Working Mom Wednesday: I wanted to be a mom, but I also wanted a career

Working Mom

I can’t tell you how many times a week I have an “it’s such a small world” moment, especially living in Kansas City. Well, that’s exactly what happened the first time I met working mom, Mary Moore. First, we realized we had a mutual friend. Then, we put together that we’d actually met before – probably more than once – at the birthday parties of another friend’s sons.

Mary and her husband Tim could quite possibly be the coolest people I know. They are both hilarious, genuinely kind, and super fun. Like, there is no way my husband and I could possibly hang with them, fun.

But one of the things I find most intriguing about this couple is their family dynamic: Mary is a career woman and Tim is the primary caregiver. While there is no doubt that there’s been a huge increase in the number of stay-at-home-fathers {16% and rising}, it’s still often presumed to be mom’s gig.

I couldn’t wait to interview Mary and find out how this arrangement works for her.


TFM: Self-promo time. Tell me what you do.

Mary: I’m the Director of Marketing and Business Development for Pulse Design Group.  Pulse is an architecture firm that focuses solely on healthcare design. Very niche, specialized market. Been there almost a year. Love it!

TFM: If you weren’t doing that, what would you be?

Mary: I’d be independently wealthy and sitting on a beach somewhere. Obviously. But…when I lost all my money on a risky bet, I’d rehab furniture. I love reviving ‘drab into fab’ as they say.

TFM: That sounds like a dream. The beach part. Now, you’re in a unique–but growing–role of being the breadwinner while your husband is home with your three kids. What is that like?

Mary: Ummm….it’s freakin’ awesome and totally works for us. The role reversal wasn’t much of an adjustment for us and has been awesome for our family. I can scoot off to work feeling 100% comfortable knowing that my kids are in great hands. Something I was just never quite comfortable with in the daycare setting. If it can’t be me, I’m sure as hell glad it’s him. And sometimes, more often than not, I’ve realized that he does a better job than I do, or did, or would do. My husband totally rocks the stay at home dad gig and embraces it. I love hearing about his day when I come home from work and everyday is different. Today, the highlight of his day was taking ballet lessons from our four year old daughter. I have to admit, there are times when pings of jealousy run through me that I’m missing out, but I remind myself how lucky they are to have special bonding time with their dad. A time that they will always remember and remember fondly….at least that’s the hope 😉

TFM: I’ve met your husband; they’ll definitely remember 🙂 We know each day is different for dad, so what is a typical day like for you?

Mary: Typical? What’s typical? I’m a mother of three kids (age 6, 4 and 2), work full time, have a food truck business on the side, and sit on several boards of philanthropic organizations. Every day is different. Drastically different. Sure there are the norms of getting up and going to work, but what happens before, during and after are always different. That’s one thing I’ll say about having kids is there is never a dull moment. Never. And if there is, it’s usually a bad sign…..or so I’ve found to be true for us.

TFM: You mentioned that at times it’s hard not to feel a smidgen of jealousy for your stay-at-home hubby. Have you ever missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret?

Mary: Oh, hell yeah. Of course. Who hasn’t? I hate it. I’ll never get used to it but it’s part of life. I’ve missed a party at school or a field trip or two, but I make absolutely certain that I’m there for the main ones. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. I know my kids, and know when they really need me there. Sometimes it’s to be the room parent volunteer for a special event at school and I’ve been there. Sometimes it’s as simple as just playing chase or having some one on one time. It’s taking the time to make those things count, so that they know I’m there….even when I can’t {physically} be. I just have to balance it as best I can and be okay with the fact that I’ll miss things from time to time. Does it suck? Yes. Do I like it? No. But that’s just the way it is and I’ll drive myself bat shit crazy if I don’t constantly remind myself that I’m doing the best I can.

TFM: And the forgiving part about parenting is that no one expects you to do it alone. It takes a village. Who’s yours?

