Megan is a Costa Mesa native and mom of three, and I am absolutely loving her advice to “mother and live on purpose.”

Where are you from originally?

I was born and raised in Costa Mesa. I grew up on the Westside, moved out of state for a few years, then came back after college and have lived in 5 different spots all over Costa Mesa since. Westside is still my favorite.

How many kids do you have and what are their ages?

I have 3 kids, 2 daughters and one son. Kamden is 3, Smith will be 2 in April, and Stevie is 3 months.

What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?

We love being outside and exploring. I feel like a kid gets to be freely themselves and enjoy the freedom and wildness of childhood when they are in nature so we like to spend lots of time at the beach or at Fairview Park or the Back Bay. We also love a good family bike ride.

Name 3 things in town you can’t live without.

You will often hear me say, “I don’t know how parents do it without a beach nearby.” I couldn’t imagine parenting without the beach. It’s sometimes a hassle getting out the door and down to the water but oh man it’s always worth it. We also couldn’t live without the library. We love to read in our house and I also love variety so I really struggle with reading my kids’ favorite books for the 50th time. So we are at the library very regularly for all the free books we can pack into one of those little green bags. Lastly, we couldn’t live without our friends and family in this area. We have such a great support system and sense of community. I wouldn’t know how to get through life’s challenges or enjoy life’s joys as much without them.

What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? A night out with friends? Why?

Our family loves a good breakfast date at Shirley’s Bagels. We don’t eat out very often but when we do we always have a lot of fun at Mendocino Farms with their tasty food and family-friendly atmosphere. If I’m going out with my friends my go-to pick is always True Foods at Fashion Island.

What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?

You know toddlers, so picky about everything… we are in a stage right now where my kids often go to bed having eaten no dinner, but one dinner I know everyone will like is baked potatoes with an easy vegetarian chili, cheese, broccoli, and green onions on top.

What is your local go-to store for children’s clothes?

Oh gosh I really am not a shopper, my mom has gotten most of my kids’ clothes because I just don’t enjoy shopping, but if I do, it would most often be Target for cheapness and convenience.

What are your favorite events in Costa Mesa or Newport Beach?

Love Costa Mesa is a newish event that we love being a part of as it’s a way to serve our city and the people in it. There are a bunch of different projects so it’s easy to find a way to serve all together as a family whatever the ages of the kids.

Do you have a favorite destination for family trips? Why?

We love camping so our go-to family destinations are really anywhere in the Sierras. We love Shaver Lake, Jackass Meadows, Yosemite, or anywhere near Mammoth. Idyllwild for something a little closer and still mountainy. My sister lives in BC, Canada so that’s always a go-to destination for us too that is unbelievably beautiful. We like to take trips to places we can be pushed to experience something different, out of our comfort zone, or help us be aware of something bigger than ourselves and I feel like nature often does all three.

What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?

Well I only have 3 years of experience so I’m sure there are more challenging ages ahead but I’m really torn. My top two difficult ages are 18 months, they have opinions and are growing their will and ability to defy you, but they still can’t really talk so for us it just created a lot of whining which drives me nuts. I try to give them the words to express themselves and make them at least try to say what they want. For example, if they are screaming and pointing to their shoes wanting them off, instead of just knowing they want their shoes off and taking them off I’ll say “You want your shoes off? Say off. Off.”

I would also say 3 has been really challenging. I don’t know if it’s because my oldest is a girl but the sassiness and attitude is wild. I do a lot of deep breathing to keep my cool when she’s exploding with emotion. I also have a relationship with Jesus so during this time I pray a lot. Hahaha, I have some bible verses I have memorized too that remind me to love her with God’s love instead of just my own, or to be slow to become angry and quick to listen. These little reminders in my mind help me a lot.

What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?

If I could give one piece of advice I would say, be intentional. Think about what kind of people you want your kids to grow up to be, think about what values you want your family to live out, think about what kind of relationship you want to have with your kids, then come up with some practical and realistic ways to move towards those desires. I’m not saying there won’t be seasons of mere survival or to never just rest and relax, I’m just saying it’s easy to merely exist, but don’t. Mother and live on purpose. Give yourself grace and have fun and do what you do as a mom for a reason.

What do you most value in your friends?

I really value friends who are committed. I know that friendships are often for a season but there’s something special about friends who have been a part of your life through years of changes and challenges and who you know you can count on as you look ahead.

What was your career before having children?

Before becoming a mom I worked at a church in Costa Mesa called The Crossing doing curriculum development for elementary students.

IF and when you get time to yourself, what’s your favorite thing to do?

If I get time to myself I really love to read. I love learning and growing so I often read books in areas I am interested in or want to grow in, but what I really love is a good historical fiction novel!

Anything else you want to add?

One final thought, I am involved in an organization called Trellis that is all about bringing unity and collaboration to solve the city’s greatest challenges. If anyone is interested in serving or being a part of making Costa Mesa better, I highly recommend getting involved in some way with Trellis. Their website is wearetrellis.com.

Thanks Megan!

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