“I try to give equal parts of myself to all things that are important to me.”

traveling working mom


As I get back in the swing of things {in case you missed it, 2016 was a tad eventful}, I’m excited to bring back my #workingmomwednesday series.

Last year I interviewed over two dozen working moms. Many owned their own businesses, but all shared a particular passion for their families and careers.

Today I’m chatting with an old college friend, Megan Manguso. One thing that sets Megan apart from any of the interviews I’ve done before is that she travels…a lot. I couldn’t wait to find out her tricks and what was just plain tricky. Read on to become an expert in jet setting with a baby and a briefcase.

Self promo time. Tell me about yourself.

I currently live in central LA {just South of West Hollywood} with my husband Nick, my son Maddox {11mos}, and my FURst baby Oliver {terrier mix}, affectionately known as Ollie Bear. I am the Head of Strategic Partnerships for onefinestay – a start up company which provides upscale, serviced/managed short term rental accommodations in London, Paris, New York, LA, Rome and Miami {think airbnb and a boutique hotel had a baby}. I’ve always been in the travel industry so naturally travel is part of my job, and I love it.

So how often do you travel for work?

Pretty regularly… after my son was born last February, I went back to work starting mid May. Since then, I have been to Europe 3 times for work. But I travel domestically pretty regularly, too. Since June I have been to Miami, Paris, London, Rome, Las Vegas, Vancouver, New York, and the South of France.

How have you been able to balance being a new mom with such a demanding job?

When I had to go to London and Rome, I brought my son. I had my mom come with us and we rented apartments/houses. My husband joined us for the Italy leg and we had some vacation time, too. It has to be said that I couldn’t do this without him. I had to fly straight to Vegas after Italy and so he flew home to LA from DC {6 hours!} after nearly 24 hrs of traveling and the baby had probably had only a few hours of sleep. For Vancouver, we rented a home there, as well. I love the whole idea of “beliesure” {extending business travel for leisure travel}. I really want my son to experience the world and feel comfortable traveling from the moment he can remember. Plus, got to take advantage of free flights before he turns 2!

What is your best travel tip for moms?

Embrace the fact that you are going to have A LOT of stuff and get the gadgets you need. I am and have been a pretty regular traveler. I pack light. A carry on for 7 days is no problem for me. So when I had my son, I had to accept that there was no more carry on only. I did a lot of research {I’m big on mommy research} and found the best gadgets I could to make it easier. Stroller bags, bouncer chairs, travel toys, etc.

It sounds like you have a great support system. Who helps you when you aren’t on the go?

We have an au pair. The au pair program is amazing for us, because it allows for flexibility. It’s also significantly more reasonable in price compared to a full time nanny. In Los Angeles, it ends up costing a little bit more that traditional day care, and since I work from home 30-50% of the time I get to see Maddox during the day which makes being a working mom much more bearable.

How do you stay focused when working from home?

Obviously, you need to have the space for it. We have a detached 1br/1ba studio and it works perfectly. Garage conversions are very popular in LA – so we bought the house with this intention.

What is your best piece of advice for working moms?

Balance, flexibility, and focus. Basically, when I am working, I try to be as efficient and effective as possible. It makes the day go by faster, and if I am going to be away from my son, I need to make it worth it. Also, then I have less pressure to stay connected to work when I am with my family.

At the same time, flexibility and balance keeps me going. I work from home a lot and my son is with his au pair in the house. So I will work for a few hours and then go out to see him for 15 or 20 minutes, or for lunch, and then go back to work refocused. I am a big believer that the 9-5 thing was built for the industrial, manufacturing age. I can’t sit still for 8 hours doing the same thing regardless of being a mom or not, so being able to break up my day and find a job/superior that allows me to do that has been key.

What keeps you sane?

Back to balance. I couldn’t be a full time mom. Not because I don’t think I have the capability, I think that I would be so over the top about it, and my type A personality would drive my family crazy! I am pretty sure I would turn my family into a business {Martha Stewart, Leave it to Beaver style}. So having something else to work on keeps me sane and the right balance between the two is the ultimate goal.

I embrace that I am type A and need to control things, so I plan everything out long before I need to start worrying about it. For example, I put my son on lists for school over year before most because I know the stress it can cause {especially in a place like LA} if you wait until just a few months before. I always have an action plan when it comes to parenting, marriage, and work.

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

Ahhh having it all! So, I actually believe you can’t have it all and that it’s OK. I am realist, and it’s simple math: you only have 1 of you to give. So I try to give equal parts of myself to all things that are important to me. I don’t believe my son, my job or my husband need the whole me, I think they need the best me, and the best me is balanced and present.

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

“I still wanted to do challenging, high level work”

Q&A with Charissa Fitch

I was recently introduced to a working mom rocking the start-up scene by our mutual friends at Werk.

Charissa is an attorney turned inventor and entrepreneur. Like many of today’s working moms, she left a job that no longer worked for her in pursuit of building a company that would provide the solutions to her own career concerns: her desire to give her kids the time they deserved with their mom, while also putting her smarts and skills to good use in a professional setting.

And she’s on her way to doing just that! Charissa envisions a company where highly ambitious women {and men} can experience flexible schedules and benefits, while working for a dynamic, fulfilling business. She’s on a mission to support parents with great experience that may have “stepped back” from work for various reasons and are now hoping to re-enter the workforce on their own terms.

Now that’s a company I can get behind!

Self-promo time. Tell me about your business.

WileyRoo is a parent products company. Our mission is to create innovative products that make parenting and caregiving easier. Our first product offering, bababutler, is a solution to the hassle and chaos created by pumping and breast milk storage. bababutler is a flexible band that fits on most bottles, bags, and containers. It has a timer and thermometer that track the usable time and temperature of breast milk {or the content of the container}. bababutler is smart enabled and communicates with your smart phone or device via an application.

For example, once you put a bababutler band on a collection bottle you can set the time for 8 hours {for room temperature breast milk} and the alarm will sound once that time has expired. At the end of 8 hours if you haven’t used the milk you can leave the band in place and reset it to 120hrs {5 days} and put it in the refrigerator. bababutler is also great for anything you need to remember: medication, supplements, birth control, time sensitive food. Because the alarm is on the item it’s a terrific way to ensure that you, your nanny, daycare, or school remembers to administer medication or supplements to children. bababutler remembers for you!

And you’ve got big plans for growth, too.

My goal for 2017 is to continue to build a dynamic team and to surpass our first-year sales goals.

The idea for bababutler came from necessity. Any tips for pumping/nursing moms?

I had a hard time nursing my daughter. Not only did we have problems latching, but I also struggled with my milk supply. I found fenugreek and oatmeal to be very helpful with supply. Also, as much as I loved the handsfree nursing bra, I found that messaging my breasts while pumping increased my production. The most frustrating part for me was milk storage, which is why I invented the bababutler. My hope is that bababutler eliminates the chaos that surrounds breast milk storage and helps moms to pump and breastfeed as long as they want. New moms could use one less thing to stress about!