Mary: Should I name names? That list would be a mile long. We have help. So much help. We need help and aren’t afraid to admit it. Parenting is hard. Damn hard. Hectic schedules, a messy house, non-stop chaos, unruly toddlers, and the thought of trying to organize a date night seems like a huge feat. Luckily, we have help. We live in a super awesome neighborhood where there are lots of young families. We have all become friends. Good friends. One family became our business partners. We all walk right into each other’s homes without knocking and make ourselves at home. We watch each other’s kids. But ‘watch’ isn’t the right word. We are all a huge part of each other’s lives and help each other because we want to, not because we have to. It’s good to know that there are many sets of eyes watching over all the kids at all times. Other than the neighbors, our family helps us out a TON. Two sets of grandparents babysit often along with extended family members. We have a large network that is always willing to help. We would be screwed without them. Royally screwed!

TFM: So a divide and conquer approach. I love that. Is there any product or service you love so much you could be a brand ambassador?

Mary: Duct tape. Kids break everything. Duct tape fixes everything. Problem solved!

TFM: Creative! So what keeps you from losing your cool at home?

Mary: Wine. Chocolate. Then more wine. And my husband. He’s the best sounding board and the voice of reason. And he’s funny. Really funny and finds humor in everything. Even when there’s poop on the floor (which happens more than I’d like to admit-our 2 year old has learned to take off his diaper). It’s made life interesting as of late. But no matter what’s happening, there’s always laughter in our house. That keeps us sane. Oh, and more wine!

TFM: So now that we’re talking poop, what is your favorite thing about being a mom?

Mary: That’s a loaded question. Too hard to answer so I’ll give an example.  Recently my 6 year old son asked me to be his Valentine. Of course I accepted. Being a mom has its ups and downs, but being my kid’s Valentine is one of the greatest honors and privileges I’ve experienced in 32 (okay fine, who am I kidding, 37) years. Those special moments, even if they seem few and far between, far outweigh the sleepless nights, potty training struggles, terrible twos, etc. When your child asks you to be his Valentine, you know you’ve done something right. Being a mom is amazing. But it’s amazing because my kids are amazing. Of course I’m biased, but they truly are. But you asked about my favorite part about being a mom. It has to be those tiny moments in time when you see your child for the first time, when they catch your eye and smile at you from across the room while they are busy playing with a friend, when you watch them learn, see them being helpful or empathetic, playing with their siblings, developing new skills, and the list goes on and on. And did I mention when you get asked to be their Valentine? That’s a killer. God help me if he ever asks to marry me!

TFM: So sweet. I love my mama’s boy, too! Now, you have two sons and a daughter; what do you hope they take away from mom working outside of the home?

Mary: I hope they understand that I did it because I wanted to. I wanted to be a mom, but I also wanted a career. I like to work. I’m actually a better mom because I work. When I get home, I focus on them and we get quality time. I hope they learn that you can have both if that’s what you truly want.

TFM: What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms?

Mary: Do it. Embrace it. Own it. Let your children see that you are working and explain to them why it’s important. If you have to leave them, leave them for something that you love. Let them see you rock your career and achieve success. They may not quite understand it, but they know it’s important. And don’t beat yourself up about being a working mom. Be proud of who you are, what you do and that you can have a career and be an involved parent. It’s not an either/or.

TFM: I’m on a quest to having it all. What does having it all mean to you?

Mary: Man, that sounds great. Really great. Unfortunately, it probably doesn’t work for me and my family in the traditional sense. I work hard, damn hard. Long hours. Then I come home and continue to work-but it’s a different job. The mom job. I’m not much for fancy houses and flashy cars or “keeping up with the Joneses.” Why would I need to keep up with them? That’s too much pressure and for all I know, they’re up to their eyeballs in debt, on the brink of divorce and they don’t have strong bonds with their friends or kids….and likely as not, they’re probably jerks. Okay, that’s probably not fair, and I’m sure The Joneses are perfectly nice people, but I just want to work hard, provide a comfortable life for my family, spend time with them and be real. I don’t want to try be something I’m not. That’s too much work and really exhausting. I don’t need another reason to be exhausted. And when I go to bed at night with dishes in the sink, laundry piled high and a messy house {at least I cleaned up the poop}, I know my kids and my husband know that they are my world. So in that regard, I do have it all!


