I only recently discovered Brandy and her beautiful family on Instagram while exploring the “consciousparenting” hashtag. I love (and maybe am a little jealous of!) her calm and confident approach to parenting and life. She clearly enjoys her work but is present with her family as well, and shares more about her parenting philosophy on her blog, My Motherhood Magic. I love her security in the fact that we as mothers are enough as we are. -Dacy
Q: Introduce yourself, your family, the work and creative work (aside from mothering) you currently do, and how that work has evolved as your children have grown.
My name is Brandy Wells. I am an independent licensed social worker and mother to two little Queens Kennedy, 10, and Karter, 3, who I share with my amazing husband Maurice. I work with children ages 4-19 with a diverse selection of mental health diagnoses. I would say my creative work is my mental health/parenting blog where I share information regarding early childhood mental health as well as how it interjects with my own family.
My works has evolved substantially since having children of my own because I truly have first hand experience of the importance of maternal mental health and raising mentally healthy children. Which is why in my platform I use my children to say: no matter how you raise your children, let's raise them strong together!
Q. Do you wish you could do more or less creative work? How do you manage those conflicted feelings?
There are times I struggle with balance. Sometimes I feel I'm giving too much of myself to my children or too much to my creative outlet. What I have told myself recently that whatever it is I'm doing, I am doing enough, and I am enough. So if I’m not doing work but laughing and educating my children, I am enough in that moment and vice versa.
Q. Do you work full time? Does choosing to focus on motherhood affect any financial or career goals for you?
I currently work in a school system which allows for a lot of flexibility. I get summers and all holiday breaks off. I think this was perfect for me because it made it easy to separate time for both. I told myself I could never go back to a 12 month schedule. My kids get to have me be present, as well as career focused. It also allows for a 12 month salary. To say I'm blessed is an understatement.
Q. What kind of a “village” or help do you have around you?
Village is everything to me. Of course I have my immediate family, my mother in particular who has played a vital role in helping and guiding me in raising my children. I have recently taken my girls on small road trips to engage with some of my best friends so they know love exists outside of family. But my village extends to teachers, neighbors, coaches, people who play any role in my or my daughters’ lives.
Q. Do you feel as though your work and home life lines are blurred? How do you handle that challenge?
I don't. I did. When I did, I wouldn't give myself boundaries, breaks, and permission. Now that I have grown as a mother I am purposeful about my time and how I spend it. I can literally feel my body saying: okay this is enough it's time to stop and go to something else. Listen to your mind and body. If that feeling is telling you to go to something else, go. Don't be bogged down by the thought that the hustle has to be all day and night. There is beauty in the art of nothing.
Q. What’s a typical day like and when do you actually get your work done?
At work I am therapist Wells. I am talking to kids individually, helping families with resources, and advocating for mental health rights in the classroom. But as soon as I'm off, I'm off and I am Kennedy and Karter's mom and Maurice's wife. I play a lot, cook, do bedtime, etc., and once the kids go to sleep I write a blog piece or two. The rest is time for my husband. That schedule works for me and I don't like to vary.
Q. What do you do when creative ideas hit you and you’re in the middle of mothering?
I am note writer. All my inspiration comes from my own children or the children I'm working with. So when I get a thought or topic I simply write a few notes to have for later. Again I don't allow it to shift where my heart is. If I'm playing with my children that means it's their time, and that's what's needed for them in that moment. So I stay right there, everything else is secondary. If I'm working and my kids need me or a student is in crisis, I'll always attend to that, it's always a priority.
Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for other moms trying to do all the things?
Just a reminder to remember that you are enough. Sometimes we don't give ourselves enough credit. We compare and compete and we forget that God purposely gave us our role and was intentional.
I'll leave you with this:
“’Perfect’ is simply not relevant, whatever that would mean in regard to parenting. What is important is that we be authentic, and that we honor our children and ourselves as best we can, and that our intention be to, at the very least, do no harm. To me, it feels like all the work is in the attending, in the quality of the attention I bring to each moment, and in my commitment to live and to parent as consciously as possible.” Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting