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.

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