 

Remember that food truck Mary mentioned? Her husband Tim takes turns operating Pie Hole with co-owner {and fellow stay-at-home-dad} Chris Knowles. This daddy-duo has figured out job sharing for care givers turned entrepreneurs. On top of everything else on her working mom to-do list, Mary does their marketing. Bravo, team!

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

Working Mom Wednesday: do what is right for you

Today is my mom’s birthday, so I could think of no better woman to feature in this week’s interview than Pam Gyllenborg!

Like many women, my mom’s career path hasn’t always been straight and easy. She’s been a Spanish teacher, a travel agent, a stay at home mom.

She’s dedicated her life to philanthropy regardless of whether or not she was working outside of the home. From the Kansas City Symphony to the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired and a hundred organizations in between, my mom has always worked hard to improve our local community through service.

But with her children out of the house {and now married with babies of our own}, my mom dusted off her briefcase and headed back to work as a real estate agent. She’s grown an impressive business through her philanthropic and social networks and her outstanding reputation.

While building her career, my mom’s also managed to set aside time to care for her grandchildren {my children} one day a week. This has been an incredible blessing in my life to allow me to work while keeping childcare costs in check.

She is truly an outstanding wife, mother, grandmother, friend and businesswoman!


TFM: Hi, mom! Happy Birthday! You don’t look a day over 40 😉 Why don’t we start with you telling everyone what you do.

Mom: I am a Realtor, a Senior Sales Executive for 12 years with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate.

TFM: What do you enjoy about working in real estate?

Mom: The favorite part of my job is the many friendships that I have built with my clients. These relationships are multi generational now. Nothing pleases me more than to have helped a parent and now their children in their real estate needs.

TFM: You’ve always been a people-person. I don’t think we’ve ever left the house without you bumping into someone you know! But no job is perfect, so what has been the hardest part?

Mom: Thanks to technology, I can be reached 24/7. I’m constantly at the “beck and call” of my clients no matter what day or time it is, which can make it difficult to make plans.

TFM: That makes sense and I think a lot of working moms face the same challenge of never being able to turn off work. So give me an example of a Realtor’s work day?

Mom: Each day is different except for Thursday which is my grandson, Henry’s babysitting day. The entire day is about him!

TFM: Henry sure does love his Gigi 🙂

Mom: However, most mornings I start by addressing my emails and texts. It is important to keep on top of the market so I check MLS for new listings, changes in price and status. Then I take time to communicate by updating current clients and touching base with past clients. I do that by phone, email, newsletters, snail mail, and in person lunches and coffee dates. I spend afternoons working on marketing, listing presentations, staging homes for showings, previewing homes or attending price opinions for agents. I end the day by going to an exercise class.

TFM: Now, you reentered the workforce after two decades of raising children. Why?

Mom: My nest was empty, and I was tired of being a professional volunteer. I wanted to enter the work force one more time. I wanted a job with time flexibility and not to be chained to a desk all day. Real Estate seemed like a good fit and a way that I could join forces with my husband who has been in the construction business for 30 years {Gyllenborg Construction}.

TFM: Were there any struggles when you first went back to work?

Mom: When I first got into real estate, I joined a top KC team in order to learn the business from the best. Technology was and continues to be my biggest challenge. Now my husband and I have partnered together in the business. He builds the homes and I sell them, or I sell the homes and he remodels them. I think that we are the only ones in KC that offer the services of a licensed contractor and Realtor together. And so far, we have not had one fight or disagreement!!

TFM: High school sweethearts to business partners. You two love birds! If you hadn’t chosen real estate, what do you think you would be?

Mom: Well, I love clothes and fashion. My closets are stuffed full! I worked in a very trendy clothing store in high school and college selling, modeling and doing window and store displays. I also enjoy interior design which I utilize when staging my clients’ homes. As you know when I babysit, I am always rearranging your furniture. You are never sure what your house is going to look like when you come home!

TFM: This is a true statement. While we’re usually not pleased when we get home, we also never move it back. You must know a thing or two! You also held a few jobs before staying home with kids…do any of them stand out to you?