Before WileyRoo, you were an attorney. Why’d you step back out of the corporate scene?

Practicing law wasn’t working for me anymore. My husband’s company relocated us three times in six years and during that time we had two babies 17 months apart. I wanted to be home with my kids as much as possible, but “reduced hours” attorney positions can be difficult to find. So, I decided not to practice after our last move 18 months ago. I still wanted to do challenging, high level work, but I didn’t want to put in the {inflexible} hours that litigation can require.

What has been the best part about being an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur has been amazing! I work when I want to and that allows me to spend more time with my family. Running a start-up is crazy, hard work, but it feels awesome to create something and see where it goes. I think my favorite part is learning so many new things. Running a company is very different than practicing law, so it has required me to learn many, many new skills. For example, I’ve learned how to use Adobe Illustrator. I’m definitely not an expert, but after fumbling around over and over I can use it if necessary; that is much more than I could have said a year ago.

Have there been any surprises along the way?

There are constant surprises! I’m surprised at how long everything takes. I’m surprised at the wonderful response we’ve received so far. I am surprised when our nanny quits, out of the blue, a couple of weeks before I leave for a 5-day work trip. The surprises keep rolling in.


What do you hope your children take away from all of your hard work?

If nothing else, I hope my kids learn that you are responsible for your own happiness in life. I wasn’t happy with a traditional career path, so I’m trying my best to create a company that will give people {myself included} the flexibility they need. I think many women {and men} probably feel this way once they have a family. Also I hope my daughter sees that you can be a mommy and a supportive wife and still be a badass boss lady, because they are not mutually exclusive. It just takes creativity.

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

My advice is… you’re doing fine. We are all too hard on ourselves. If you’re worried about how you are doing as a mom, then you’re probably doing a great job. Useful advice: hire help. If you can afford to pay someone to do something you hate {ie: laundry, cooking, etc.}, then do it!

What keeps you sane?

My faith and my family. I’m very “high strung” so I tend to stress easily. Fortunately, I have always had a close relationship with Jesus that helps me through many hard times. Prayer keeps me at peace with what is going on around me. My husband is also a big help; he can talk me down most of the time.

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

I struggle with trying to have it all. For me it means being happy with my marriage, being happy with how I’m mothering, and being happy with where I am in my career and personal ambitions. Those things never happen at the same time for more than 10 minutes! If I’m snuggling with my two-year-old on a rainy afternoon, then I’m neglecting something that needs to be done for WileyRoo. If I’m going on a date with my husband on Saturday night, my kids are sad that I’m not saying their “night nights.” You can’t have “it all” because you can’t “do it all”- not at the same time. I think I have more than I deserve and more than I ever imagined!

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

“The risks may be big and scary, but the rewards are even greater if you go for it!”

Q&A with Nellie Akalp

When I was approached by Nellie Akalp’s publicist about featuring her story in an interview for my blog, I was immediately impressed. Not only did phrases like “serial entrepreneur” and “mother of four” jump out at me as someone I could definitely relate to, but as I read her story I realized she was one working mom from whom I could also learn a thing or two.

Nellie Akalp started her first business with $100 and sold it 8 years later for millions. If I don’t have your attention yet, instead of retiring early, Nellie got back into the industry with the launch of her current business, now recognized on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing privately-held companies in America.

I chatted with Nellie about her entrepreneurial story and how she and her husband started a business literally from nothing and grew it into a multi-million dollar venture, only to turn around and do it all over again while raising their four children!

Self-promo time. Tell me about your business.

I’m an entrepreneur, mother of four, author, speaker, and business expert. As the founder and CEO of CorpNet.com I work with entrepreneurs daily to help them start, grow and maintain their businesses. CorpNet is an online legal document filing service that provides new and existing business owners with the most cost effective and comprehensive products and services for starting a business whether it be setting up a sole proprietorship/partnership, incorporating or setting up an LLC, or running and even expanding a business. We help entrepreneurs incorporate, form LLCs, file DBAs and more on a daily basis. For those with an existing business CorpNet.com can help with corporate compliance to ensure the business owner is kept up to date on important due dates each year.

Before CorpNet, you ran a success company that was eventually acquired by Intuit for $20 million. Why’d you head back to work?

After my non-compete ran out with the old company, I realized that I was too bored, too passionate and way too young to take on an early retirement! Plus I was still so deeply in love and passionate about small business and helping other entrepreneurs start their startups, so I decided to start it all over again with CorpNet.com. It’s never been about the money for me; it’s about creating something out of nothing and watching it explode and create solutions that solves problems.

You’ve helped hundreds of thousands of businesses get off the ground. From your experience, what’s the biggest factor holding back future business owners?

I think what holds most entrepreneurs back is the lack of willingness to take risks. Being too afraid to try new things, implement ideas, think big or looking stupid in front of friends, colleagues and loves ones really causes people to hold off on going after their business dreams and goals. The risks may be big and scary, but the rewards are even GREATER if you go for it!

Have you ever failed? How did you overcome it?

I have failed more than a hundred times and I am still not done failing. In order to be successful, failure is definitely a pre-requisite to absolute true success. I look at failure as a message that there are bigger and better opportunities lying ahead that must be seized, and seldom look at it as a negative. In a nutshell, failure is a part of life, if you don’t fail, you will never learn, if you don’t learn, you can never change and evolve as a person.

What is the best part about being an entrepreneur?

The ability to do the things you love to do the most and being able to do it on your own time and terms without any limitations is really, in my opinion, the best! In addition, being able to have it all, raising children and having an amazing career all at the same time, where I can inspire and motivate other mommy entrepreneurs that you can have it all is just the best!

What does a typical day look like for you?

In my life, trying to balance running a very fast-paced, growing business, and balancing it with managing a household of 4 kids and having a healthy marriage requires planning and routine. Here is a rough snapshot:

6:00am – wake up, shower and drink coffee, make breakfast for kids, check email
6:30am – wake up kids
7:00am – feed kids
7:20am – take kids to school
7:45am – get to gym and workout
9:00am – work till 3:00
3:00pm – pick up my daughter and spend one-on-one time with her until we pick up other three kids from middle school and high school
3:45pm – pick up the three other kids take everyone to get a snack
4:30pm – get home and help with homework and start dinner if no games after school
6:00pm – dinner with family
7:00pm – take kids to dance or other after school activities (either my husband or I while the other attends to the other kids and does homework)
9:00pm – bedtime for kids
9-11:00pm – me time where I make myself a tea, take a bath and time with Phil where we watch a movie or just chat about the day
11:00pm – bedtime for me and it starts all over again the next morning!


Your husband is also your business partner. How do you split the responsibilities at work and at home?

It’s all about being organized, planning ahead and staying one step ahead of your game. Work stuff will come up at home and family stuff will come up at work. It’s bound to happen – after all, I am married to my husband and business partner! For us though, we don’t try and totally separate the two because that just makes things more complicated. We deal with what comes up as it arises. If you plan ahead and know your schedule and stuff does come up, you’re more prepared on how to deal with it if you do. Again, a total balance should never be the key, but you should try to have both aspects of your life exist in harmony.

