Megan McConvery is a nursing student and Nurse Tech II at Southeast Health Hospital. She and her husband, Tanner, have been married 6-and-a-half years. They have two daughters, Natalie (5) and Olive (8 months).
WP: On top of being a mom, you’ve been working while pursuing your nursing degree, and you’ve recently welcomed another daughter into the family…all during a pandemic! Whew, I’m tired just thinking about all that. How are you avoiding (or even addressing) burnout?
MM: This was a hard question for me to answer even for myself. Truthfully, I have not been addressing my burnout. I have been living in BurnOut City since I found out I was pregnant with Olive. Now don’t get me wrong – we were so excited for our second baby girl. No amount of exhaustion could ever change the joy we feel over being a family of four. My contingency plan for the summer is to focus on myself before the rest of my family- which sounds and feels selfish, but I cannot pour from an empty cup. I plan to address my own basic needs and grow from there with how I’m taking care of myself so I can continue to take good care of my girls.
WP: You decided to change careers and pursue your passion. What message do you hope your girls absorb from your journey?
MM: I want my girls to see that life’s path is fluid. It doesn’t have to be straight and narrow, and it doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s to be fulfilling. I want them to trust their gut instincts and always do what makes them happy without considering what other people might think.
WP: You are very open about the way you’re raising your girls and your expectations for how others should treat them. What’s your main goal in this outspokenness?
MM: Equality, mainly. It is not news that women are treated differently than men, by men, or even by other women because of their own internalized misogyny. I never want my children to suffer at the hands of outdated stereotypes or gendered expectations.
WP: Speaking of…how would you describe your parenting style?
MM: I would say we are authoritative, truthfully. We set rules and reasonable expectations in our home and if there is ever a need for punishment, we follow through as consistently as possible. I wouldn’t say we are strict, but we’re not indifferent to our children. We also try our best to be respectful of the big feelings our girls have. We do not ever punish our girls for their feelings, and we do not belittle them when they need help working through hard moments- which, I’ve found isn’t the norm around here, but our goal is to raise kind humans- not injured ones.
WP: Father’s Day is coming up. How would you describe your husband’s relationship with the girls?
Tanner has an excellent relationship with our girls. He’s incredibly nurturing and sensitive with them. When he’s home from the fire department, he’s addressing their needs just the same as I am. He hung the moon and stars in both of their eyes.
WP: Are you guys united in your parenting approach?
MM: Absolutely. We had many talks about how we’d like to parent before we ever got pregnant, and while our parenting style has certainly evolved- we have always evolved together. We respect each other’s opinions tenfold.
WP: Summer is officially here. What are you and your family looking forward to this year?
MM: We are looking forward to a big family road trip we’re taking at the end of May! We’re going to New Jersey, New York, and back down to DC before we circle back this way. Additionally, my oldest will be home with me all summer and I am looking forward to taking her to the Wiregrass Museum of Art, the Carver Museum, Landmark Park, the DABG, and to her favorite place- Dothan Nurseries.
WP: This month we’re welcoming new families to the Wiregrass. As a lifelong resident, what would you say is the best thing about living here?
MM: Oh, the food hands down. I love Southern food, and we are blessed in this area with some of the best Southern cuisine.
WP: What’s something you hope your children are learning from you, even if it’s not a direct lesson?
MM: I want my girls to speak kindness to others and themselves, but to never lose sight of their own needs and to never be afraid of standing up for themselves and others. I don’t want them to be doormats. I am raising them to think for themselves, to be independent, and to love others as best as they can.
WP: If you could give your younger self a piece of advice, what would it be?
MM: I would for sure tell my younger self to never bother with what anyone else thinks. I would tell her to be true to her values and to follow her dreams- not anyone else’s- and to avoid the “comfortable” option every now and then.
WP: Any words of wisdom for new moms/parents?
MM: You’ll always have an easier time defining your role as a parent before you become one.