Mom: I was a travel agent and a Spanish teacher at Barstow School. I loved to travel so the travel business caught my interest out of college. I started at a time with no computers. We hand wrote the tickets in first class and coach fares only established by a book that came out once a month. The industry would give us free “Fam” or familiarization trips to fly to and review their resorts. It was a fun career until the airlines became deregulated. Discount fares and computers changed the game.

TFM: A lot of working moms decide to stay home for the early years. What’s your best piece of advice for those deciding to go back to work?

Mom: Do what is right for you!

TFM: That’s right. Parenting {and working} is not one size fits all. One thing we do all have in common? We’re not perfect. Tell me about a time you messed up.

Mom: I still have nightmares about this one! When I was doing event planning for not-for-profits, I hired a friend to do the catering for a large car show and auction for 300 people. She failed to provide enough food or staff for the evening and half the guests did not get any dinner! Very embarrassing!

TFM: How did you overcome it?

Mom: I try to follow the Frozen philosophy of “Let it Go!” I learned here that you must check and double check references and past performances, even if they are your friend.

TFM: You’ve been watching too many Disney movies, mom. Be honest: parenting vs. grandparenting?

Mom: Grandparenting is the best…just unconditional love and spoiling! You do not have the worries and the day to day grind of parents.

TFM: Yeah, yeah. Well, what would you say is the best part of being a mom?

Mom: Giving life, nurturing that life with your heart and soul, and then watching that life grow and succeed in the world is the most beautiful thing. I could not be prouder of my daughters and the wonderful women and mothers they are today.

TFM: {Blushing} Thanks, mom! But I’m sure I still drive you a little nuts after all of these years. What keeps you sane? Besides QVC….

Mom: Of course, my family and friends are my greatest blessing. I also enjoy exercise like Zumba, Tai Chi or Curves. I do think it is important to be good to yourself in this busy, hectic life. I recommend everyone treat themselves to a massage or mani/pedi once a month!

TFM: You’re buying, right? Just teasing…this month is on me. Happy Birthday, mom!


If you’re looking to buy, sell, build or remodel a home in Kansas City, I highly suggest you get in touch with my mom {and dad, John}. I may be bias, but they are total real estate rock stars.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

Working Mom Wednesday: no excuses

business owner

I’ve known and admired Jenny Kincaid for all of my adult life. I met her within my first week at my first big-kid job after my husband and I moved back to Kansas City. At the time, we were both working our tails off for someone else.

If you’ve had the privilege of meeting Jenny, I’m guessing you left the conversation feeling empowered. She has a knack for lifting up other women and genuinely wants to help those around her find success. With her independent attitude, fierce work ethic, and outside-of-the-box creativity, I knew Jenny had bigger things ahead of her.

Since then, Jenny has built her own public and social relations firm committed to Kansas City companies. {I also coaxed her into joining Femfessionals Kansas City.} During that time, Jenny also took on her newest role – mom.


TFM: Tell the people what you do.

Jenny: Socialworx PR is a lifestyle and niche public relations firm. We work with a variety of clients, from ideas that started out on a napkin to companies that have been in business for more than 150 years. Our “niche” seems to be companies that are locally owned, woman owned, and those that don’t have a strong brand awareness or presence in the area…yet. We specialize in “social relations” which is just our term for community involvement. Being social is beneficial for you personally, professional and philanthropically.

TFM: What made you want to take the leap to start your own company?

Jenny: I wanted to do things my way, on my own time and in my own unique way. Having had a great experience in this business for 5 years with another PR firm, it was just time that I make a change. I wanted to own my own business again and I liked the idea of being challenged everyday, scaring myself to commit to something, to be successful. I wanted to call the shots.

TFM: What is the best part of being a business owner?

Jenny: Like all things, there are ups and downs, and the same goes for owning your own business. Not everyday is ice cream and lollipops, but you can’t learn if you don’t fail. The best part of being a business owner is the freedom to take those chances to see if something works, the freedom to make your own schedule and not have to rely on someone else for your own success.

