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Washed Up Mom Over 30 in San Francisco Working Hard to Be a Somebody


I love to blog. Writing is really what I do. I’m a great writer when it comes to stuff that has something to do with business and not so great at writing at personal things like how I made my daughter’s Wonder Woman Halloween costume or my homemade cinnamon roll recipe. People who only know me through my work blog and various activities don’t always see that side of me. I share a lot about who I am via Twitter and Facebook as it relates to my personal life side but I’m not very good life and mom blogs.

And I feel bad about it because I’m not doing a good job at recording our family events, activities and adventures for my little girl who turned five just a couple short weeks ago. I get envious of people like my friend, Breanne who has done a wonderful job of blogging about her daughter and all the fun changes and things that being a first time mom brings.

The Ultimate Reflection of Me

I love my work and business as a writer and technologist in the human resources space. However, I love being a mom more. I never thought I would choose between the two. Thankfully, I don’t have to but as Ryleigh grows older and does more things, I’m making decisions to be a part of her life. She is my number 1 priority.  That’s more important to me than being an influencer or someone that people look to as an expert in my field. While I might worry about missing out if I don’t attend an industry event or share my voice, I’m more concerned about helping raise a well-rounded young woman that’s the ultimate reflection of me.

I love being a mom so much. I want to do it again. Crazy, I know. I want to endure 10 months of pregnancy and thousands of potential sleepless nights and bring another tiny human into being. I told this to a dear friend of mine recently. She’s someone who I admire, and she was visibly shocked when I said I wanted to have a second baby. As the oldest of three children in my family, I have so many great memories and life experiences that being a sibling has afforded me, and I want to give Ryleigh that same opportunity. That’s worth more to me than any amount of money, influence or just stuff related to my career that might happen to me. I choose being a mommy and yet I’m here just recently relocated to Silicon Valley.

One profound article in the last year or so that had me really thinking was published in The Atlantic, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All”  by Anne-Marie Slaiughter. When I first read the article, I was upset and angry that the female author who was successful, educated and a parent would ever say such a thing. I was fascinated with her perspective but felt at first pass she was anti-feminist and anti empowerment. Women can do everything and anything. Having gone through some personal and professional upheaval of my own making in the last few months, I keep thinking about that article even if it was published a year and a half ago. Given my new found perspective I believe she was absolutely wholeheartedly right. You can’t do and be everything. And that’s okay. More importantly, you and your support team have to be okay with the choices and decision you make.

That was none the more apparent that I can’t do everything just a few months ago. In fact, I’m only now just starting to feel a sense of routine. I uprooted our family. Moved to a new town. Heck, I moved to a completely new state nearly in a new country in California which is a world apart from Moore, Oklahoma, where I spent my last seven years of my life. Working and living in a completely new place. I tried to control my new California life, but structure and order was scattered among the many boxes, closets and floors as we unpacked and rebuilt something old and familiar but completely new. While our family together made the decision to move, I couldn’t control the chaos once it was unraveling. I couldn’t be everything. I couldn’t do everything. I cried a lot. I got lost driving on the way to the post office. I fretted over our new dishwasher at the new place not working up to snuff and completely lost it when I couldn’t find my best heels and suit jacket. I was completely and utterly knocked off kilter and it was all because of me.  We moved for me and because of me. I fought selfishness and blamed me for all this crazy. How selfish was I do treat my family this way?

Men are From Mars and Woman are From Silicon Valley

I don’t know what it is but men are just hardwired differently. We have millions of years of evolution and the way things have always been working against us as women which on one hand sucks. I hate the fact that I worry about unloading the dishwasher or the fact that I have my Christmas tree half taken down in my living room. Ornaments currently lay on my coffee table waiting for me to put them up while my husband works from that same living room completely oblivious to the chaos that’s squarely in front of him. Me, I choose to work from my home office today to avoid the holiday pile that serves as a gentle reminder I didn’t even get my Christmas cards out yet. Mind you it’s January 2nd of 2014.

