Ayleen Barbel Fattal and I met at Florida International University in Miami, Florida back in the fall of 1998 when I rushed Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. Since then I got to know Ayleen and learned that she is one of the most caring individuals you’ll meet. She’s driven, committed and always sees the good in others. With our college days past us, it’s incredible to find ourselves bonding again at a different life’s rite of passage- as new mommies.
Seen here: Ayleen Barbel Fattal, top left; Iliana Taleno, bottom left.
Ayleen has her hand on my shoulder and this is our portion of our Sorority Family Tree.
This picture was taken in the fall of 1999.
While I have chosen to be a “stay-at-home” mommy, Ayleen’s choice was made for her. In March of 2010, the end of her maternity leave, she was laid off and she’s been searching for employment since. Interviewing her for this blog I came to find this out- I wouldn’t have been the wiser any other way. Keeping in touch with Ayleen online she gladly shares updated pictures of her baby boy Jordan, 14 months old, and the exciting changes she sees in him daily as he is growing up. But not much mention about job search because she is clearly enjoying this time that she has with her son at home. She confides, “My ‘stay-at-home mom’ status didn’t come by choice, but God had other plans.”
Finding a New Fit for Mommy
Ayleen has been looking for a new job since last March and hasn’t successfully found a new fit. Many other mommies find themselves in this same place as she and have had to adapt into a single-income home and their new mommy role at the same time. She goes on to share with me some points that she has researched on the subject, “Florida is a state with one of the highest unemployment rates in the United States and the ratio of job openings to applicants is one to eight, so you can imagine how difficult it has been for me to find work.” It’s not easy, to say the least. However, Ayleen makes the best of her current situation and inspire others to do the same. She has a positive outlook that is contagious!
Ayleen has been married to Danny Fattal since June of 2008 and admits, “being a stay-at-home mom and wife has been a challenging adjustment.” Similar to many women in a corporate world environment, Ayleen was used to putting in over time hours a day at her former position. She was comfortable in her shoes, being an independent lady who was making her way upwards in her professional career. Ayleen had found true love and entered matrimony with her soul mate. Blessed with the couple’s first baby, she did not foresee unemployment as a variable in her future. “I went from working almost 10 (plus) hours a day and being pretty (financially) independent- to being home, taking care of a newborn, a household and depending on my husband’s income.” She reveals: “during this time, I have discovered a new side of myself. I am a much stronger person for being able to develop this side of me – being a mother. It is something I always wanted but saw in a distant future. I also thought I would be a working mom (and) so far it’s not the case, but there is just an incredible feeling of pride and accomplishment to see my son run around and hear him call me ‘ma-ma.’ It is success and happiness on a completely different level. It is the hardest yet most instantly rewarding job in the world!”
Seen here: Ayleen, her husband, Danny & baby Jordan..
In that, there, is where Ayleen is the most inspiring in sharing her story, she waivers any negativity and chooses to look at the positive side of things. This, a trait of her character that many of her loved ones will know. Ayleen not only always sees the good in people, but, she has a way of recognizing the bad in scenarios and bringing to the surface the good points in them to learn from and move forward. It’s a character trait that only few behold. But I tell you what, there’s enough negative people in this world and I’m glad to surround myself with positive ones- like her.
Never a Bore!
As a new mommy and wife she has developed a daily routine to make sure that her son, her hubby and her home are tended to. She jokingly adds, “I thought I knew the meaning of multi-tasking from my career experience, but nothing compares. Doing a load of (baby’s) laundry, cleaning all surfaces the baby comes in touch with, taking a shower, preparing lunch, snacks and dinner (all) in the span of one hour and a half while Jordan takes a nap… in complete silence!” I hear you!
Now don’t get this wrong, being a stay-at-home mommy is never a bore! Especially when you are a proud mommy to a strong and healthy growing baby boy. Ayleen shares that just a few weeks ago they were visiting Grandma, Ayleen’s mom, and Jordan “somehow found a 2 liter bottle of soda from the groceries (Grandma) had yet to put away, picked it up with both hands and took off running!” She proudly boasts that at 11 months, Jordan took his first steps at a “Mommy & Me” class at their local Gymboree. “He saw bubbles and suddenly walked about two feet on his own. I cried and could not believe my eyes that he was walking!”