TFM: Speaking of failing, tell me about a time you really messed up

Jenny: I have missed deadlines, I’ve launched a campaign without everyone’s permission, I’ve been way off base on a story angle and completely missed the storyline for some major outlets…

TFM: I’m sure when dealing with clients those mistakes can be a tough pill to swallow. How did you go about making it right?

Jenny: I was honest and owned up to my mistake, then learned from it and spent more time in those areas.

TFM: Very professional advice. What is a typical day like for you in the world of public relations?

Jenny: There is no typical day in PR, I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Some mornings start at 6 a.m. with texts from a client followed by 7:30 a.m. calls (then play for a bit with my daughter and drop her off, kiss hubby goodbye), head to office, talk to the team and get the run down for the day, head to coffee meeting, maybe a luncheon, sit it on a photo shoot…all the while checking emails and exchanging texts. Maybe go to a horse barn for an interview with KCPD Mounted Patrol then run behind a bar to try a new cocktail or wine, drop by the tv station for a few photos of a client interview, try to get in a 30 minute workout. Finish up the day brainstorming about our new products and services and how they will actually help our clients, plan ahead, answer phone calls and check all social media sites (schedule posts for the next day) and at least one day a week head to a board or committee meeting for one of the non-profits I volunteer for.

TFM: Sounds like a very full, but exciting plate! I bet you never get bored. If you weren’t in PR, what would you be doing?

Jenny: Good question…it would depend on where I was in my life. I’ve always been one to thrift and refurbish furniture so that’s one thing I’ve got. I’ve also thought about going back to school and being an ER nurse…then again, I like being around people so as long as I was keeping busy I would be happy. More philanthropy, helping friends with their businesses? Who knows?

TFM: Since launching Socialworx PR, you’ve also become a mama! What is your favorite part about being a mom?

Jenny: Like many, I can’t name just one. I love when she laughs, says “I love you” and runs to me at the end of the day. Who can get enough of that?

TFM: Who helps you with your daughter while you’re working?

Jenny: I have the most adorable husband…I tell everyone that he’s the best thing that ever happened to me. From day one of our relationship, he has known that I’m really independent, a natural busy-body and am involved in a lot. He helps with Ellis in every way and days when I leave at 7 a.m. and don’t get home till 7 p.m., I always get the same response “No problem babes, I know you’re a busy woman. You’ve got a lot on your plate, besides that, we’re a team.” He is the perfect balance. To add to that, I have my parents who are beyond awesome. They are retired and take her two days a week. I’m pretty sure this is more fun for them than anything, but again, I feel lucky that Ellis can spend time with them, learn from them and it helps keep them young. They also help out when we’re in a pinch. We are very lucky to have that support. I can’t forget about my older brother Kyle, either. He lives just down the street and can’t go a day without a picture of her or seeing her. He watches her occasionally when he’s not on the railroad and they’re the best of friends. Again, lucky!

TFM: Have you ever missed a moment in your Ellis’s life that you regret?

Jenny: Not yet…I worked from home for the first 14 months of her life so I was able to see her everyday. This is also where owning your own business comes in handy too…if I want to stay home with her, I will.

TFM: That’s awesome. If your daughter takes away one thing from you running a business, what do you think {or hope} that would be?

Jenny: The ability to smile at the end of the day and feel good about having a good work ethic, being humble and kind and knowing that working hard pays off.

TFM: What keeps you sane?

Jenny: My hubby, stepping away and laughing with friends, a little dancing now and then, peanut M&M’s and a Sailor Jerry’s & Coke.

TFM: Good to know 🙂 What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms?

Jenny: You can do it. Women have been doing great things for hundreds of years and without the resources we have now, so focus on the end goal. Focus on living the type of life you want and then take the steps to make it happen. It’s not going to happen overnight and you’re not Superwoman, be realistic, but be bold, be you and learn to love the fire. Surround yourself with other like-minded people (men and women).

TFM: Any tips for women wanting to start a business?

