Meet MJ, the mom behind The Pittsburgh Moms Network
Where are you originally from, and how long have you lived in Pittsburgh?
MJ: I was born and raised in Moon Township, and attended Villanova University which is located outside of Philadelphia. After graduation, I lived in Boston, Massachusetts for a few years before returning home to the city of Pittsburgh. I was living in the city when I met my husband, Josh. Once we (quickly) knew things would be permanent, we started our married life together in the South Hills. Just this year, we purchased our “forever home” in Moon Township, so it looks as if things have come full circle!
Child(ren) and age(s)?
MJ: I have three children who I love dearly! Grady is four and a half, Charlotte is two and a half, and Beckett, our forever baby, is six months old. Our house and hearts are full, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
MJ: I never traveled outside of the United States until I started dating my husband. I quickly developed an itch to travel, and before having kids, we made it to different spots in the Caribbean as well as Europe. Some of my favorite spots were Italy and Ireland. There’s a special place in my heart for St. Barth’s. That’s where my husband and I got engaged! International travel has been put on hold until our children are old enough to make the trip with us. Currently, we love taking family vacations to the beach in Stone Harbor, New Jersey as well as long weekends with friends to places like Deep Creek Lake in Maryland.
Favorite local thing to do in Pittsburgh?
MJ: We absolutely love “the Burgh,” and we love exploring new things! The food scene in Pittsburgh is thriving, and we spend many date nights finding new spots to try. There are so many incredible restaurants in and around Pittsburgh, and many of them are even kid-friendly! We also really enjoy venturing out to the amazing museums our city has to offer. If you haven’t checked out The Children’s Museum or The Carnegie Science Center, both are a must!
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
MJ: Gummy bears! I am not above a little bit of bribery when necessary. We keep the gummy bears in a top cabinet, and use them to entice our children for things like good behavior, potty training, and even smiling for pictures.
My husband and I also laugh about how we invented an imaginary truck that would come to temporarily “take away” favorite toys whenever our oldest son was acting fussy or misbehaving. In the beginning, there was much talk about the truck pulling into our driveway, but now we hardly mention it at all.
While some moms may find humor in my methods, and other moms may disagree, there is one thing that I am learning along the way. No mom is perfect, and each of us has to implement whatever works in our households in order to deal with the craziness that is motherhood and raising little ones (or big ones.) Without humor, and being able to laugh along with my husband to the crazy antics of our children, I don’t think either one of us would be able to survive!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
MJ: I am employed as a full-time elementary school teacher, and I absolutely love my students and my job. I also work remotely as a sales rep. for the cutest children’s clothing company. My schedule can become hectic at times while I do my best to balance mom-life with work-life. I simply love this little life that I have created. If I stick to my motto of, “family first,” everything else seems to have a way of falling into place.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
MJ: Pittsburgh is such a hidden gem. I was born and raised here, left for a bit, and eventually made my way back. I have lived in, worked in, dined in, and explored most parts of this eccentric (I use that term positively!) city at some point in my adult life. Yet, there is still so much left to see and do. I look forward to sharing The Pittsburgh Moms Network with all of you, and I can’t wait to discover what you share with me!