Mamaspeak: Michelle Hylton

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Mamaspeak is our weekly spotlight on an exceptional mama. We’ll meet her baby, get to know her favorite parts of motherhood, and perhaps hear some words of wisdom — or at least commiseration!

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I have never seen a woman make heads swivel more than when Michelle “Chellie” Moore breezed through the Main Quad of Duke University. With her long flowing curly braids, impeccable outfits, and quick, clever quips, she was the epitome of “chic”. She was so put-together, and certainly reigned as one of the classiest on campus.  In our little corner of the cheerleading lineup during football and basketball season, she’d keep me cracking up with her droll in-game commentary, and the little nickname she created for me — ‘Gela — is still in use today.

Now, working in the legal division of Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, Michelle has been married for seven years to Anthony, and has gone through what she calls the “bootcamp-ness of motherhood”. Though a self-proclaimed Type-A, she’s learned to embrace the imperfection, unpredictability and messiness that comes with having daughter Nina (age 6) and son Evan (4).

Michelle HyltonMichelle Hylton, 39

Atlanta, GA

Occupation: Senior Counsel for Turner Broadcasting

How motherhood has changed me:  I am a total “Type A”, and as a lawyer, I believe there is a process for everything. I’m used to saying “If you do X, Y, and Z, you get A.” But with motherhood, there is no formula. So much is so unpredictable. I’ve tried to be comfortable with that, to laugh and let life happen. And not direct every second of it.

The moment that made me realize I had to embrace the unpredictability:  When Nina was born, nothing went according to plan. She was a C-section because she was large, so long. Even though the last thing I wanted was a C-section, after an entire day of labor my doctor convinced me that my frame just couldn’t handle the delivery. She said “Michelle, we have to call it. Baby isn’t coming out.” That birth experience was a good symbol of the whole bootcamp-ness of motherhood.

Kids were always in the grand plan: I always had in my mind that I would have a career, but definitely be a wife and mom.  I even had a serious relationship end because the person I was with decided he didn’t want kids. That was a dealbreaker for me.

Favorite time of day with my kids:  At night. Their bedtime ritual is our special time.  There is something so peaceful and pure about reading and singing a child to sleep.

My advice for other mamas:  Be good to yourself.  All the nurturing, kindness and love that you need for your children comes first from the nurturing, kindness and love that you give to yourself.

Evan 3 Months 035

Like father, like son-in-law:  My husband and my father, who passed away in October, got along great.  Both are kind, patient, hard working, very respectful.  They epitomized the perfect family guys. They both have this huge sense of humor. It was so special to me that they were so close.

My favorite piece of clothing is: A pair of great, dark wash denim jeans — they can be dressed up or down and are perfect for everything from casual Friday at the office, to running around with the kids on weekend errands, to a fun date night with my husband.  They are my staple!

My favorite baby products are:  1) The MAM brand of bottles and pacifiers—both of my kiddos were breast fed, so finding a bottle that they would accept in the beginning, especially with my son, Evan, was a challenge.  The MAM products were by far the best and the only kind Evan would take, they have a good sustainability philosophy; and 2) the Beaba Babycook — I loved being able to make homemade baby food for my kids once they started solids.  The Beaba made it super easy with its all-in-one steamer/blender design.  And when the family outgrows it, it can be used as a good little mini food processor!

MAM_beaba

How we show the earth some love: We compost, have a summer vegetable garden and year-round herb garden, and we buy a lot of organic foods and cleaning products.

The thing that surprised me most about motherhood was:  The intensity of the love I feel.  I would walk through fire for my children!

The importance of date night:  My husband and I are so tired by the end of the week, but we’ve made a pact to try to take the time to do things just for us. We try to work on us, because when our relationship is great, then everything else falls into place. We have to take the time to celebrate that. We went out to a Stevie Wonder concert recently and we had the best time. It was amazing to be able to enjoy something in our own space, rather than focus on our children.

Clothing optional in the Hylton household: My almost 4-year-old Evan is in a naked phase — perhaps it has something to do with the tail-end of potty training. Every night we’ll put him to bed. Then after some time, we check in on him. He is completely naked. We don’t know what’s happening, but it cracks us up.

Hyltons Together 7 2014

Photo credit: Shawna Herring Photography

 

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