Meet the Contributor: Melissa Mark

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– Family: My husband Tyler and I have two boys, Nolan and Landon, ages 7 and 4 1/2. Our first baby is actually our 11-year-old boxer Frank, whose hair turned gray as soon as the boys were born. Frank loves playing at parks (including trying to scramble up playsets and slide down slides) even more than the boys do.

– Job: I’m mostly a stay-at-home-mom; I also work as a counselor at a local elementary school for a few hours a week. I’ve worked in behavioral health all of my adult life, and being a mom has been more challenging and rewarding than anything I’ve ever done.

– What brought you to Flagstaff: Tyler’s company. We wanted to get out of Phoenix, and it has been the best decision we ever made. We love the woods, the community feel, the smell of the air, and the fabulous friends and connections we’ve made.

– Early Bird or Night Owl: I struggle with this: I’m a night owl at heart, but having a family doesn’t make that easy. Sometimes I need to take my “me” time at night and I end up staying up too late catching up on my shows or eating in peace.

– Hobbies: I love to read, especially anything that is relatable and/or humorous. I’m getting back into writing, which was a childhood passion and lifelong dream of mine. I like to walk with Frank and work out at Barre3 and Flagstaff Athletic Club.

-Favorite thing to do with your Family: We love to go hiking…it’s been so much more fun as the boys get older and have stopped screaming at us from the backpack carriers. Bowling is also a family favorite, but my husband always wins, which is annoying. And when the weather isn’t so great, there’s nothing better than a family movie afternoon.

– Kids Age Difference: 2 years and 2 months

– Coffee or Tea: I love my coffee in the morning. And I need my green tea in the afternoon to give me a pick-me-up so I don’t fall asleep at 4pm.

– Favorite/Least Favorite Household chore: My favorite is folding laundry because I can watch a show while I work.  My least favorite is cleaning bathrooms…especially as the only woman in a house full of boys.

– Going back in time, one thing you would tell yourself right before you became a mother: Patience is something you will need to work on every day. Every. Single. Day. Also, you can sleep again when your kids are in college. I’m hoping that’s true. 

– Something you are looking forward to: Summer in Flagstaff. I grew up in “you-can-fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk” Phoenix, so being able to play outside my kids in the summer delights me to no end. And all of the festivals and activities we have up here are so much fun. 

– Favorite Thing to do in Flagstaff with/without kids: With kids: We love going to Music in the Park in the summer. It’s such a great weekly treat for families. Without kids: Long hikes with my husband and girls nights on downtown patios.

– The greatest challenge you’ve faced: Definitely my mother’s illness and passing. I never thought I’d have kids without her being here. It’s an ongoing emotional struggle not having my mom around.

– Something you love about yourself: I think I have a pretty good sense of humor. I’m a hard worker and I like to do a good job in whatever I’m doing. 

– Favorite thing about being a Mom: I continually love experiencing the world through my sons’ eyes and watching them turn into cool, funny little people. They make me laugh every day. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but I had no idea how much love my heart could hold for those two amazing boys.

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Melissa Mark and her husband Tyler are both Phoenix natives who moved to Flagstaff in 2008. With her Master's degree in Community Counseling, she worked as a therapist in Wickenburg, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Flagstaff, mostly specializing in eating disorders. They have two boys, Nolan (8) and Landon (6), who keep them equally busy and entertained. Melissa is fascinated by people and loves to learn about different personalities, backgrounds and interests. This could explain her obsession with reality TV (mostly on Bravo), good novels, and talking with friends over a glass of wine. Melissa writes about juggling motherhood, family life, wellness, humor, pop culture, and more on her personal blog: http://ajourneytobalance.com/