Having just moved to Silicon Valley I see a different point of view when it comes to innovation, success, career and creativity. One of my friends recently told me that in San Francisco, if you are over 30, you are a nobody. Personally, I think that now at 35 years old, I’m just finding my stride. I can’t imagine thinking that I’d be washed up by 30, but I guess it makes sense. When you’re under 3o you can work crazy hours, be unattached, without children and follow your dreams selfishly. You have little to loose. Risks are easy and everything to gain. Now, as a mom, I have other people’s dreams, desires and interests to consider and I sacrifice hers before mine. It’s called responsibility. So I guess I’m a washed up nobody in San Francisco but I’m working damn hard to be a somebody to my daughter, Ryleigh. Also, I don’t live in San Francisco so I wonder if this technically applies to someone who doesn’t live but sometimes works there technically.

This responsibility, passion and just life I speak of ebbs and flows. And while I’m currently contemplating wondering what we’re having for dinner, my husband and I work together sharing the limelight and responsibility of being a parent and partner bring. While he might not loosing any sleep about the laundry left unfolded, I know he’s wondering and worrying and thinking about male evolution type things. Currently, it’s the Oklahoma vs. Alabama bowl game. Pretty heavy stuff, and that’s okay with me especially if we win this bowl game. (Boomer Sooner!)

Not many people get to follow their dreams and yet my husband, my partner let me follow mine which led me to picking up and moving our family 2,000+ miles from Oklahoma to Northern California to a new city where we are family-less and unfamiliar to grow my business and work more closely with HR technology companies.

Slaughter’s article really was about being content yet realistic with choices we as woman and men make in our own lives. So for now I choose to be mom to a beautiful 5 year old girl who sees the world without restriction and pure joy. Personally, I take that point of view in how I live my life – woman or man. What’s important is being comfortable with those choices we make along the way. Currently, I’m settling into my new home in the Bay. While I’m washed up according to my friend for San Francisco as I’m just a few weeks away from my 36th birthday, I’m happy being me and working hard to be a somebody for my daughter, my husband and my family.

Photo Credit




Home Life Lessons

Dear Landlord, We’d Like to Rent Your Home in Austin TX


(**Note: This post was originally published in 2013 as we prepared to move to Northern California for a short time in San Francisco where we lived in Mountain View, CA.  I’m pinning this on the front of my personal blog so the Austin family of the home we want to rent as we relocate can learn more about us.) 

My name is Jessica Merrell, and I’m interested in renting your home in the Austin Texas area. My family (husband and now 8-year-old daughter pictured above) are relocating from Moore, Oklahoma for my business. We are looking for a home rental long term for our family. We are also non-smokers. Greg and I are college educated good people who are quiet. We’re homebodies who like to cook and keep to ourselves. Greg is a computer programmer in the healthcare industry and has been on contract and/or employed with Dimensions Health for the last 3 1/2 years. I work in HR technology.

I have recently purchased a coworking space in North Austin which is the reason for the move. We have been married for 11 years. I have been a homeowner for 18 years in 3 different homes so we understand the importance of home upkeep and maintenance. Our home in Oklahoma is currently being rented. We would like to take a look at your home for rent and let you get to know us. We both enjoy gardening and I love pilates. Greg is a bit of a sports nut and loves golf. We attend nearly every University of Oklahoma football game. Ryleigh, who is 8 and is entering third grade also loves elephants and singing.


 I am a bit of a neat freak and currently have a housekeeper come twice a week at my home in Oklahoma. We own a new construction home in a gated community. We have our carpets cleaned 2-3 times a year and plan on doing the same in the place when we move. I used to own a commercial cleaning business in college so I like to keep my house clean and organized. We do have pets who are trained and up to date on shots. We have 1 dog and 1 cat. The dog is caged when we are not in the house. They are well-behaved animals who are members of our family.


Above is Mocha. She’s is a chocolate lab who is 50 lbs. and one year old. She is placed in a kennel when we aren’t home and loves to play with her toys and go on walks with us. She is a great dog and is well-mannered even in unusual situations like riding a boat.


Pictured above is my daughter’s cat. His name is Ollie and he is 3 years old He is a friendly cat who is litter trained, very talkative and friendly guy who sticks to the inside home jungle. Occasionally, he ventures outside but that’s because we have a nice large and robust yard that I tend to in my current home. Ollie likes to chase after the monarch butterflies.

I’m happy to provide a copy of my credit report and information for you upon your request. My credit scores from the three credit bureaus hoover in the 700’s, and a very small credit card balance and 6 more months of payments on our car, we have no debt. I hope that you will consider our family to make your home our first Austin, TX home.

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