Jenny: Go for it. You’re one step closer to living the life you want than you were yesterday and as fast as time flies, 6 months from now you’ll be that much closer to being a #bossbabe! Again, be realistic and think about what you’re doing and what the outcome is. Ask questions, do your research and surround yourself with people who will be honest with you. Get feedback, take criticism in stride, make mistakes and learn from them. But don’t ever say you can’t or give excuses…no excuses.

TFM: I’m on a quest to having it all. Do you think you have it all?

Jenny: I have all that I need and that makes me happy.


Jenny will celebrate 6 years in biz next month! For more about the amazing company she’s built, the KC clients she works with everyday, and the fabulous Jenny herself, check out Socialworx PR.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

Working Mom Wednesday: go after what you want

While I’ve probably only been in the same room as Gwen Hefner a handful of times, I feel like I know her quite personally. When my husband and I first moved back to Kansas City seven years ago, I emailed my resume to Gwen for a job that wasn’t even available…yet.

Gwen was pregnant with her son at the time and not planning on returning to work. Something about my cover letter clicked and she recommended her boss consider me for the gig. I ended up working there for two years and was {lovingly} referred to as “the new Gwen” the entire time.

Gwen makes an impact that way. From her generous spirit and deep faith to her natural beauty and incomparable creativity, Gwen has a bit of a magnetic pull on other people. Which is why it’s no surprise that in a short amount of time she’s created a super successful {and profitable} design blog from home with her husband and two children.

As a new work-from-home mom myself, I couldn’t wait to find out what blogger mom Gwen had to say about this job she’s built for herself.


 

TFM: Hi Gwen! Tell everyone what you do and how long you’ve been doing it.

Gwen: I am a designer and maker blogging at The Makerista. On the blog I document our home renovations, the parties we have here and partnerships with other brands to make the world a more beautiful place. I’ve been blogging for about 2 ½ years.

TFM: How did you get started as a blogger mom?

Gwen: I started reading blogs when I became a stay-at-home mom and quickly realized I was doing a lot of the same things these other women were documenting. It took me a few years to take the leap, but I haven’t looked back since.

TFM: If you hadn’t taken the leap, do you think you would have gone back to work?

Gwen: That’s a good question, and I’m not 100% sure of the answer. I was a stay-at-home mom with little side jobs here and there to make some extra money for the first few years, but it was never anything really fulfilling. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else than what I’m doing right now.

TFM: To me, that is the exact definition of fulfilling – when you can’t imagine doing anything else. What is the best part of running your own blog?

Gwen: The best part is just the freedom. You get to decide who you work with, what projects you take on, what your next move is. It’s totally freeing.

TFM: Speaking of who you work with, what is one product or service you love so much you could be a brand ambassador?

Gwen: I feel like I’m already a brand ambassador for Lowe’s. I just love them so much. From the products to the people I get to work with – their company is just awesome.

TFM: What is a typical day like for you?

Gwen: Most days look a bit different, but I can tell you what today looks like.  I’ll start the morning with getting my son on the bus for kindergarten and my daughter dropped off at preschool {she goes 3 mornings a week}. I head to 9Round and get in 30 minutes of exercise, go home to catch up on email {never-ending} and then make a quick meeting to discuss our upcoming kitchen renovation. I pick Milly up from school at noon and we spend a few hours together running errands and/or playing after lunch. Mid afternoon I start prepping a blog post while hitting email again. I spend some time also researching and sourcing for upcoming projects we’re tackling in our home. My son gets off the bus and after a quick snack we’re on our way to karate, home for dinner and baths and then I typically write my posts in the evening. I can’t believe how fast the days go by!

TFM: I hear you there! What keeps you sane?

Gwen: The blog and the work I do for it keeps me sane as a stay-at-home mom, but my friends and family keep me sane as a creative sharing my work online.

TFM: Use family to decompress from work and vice versa! That’s great. What has been your biggest struggle when it comes to your blog?

Gwen: My lack of business-mindedness.  I am creative and pretty organized, but I am not naturally business-minded and I wish that arena of the job was a little easier {and enjoyable} for me.

TFM: Are you taking any steps to work on that?