You have four kiddos. Has becoming a mom influenced your professional goals?

Absolutely 150%! It makes me want to work even harder, but more efficiently and qualitatively because time is so scarce and these kids grow up so fast. I know my time is limited with them. I want to spend every waking minute with them when they are not at school or not at an after school sport or activity. It also has made my #1 goal be that I will never ever work for anyone else and will always be my own boss.

What do you hope they take away from your success?

I want my children to know that true success comes from a ton of hard work and never giving up. If you fail, it’s not the failure that matters. It’s how you rise from it and get up that makes you a winner.

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

The three things I would share with working moms are:

  1. Set Goals Early and Often. I think a lot of new entrepreneurs don’t think about setting goals when they first start out. They just want to get the business started and begin making money. But setting goals is a really easy way to set your sights on where you want to go. You might not hit your sales target for the quarter, but if you do your best to get there, you’ll likely do better than you would have without that goal. And don’t just set one goal and leave it at that. I like to set new goals every year and even every month to keep myself and my team moving in the right direction.
  2. Be Willing to Take Risks. You’re already a bit open to risks, or you wouldn’t be starting a business! But don’t be afraid to try new things, implement ideas, and think big. The risks may be bigger, but so will the rewards.
  3. Protect Yourself. I can’t tell you how many times I have told new entrepreneurs to protect your business and yourself! Forming a corporation or filing an LLC is such a simple thing to do, but the benefits extend long beyond your first year and it’s the best way to protect your personal assets should your business be sued down the line.

What keeps you sane?

Plan a vacation, even if it’s tough. Set boundaries with technology. Make time to exercise. Take Breaks during the day. Prioritize your day and limit your tasks and goals to 3-5 per day. Don’t try to control everything and just go with the flow. Reduce distractions during the day. Establish a firm “end time” to your day {and work week}. Physical and emotional wellbeing is really important, but getting spiritual something is also a huge must for me. It keeps me present and in tune with my higher power.

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

I don’t think I have it all and even if I did, I would still want more! I would still want to work, because it has never ever for one minute been about the money for me. We could have retired after our first business was acquired and I’m sure many people would have. But for us, it just didn’t work and I didn’t feel like I “had it all.” Yes, I like to be able to go to bed at night knowing that I have money to pay my bills and have no stress. But, more important to me is being able to watch and see people’s lives change and transform in the work I do and services I provide. That’s why I still work and still run a business!

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

“Unless you try, you’ll never know”

tips for working moms

Q&A with Lainie Sevante Wulkan

When I had the pleasure of spending the day with Lainie Sevante Wulkan at the FemCity Day of Positivity a few weeks ago, I knew I wanted to pick her brain for tips for working moms.

Like most entrepreneurs, Lainie hardly fills her days doing just one thing. In addition to co-owning her company with her husband, she’s the President of FemCity Albuquerque, one of the largest chapters of the national female networking group boasting over 550. {If you’re not familiar with FemCity, check it out!}

Most recently she added author to her list of accomplishments with the publication of her children’s book, Finn’s Giant Leap. {I’m giving away an autographed copy on social media, so be sure to check out my Instagram and Facebook pages to enter to win. Your kiddos will thank you! Like Finn’s Giant Leap on Facebook while you’re at it!}

Self-promo time. Tell me about your business.

I’m a Media Executive and co-own a business called Cinder Cone Media Worldwide with my husband, Film Composer and Music Producer, Howard Wulkan. Cinder Cone is the umbrella for The LAB Recording Studios, Zeta Global Radio, an online conscious talk show with listenership in over 50+ countries, Cinder Cone Records, an independent music label with distribution via Universal and Cinder Cone Events, conscious global event productions that make an impact in the world.

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

I am SO in my passion with my business, it’s my second love next to my husband and two daughters. {Oh, and 9 pets.}

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I grew up with a single mom who primarily was a serial entrepreneur. She had everything from a clothing store, to antique shop to doing home jewelry parties {back in the day when direct sales weren’t even a home thing yet} and eventually direct sales with every product out there. Being self-employed was pretty much all I knew. I have had a few corporate jobs in my long career, but they’ve truly felt the most foreign. Helming the ship is definitely where I am most comfortable and feel the most free to be me.

What’s the best part of running your own company?

The best party of running my own company is being able to make my own schedule. I have a lot to juggle between my children’s activities, my pets’ needs, the business, and multiple travel schedules. Having the flexibility to work out my schedule as needed and even fit some “Me Time” in there is invaluable. There are those days where it’s like, “today is the day. I am getting a massage and buying a new toothbrush.” The freedom to do the simple things is so important to me. I’m accounted for by so many people – my family, my staff, our artists, our sponsors, our clients, the press, etc. It’s about the balance and finding the time management to handle it all with grace and know that I have the ability to say NO when needed.

Tell me about a time you failed in business and how did you overcome it?

Unfortunately, failures have occurred through my career. Yet, after wounds heal and reflection has allowed its time to bring greater awareness, failure truly does teach. Some of my biggest failures have been in trusting to a fault in people that haven’t been aligned with the same integrity wheel I roll on. As a result, I’ve had ideas “conveniently borrowed” {or should I just all out say – STOLEN} and have watched some projects grow without proper credit.

I overcame it with grace. I learned that no one wants to hear a squeaky wheel, victim vent. So I’ve learned to trust a different way. I trusted in the belief that the truth always prevails and that a leopard doesn’t change its spots. If someone was dishonest to me, most likely they will be that way with others and exposure of the true path always shows. So I overcame obstacles as such through patience, trust in the universal laws of karma and also garnered new levels of discernment I would have not mastered had I not had the experiences of those failure opportunities.

What is a typical day like for you?

What I love so much is that every day is different and I never know what to expect. One day I’m interviewing leaders that are changing the world or kids doing extraordinary achievements at such a young age {like today’s show for this Saturday’s ZGR show}, to an impromptu dance party with one of our hip hop artists and their entourage. It’s never the same and I wouldn’t change it. So much creativity abounds at Cinder Cone and it’s a wonderful environment for my own children to have that exposure to the arts.  

tips-for-working-moms1How has motherhood affected your professional goals?

I strive to create a business the girls can be proud of, have fun with it, and if they want, be part of it. My own mother with her multiple businesses needed my help as a single mom. I didn’t have a choice but to be part of it. As a mother, you either learn from your parents and model that behavior to your own family or you do the exact opposite, learning how you once did things, found out what worked, what didn’t and chose a different course. I believe motherhood stared me more into a new direction I wanted as an entrepreneur. Also, having such a creative business allows me to work harder to create the flexible schedule so I can be there for the girls to go on trips when we want and have more opportunity to be at the events they need me at.

If your girls take away one thing from you running a business, what do you think that would be?

