Through moves, deployments, work-life, and a new baby, Feminine Motivated Mom on the Street Melinda Arazia has learned to thrive and roll with the punches!
Melinda is a new mom and a vendor management specialist at Navy Federal Credit Union, working as a liaison in the Human Resources Department between vendors and the contingent workforce. Prior to her role in vendor management, she gained over 4 years of recruiting experience.
As a former military spouse, she has a passion for helping other spouses and transitioning service members in their search for new careers. She's gracefully learning to navigate mom life, career life, and family life in a new state. Recently she has moved from the east coast to California with her husband, baby girl, cat, and Cavalier King Charles spaniel.
What’s your favorite way to spend time with your family?
Riding our bikes around Imperial Beach, CA. My husband, our daughter Kennedy, and I love to ride to the beach to look at the ocean or to the Tijuana Estuary.
What is life like as a new mom?
It has been both the best and hardest experience of my life. I’ve become a lot more confident with practice, I had never changed a diaper before and had only held a newborn once, so it was very nerve-wracking at first. It can also be hard to fully appreciate the experience of becoming a mother because you’re so sleep-deprived and existing in survival mode at first, but it’s incredible to see not just how much she’s changed but also how much I’ve changed over her first year.
What are your tips for new moms?
Be kind to yourself – you just created a life it’s okay not to look or feel like your best, you’ll find your new normal and you’re doing great
What was it like to be a military spouse/mom?
Being a military spouse is difficult because it can sometimes feel like all of the responsibility is on your shoulders instead of being shared like in a “normal” relationship. Often the bills, the cars, the house, won’t be taken care of unless you do it because they can’t. On the flip side, your partner can feel like they’re missing out when you’re still living the life you used to live together, but they’re gone. Open communication is so important to make sure resentment doesn’t build up. It also helps avoid growing apart. As a military spouse, you have to create this duality in your relationship where you’re capable of taking care of things on your own while maintaining space for your partner.
What are your tips for military spouses?
Have a support system in place and have a plan for when your spouse is away. I highly recommend having a Power of Attorney if your spouse is going on deployment, it came in handy for me when I had to buy a new car.
Why did your husband decide to get out of the military and did you feel this was a good step for both of you and your family?
He felt like he’d served his country and accomplished what he wanted to in the Navy. It was the right time for him and for us as a family. Now he is home a lot more and has more time to spend with our baby, me, and our little fur babies.
How has it been balancing work and life with a baby/growing family?
There good days and hard days, but what gets me through is feeling like I’m in the right place at the right time in my work and personal life. So it’s a good kind of tiredness at the end of the day because I’m exerting my energy towards things that matter to me.
What is your favorite part of your job working in recruiting, especially for the Navy Federal Credit Union? In what ways have they supported your motherhood journey?
My favorite part of my job is that I get to wear a lot of different hats. I do everything from troubleshooting on some of our Human Resources systems to representing Navy Federal at different public speaking events, to hiring transitioning military members. It keeps work from getting boring. My management and teammates are also very supportive. They’ve helped me through two big moves (one from Florida to Virginia and another from Virginia to California). They also always check in to see how I’m doing and how my family is doing. Right after I gave birth, I came home to a big box of chocolate-covered strawberries from my team. They do the little and big things to make you appreciated. Navy Federal also offers 12 weeks of fully paid maternity leave which was GREAT.
We saw that you recently moved to the West coast, what are some of your tips (do's and don'ts) for a young family that is moving?
Try to plan for different scenarios as much as possible and be flexible. My husband drove our stuff and our dog in a Penske Truck cross country with my Dad. So I flew cross country with the baby and our cat. We would’ve preferred to have done the move together, but it made the most sense for everyone’s needs to do it the way we did.
What’s been your best family/couple vacation? We honeymooned in Key West and we had a blast. We swam with dolphins, went parasailing, jet skiing, and went on a ghost tour. It was such a laid-back and fun way to spend the week. We chose that destination since it was a short flight from Virginia where we lived at the time, and we could spend more of our budget on excursions rather than getting there.
Best parenting advice: Trust your intuition. I’m a worrier by nature so becoming a mother has been really good for me in teaching me to trust my natural instincts more and not overthink everything.
Parenting true confession: I once was so tired when Kennedy was a newborn, I took her diaper off but forgot to put one back on her so when she woke up, her whole crib was soaked. Oops.
What’s your go-to family dinner? Anything in a crockpot like chili, chicken pot pie, etc. I also use my air fryer a ton.
What’s your favorite family restaurant? Hard to say because we move so much! But I do love Thai food with a passion. So as soon as we moved to San Diego I tried a couple and so far the best is Noodles Noodles in Imperial Beach.
Which three words best describe your style? Easy, feminine, silhouettes
Who’s your favorite style icon? Taylor Swift because she’s never afraid to redefine herself and try something new
What’s your best style advice? Wear what you want and what makes you feel good. There’s a lot of pressure to only wear certain clothes if your body looks a certain way, but you should wear what you like.
What article of clothing/accessory would you not want to live without? Leggings! Haha love them or hate them they are here to stay.
What fashion/style did you love at the time, but now cringe when you see old photos? I went through a bit of a grunge/emo phase. Lots of blue eyeshadow, band tees, guitar pick necklaces…you get it. If you’ve watched One Tree Hill, I was trying to be Peyton.
What’s your best style secret? A nice sundress especially when traveling. You can easily dress a sundress up or down, you don’t have to match multiple pieces, and they’re comfortable.
Stilettos or flats? I don’t wear them much but for any nice occasion, I love to put on heels.
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch? Gilmore Girls hands down the best show ever made
If you could pick anyone to star as you in a movie based on your life, who would it be?
Saoirse Ronan she’s talented has a large range and seems like she’d be a cool person in real life.
What’s your favorite beach read? I read a lot from Reese Witherspoon’s book club so anything on that list probably.
What song would you dance to when nobody’s watching? Party in the USA – I play this one when it’s been a long day and dance around with Kennedy to it. It cheers us both up.
If you could go shopping with anyone from history, living or deceased, who would it be? Jane Fonda would be pretty fun to shop with.
What’s at the top of your travel bucket list? Ireland – I’ve been to Europe but have never been there and I’d love to see where the family came from.
What’s your favorite way to unwind at the end of a long day? Netflix, a sleeping baby, and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc
We love Melinda's motivating take on life and work, as well as her feminine and gentle style. Her new family has joyfully settled in Califonia and we couldn't be happier for them! For more interesting and stylish moms, be sure to check out FamilyApp's Mom on the Street!