. In that present moment, it was difficult to see any other reality but the one I was in. Now looking back, my options were right in front of me. I just had to make the choice, and the change.
This next Warrior Mama has not stopped making changes to prioritize her family, and their overall best interest. Please meet this vegan mom Stephanie, a Zookeeper for 12 years, turned stay at home mom, turned entrepreneur!
1- Tell us a little bit about yourself? Where are you from, how many children do you have, and how old are they?
I grew up in the military so moved around a lot. I’m currently living in Houston, TX and have a toddler son.
2- What was it like working at a Zoo? What kind of animals did you get to work with? And which is your favorite?
Before having my son, I worked at various AZA-accredited zoos (Association of Zoos &Aquariums) that focused on conservation. By the time I left, I was working with carnivores, cheetahs being my favorite.
3- Did you watch Tiger King? What were your thoughts!?
I did watch it after so many friends kept asking me questions about it. I hope it makes people stop and think the next time they see a roadside zoo attraction or animal interactions. Especially the abuses that need to occur for cub petting. If nothing else, I
hope it makes people research animal entertainment facilities and lobby for stricter rules governing who can own and how to treat these wild animals.
4- How do you find time to manage motherhood and run such successful blogs?
For my blog, I’ve spent the majority of the time building it during my son’s nap time and in the evenings after he’s gone to bed. It was exhausting when my son was a baby but easier now that he can independently play for shorter periods of time. If I were focusing on blogging as my main job, I’d probably be much farther along but I’m glad that that my journey involves working around my family’s schedule.
5- What tips can you give to fellow bloggers (like me!)?
I’d tell fellow bloggers who are struggling to not try to compare yourself to others. I did that early on and would get frustrated that others were having what I deemed much greater success despite starting their blog around the same time. Everyone is on their own journey, and family life is different. Some of them had older kids going to school so they had more time to write posts. Others were much faster writers than me. In the end, it doesn’t matter and you’ll get to where you should be if you keep working consistently.
7- What made you want to start blogging?
I’ve always wanted to start a blog but felt I never had the time to delve into learning everything. After my son was born, I took the opportunity to create my own creative outlet and build an income stream that allows me to stay at home.
8-Do you miss working at a zoo? Or have you found your passion in something else?
I loved educating the public about conservation efforts, and giving easy lifestyle changes people could do to help save wild animals. Overall though, it wasn’t conducive to the family life I wanted. Being a zookeeper requires you to work most holidays, weekends, and evening events. That makes it difficult to make it to your child’s sporting events or being present Christmas morning. I’ve since found a passion blogging because I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Blogging is a great way to do that without having to be a literary genius or English major. The fun, conversational style of blogging is much more laid back.
9- What advice would you give to other Moms encountering challenges?
For moms encountering challenges, don’t be afraid to ask for help. So many people offered me help early on and I felt weird accepting. Then I realized that having someone entertain your child so you can eat a meal or take a shower in peace does more for your mental state than you realize.
10-What is your favorite thing about motherhood?
My favorite thing about motherhood is how each day, my son does something unexpected. I love seeing his progression through various life stages. His excitement and curiosity for something an adult finds mundane makes you think about things differently.
11- Tell us about being a Vegan Mom, your decision behind it, and how your children feel.
I’ve been vegetarian for over 20 years but ate mainly vegan. During my pregnancy I had an aversion to dairy and decided that was a sign to finally make the leap to the plant-based diet. My husband was a meat-eater at the time but jumped on board on his own accord. We’ve both felt so much healthier eating this way. Our son eats the same foods that we eat. While some toddlers are picky, only wanting chicken nuggets and fries, he is eating a wide variety of foods including lentil curries, tempeh tacos, jackfruit bbq, mushroom bisque, veggie sushi, and green smoothies. As a vegan mom, the key to a healthy vegan diet is to make sure your food has a lot of variety and that you supplement B12.
At first I was a little nervous about being a vegan mom, and raising my son on a vegan diet because I wanted to make sure he had all of the proper nutrients as a growing child. My son’s pediatrician gave us some tips on vitamins but was pleased with the foods that he eats. The doctor also does periodic blood tests to check levels and they’ve always come out great. Since birth, my son has been in the 99th percentile for height and weight so there haven’t been any concerns. I highly recommend working closely with your doctor if you want to go down this route.
As far as how my child feels about eating a plant-based diet, he hasn’t complained about it yet. Honestly, it’s all he really knows. His grandparents, my parents, went plant-based shortly after we did after they watched the documentary “What The Health
We also don’t focus on doing activities around food. Instead, we focus on experiences with others and food is in the periphery. For birthdays and other events at his Mother’s Day Out program, I make sure to find out what will be served and make a vegan version so he isn’t left out. Freezing a batch of cupcakes is an easy way to always have a treat on hand.
Set priorities, manage your time, and stay true to yourself
My favorite thing about this Vegan Moms story, is Stephanie made major life changes, and evolved into a stronger woman with every step of her journey. Though she has a passion for animals and her career, she was easily able to make a change, and live an even more fulfilled life starting her business Mommy Saurus. It is so easy to feel stuck and held back, but she took control of her journey. She is able to spend the time she wants with her family, chooses how she wants to raise them, and is building an amazing business at her pace.
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your story! So many of us new Mama’s need to hear how you are were able to create your own story by taking the actions the you did!