It’s Hump Day, which means I’m back with my second #workingmomwednesday! Check back each week for an interview with a working mom who inspires me.
This week I spoke with momtrepreneur Rebekah Johnson. We met at a Femfessionals luncheon last summer. I didn’t get to chat with her very much that day, but learned that she was the owner of a venue in downtown Kansas City and decided she was someone I would likely want to connect with in the future.
After a few months of back and forth, we’re finally throwing an event in her space tomorrow. I am so excited for our guests to get acquainted with her gorgeous space boasting high ceilings, a gorgeous fireplace and big, beautiful windows. Moreover, I’m excited for our guests to get to know Rebekah. She is an incredibly generous business owner. She leads with respect, she always has her stuff together, and isn’t afraid to try new things. On top of all of the awesomeness, she is a terrific mom and wife.
TFM: Let’s start with a plug. Tell me what you do.
TFM: I don’t know how you do it all, but I’d say you’ve found your niche! What is the best part of being a momtrepreneur?
Rebekah: The freedom. Although we easily work more than a 40 hour work week (you never really turn work off), there’s something to be said for knowing you’re working for yourself and you’re on your own time clock. I love the freedom of making my own schedule and being able to be keep our kids out of daycare. I don’t have to request off to attend their school functions or go on vacation. I do what I want, when I want.
TFM: It sounds like you’re on board with my Free Mama philosophy! Since you’re setting your own schedule, what does a typical day look like for you?
Rebekah: Every day is a hustle and every day is a little different due to the nature of our business. On a typical day, the alarm goes off early and I hit the ground running. First I wake our oldest child (age 7 and in first grade). I get him ready and to school by 8:00, then I tend to our youngest (age 3 and in preschool) and get her off to school by 9:00. Once the kids are gone it’s a scramble to get as much done as possible while they are away. My mornings are usually spent responding to emails, taking calls or in meetings with vendors/clients. If I’m working from home that day I try to throw a little housework in the mix. Our youngest gets picked up at 1:30 and our oldest at 3:30. On days I’m not in meetings I try to pick them up and do the shuffle between schools, then I either take them back to the office with me or we go home and I get back on the computer to work a little more. At least a couple nights a week I have late meetings or have industry functions, but if I’m home in the evening I cook, help with homework, get the kids ready for bed, read to them and lay with them until they fall asleep. I’ve tried to make a habit of staying unplugged once we go through our bedtime routine, but most of the time I end up jumping back on the computer and get a little more work in. I usually end the day feeling like I still have a huge list of tasks that didn’t get done, but eventually I make myself quit and save it for the next day.
TFM: I used to work in events and it is a lot of nights and weekends like you mentioned. If you weren’t in the wedding and events industry, what would you be doing?
Rebekah: I would pursue becoming a sommelier. I’ve always had a passion for wine. With our current business I get to manage our bar services, so I already get to dabble in the wine and spirits industry a little. I wouldn’t mind having that be my main gig though.
TFM: I’d let you pick out wine for me any night of the week. Speaking of passions, what one product or service do you love so much you could be a brand ambassador?
Rebekah: doTERRA Essential oils! They are a life saver for my stress management!
TFM: What else keeps you sane?
Rebekah: Lots of wine. 🙂 I also usually treat myself to a hot bath every night. That is my time to shut the door and have a few moments to myself…although often times there is a kid beating on the door screaming to get in!
TFM: Ah, the joys of motherhood. I don’t think I’ve peed by myself since my daughter was born. Other than the lack of privacy, what is your favorite part about being a mom?
Rebekah: The little moments. The milestones, the holidays, the big life events are all great. But it’s those little moments like falling asleep with their hand in mine or watching them walk to the car in the morning with their back packs on that make me stop and think about how much I love these little people more than anything else in life.
TFM: They say it takes a village. Who helps you with your kiddos?
Rebekah: Being business partners with my husband allows us to share our duties. He is one amazing dad and we tackle parenthood together. My parents also help us on a regular basis.
TFM: Have you ever missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret?
Rebekah: I think I can honestly say I really haven’t. With the freedom of making my own schedule, I am able to always be there for the important stuff. I can’t say that we haven’t missed some things though. Like one time when my husband and I both had insanely busy days and we somehow overlooked which of us was on school pick up duty that day. When the school secretary called 30 minutes after pick up time and asked if we were coming to get our son that day, I definitely felt like the worst parent ever!
TFM: I’ve definitely been the last mom in car pool line more than once. It happens….go easy on yourself! Tell me about a time you failed or really messed up in your professional life.
Rebekah: When I was working for a state rep right out of college I was in charge of putting together the legislative handbook that reps send out to their constituents each year. I was so obsessed with the content of the book that I completely overlooked a simple typo on an address that was listed. Instead of it listing her district office address, it listed her election headquarters. It was a very simple, yet very big mistake and it was totally an oversight on my part.
TFM: How did you overcome it?
Rebekah: Ultimately it was resolved, but she did have to deal with the ethics commission. New books had to be printed and mailed out, and luckily she was able to get off the hook of being in any real trouble, but to this day that still haunts me. I do feel like an experience like that made me grow thicker skin. I think the key to making a mistake is to own it and learn from it. If I make a mistake I’ll be the first to admit it and try to remedy it.
TFM: That’s awesome. What’s the saying? “It’s not how we make mistakes but how we correct them that defines us.” I love that! If your kids take away one thing from you running a business, what do you think that would be?
Rebekah: Being able to truly focus. I feel like I am constantly trying to multi-task and am always being sidetracked. It doesn’t mean we aren’t able to run successful businesses. We’re just usually doing it in a head spinning state of mind.
TFM: What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms with spinning heads?
Rebekah: You have to find time to turn work completely off. It’s so hard to find a balance between work and motherhood, especially when you own your own business, because your business is in many ways is like another child that you are devoted to and you have to tend to non-stop. It is so important to not let work consume you. I am often times guilty of not unplugging enough or giving my kids my undivided attention.
TFM: I tell people I’m on a quest to having it all. I don’t think “it all” is the same for everyone and I don’t think we necessarily have “it all” all at once. What does having it all mean to you? Do you think you have it all?
Rebekah: I think having it all is when you truly find that balance of all aspects in your life. I kinda feel like I do have it all when I sit and really think about what I’m getting to do in my life. I’m blessed to be busy, even if life is pretty crazy most days. I’m able to spend a lot of time with my kids (even if I am do have a computer screen open most of the time) and I’m also getting to have a career and set an example to them of how to hustle and work hard. My motto this last year has become “work hard, play harder.”
Thanks, Rebekah! If you’re a working gal from Kansas City, join us for lunch tomorrow at River Market Event Place to meet up with other business women and entrepreneurs.
Whether you’re planning a wedding or looking for a great venue for your next function, be sure to check out River Market Event Place, Airstream Lounge KC and Pop-UP Wedding KC and see you here next Wednesday for another #workingmomwednesday.
Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.