“Slow down, don’t be so busy, and enjoy your children when they are young,” Monica Clark said. “That’s something important I’ve learned.”
Clark is a loving mother who works at Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service. The lifelong Valparaiso resident enjoys her family’s business because she spends her days with her mother and sister. Most importantly, she has the flexibility to bring her two daughters to work.
“I brought the girls when they were just babies,” Clark said. “We had a crib here and a play area. I enjoyed being able to be with them.”
Togetherness is important in the Flanagin household. Clark grew up with her sister and parents in Valparaiso. After graduating high school, she headed to Indiana University Bloomington to obtain a degree in business. When she returned, she settled into the family’s bulk mail service. Clark keeps busy with bookkeeping, data management, taking mail to post office, and clerical duties. Her work is rewarding; Flanagins serves many nonprofits and members of the community.
“I love our business because we really truly care about our customers and care about saving them money,” Clark said.
Clark’s mother, Donna Flanagin, started the mail service in 1996. According to Clark, her mother always had a business while she was growing up. Clark shared that family values, a strong work ethic, and serving the community were lessons instilled in her at a young age. She looks to her mother as her most important role model.
“It’s great for women to be in business,” Clark said. “I think it’s amazing to be a stay at home mom, and would be so happy if my daughters could be stay at home moms. I like that I’m able to show my girls there are other options if they can’t stay home.”
For years, Clark gave back to the community by volunteering. She was on the Valpo Parks Foundation’s board and the Valparaiso Family YMCA board, as well as serving as co-chair for their annual campaign. Though Clark loved dedicating her time to bettering her community, she decided to put volunteering on hold.
“It was a hard decision, but I left both boards to focus on my husband and girls,” Clark said. “I hated giving only half myself to family and half to the parks. I had to let it go and make family my top priority.”
Clark married the love of her life, Troy, in November. She hopes to return to volunteering in the future with her husband.
“Troy is my biggest supporter,” Clark said. “He makes me smile and laugh everyday. With Troy, it’s easy to work and raise kids because if there is anything I need, he’ll help.”
Clark loves motherhood, but dealt with challenges early on. She, like many new mothers, had postpartum depression (PPD). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in nine mothers experience symptoms of PPD. Clark shared her experience in hopes that other women will know that they are not alone and it is okay to seek help.
“It was a very difficult time. I had new babies and was pushing myself to do it all,” Clark said. “At first, I didn’t know what was happening so I sought help. With help of family and doctors I overcame it.”
Clark is happiest when she spends time with her children and husband. They do a lot of fun activities and are always on the go. They even take an annual trip to Disney World.
“We definitely are not homebodies,” Clark said. “We love going everywhere: around town, ice skating, New Buffalo, Chicago, and taking a lot of vacations.”
Clark enjoys everything about motherhood, especially ushering the girls to their many activities and lessons. They learn instruments, play sports, and are even learning how to sew.
“I feel so blessed to have my girls and a perfect set up at work,” Clark said. “I enjoy the flexibility and being able to share experiences with my family.”