Melissa Case, the voice behind Honeybee Consulting (a boutique copy writing firm based in picturesque Annapolis, Maryland), is a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park (Go Terps!), with a degree in English Literature. After a long tenure in PR with a firm in Bethesda, Maryland, she worked for several years doing freelance writing of all kinds for customers in the fields of Real Estate, Video Game Technology, Theatre and many others. Now, she crafts creative copy for customers all over the country, as well as help to plan their digital marketing strategies, and engages their customers in online communities. She’s a mom, a semi-competent chef, oenophile, cheese-o-phile, and fun-o-phile. She’s a bit of a flibbertigibbet, a lover of love, and a full-on smart aleck.
Over the years, how have you learned to balance career and motherhood?
And oh, it is a balance, isnt it? When I first started my business (lo these many years ago), I needed to spend a lot of time not just doing work for customers, but also promoting it. But my kids, who were very small then, still needed lots and lots of attention. I needed to find time to make my business successful, but also help my kids with projects, go to school to read to their classes, go on field trips, take them to doctor visits, and so on. It was definitely a tricky thing. Their needs clearly came ahead of those of my fledgling company, but I found time–during naps or after they went to bed at night–to give it the care and feeding it needed. Now, my situation is kinda unusual. Their father and I have split; they live in another city, and I want to be as involved as I can be with their day-to-day lives and activities. So, I set aside time each day to talk to them after school–we use FaceTime or Skype and do homework together–take days off so I can drive to their school for concerts, plays, and the like. Its hard, but theyre pretty darned cool kids, and worth whatever juggling has to be done.
Is there one particular parenting lesson youve learned about raising kids?
ONE? Man. Itd be hard to pick just one. But Id say that not being afraid to tell them NO is a big one. Thats an especially hard thing sometimes when youre a divorced parent; you want to give them everything, but ultimately, that does them a huge disservice. And finding time for myself has been super important. So many moms (and dads) sacrifice everything–including their relationships–in the name of doing stuff for the kids. Its important to remember that our own needs are important, too. Forgetting that leads to complacency, resentment … aint nobody got time for that.
Battling stress? Any advice?
Thats why we have wine, right? I kid, I kid. There are a lot of things I find helpful in the never-ending battle against stress. First and foremost is that you should never underestimate the power of SLEEP. Being rested makes dealing with everything else so much easier; when youre tired, even the tiniest things can get all blown out of proportion. Eating right helps, too. Eating a sleeve of Thin Mints (mmmm … cookies) tastes SO good and feels good for about 30 seconds (or until you brush the chocolatey detritus out of your teeth), but then you end up feeling sluggish and guilty and stressy and stabby. Working out (and I swear Im not one of these health nuts) is great, too. Going for a run or hopping on the elliptical (or whatever you like, and yes, I use like loosely here) for a half hour or so can do a great job of smacking stress upside the head. And also wine. I crack myself up.
Tools or products you cant live without?
My iPhone. Im umbilically connected to it. Yeah, yeah, I know weve become slaves to the things, but its like having my office in my pocket. And my boyfriend (which is a really horrible word for a man over the age of 40 … or even 30 … because who wants to date a boy??) lives half a country away, so it makes staying in communication with him so much easier.
Mrs. Meyers Clean Day stuff. Im a junkie for the smell of lavender, and these products smell DIVINE. And they actually get stuff clean–really clean–so thats a super win.
My Wusthof knives. I love–LOVE!–to cook, so having great knives (Im sorry, but you just cant skimp on that stuff) is a must in my kitchen.
Do you have an inspirational quote, motto or philosophy you can share with us?
I dont really buy in to pseudo-motivational quotes–you know those things that generally show someone in a yoga pose as they gaze out over a perfect, sunlit sea and have some kind of treacly thing about following your dreams–Im more of a realist, I think (not that theres anything wrong with following your dreams) than an idealist. But I do have some favorite quotes.
W.H. Auden (who, in Four Weddings & A Funeral, is aptly described as a smart bugger) said, “Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can. All of them make me laugh.” Surround yourself with people who make you laugh and who make you smile. Life is too short to remain in the company of curmudgeons.
Favorite resources, books, or website?
Favorite websites? Wow. There are a ton. I really do love Facebook. Its done so much for me, from reuniting me with friends I hadnt seen in ages to helping launch my business. And I love seeing pictures of my friends and all of that. Yeah, Im a dork about it. Other than THAT, I love cooking sites. My absolute favorite is Joy The Baker (http://joythebaker.com). Her recipes are out of this world and each of her posts is a joy (no pun intended) to read.
What are you passionate about?
My kids! They are amazing. Hilarious and brilliant and wonderful and fun and the best things I ever did. Aside from them, Im passionate–VERY–about the aforementioned boy (err … man) friend because hes my best friend, is one of those people I talked about who makes me laugh and smile, and hes 100% my teammate and partner. I totally hit the jackpot when I met him. Oh! And cheese and wine. And cheese.
What is on the horizon for you? Anything new and exciting?
Actually, YES! Ive lived in Maryland for almost all of my life (my parents came here when I was just 3), but in just two weeks (from when Im writing this) Im moving to Denver, which Im super excited about. Its an amazing town thats just full of life; everywhere I look there, theres something beautiful to look at. And I get to wake up every day with my best friend, so its kinda like hitting the lottery.
Connect with her:
Im kinda pervasive online (yeah, Im annoying that way, but in a charming way and not like a rash). You can find me on my website at honeybeeconsulting.com (I have a blog there that, sadly, I update only when I have time, which is clearly not often, but I hope you like it anyway!) and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn … and there are a host of other places, too. If youre somewhere and want to find me, just search startabuzz and Ill usually pop up.