Burger Week

Meet Melissa Bernal

How many kids? 2 little boys. Carter and Jackson  What ages? Carter is 3 and Jackson is 1 

What city do you live in? Irvine 

What is your favorite thing about being a mom? Every little thing. I always was looking for a purpose in life and when I had our boys I found it. I love being their mommy. I know I am good at it.

What is your least favorite thing about being a mom? LAUNDRY it’s never ending!

Motherhood is full of surprises, what is one thing that has surprised you the most about being a mom? You can never be prepared. From the moment I found out my husband and I were going to be parents, we tried to be prepared for everything with our first son. Trying to prepare for everything really took a lot of the fun out of the learning experience. You can’t be hard on yourself as a parent. Let your instincts kick in and relax and enjoy every moment. It is much easier said than done but luckily my husband and I changed our attitudes early on to make adjustments when we found out our eldest son Carter was born with Ataxic Cerebral Palsy. We have faced many challenges in our journey but we adapted and now, we laugh a lot more instead of worry about it.

Do you have a career? Yes, I am a domestic engineer HA!

Give us your “inner Yoda” advice. What is that one thing you want to share with other moms? Having fun is more important then following the imaginary rules. Don’t ever feel the need to compare yourself to others. Remember what you are comparing yourself to is not a true picture of what is really happening.  BE YOU. BE HAPPY.

When not with your kids, what do you like to spend time doing? I love painting, crafting and planning parties.

Date night: Any great finds or places you like on date night? We have a couple places we love and often visit, our #1 is Koison Sushi in Orange, It’s AMAZING. Nicks in Laguna Beach and of course Mastro’s the BEST BUTTER Cake in the world.

What’s for dinner?  Turkey Tacos, Tri Tip or YUMMIE Chicken Veggie soup.

Five year plan. Where do you see yourself five years from now? I would love to take my creativity and party planning skills to another level. I’m in the process of opening up my Etsy shop and hopefully one day grow that into a larger online shop, then maybe SHARK TANK! Ultimately we plan to continue to stay involved in United Cerebral Palsy of OC’s (UCP-OC) annual fundraising events. Carter receives Speech, Occupational and Physical Therapy twice a week from the organization’s Life Without Limits therapy center in Irvine. UCP-OC has made a huge impact in our lives and does such incredible work for the community, children and families that participate in their programs.

My life and my passion surround my family. Every day I find something new to love about my kids and life. I have not only become a better parent as a result of my children but a better person too. I don’t sweat the small stuff as they say. I always used to be hard on myself before my kids about my career and the success I would have in it. Now, I don’t. I love being a great friend to my friends and an amazing wife to my husband.  A big question I get from mom’s and other friends is if I get so tied up in my family that I lose sight of my own drive or success. I always say no, in fact my focus on the important things in life has been magnified. The world can be a place where we get so caught up in the next this or the next that.  

My oldest son has disabilities that prohibit him from having the “norm” of his own peers. He literally changed the way my husband and I view the world and everything in it. He has given me the perspective of purpose. Because of Carter, I truly live every day of my life with purpose. Give it all you can everyday and never look back other than to see how far you have come. 

Sure, mistakes will be made along the way but if you learn from them and never forget to love, laugh and live you will always be happy. That is how I live. That is what sums me up and that is why I am so happy to be a mom. My kids make me BETTER.

We also strive to stay connected to the community and causes close to our hearts. That’s why Team Carter is participating in our 2nd annual  #STEPtember this year beginning on September 1, 2016. Last year we were fortunate to have the support from our family and friends were the top fundraiser.

I encourage other families to form a team or support Team Carter. Visit https://www.ucp-oc.org/steptember/ for more information. Once redirected to register on the www.steptember.us  site, select UCP of Orange County in Step 3, then TEAM CARTER.

We’re also excited to serve as ambassadors with other children with disabilities and families at United Cerebral of OC’s Golf Tournament on Monday, October 24 at Pelican Hill Golf Club. For more information, visit www.ucp-oc.org/golf.

The District at Tustin Legacy