I believe my kids are learning the art of flexibility. Our business and I’m sure most self-employed businesses are not 9-5 M-F. Sometimes we work weekends, nights, long hours, holidays. While we do our best to keep to a normal business schedule, there’s nothing normal about the entertainment business. I’d want my children to know that there’s no one shoe that fits all. That everyone finds the path that works for them and they will too. There’s nothing wrong with a set work schedule and paycheck. We teach acceptance of all, everyone. We honor Oneness and Consciousness. My biggest dream is they see that the work we do at Cinder Cone is to help move the world forward in a positive way.

You’ve recently added children’s author to your resume. Tell me about it.

Ahhh. My most cherished project yet. Finn’s Giant Leap came to me in a “dream” or more like I woke up in the middle of the night and got a “message” to write this down. The story poured out of me. I never had any thought to write a children’s book. Yet, now, Finn is such a part of me and soon the world.

The messages are universal for kids and adults: believe in yourself, dream big and know all that we’ve ever needed is already inside. Finn learns patience, humility and victory. He learns the power of friendship. We ALL need friends we can trust and count on and seek being understood. We all are curious even though we are told what’s right and what’s wrong. Yet, we still need to figure it out for ourselves. So many life lessons shown through the eyes Finn the frog and his fairy friend, Syana.

It’s a magical story I can’t wait to share with all. Whether kids are 2 and 3 and just look at the beautiful pictures or they are 10-12 and get the messages, there’s something for everyone and I believe all will be touched by Finn’s Giant Leap. Then comes the sing along CD in October. Now that’s going to be AMAZING! All inspired messages from the book plus an audio narrative of the story by yours truly!

With so much on your plate, what keeps you sane?

Do you know how often I get that? Daily. The other big question is, “do you sleep?” The answer to that one is yes, I LOVE to sleep. I keep sane by living a life of excitement and joy. I get to share all my achievements on a daily basis with my husband. We’re like two little kids, especially when the work day is over and it’s just him and me playing guitar and writing/singing songs together. It’s a magical time to collaborate. I am also an avid book reader and love all things spiritual and esoteric. Meditation and journaling are also in my sanity tool box along with gourmet cooking with both my daughters.

Do you have any tips for working moms?

My best piece of advice for other working moms is to be IN JOY! Do what makes your heart sing and keeps your vibration up high. If you’re a doer, GO DO! Never second guess yourself {i.e. am I neglecting my children by working or any other should’ve, would’ve could’ve.} If you are called to self-express through an endeavor besides mommy hood, GO FOR IT! You’ll feel great about your accomplishments and that joy will reflect in your parenting. Happy Mom, Happy Child! Too many people are always concerned about what others think, say, do. I say, wait for that purpose in your life that lights you up like a Christmas tree and give it a shot. You can always back off if it’s too much. But, unless you try, you’ll never know.

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

Excellent question and it can be answered differently each and every day in all honestly. Remember asking me what a typical day like? Ditto here. Some days I say YES, I am exactly in my lane and I love the direction I am in, our family is in, our business is in, etc. Then there the days when it feels all too much and I want to check out to the isles of Trinidad and worry mostly about if I should put on SPF 30 or 50. Chances are, I’d get bored and want to jump back into the fray again. I love the balance of my life – the excitement and the calm, the unknown and the known. I think there’s never a final moment of having it all when you are a dreamer like me. There’s always something else to bring to the world. The ideas never stop. And I wouldn’t change a thing!

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

“I woke up one day and asked myself why I wasn’t following my passion”

follow your passion mama cover

Q&A with Amy Neil

Have you ever wondered what it what be like to ditch your 9-5 to follow your passion?

A self proclaimed “mom boss,” Amy Neil has always known that she wanted to help people. Previously a collegiate coach, she traded in people for their pooches full-time.

With the support of her husband, some amazing mentors, and dedication to becoming the best in her field, Amy has grown her side passion project into a booming business.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I work with dogs and their humans. My mission is two fold. First, I bring support to owners whose dogs have behavioral issues ranging from general excitement to severe reactivity and aggression. Second, I use social media to help educate pet dog owners on how to create a healthy and confident relationship with their dog. The result is fewer dogs rehomed or sent to shelters because owners have the tools and support to work with their dogs.

You weren’t always canine bound. How’d you discover your passion for dogs?

I took a windy road to get to where I am. With a bachelors of science in Athletic Training, I did that for a year. I coached the throws events for Columbia University Track and Field, ran a farm, sold cars, and worked at a non profit. Dogs were an underlying theme the whole time, but I never thought of it as a feasible career. Then I had the cliche moment where I woke up one day and asked myself why I wasn’t following my passion. From there I put the blinders on and just started learning all I could about dogs.

Any tips for dog owners?

I want people to know if they are struggling with their dogs, ask for help. Asking for help is the hardest but most amazing thing that can be done for both humans and dogs. What I do is more than dog training, it’s a passion to help people feel like empowered, confident, and strong leaders. It’s an amazing process, and I am so grateful people allow me the opportunity to be a part of it.

I’ve gotta know. Do you have a favorite breed?

Haha, that’s a tough one! I have a running bucket list of breeds I’d like to own one day, boxer, basset hound, dalmatian, german shepherd, and bloodhound are all on my list. Beagle is my favorite, and not just because I own them! They make great family dogs, love a good run, clever as can be, and if you can harness their nose super eager to please, and don’t take up much space. On the flip side, they can be really big babies, too smart for their own good, and when they listen to their nose they ALWAYS wind up in biggggg trouble. I love both sides!

What is a typical day like for you?

We usually are all up around 6 and I help my husband leave for work. I get Ruby her breakfast then shoot my Morning Chit Chat video everyday. Around 10am Ruby and I head out for dog walks, we walk anywhere from 1 to 3 different dogs a day. Otherwise it’s totally dependent on how many training sessions I have, if I have a dog boarding at the house, or if there is group class that night.

follow your passion

What do you hope your daughter learns from watching you grow your business?

There are a lot of things I hope she learns, but the biggest thing would be to work hard for what you believe in and don’t worry what others think. Always bring positivity to the table. The struggle can get really REAL sometimes. It’s how you deal with the struggles that matters. I want her to understand that perseverance, determination, even a little stubbornness will take her a long way.

How has becoming a mom affected your professional goals?

It’s made me more tenacious and confident in the choices I make. In a really crazy way, becoming a mother afforded me the opportunity to grow my business. I quickly realized going to a traditional job, organizing childcare, giving my time to someone rather than myself just wasn’t working for me. I learned that working for myself was the only choice.

Finish this sentence: Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

About the little moments. When a diaper change becomes a tickle fest, the cuddles just after waking up, when “Daddy” gets home, sitting down for dinner. The most special moments happen at the most random times, make sure to enjoy them.

They say it takes a village. Who is your village?