Gwen: I’m trying to take on what I can, but I’m also trying to hire out what I can’t. I’ve fought the idea of “hire to your weakness” for quite some time, but I’m realizing that it just doesn’t make sense for me to spend several hours doing a task that someone else could do in 10 minutes. It’s not worth my time and I can make more money if I pay someone else to do the things I’m not good at, allowing me more time to do what I really love about it.

TFM: That’s great advice. It ultimately frees up your time to get more work done or spend more time with your children. How do you balance staying at home and staying on top of your work?

Gwen: I don’t. I wish I could call it a balance, but the reality is that one thing is usually dominating the others. Some weeks I work more and the house is a mess, some weeks I spend more time with the kids and I don’t get as much done. I think you have to assess what’s really necessary that day or week.

TFM: I constantly feel like my to-do list only grows now that I’m working from home. But it’s so worth it! What is your favorite part about being a mom?

Gwen: There is no greater love or joy than that which you experience as a parent. I love watching my kids grow and become their own little people. It’s pretty amazing.

TFM: They say it takes a village. Who helps you with your kiddos?

Gwen: It does take a village. With school in session I don’t have to rely on friends and family to help as much, but we have some great neighbors, parents, siblings – many who will help at a moment’s notice. When I have to travel my mother-in-law is a total gem.

TFM: 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. Do you think you have it all?

Gwen: I certainly don’t have it all, but I think I have a lot of what I want and I feel pretty content in that. I get the chance to do something that fulfills me all the while contributing to our finances and being there whenever my kids really need me. It’s quite the gig, but it also comes with the price of muddied waters. I don’t get weekends, and I struggle differentiating work time and personal time.

TFM: I think work time and personal time overlap for a lot of working moms. What is the number one thing you hope your kids learn from watching you run a business?

Gwen: I hope they learn to go after what they want. I hope they see the importance of hard work and honing in on the gifts God has given you.


Gwen has definitely done just that by sharing her creativity with the world. If you’re not already drooling over Gwen’s designs and handy work over at The Makerista, I encourage you to start!

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.

Working Mom Wednesday: work hard, play harder

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.

Rebekah: I am an owner/partner of several small businesses: River Market Event Place, Airstream Lounge KC and Pop-UP Wedding KC.

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.

Working Mom Wednesday: her kind of perfect

This week I am really excited to announce that I’m launching a new campaign called Working Mom Wednesday {#workingmomwednesday}. Every week I’m going to interview a working mom who inspires me. I think women can learn so much by listening to one another. What works for her might motivate you! So let’s get started…

I first encountered Tammy McDonald on accident.

When I launched Femfessionals Kansas City last spring, I emailed a former work acquaintance of mine, the publisher of HERLIFE, and never heard back, unaware that the magazine was in the final stages of being bought out.

After a few weeks I got the sweetest reply from Tammy, the new owner, wanting to learn more about this new professional women’s group. A two hour meeting later, I left with a new board member for our community and a new friend.

Tammy is just the kind of positive, goal-oriented and honest woman I had in mind when we started Femfessionals. She is incredibly thoughtful {she surprised me with a bag of peanut butter balls when I had mentioned in passing it was the only thing that sounded good when I had morning sickness} and is a huge supported of women. {Duh. She owns HERLIFE…} Without further ado!


 

 

TFM: Self-promo time. Start by telling me about your business.

Tammy: I am the owner and publisher of HERLIFE Magazine. I purchased the Magazine in April of 2015. I run the corporate office in Overland Park and I have franchisees in California, Colorado, Idaho, New York, and Washington D.C. I am also an officer of my Dad’s company, Crystal Trenching, where I handle his day-to-day office operations on a part-time basis.

TFM: Sounds like you have a full plate! What is a typical day like for you?

Tammy: I wake up early to snuggles from my 3 and 6 year old boys. My husband and I get them ready and off to school, I head to my HERLIFE office, or my dad’s office once a week, and have meetings, conference calls, and stay super busy. Usually home around 4:30/5 and Trey and I do homework and dinner with the kids. We get the kids in bed and I usually hit the computer again!