As a fellow HMIP, I asked Ayleen how does she include fitness into her daily life. She replied that other than chasing Jordan around all day and their weekly “Mommy & Me” classes at Gymboree- she doesn’t exercise. “I think you’ve described it in the best way, (I believe I’m a) ‘Hot Mama In Progress!’ I want to look and feel good.” She admits that she wants to be more active and acknowledges that fitness should be more of a priority in her routine but hasn’t made a point of it just yet. Ayleen, however, takes the alone time she does receive to meditate. She uses the few minutes in her shower to reflect on her day and “drain (her) brain. No worries, no stress, just me and hot water. You would not believe how relaxed I am afterwards and ready to take on the rest of the day.”
In finding interesting HMIP stories to contribute to “The Whole Shebang!” as part of my 2011 Initiative, I vowed to motivate and inspire others to lead healthier and more positive lives. When Ayleen and I corresponded, she showed interest in joining the HMIP Team for upcoming philanthropic walk events. Ayleen intends to make a commitment to herself to be healthy and more active.
Iliana’s Food for Thought
On this blog and at our HMIP page on FB, you will find daily tips on how to include healthy choices in your daily life. Be it exercise, cooking/eating and overall inspiration to stay motivated in making better decisions in 2011. If you find yourself, as Ayleen does, adjusting to the new role as a mommy and would like to be more active. Take the first step! That’s right, a step. Dust off the baby stroller and go for a walk with your baby or kids. Bring along the dog, too! Going for a walk will give you a moment to bond with your child as he/she gets to discover the outdoors and build a healthy understanding of including physical activity- to us, play- to them, in their daily routine. Looking to include your hubby? Go for a stroll after dinner and benefit from unwinding together while your baby enjoys the night’s glow and stars. Raul and I take our munchkin for a walk on weekends and use the time to talk about exciting new plans while Gabrielle takes in the scenery. Committing to thirty minutes of active walking, three to five days a week and making healthier food choices will have you feeling upbeat and healthier in no time!
While Ayleen considers joining our HMIP Team’s philanthropic efforts, she is very much involved in a couple of her own. She is an active Recruitment Advisor for both, Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority and Beta Theta Pi Fraternity at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. She supports their philanthropies, the “Cystic Fibrosis Foundation” and the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” respectively. Ayleen is an active fundraiser for both and encourages any reader here interested in exploring how they too can help- to visit each of these organization’s official website for more information on upcoming fundraising events and other important general facts.
Two month’s into 2011, Mrs. Fattal is eager to find an exciting new job to continue her professional career post-baby and she is “strongly considering” to return to school and earn a Master’s Degree. She is leaving her professional options open and is open to a possible career change. She remains positive that whatever 2011 holds for her, she will face it head on. After all, “God always has a plan,” she says. Her words are motivational and her advice to our readers, note-worthy. We wrap up our interview with poignant food for thought that to me, truly reflects she is well on her way as a HMIP. Ayleen shares, “Motherhood is a true blessing and there is nothing else like it. Be an example to your children, and don’t settle- ever! (On this journey) don’t forget yourself. If you are not happy, you cannot have a happy family.”
Thank you, Ayleen for taking the time to reflect and share your story with us.
Friends, come back to “The Whole Shebang!” and read up on our next inspiring HMIP.
For more information about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the “Make-A-Wish Foundation,” please follow the links below:
Find our HMIP Team on Facebook at our Hot Mama In Progress page and follow our efforts to get healthy, stay healthy and make a positive difference in our families, community and lives.
Iliana Taleno Swain is Miami’s up and coming Social Events Planner. She is an expert in designing events that create everlasting impressions. Former Visual Brand Marketing Manager in the Fashion Industry she specialized in VIP Client social events. As a mom-preneur herself, Iliana is now helping busy housewives, moms and professionals create impressive events. Trust her training and expertise to design an incredible event that will impress you, your guests and on occasion, your clients, too! Contact her today for a complimentary Event Consultation: firstname.lastname@example.org | 305.482.1211