It does take a village! Of course, my husband. My parents, his parents, many other family members alway willing to watch Ruby when we want to sneak away for a minute. Business wise, my coach and mentor Shane Kulman. Shane has helped me break down so many barriers that were in my way. Also, my dog training mentor, Tom Davis. It’s really nice having someone to fall back on in the field. He and I bounce a lot of things back and forth, it’s super affirming for me and helps me remember I am on the right path. By opening myself to all Shane and Tom have to offer, my business has really taken off.

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

Somedays you just need to slow down and be with your kids. Don’t ever feel obligated to miss the important moments with your kids because of someone else’s needs and desires. If you feel like you are missing those moments, then it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate what you are trying to accomplish.

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

I feel like having “it all” means being able to provide support to my family on OUR terms. Not having to work 9-5, providing time for adventures, not missing important moments, not answering to anyone else. Having “it all” means creating the life that works for us, even if it means breaking all the rules.

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

“I lost my job, and needed another door to open”

mom business owner

Q&A with Karrie Kaneda

Karrie Kaneda is a designer, saleswoman, social media marketer and office manager. And that’s just her day job!

Like most mom business owners, Karrie knows how to wear many hats in order to run her company and her household.

Karrie knows the secret to a “happy habitat” is to find the beauty in everything. When life handed her lemons, she turned them into blankets and has been making her customers happy ever since.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I design blankets for my company I started called Happy Habitat. My throws are made in the US from recycled cotton, and all about pattern and color. I sell them on my website and to stores all over the world.

How’d you get your start?

I lost my job, and needed another door to open. I opened several doors that had no excitement for me. And since money is a necessity, I figured I might as well spend my time doing something that I enjoy. I wanted to spend my days doing something that I could put my whole heart into, not just something that wasted time in my day. After some time playing with patterns, I landed on blankets as a useful, earth friendly way to put what was in my head out to the world, and make some money while doing it.

What inspires your designs?

More like what doesn’t! I just looked through photos on my iPhone to see what I had taken pics of that have recently inspired me. Here’s a few: a rust colored dead rose, spit out cherry pits, clouds, tiles {always tile! Moorish tiles get me every time!), eagle feathers, graffiti, words and rhymes.

Do you have a favorite pattern?

Don’t let my daughter see this because her and her brother fight over which one of their throws sells the most, but Kenichi is probably my favorite. Kenichi is my son’s middle name {means healthy first born son in Japanese}— he helped come up with the colors for the first one I made. Misaki is my daughter’s middle name, which means beautiful blossom. Her throw has flowers in it inspired by her name.

What has been the best part of owning your own business?

No office politics! I can get things done quickly. I don’t have to follow rules, written or implied- that feels good.

Have you had any setbacks?

Because my personal life and professional are very intertwined, I’d say that I’m affected when my professional/personal life is off balance. It’s been a bit off balance lately and that has set me back in terms of inspiration and efficiency. I haven’t been able to respond as quickly as I like to people and have all these design ideas, but just haven’t been able to implement everything that’s in my head I want to do. All I can do is be healthy and take care of myself the best I can. I’m getting my balance back now, and can feel my mojo coming back! All you can do is move forward.

mom business owner family

What is a typical day like for you?

No day is typical, but it starts with getting my kids up and out the door to school. Next up, coffee. Either at home by french press, or I’ll head out to work at a coffee shop and slowly savor a triple short cappuccino. Music is always loud. First thing I’ll do is process orders from my website and for stores— so sending invoices, updating the status of customer orders, getting back to people with questions. So glamorous! 😉 Because I’m constantly making new designs, I’m often busy taking product photos, and editing them. If I’m lucky, I’ll work designing new patterns. And I’m always posting on social media. I then pick my kids up from school and hang out with them— dinner etc., then I’m often back at it at night for a bit.

Finish this sentence. Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

Cherish their youth and your time with them, they are only little once. Oh, wait… 10,000 people did tell me that! I’m glad I listened though. I think I’ve savored them, and still do!

Have your professional goals changed since starting a family of your own?

I’ve realized it’s not about money. That’s not what is most important. There is real value to doing things that are just “fun”— you can’t measure that with money. Money will hopefully follow if you are doing what you love and having a good time while doing it. I  mean, I’m always thinking how things affect my business, but I do make a lot of business decisions on if it’s a ‘good’ thing to do. Does it create good for someone else? Is it fun? Does it benefit other people? For example, I have done collaborations with people that didn’t make a ton of money, but the friendship that came from it was invaluable. So, I’d say professional goals have changed from just making money, to making experiences.

Any advice for a woman looking to start her own business?

Start small. Don’t hire people to do what you can do yourself. Know what your strengths are and use them to your advantage, and know your weaknesses and get help for those things. But first try, and try HARD to do everything yourself. If it’s your business, you should probably know about those things anyway. Owning a businesses isn’t just hiring other people to do things. unless your loaded, then that’s another story. And probably a boring, uninspiring story 😉

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

I think I’m pretty darn close! My kids always ask me if I could have any job in the world what would it be? And I always answer the same: I would do exactly what i’m doing now. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have 2 funny, beautiful kids that constantly surprise me with their wit and quirks. I am fortunate to be able to spend a lot of time with family and friends that is always full of laughter— and what’s better that that? Every day I’m grateful.

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

“None of us are expected to be Super Mom”

Q&A with Crystal Sullivan

If you don’t start every morning by reading theSkimm to face the day armed with the world’s top news stories, you’re missing out big time.

Earlier this summer I had the amazing opportunity to travel to New York City and meet the team behind the popular e-mail newsletter. Not only was I encouraged to ask questions while at SkimmHQ, but my own opinions and interests were equally solicited.

When I shared my passion for working moms with the founders, I was introduced to Crystal Sullivan. She’s a savvy go-getter with seemingly endless energy and good ideas. Moreover, as the first working mom to join the team, she’s laying the groundwork for a healthy work/life balance at HQ.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I am the HBIC-Revenue at theSkimm…no seriously, I am Head of Media Revenue which means that I lead our Sponsor & Partnership sales team and identify new forms of revenue. I get to work with some of the smartest and most creative people and wake up every day excited to do it.

What’s something about theSkimm HQ that most people don’t know?

Most are surprised to find that we have a mix of both men and women working at the company.  We also have 3 people at HQ that are color blind and one is a running historian {it’s real, I promise}.

Tell me about a challenge at work. What did you do to overcome it?

I have pretty strict hours with my kids’ schedules that doesn’t always allow me to stay and finish things at HQ late into the evening. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. That led to me having a never-ending workday and we all know that can lead to burnout. I decided that when I came home, my phone would go into a place that wasn’t easily accessible for 2 hours. I announced it to my family to hold me accountable and my team so they weren’t hunting me down. That allowed me to mentally download, cook dinner, spend time with my family and once that was done, I would jump back online and “finish” my day.

That takes some serious self-discipline! What is a typical day like for you?