TFM: I do the same! Sometimes it feels like the emails never stop. At least you have the morning snuggles to look forward to 🙂 If you weren’t the publisher of HERLIFE, what would you be doing?

Tammy: I would like to say I would be a full-time mom and volunteer at the kids’ school, but I like to work so I would probably start a new company.

TFM: Another business, huh? Sounds like you’re a true entrepreneur! What is the best part of being a business owner?

Tammy: I like making my own schedule and when I need or want to be home for something the kids have going on, I can. I also like having a staff that I can motivate and lead on a daily basis. Strange, but I like the stress and craziness…the busier I am, the better I am at work and at home.

TFM: It forces you to stay on top of everything! Surely you’ve dropped the ball either at work or home though. Tell me about a time you failed or really messed up.

Tammy: I can’t remember a time I failed. I am saying this because I never view anything as a failure, but as an opportunity to learn or grow. Don’t get me wrong, I make screw-ups all the time or mistakes, but they happen. You learn from them and move on.

TFM: That’s a great way to look at.

Tammy: I just look at it as everything happens for a reason, whether I know the reason when it happens or not. I use every failure and spin it into something positive. When I fall off the horse, I wipe myself off and get back on!

TFM: They say it takes a village to raise a child. Who helps you with your kiddos?

Tammy: My Village does. We use my cousin, Molly, as our Nanny for after school and any night or evening. We also use my Aunt, Molly’s mom, sometimes they work together. I also have all of my family within 15 minutes, so my parents and grandparents are always there to help. We have been so fortunate to have family close by, but also some sitters…no, I will not give you their numbers 🙂

TFM: What is your favorite part about being a mom?

Tammy: The look I get from my boys…the “I love you no matter what, even when you don’t have make-up on”. No matter what, I can always grab a hug, a kiss, or a giggle.

TFM: Speaking of no makeup, what one product or service do you love so much you could be a brand ambassador?

Tammy: The Halo Laser found at Aestheticare. It did wonders for my complexion and the overall appearance of my face.

TFM: No makeup needed! back to your boys. Have you ever missed a moment in your child’s life that you regret because of work?

Tammy: I have missed some, but I don’t regret it. That’s not to say I wasn’t sad that I missed that moment. I let my mom take Quade, our oldest, to get his first haircut. I don’t regret moments like this because I view them as getting to share them with someone else. She watched Quade so much the first 3 years of his life, that I wanted her to enjoy and cherish some of his firsts.

TFM: That’s a great outlook on it. You’re sharing these moments, not missing them! If your kids take away one thing from you running a business, what do you think that would be?

Tammy: When you own your own business, you need to be there working it with your team, or employees. Something I learned from my dad. He owns a construction company and could run it from the office and stay clean, dry and warm. Instead, he is out there digging and working as hard, if not harder, than his crews.

TFM: And hard work pays off. What’s your best piece of advice for other working moms?

Tammy: Find balance. I struggled with that for a while. I’ve learned to put down the phone and computer from the time I get home until after they go to bed, sometimes things come up. They get my undivided attention for only a short time when they’re not in school or with a sitter, that they need that and I love giving it to them.

TFM: What keeps you sane?

Tammy: My husband. He has a way of bringing me back down before I explode. My dad, he has a way of putting things in perspective. My mom, she lets me call to vent, cry, or laugh anytime I need her.

TFM: Last question…my tagline is “a working mom’s quest to having it all.” Do you think you have it all?

Tammy: I just featured Jaycee Waters on the January cover of HERLIFE and she has a blog, kindofperfect, and that is what I have…I have my kind of perfect, not yours or anyone else’s, but it is mine. I do have it all, but I think we always want more and I am finding that balance of do I really want more? I think I have it all, but not because it is all right now, but it has been something I have had, learned from, or I have within my means to reach. It is all there somewhere. It is how we use it, see it or achieve it.


 

Thanks, Tammy!

Be sure to check out HERLIFE magazine and see you here next Wednesday for another #workingmomwednesday.

Want to be interviewed for #workingmomwednesday? Contact me to find out how.