By KELLY GILFILLAN
To the outside world, Elizabeth McCreary is a deal broker in the fast-paced world of economic development, serving as Chief Development Officer for Williamson Inc.
Elizabeth’s work has helped bring some heavy hitting corporations to Williamson County and her co-workers will tell you she is very good at her job.
At home though, her “job” sounds even more fun as she explains her favorite parts of motherhood include letting her toddler fill her pockets with sticks and leaves while on a walk, being the ever-attentive audience to her daughter and being queen of the apps so that she has more family time.
Check out Elizabeth’s tips for living a balanced life.
BALANCE: A concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation.
- What convenience services do you utilize that all you more time with your family or more alone time? (i.e. Blue Apron, ClickList)
We love Instacart (the delivery service for Publix). Before children, the activity of shopping was one of my favorite pastimes, but now I just see it as time away from my family. We also use Amazon, Amazon Prime Now (during my last pregnancy I may or may not have had them deliver chocolate ice cream a few times). Occasionally, we’ll use MyVeggieChef, which was a game changer when we found out my oldest daughter had a dairy allergy. Now, our week is usually punctuated with a visit from Delivery Dudes or Doorstep Delivery.
- Do you have any tech tools or apps that save you time or keep you connected? (Nest)
I feel like I make use of apps for most of my to-do lists. I sign up for Orange Theory classes through an app, all of my banking is done through an app (I think the last time I was in a bank was when we bought our house). I book travel through apps, buy most of our household needs through apps and even order Panera through an app. The Nest, Alexa, Siri and Motorola cameras are all put to good use in our house.
- Do you follow any blogs or writers that give great advice? Great book that has helped?
Scary Mommy is incredibly entertaining, but that’s about all I have time follow. At this stage of life, who has time to read? Confession: I have started five books in the last three years and have not fully read any of them. Reading is probably one of the luxuries I miss about my pre-baby life. I could probably find time for it at night, but I would rather sleep.
- What do you do when you can’t or just don’t want to cook?
Delivery Dudes happens about once a week, Mexican usually happens once a week, and a rotisserie chicken from Publix with whatever side of veggies I can microwave is a staple. I try to cook 4-5 nights, but whether I cook or not, our family sits down to have dinner together every single night. It is without fail one of the highlights of my day when my three year old announces that it is her turn to say the prayer and then follows it with, “So, how was your day?” It brings me such joy to watch her try to be an adult at the family table.
- Do you recommend any gadgets that are lifesavers with babies or toddlers?
The Rock and Play sleeper had both of my newborn girls sleeping through the night within the first 6 weeks of bringing them home. I share this tip with anyone who will listen.
- Do you have any tips for providing a balanced diet for your children?
We have found that our kids eat what we feed them with a few exceptions. When we are out, we order grilled chicken and broccoli for my toddler rather than the fried chicken fingers and french fries offered on most kids menus. My three-year-old loves broccoli because we love it, and we eat it at home on a regular basis (so she’s used to it). Other than the butternut squash and spinach lasagna I made last week, she’ll eat most of what we give her. She was two and a half before she had anything fried, and that was thanks to her Mimi and Papa who are free to give her anything they want (within reason). She’s never had a soda, we do not drink juice, and cookies are seen as a special treat that we do not keep at home. We have found that we eat healthier because of our kids. So, my tip is to feed them what you want them to eat, but start early and be consistent, even at snack time. They don’t get a special meal at dinner. Their food option is whatever is being served to the whole family. Just make sure you are eating healthy if you want them to follow your example. Basically, I go to work so I can eat cake.
- What do you do to take care of your own well-being and fitness?
I go to the gym a few times a week. I wish it were more frequently but I just don’t want to spend the time away from my girls. We try to get out to Radnor or Crockett on the weekend so that we are active as a family. I’ve found that my well-being actually comes from getting as much time with the girls as possible.
- When you get a night out, what do you like to do?
This rarely happens but there is nothing I love more than dinner at Cork and Cow or whatever swanky new restaurant my Nashville friends have told us about.
- What surprised you most about how your life changed when you had children?
Guilt. I spend most days feeling guilty for not staying home. I believe I am a better mom because I work and I believe it is the right thing for my family, yet I can’t escape the guilt that comes with having someone else care for them while I’m gone. The time is passing so quickly and I just need about three more hours in every day. Thank goodness for outsourcing.
- What is your favorite family activity?
We love weekend trips and have found we have more quality time together if we leave town and turn off the phones. Chattanooga trips are my personal favorite. When we stay home, it’s hiking or music for us. With an infant strapped to my back and a toddler following close behind, we love to explore, and our pockets are usually full of special finds by the end of the hike (leaves, sticks, rocks, etc.). Being married to a musician also means that many nights you can find us sitting around listening to our toddler bang on whatever instrument she has chosen, and when we’re lucky, she’s on “stage” singing to us and waiving to her audience. Her little sister just learned to applaud and crawl to the stage (a piece of carpet), so I think this family activity may be expanded in our near future.