Who am I?

Get to know me:  Where do I begin … well, I’m married to my high school sweetheart Mark, and together we have four incredible kids, 2 girls and 2 boys.  My parents immigrated from Ireland to San Francisco then settled in Chicago. I was born and raised on the Northwest side of the city.  My Dad worked incredibly hard to provide a good life for our family, and my Mom, a true saint, taking care of my Dad in the most traditional sense, making a loving home for her kids and instilling great faith (along with Irish Catholic guilt).  My Dad was a legend in the Irish community and would literally give you the shirt off his back. He cared about helping people, and was a real advocate to those that did not have a voice. He died unexpectedly when I was twenty seven, and my dreamy life altered immediately.  My Dad was gone, and my Mom’s positive supportive outlook disappeared. It was my turn to take care of her. I learned not to dwell or worry about trivial things, and to focus only on the future. And we went on to have our fair share of tragedy from dealing (or not dealing) with my sister’s mental illness to losing my brother-in-law in a tragic car accident.  From all bad, comes good. The good was learning to appreciate the simple things and knowing that I’m surrounded by wonderful loyal friends. This is my foundation.

I’m now the Director of Recruitment for an amazing award winning technology firm.  I’m a fierce advocate for full inclusion for people with intellectual and disabilities.  I’m a devout Catholic that struggles with conservative principles so constantly exploring more liberal churches. I’m a Mom of four beautiful and unique children that take my breath away and devoted wife to a great man.  I’m an active volunteer and tend to take on way too much (including me committing to this project!). I’m working on becoming a loose minimalist and I constantly read inspirational books then push the idea onto my family.  

If I’m not working or volunteering, I spend my free time with my kids and hubby who both love to tease me constantly. The kids are very active so we typically divide and conquer carpooling to practices, games or playdates.  We spend time with neighborhood friends enjoying each others company and letting the kids run wild. Running, cooking, a good IPA and Netflix are my thing, and Sundays are my day. I don’t make plans on Sunday but carve out time to be spiritual with whomever would like to join me.  I let the day take me where it may. This could be a run on the lakefront, yoga class, mass of any sector or a museum in the city.

My ultimate goal is to retire to Eagle River, Wisconsin with a giant five bedroom home to entertain my family, grow old gracefully (possibly with dreads and a tiny nose ring), practicing Pilates and enjoy what will hopefully be legal marijuana (kidding Mom!).   

Get to know my family: My husband Mark and I have 4 kids and love living in Chicago and staying active.  As we kick off this blog in 2018, Madeline is 14, Marky is 13, Jeffrey is 10 and Allison is 7.   Mark is a hardworking man and a lot more practical and budget savvy than me. It’s his personal hobby to tease me.  We also have a boy dog named, Sandy. He’s an English lab that struggles with his weight. He’s just a wee bit husky.  

Where my mom game is on point: I really try to be a good example for my family and teach them that anything is possible with hard work. From cooking dinner to getting up to go to an 8am soccer game, I am involved in my children’s lives as much as I can be. I strive to show each of my children that they are loved by me and my husband and that they are all unique in their own ways. I am very patient, mostly calm and always listen to each of their opinions.   At the end of the day, I simply want them to be happy, confident and most importantly to be kind.

Where I’m lacking:  It’s hard to balance and spend quality time with each of my four kids and husband not to mention time with my own Mom and my girlfriends.  Also, I’m not super emotional or empathic. This is a blessing because I’m able to be strong when most are weak but this is also a curse because I’m not able to offer comfort over the little things.  I believe in solutions only and am not at all interested in problems (zero patience). Honestly, we are so privileged and blessed that we really don’t have anything to complain about.

What you can expect me to write about:   You can expect honesty; the good, the bad and mundane (why are there so many odd socks?).  You can expect life lessons, a sense of spirituality and a good laugh.   My hope is that all women understand that we have different normals.  Happiness is learning to love and own your own normal. I will consider this project a success if I can make another mother feel her self worth and teach her how to simply enjoy the daily grind.  



Michelle Arnold