I became a pharmacy manager just when COVID hit. Work was stressful because my location was a test site. We had to start work at 5 a.m. to set up, and we were wearing full-on COVID gear in the heat. I didn’t take care of myself; I’d mostly eat fast food or order with DoorDash. Then I got pregnant, and once we had our daughter, Collins, who’s now nearly two years old, it was still hard because my husband, Tyler, was out of town for work. I didn’t have the energy for the baby. I wasn’t spending enough time with her. I wasn’t my usual bubbly self, and Tyler and I weren’t always on the same page. 

I wanted to feel better, so four months ago I downloaded the Thrive app. 

I started meal prepping. I make protein shakes and salads, and I cook grilled chicken and rice. We always have something green with dinner. I’m saving money because I‘m not using DoorDash. 

I started a garden. We’re growing tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers. 

It’s amazing having fresh vegetables instead of buying them in a store. Collins loves helping. She’ll be at the back door waiting to go out and water the plants. I’ll fill up her little watering can or help her hold the hose. She has a little gardening kit with a shovel, and she likes to dig with me and pull out weeds. And it’s great that she’s eating fresh veggies; her favorites are green beans and corn.

My husband got a job close to home and I’m not working as many hours.

That means more family time. We have dinner at the table and decompress from the day. Collins is discovering all the food textures; she really loves noodles. And sometimes she decides her food is for the dog! 

After dinner, I often go for a walk with my friends Morgan and Kaili.

We have kids around the same age and our walks give us time for mom chats. We talk about our marriages, the kids, and we exchange ideas. I told them about a great toy I’d bought for Collins with different colored animals and sorting bins that helps with color association and counting. 

Tyler and I put down our phones in the evening.

We sit on the patio and talk about the day, and we’re connecting much more. Tyler helps with bathtime and then we read to Collins. She loves Cocomelon. When she’s in bed, I’ll make time to read, something I’d stopped doing because I was always tired. I’ve been reading the It Ends With Us series by Colleen Hoover. 

We go for family walks in the park. 

I go down the slide with Collins in the playground. I take her to swim class and get in the water with her. She loves to jump to Mama. At home, we jump on the little trampoline together. We go to the local zoo — she likes the giraffes and the bears, and she’ll make animal noises. 

I’m making time for exercise.

I took part in a charity movement challenge which meant walking 62 miles during the month of July. And I do high intensity interval training workouts, which make me feel great; I’m actually seeing muscle gain. I have no problem now lifting my child who weighs 33 pounds. 

This past weekend, I carried Collins all the way to the farmers market.

We bought corn and little cucumbers. Collins loves getting stickers from local vendors, and we tried the samples of cake they were handing out. 

Every other weekend, Tyler and I go for a dinner date and my mom will take care of the baby.

She loves going to Grandma’s. Mom drives a Jeep and Collins goes: “Beep beep in the Jeep Jeep!”

At work I don’t get frustrated.

Today, we were short staffed in the pharmacy and typically I’d get stressed with the phone ringing off the hook. But I just told my team “We’re going to make it together.” I have more pep in my step. I can sort out problems calmly. 

We’d love to have more kids.

And my plan is to be the mom who’s always there with them, splashing in the kiddie pool playing with them, and seeing life through their eyes. At 30, I feel a lot more positive and a lot happier, and I hope my story can inspire other moms. 

— Davie Lubbers, Walmart Supercenter #2804, Oklahoma City, OK; $5K Winner