I wake up at 5:00am and head to SoulCycle for the 5:45am rooster ride. My closest girlfriends {also working moms} and I all meet there-usually still yawning and wiping our eyes. We emerge happy and inspired and ready to face the day. I go home, shower and make lunches for school or camp, pack bags and pick out clothes before getting the kiddos up and ready to face their day. After drop-off at 8:30am, I head to NYC from NJ. My commute door to door is about 1 hour and 20 mins. I arrive at Skimm HQ, where I am literally greeted with the biggest smiles {this is no joke—everyone is SO happy}.

After a full day of leading, mentoring, learning, sharing & skimming I start my commute back home at 5pm. I arrive home around 6:30pm and am greeted at the door with hugs and 101 questions, as well as all of the saved up little facts about what they did all day that they have been dying to tell me. We cook dinner, shower and relax as a family before I tuck them in around 9. I’m then back on my laptop responding to emails, and finishing out my day before I finally hit the pillow at 11 telling my husband I love him and counting down the days until the weekend where I can “sort of” sleep in.

I’m exhausted for you. What keeps you sane?

SoulCycle and therapy {seriously!}. There is nothing I feel I can’t tackle after walking out of either.

super mom2

You previously worked in the world of sports. What did you learn about yourself being in a male dominated industry?

Most people automatically assumed that I was just a “sales” woman and didn’t know much about the sport itself. Totally untrue and it helped me build unbelievable relationships that led to long-term partnerships. Women are extremely successful in the sports world, because there aren’t many of us and the ones that are there are incredibly passionate.

Have your professional goals changed since becoming a mom?

Honestly, my professional goals haven’t changed, which is something I love to share with anyone that will listen. I have never felt like I sacrificed a position or desired career path as a result of becoming a mom. Additionally, I don’t let myself feel like I am letting my children down by not being with them all day, every day. I admire and respect any woman who chooses the career path of being a stay at home mom. It’s a hard job that I’m fairly certain I would not be able to handle, for so many reasons. I’ve been clear with all of my employers that while I am fully dedicated to my role, my children are my priority and I have been supported 100%. I want to pave the way for all future moms behind me…we can do both.

Finish this sentence. Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

…to enjoy every second of not “worrying.” It doesn’t matter where my kids are, who they are with or what they are doing, I think of them and their happiness and safety all day. I mean that in a healthy way, not a helicopter mom way. There is no carefree,”I have no other little humans to think of.” But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also think about myself very differently. Being my healthiest physically and emotionally is important to me in general, but knowing I want to be around to see my great-great-great grandkids motivates me even more!

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

My husband is my number one supporter and a very involved dad. However, because we both have demanding careers we have a live-out nanny. She has been part of our family for 6 years and our kids adore her. She literally runs our house every hour that we are not there during the week. I also have my parents who drop everything to be with their grandchildren {huge plus}. We live in a very socially active community with amazing moms and dads so everyone helps everyone with carpools and sports, etc. It’s awesome!

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

PLAN AHEAD. I’m terrible at this, especially with meal prep and grocery shopping. But when I actually do it, it makes a world of a difference. Also, having a network of people around you and your kids that you all feel comfortable with is so important. None of us are expected to be Super Mom…it’s ok to ask for help. Also, create a ritual for yourself either when you first get home or after the kids go to bed that you look forward to. I LOVE to shower and use fancy products. It’s a great way to treat myself after a long day.

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

I do. And it’s not perfect for everyone…but to me, it’s all I could ask for. I’m married to my best friend {we fight and annoy each other like every couple}, my kids are healthy and I really love my job and the career path I’ve chosen. I have a home, not just a house, and my family and girlfriends are a part of my foundation. I’m fortunate. And I know it and appreciate it every day.

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

“We committed to finding a solution for moms just like us”

help for nursing moms

Q&A with Priya Nembhard

Have you ever seen a man try to figure out a breast pump?

Neither had I until I came across this video on Facebook as a special Father’s Day shout out to nursing moms last month. It was cute and clever and showed some serious support from a husband to what his wife went through to feed their child.

The video was posted by Moms Pump Here, a service that helps breastfeeding moms locate a clean place to nurse or pump while on the go all from a smartphone. Why didn’t I think of that?!

It turns out this App is just one of the successful businesses co-creator Priya Nembhard has up her nursing bra. I couldn’t wait chat more with this mompreneur extraordinaire.

Self-promo time. What do you do?

I’m a serial entrepreneur who loves talking about topics I’m passionate about. I once applied to be an astronaut with NASA, ran a couple of marathons, broke a state dead lift record when I was 17 and my life goal is to save the planet.

I am the Co-Founder of Moms Pump Here, the Nursing Room Locator App helping moms find, rate and share places to breastfeed and breast pump around the world. I am also the Founder of a non-profit in Miami, The EDGE Charitable Foundation, Co-owner of the digital media company, Blue Box Media and a bunch of side projects that remind me that I’m human.

What is a typical day like for you?

An entrepreneur’s life is a constant hustle…brainstorming 24/7. Thinking about your next move and what you need to accomplish. So work tends to happen most of the day if I am not careful. I do love to start my day with a cup of black coffee and quiet. So if the kids sleep late it’s like a mini vacation every morning.

Where did the inspiration come from for Moms Pump Here?

My business partner, Kim Harrison, and I are both moms of 3. We both breastfed and breast pumped for our children. We have also known each other since college. Kim contacted me one day complaining about the horrible experience she had looking for a place to pump at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan while attending a conference. She had to resort to using a dirty bathroom stall. We both thought that no mom should have to go through that. No one would eat in a bathroom, why should we nurse our children or prepare their food in one. So we committed to finding a solution for moms just like us and Moms Pump Here was born!

Where’s the strangest place you’ve pumped?

My wedding! My husband and I did everything backwards. I had my first 2 children prior to getting married. My daughter was born 2 months before my wedding. So I had to run to the bathroom, which happened to have a small lounge in it, to pump. Plus I had to wear nursing pads under my dress to absorb leakage.

help for nursing moms

Finish this sentence. Before I had kids, I wish someone had told me…

To not be so serious or to rush. We should have traveled a little bit more before getting married exploring the world, going camping or just being more adventurous. But then again everything happens the way it’s supposed to.

How have your professional goals changed since starting a family of your own?

I prefer to be home and have the flexibility to be with my family. It’s also more important now to leave a legacy for them. Professionally, it’s more about changing the world {for the better} for them and their children.

What’s your best advice for working moms?

Balance will always seem like it’s unattainable, especially if you have more than one child. Be kind to yourself. We are living on a tiny blue ball rotating around a massive sun among millions of stars in a galaxy among trillions of galaxies in a multi-verse. At the end of the day we are all just stardust.

What’s the one accomplishment you’re most proud of?

My children are easy first place winners. But professionally there is so much. One major milestone is coming up for me next year. My Foundation, the EDGE, will celebrate its 10 yr anniversary. I put my blood, sweat and tears into building the organization and helping so many children. This past January I stepped down from my Vice President position after serving in the role for 8 years, to become Board Emeritus. And to bring it full circle my children grew up in the EDGE. It’s a part of who they are forever.

