Mallory Richardson is pursuing a PhD in General Psychology and hopes to teach collegiate-level psychology. She and her husband, Jeremiah, have two children, Wesley (7) and William (6).
WP: It’s 2021 and we are still living in a pandemic. How is your family adapting to this new normal? Do you feel like you’ve settled into a good routine?
MR: Our family is typically on the go. We are always doing something. When the pandemic started, all of those somethings turned into just one thing: being at home. To be honest, we were a little bored for a few months.
We stayed antsy thinking “tomorrow everything will go back to normal.” As tomorrow turned into next week, and then next month, and then who the heck knows when, our antsy-ness settled down a bit. Our routine is mainly home, work, and school with a few outings here and there. We have definitely learned how to just be with one another, and while I enjoy the busyness of our old routine, it has been nice to take a step back and enjoy my family in a different way during this season of life.
WP: Thanks to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to do a lot of things we used to rely on. How are you keeping things from getting too “heavy?”
MR: The past several months—wow, almost a year now—have been packed with a wide range of emotions that aren’t present on the average day. I’m already an emotional and anxious person, so those added emotions have made some days/weeks tougher for me. I feel it is important to have your people, and to not be afraid to lean on them a little harder. For me, it has also been important to say what’s on my mind—no matter how small or big, rather than boxing it in and letting it eat away at my thoughts. On a bit of a lighter note, being home more means the need for cleaning has skyrocketed. Seriously, it’s impossible to keep up with the dirty dishes. So, I’ve kept chores from crushing me two ways: giving the boys more responsibilities—like unloading the dishwasher or folding their clean clothes; and I’ve let myself accept the inevitable rather than stressing about it—like nerf bullets are going to be everywhere and probably dirty socks too.
WP: Spending so much more time at home has really put the spotlight on chores, so I have to ask, what one “mom chore” would you outsource forever if you could?
MR: Ugh… I can only pick one?! It would definitely have to be cleaning toilets. I’m a bit of a germaphobe, and a firm believer that toilet germs jump off the toilet and onto me. I also live in a house full of boys, who must have learned to aim with a blindfold on. I’ll clean the rest of the bathroom, but paaaa-lease someone else clean my toilets!
WP: This month, we’re focusing on healthy kids. What are some healthy habits your family practices?
MR: We try to reinforce our healthy habits with information. Telling them why a certain type of food is good for them or what fresh air can do for their bodies is, in my opinion, a crucial part of forming a long-lasting habit.
If they can back an action up with information rather than “because mom said so,” I feel they are more likely to stick to it!
Some of our healthy habits include: having healthy, grabbable snacks available, encouraging time outside, limiting sugary drinks, and letting the kiddos help cook!
WP: How do you encourage your boys to be active and healthy?
MR: We encourage activity in our house—especially outdoors. When the boys are at a loss for what they want to do, I ask them to go outside and play!
We encourage them to join an activity or two. So far, those activities have been baseball and soccer, but we are open to whatever extracurriculars they want to try as they get older. Wanting my boys to be active and healthy holds me accountable, too. When they see me making healthy decisions for myself it reinforces what I ask them to do!
WP: Mom, blogger, small business owner, employee, and student. Like all moms, you wear a lot of hats. How do you keep things balanced?
MR: Being a wife and mother absolutely always come first. Balancing everything else fluctuates every week, and sometimes every day. It’s important for me to mentally plan what needs to take priority that week, so I am able to use my spare time completing items that absolutely have to get done or are time sensitive. I’ve learned to be productive in small spurts of time. Using time wisely while the kids eat breakfast or while dinner is in the oven really helps me check items off my to-do list! It’s also crucial for me to be flexible. This is something I still struggle with sometimes, because I enjoy having a plan and sticking to it. Learning to be flexible and accepting changes as they come has helped me keep the balance in my life.
WP: Speaking of balance, what’s something you do at home that you think promotes better family time?
MR: Time is a thief, and there can never be too much time with my family! Some ways we promote family time would be letting our kids cook with us, playing simple games like 20 questions—even in the car, having a family movie night, including the boys when making decisions, and making time for family outings/vacations.
WP: There’s a proverb: It takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to your motherhood journey, who’s your tribe?
MR: It’s true—it takes a village sometimes. My tribe is small, but these guys put in the time and work of 100 people. First, there’s my husband. He is my favorite person to hang out with and biggest supporter. He’s also my biggest (positive) critic, which is a role I particularly appreciate because he constantly encourages me to be the best version of myself. The next member of my tribe is my mother-in-law, who we affectionately call Honey. She has filled a void in my life and taken on a motherly role. Honey is my biggest fan, has endless amounts of energy, is always willing to help in any way she can offer, and fills whatever space she is in with positivity. The last members of my tribe are my two best friends, Lauren and Regan. These guys are my biggest advocates, and I truly know they are always there for me. Plus, they are just cool people! All of my tribe members play a role that has proved crucial in my life. I am truly blessed!
WP: You are the voice behind the blog Mom of W.A.R. How do you use that platform to empower other moms?
MR: Writing is something I found a love for in my 6th grade English class. It became an outlet for me. When I started Mom of W.A.R. three years ago, I didn’t really know what direction I wanted to take. I only knew I wanted to write, and that I wanted my audience to be other moms. Since then, I have discovered my voice and purpose. Really, it’s a simple one. I want to provide a multifunctioning resource for moms—at Mom of W.A.R. you can find posts that inform, inspire, or just provide a light-hearted break in your day. It is my desire for other moms to know they have a community they can lean on, and I encourage them to learn, share, and laugh!
WP: How would you describe your parenting style?
MR: My parenting style leans more towards Authoritative with some flexibility. Rules are set for my kiddos, and I expect them to follow those rules; however, I always make sure they know I am open to discussion and care to hear their thoughts and feelings. A positive relationship with my children is something I continuously work hard to maintain. Being their friend is so easy… they are pretty awesome little dudes, but I also feel it is important for them to understand that their actions have consequences, good or bad. I also have a personal conviction to tell my kids I’m sorry when the time calls for it.
WP: If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
MR: Don’t let others think for you. Knowing who you are and what you stand for will allow you to get farther and be happier in life. Taking advice and hearing all sides can be constructive, but it’s imperative that you decide for yourself what path you should take.
WP: Any words of wisdom for new moms?
MR: Trust yourself. The amount of information you cram into your soon-to-be mom brain is going to be overwhelming. You’ll probably have the feeling that you have no idea what you are doing at least once, if not the entire time. Once you see your baby, you’ll still have that feeling, BUT you’ll simultaneously and miraculously know exactly what to do. Trust yourself, mama.