Real estate agent, mother of 12 enjoys big family life

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Meghan Wasinger understands the process of buying and selling a house as well as she knows the process of having a baby. The real estate agent and founder of Wasinger & Co. has helped many homeowners through the hustle and bustle of staging open houses, home inspections, contracts, addendums and closings. With the amount of work she puts into each transaction, it comes as no surprise that many of her clients have no idea that their rock star real estate agent is also the mother of 12, with six of them under the age of 13. When she started doing real estate in 2006, she didn’t let it prevent her from growing her family. As with most mothers, she is a master at multitasking.

“Being a mother of a large family, you treat it like it is a business. With every transaction you get better at it. Just like in every passing of time you become a better mother,” said Meghan. “Start the foundation of your family strong with good principles and a good work ethic.”

“When I gave birth to my 12th baby, I was signing a contract in my hospital bed an hour after,” said Meghan with a laugh.

The best family

For the Boston native, living in and caring for a big family has been her life even before marrying her husband Robert and starting a family of her own. Her parents, Dr. Stephen McLaughlin and Carol, had 10 children.

“It was never a question in our minds that we didn’t have the best family,” said Meghan. It was in this family structure that she and her siblings received their faith but it wasn’t a typical large Catholic family.

“My mom was really Italian and my dad was very Irish, so faith was just a simple thing. You don’t take on 50 different (devotions), life doesn’t work that way. My mom always tried to keep the family rosary. We always said grace before meals. We always went to Mass on Sunday. We didn’t always go together or always go on time. We didn’t always do everything perfectly,” she said.

The family depended on their faith to get them through the hardships that came their way.

“When moments of crisis happen in a family, where do you go? You go on your knees,” said Meghan. “We had enough instances like that with six brothers and such a big family, and my mother being sick with cancer for 10 years, that you are on your knees a lot.”

Meghan entered St. Thomas More College in Merrimack, N. H., when she was 16 with plans to enter the medical field as her two older sisters had done. Those plans changed when she dropped out of college to care for her mother and raise her younger siblings. She met her husband Robert who was attending Harvard University with her older brother. He was the oldest of five and a returning Catholic when they started dating. The two married and 10 months later Meghan, had her first child, Stephen.

“I literally went from taking care of my siblings to taking care of my children,” said Meghan, who would not have had it any other way. “I was very much satisfied with being a mother.”

Stephen’s birth was an added blessing to Meghan’s mother, who died one month later while holding the infant in her lap.

“It was a beautiful death. She said goodbye to all her children one by one and kissed us all, then fell asleep and opened her eyes one last time and breathed out a last breath sweetly, calmly.”

Her brother’s house

The newlyweds began their new life in Boston and knew early on that they wanted a big family.

 In 1994, Robert got a job with the governor in his home state of Kansas. His work in politics and government saw the family moving back and forth from Kansas to Washington for the next few years before finally settling in the Fairfax Station area.

Meghan still had little ones in diapers with another on the way when her brother, Shawn, encouraged her to get her real estate license. She studied hard and got her license in 2006, just in time to sell her brother a house.

“He did not make it easy, but I learned so much from that first sale,” she said. In the beginning, her work as an agent was part time and only among family and friends. While growing her business and her family she also attended George Mason University in Fairfax part time, sometimes going to class with nursing babies in tow. It took a few years and a lot of patience but eventually she graduated in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. Three years later she decided to start working in real estate full time and is now supervising a team of six realtors.

Growing the family business

Meghan compares the growth of her business over the years to how she grew her family, baby by baby, with a strong faith foundation.

“Being a mother of a large family, you treat it like it is a business. With every transaction you get better at it. Just like in every passing of time you become a better mother,” said Meghan. “Start the foundation of your family strong with good principles and a good work ethic.”

While taking care of her family is important, she also makes sure she makes time for date nights with her husband and time for herself. The self-described exercise junkie works out every day, she volunteers as a master gardener for Fairfax County and even finds time to teach religious education to fourth-graders at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Clifton. It all comes down to her ability to delegate.

“I don’t have to be the one to put on everybody’s shoes. I don’t even have to be the one that says their prayers at night. Sometimes their siblings do that. But I have started this business from the ground up and everybody knows what is expected every day. So if I am not here for a few days this place runs itself.”

If Meghan begins to notice that one of the older kids is doing more than their share of the load, she gives him or her reward. In the past, that has meant going away to boarding school, going on an adventure or spending a year in another country.

“Thirteen is the perfect year to send a kid away,” she said, who herself spent a year in Mexico City when she was 13. “ They are young enough to be a sponge for another language and  they are too young to get mixed up in anything bad but old enough that they aren’t going to cry the whole year. Some parents do it with sports. Travel is just another type of education.”

While she realizes she cannot possibly give everything to her children evenly, she tries to be aware of each child’s love language. That could mean small gifts such as a candy bar for her 3-year-old, or words of affirmation for the 9-year-old. For her second-grader, Anselm, it means curling up in bed to read a couple of chapters of Where the Red Fern Grows at night, one of the family’s favorite pastimes other than being outside.

“Everyone has to feel appreciated but then everyone also has to feel like they have done their work,” she said. “The currency in a big family is love, expressions of love. Those are the things that are constantly being exchanged in a big family.”

When asked if she is done having children, she usually responds, “I am 41 so I have many years left to keep having babies.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016