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

Having it all for me means my children are happy and loved. There is no point in changing the world for the better if they’re not. Physically it also means sitting on my boat, under a beautiful night sky with my telescope, with calm in my heart and a glass of wine in my hand. Of course, with my kids and husband. No wine for the kids.

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

“We’re on a mission to redefine what success, career and achievement mean for women”

A few months ago I was casually perusing Facebook and came across a link to a new startup company for women called Werk. The first thing I read on their website nearly knocked my socks off:

Work is not working for women. Exhaustion is not a status symbol. We can’t do it all or have it all in an environment that isn’t designed for our success. We founded this company because women want ambitious careers without compromising their outside obligations. We founded this company because businesses want access to the best, most motivated talent without spending a fortune. We can turn work into Werk. Join the movement.

I immediate hopped over to gmail and emailed the co-founders, Anna Auerbach and Annie Dean. I was their new No. 1 fan and I wanted them to know it. I’ve felt passionate about being a working mom ever since my daughter was born, but have always known something about the daily hustle we endure just isn’t right. It isn’t working.

Today’s Working Mom Wednesday is possibly my favorite to date, because I so admire Anna and Annie for recognizing the need for change in the workplace and doing something about it to empower working women. I am thrilled our paths crossed and encourage you to learn more about what these amazing working moms are doing!

Self-promo time. What is Werk?

Anna: We believe there’s more to work than the number of hours you spend hunched over a computer at the office, and we’re on a mission to redefine what success, career and achievement mean for women. Werk is a marketplace of flexible job opportunities. We feature flexible, senior level positions created in partnership with the best companies in the country and offer them exclusively to our community of 2000+ exceptionally talented women. We help companies better engage and retain a massively underutilized talent sector, and ultimately, we help more women rise to leadership.

You both had careers that ultimately led you to creating this business. What’s your background?

Annie: I spent six years in big law where I did billions of dollars in deal volume representing institutional lenders in transactions secured by real estate. Law was never the perfect fit for me because I wasn’t able to be creative or imaginative or solve big-picture problems that inspire me. But my legal background gave me the skill set to dive deeply into a problem. I find it so satisfying to understand all the sides of an argument and piece it together into the best possible solution.

Anna: My career has been driven by solving problems and making a difference. I worked at McKinsey & Co after undergrad – I loved the problem solving, but wanted a greater focus on social impact. After attending Harvard Business School, I solidified my love of business thinking in the context of social impact. I worked at The Bridgespan Group leading projects for major nonprofits and philanthropists, and then was the COO of a boutique philanthropy firm before launching this company with Annie.

What’s the biggest challenge working moms face?

Annie: Mindset. We need companies to rethink value, and how to create value. The workplace we know today was designed in the 1950’s when one parent was at home with the children. That isn’t the case any more. Not only do many women want full-time careers, but the economy necessitates dual-income households. There are so many other ways to create and demonstrate value than the number of hours that we sit at a desk. As working moms, we know that. But we need our companies and our leaders to learn that.

Tell me about an obstacle you had to overcome to launch Werk?

Annie: Founding and launching a startup is a huge leap of faith. We both left big jobs to start Werk, in favor of an uncertain future. That’s unsettling at any stage, but particularly when you’re mothering small children. It’s scary sometimes, but I think about advice from my husband who’s a competitive long-distance runner. He taught me to keep my eyes on the road. “Don’t look up, because the distance to the finish line is discouraging. Just look a few feet in front of you and keep moving forward.” You have to believe you’re on the right road, in the right race, and you have to have the discipline and the drive to keep running.

What is a typical day like for you?

Anna: There is no typical day! The only thing we can be sure of is that it will be messy, and involve coffee, diapers, and e-mail.

Annie: You know, we started this company 100% virtually. Anna was out West and I was in New York. We believe so deeply in the concept of redefining the rules work, we used it to build the foundation of our company. In fact, this summer is the first time we’re in the same place together. Six months ago, we barely knew each other and rarely connected in person. Today, we’re living with all our kids under one roof in a rented beach house that’s one part bad-ass business accelerator, one part insane summer daycare. Nothing is typical. No day is without a surprise or sidetrack, but we love it and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Werk empower working women

How have your professional goals changed since starting families of your own?

Anna: We have always been ambitious and driven. Having families didn’t change the size of our goals, but becoming mothers taught us how to be our most mature, most effective selves. Motherhood puts your professional goals in closer reach and will inspire you like nothing else, if you let it.

What’s your best advice for working moms?

Annie: Be gentle on yourself. Be ruthless about what matters. And have faith. This generation of women has so much to give. It is brimming with energy and talent. We will leave this world better than we started.

Finish this sentence. We definitely couldn’t survive each day without…

Each other.

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

Annie: Loving nannies, babysitters, grandmothers, godparents, teachers and friends. It’s a lot to be thankful for…and to coordinate!

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

Annie: For us, having it all means possessing the freedom to follow our dreams without abandoning our deep desire to be core members of our communities. We won’t have it all until we can live our lives as our whole selves, with enough space to work hard and love with commitment. We’re not there yet, but Werk gets us closer.

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

“We love that we can continue our mom’s legacy”

family business working moms

Q&A with the Co-Owners of J.L. Childress Co.

One of the reasons I truly enjoy social media is that it allows me to keep up with the people I’ve met throughout my life and what they’re going out and accomplishing in the world.

A standout is one of my sorority sisters, Sarah Gray, who along with her sister Kate Doti co-owns J.L. Childress Co. Started by their mom Jan Childress 30 years ago, these working moms are designing, manufacturing and selling on-the-go accessories in the juvenile market both in the US and internationally. Plus, they’re unveiling a new sub-brand jay elle this August {pumping moms stay tuned!}.

If you’ve got a kid in a car seat and have lost count of diaper changes, you’ll want to keep reading to find out how these sisters are making parenting a breeze for busy mamas like us.

Self-promo time. Tell me what you do.

Sarah: Kate and I are the co-owners of J.L Childress Co. We’re a “small but mighty” company so we all wear many hats. I split my time overseeing the financials & accounting of the company with managing sales to key accounts such as buybuyBaby and Babies ‘R Us and leading our product development initiatives.

Kate: I am responsible for all of our operations & logistics including our full supply chain, as well as managing sales to key accounts such as Amazon.com and our International Sales relationships and finding time for some marketing & PR in my spare time 🙂

Did you always plan to go into the family business?

Kate: It wasn’t always an obvious choice for me, but in 2007, when my parents approached me and told me that they were considering selling the business, I knew in my heart that when I was ready to have kids, working for the family business could provide flexibility and enable me to create work/life balance according to my own terms. Family dynamics within a business are always challenging {especially in our small little offices}, but working with my sister is an amazing journey. We have this successful company with 30 years of history that we get to grow and experiment with. It’s like raising a kid with your sister… not always easy, but so fun!

