Please don’t think that this is all about tiaras, sashes, spray tans, big dresses, bigger hair, 5” heels, bling jewelry and a mom who’s living out her beauty-queen dreams through her daughter. My daughter has never competed in a pageant and is more interested in catching lizards, playing in the dirt (lovely) and riding her bike than ever being a “pageant princess.” And that is perfectly fine by me! You see, I’m the one who competes in pageants. I’m the Pageant Mom… literally.
This May, I’ll be competing for the title of Mrs. Florida International (my dream job). Currently, I serve alongside sister International titleholders who are business owners, doctors, teachers, stay-at-home moms, working moms, single moms, step-moms and even grand-moms who are all positive role models and who are doing wonderful things in their communities. The International Pageant System was founded 30 years ago and has been developed to promote today’s married women, their accomplishments and commitments to family and marriage. Like me, the women who represent this system have found a balance between work, family, spouses and their passion of community outreach. Here are few reasons why I love what I do so much!
The Other 364 Days
Don’t get me wrong, I love to dress up, wear makeup and false lashes, but that’s not what this is all about. One day out of the year I compete in an actual pageant (that’s the glamorous part), and the rest of the year is when the REAL work is done. And that’s what I love most about being a titleholder, the 364 days off the stage. From charity events to parades, hospital visits to school programs, volunteering my time throughout Jacksonville isn’t a hobby for me, it’s my way of life. And now it’s my family’s way of life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My favorite way to give back is by creating events to raise funds for my favorite non-profits such as Smile Train and the American Heart Association. Last October, my family and I hosted a Smile Train birthday event in honor of our daughter who was born with a cleft lip. We raised enough funds to cover three repair surgeries for Smile Train kids! The Heart Healthy Night is an event I created for families with elementary-age children to learn hands-only CPR and a heart-healthy lifestyle. I work alongside the American Heart Association and their volunteers to create these informative nights that really make future lifesavers!
One thing I pride myself on is not overspending when hosting fundraising events. (Maybe it’s the “mom” in me.) We only spent $35 on our Smile Train event and a mere $40 on the Heart Healthy Night event because we had such generous vendors, sponsors and volunteers.
Mentor and Inspire
To me, these two things go hand-in-hand. I feel to mentor someone you also have to inspire them. It amazes me at how a simple compliment or words of advice can change a young lady’s confidence in herself. Believing in her could change her entire outlook on life. And that is well worth your time and effort!
Things sure have changed since my days of being Miss Jacksonville USA and Miss St. Augustine MAO! I was in college, single, ready to take on the world and ready to win a state title, or so I thought. Looking back, I wasn’t as mature or prepared as I should have been. And now having a husband, two kids, a business to run and a house to maintain, I’m officially ready! Crazy, isn’t it? How can I feel more confident now with so much more on my plate rather than when it was just me to take care of? Being organized is the key to balancing it all in our home. We use a huge dry-erase calendar to help us map out our month of events for the whole family, our dinner menu, the to-do list and even our shopping list. See my post about Meal Organization for more tips.
So you see, even though the crown and sash are worn, it’s the dedication to my title, my family and my community that really counts. What matters most to me are the lives that I positively impact and inspire. I hope this leaves you with some insight and maybe a new respect for Pageant Moms like me who are out and about just trying to spread a little good around their community.
If you’d like more information about the Mrs. Florida International Pageant, visit the Mrs. International website.