Sarah: I planned to NOT go into the family business…obviously I had no foresight when I was younger. Things changed when I got married and saw the potential path of my previous career; it was a successful path, but just not the one I really wanted as I began to envision my life as a wife and mother. Kate and I actually semi-worked together in our careers prior to JLC, so I knew that we were a good blend of alike and different, and that we would complement each other well. Working with your sister {or any family member} can be a challenge at times because your “professional filters” can easily be forgotten, but the pros far outweigh the cons. I get to create something amazing with my best friend and share in our successes together…it’s pretty special. Thanks Mom 😉

How have your goals changed since starting families of your own?

Sarah: I actually think my goals have stayed the same, it’s just become more challenging how to achieve them. Pre-baby, I could stay late at the office, travel whenever and wherever, and really dedicate as much time to work as I wanted. Post-baby, the plan is, “how can I squeeze as much as possible into my shorter work day so I can still accomplish my goals?” That’s pretty challenging and I definitely have NOT figured it out yet. Will take any and all advice!

Kate: I agree with Sarah in that my career goals and goals for J.L. Childress have stayed the same, it’s more the timeframe for achieving them that has changed. There are only so many hours in the day and with my kids being so little right now, my #1 goal is to spend as much quality time with them as I can, while still giving my job 100%.

family business working mom sarah
Sarah and her husband love on their sweet baby boy

So what’s your must have baby item?

Sarah: I have a couple {sorry!}. My J.L. Childress Diaper Bag Organizer is so ridiculously handy & helpful {they’ll be available in June at buybuyBaby stores!}. I’ve been using prototypes for over a year and could not live without it. My son is only 19 months so I’ll say this one without any guilt…Wubbanubs J and multiple.

Kate: White noise machines {if I close my eyes and listen right now, I’m on a beach, waves crashing at my feet…}.

Where did the idea for jay elle come from?

Sarah: Working + breastfeeding = pumping at work…and I don’t think I’ve found ANYONE who likes to pump, especially at work. When I was pumping for my son, I was pumping 4 times at work and waking up in the middle of the night to pump enough milk for the next day. It was a challenging experience all around and I kept thinking working & pumping mamas need help! They’re trying to give their kids valuable breastmilk and struggling to fit this new “pump routine” into their “work routine.” I thought…what could we possibly do to help these moms? From there, we spent lots of time talking to all sorts of working & pumping moms to figure out what they needed to help them through this experience. This ended up being community, organization, discretion and encouragement. We used these four pillars to develop jay elle and our first product, a Breast Pump Bag Kit, will launch this August. jay elle is a play on J.L. Childress, and the company’s logo is written in our Mom’s handwriting. Life always comes full circle!

Kate: We love that we can continue our mom’s legacy with jay elle. She started J.L. Childress with a bag for mom’s pumping at work and now 30 years later, we’re doing the same thing for a new generation of pumping moms!

What’s the best part of owning a business?

Kate: Continuing a family legacy and watching our ideas and hard work make it onto store shelves for other parents to enjoy.

Sarah: Flexibility! It’s the reason I am at J.L. Childress. If my son is really sick I can go home and be with him, or if he has a school event {some day} I’ll always be there. It of course means I’ll be finishing my work that evening when he’s sleeping, but at least I can be there for anything and everything.

What is a typical day like for you?

Kate: I’m still nursing my 13 month old, so she ends up in bed with my husband and me around 4 a.m. for a very-early-morning feeding. Cuddling with her in bed is my absolute favorite time of day right now and I’m cherishing every minute as I know it won’t last forever. Mornings after that are a total frenzy. I bring my 3-year-old to preschool and make it into the office by 9 a.m. I try to get home before 5 p.m. to squeeze in as much playtime as possible before the dinner/bath/bedtime routine takes over. By 8 p.m., I’m on the couch with my laptop, a glass of wine or a popsicle….or any combination of the three.

Sarah: I wake up to Danny making noises in his crib around 6:45/7 a.m. and then play and get him breakfast, attempt to get ready for work but usually playing with him wins. Nanny arrives at 8 a.m, rush to get ready in 30 minutes, head to office by way of local coffee shop, checking emails on the way in, and finally in office by 9 a.m. Work…work…work…mainly emails, meetings, phone calls, etc. 5 minutes for lunch at my desk {who has time to eat?!} and more work…work…work. 4:45 p.m rush to get out of the office so I’m home by 5 p.m. to relieve the Nanny and then play time {usually outside in the backyard}! Attempt to make a healthy dinner around 6 p.m. if there’s food in the house {or go to the grocery store with a toddler..eek!}. More family play time when Daddy gets home, then bath at 7 p.m., stories then bedtime at 7:30 p.m. Sleeping baby = pour myself a glass of wine and catch up on my favorite shows {or work!}. I go to sleep around 10 p.m.…wake up the next day…and repeat!

family business working mom kate
Kate Doti smiles with her family of four

Finish this sentence. If I could go back and do it all again, I wish someone would have told me that…

Kate: …you should start looking for childcare early. I also wish that someone could have given me tips on questions to ask. Many of my friends come to me now for advice on childcare and I tell them to 1) trust your gut, 2) if it’s not working, change now – don’t wait and 3) remember that they work for YOU and should be making YOUR life easier.

Sarah: …you won’t know how you feel about working after baby until AFTER BABY. A lot of women make plans to return to work or not return to work before they have a baby, and I think actually having a baby can really change your mind and change your priorities. Just give yourself the space to really decide what will work best for YOU and your family. And any decision you make is the right one.

What’s the hardest part about being a working mom?

Sarah: Finding time for myself. When I’m at work, my work has my full attention. When I’m at home, my son and my husband have my full attention. I don’t get my full attention very much, and it’s been really challenging for me to give myself permission to do things for ME and take time for ME…and even when I do give myself permission, I rarely take action. Still working on it 🙂

Kate: Missing out on so much of my kids’ days.

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

Sarah: My Mother-in-Law says you can have it all, just not all at the same time. And I agree that “it all” is very different for everyone. I think after having a baby the importance of living in the moment really hit me. All I know is that we have TODAY…I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I can’t change what happened yesterday. For me, any idea of “having it all” is really just living every individual day to the fullest, even if it’s just a pretty normal day. It means doing your best, loving the most, being as happy as you can be and being at peace with your life and loved ones. I think if you focus on each day, that eventually each day builds and builds and your goals become reality. If I can go to bed at the end of each day and be happy and healthy, and my family is happy and healthy, THAT’S having it all for me.

Kate: I do think that I have “it all,” and that the hardest part is being mindful and recognizing that we have been given such blessings. It’s difficult to always want more and to feel like things can always be better, which is a good thing for self-improvement and especially in building a business, but it can also be destructive if you don’t appreciate what you already have. To have healthy kids, a husband who is my soulmate and a selfless father {and cooks dinner 7 days a week… don’t hate me}, a successful career, to be able to work with my sister, be surrounded by family and friends who love and support us… I think that’s pretty much all I could ask for.

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