Coping with Pandemic Motherhood

As we prepare to enter year 3 of the pandemic, the main themes I hear from women, and the issues I struggle with myself, all revolve around pandemic fear, unrealistic expectations, guilt, and fatigue. Mothers are faced with responsibilities and pressure that no previous generation has ever had to navigate. Outside of COVID, I think so much of it comes down to technology and our unique access to absorb, connect, and compare at any given moment. Three years in to this pandemic I think we are too accessible to the things we need space from and too detached from the people and support we crave.

4 TIPS TO HELP MOMS THROUGH:

Find your people. Given that the pandemic is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and that fear, anger, and confusion can be all consuming, I think that surrounding yourself with supportive, like-minded people, will nourish and preserve your mental health during this unprecedented time. Understanding different perspectives is an important part of life and personal growth. But at this particular moment in history, the pressure can really bring you down, especially as you’re forced to make hard choices for your family. Respectfully do what works for you, honor your gut instincts, and try to release the tension and frustration that might be causing problems with people in your life. Everyone is doing their best during a complicated and emotional time. I believe that going forward everyone’s focus is best spent feeling supported and respected by the people around them, even if you need to take some temporary distance from people you love.

Be mindful of what you consume. We are the combination of what we eat, what we read, what we listen to, and who we spend time with. With more limited social interaction and increased time online, it’s really important to cultivate a life that makes you feel whole and happy on your own time. Think about what makes you feel good, and alternately, what causes you stress, frustration, boredom, or pain. These could be foods, people, social media accounts, TV shows, podcasts, books or music. Eliminate what’s not working and make more space for what does. Phone dates with the people who lift you up, a new 2022 playlist, inspirational podcasts to listen to while you walk, or a little extra self-care goes a long way. I bought this Nano Ionic Hot Mist Face Steamer and I use it for 10 minutes at night. It’s simple but it brings a lot of joy!

Stop comparing your real life to someone else’s highlight reel. We all know by now that what you see online is cultivated to within an inch of its life. But even so, it can be hard to watch if you’re feeling down. So, don’t. I was home in quarantine with my family over Winter Break after a positive COVID exposure. We missed out on spending a week with my parents, and even though we tested negative, we were positively stuck. I started to feel bad every time I opened Instagram and saw people on vacation living it up. It made me feel guilty, depressed, and like I was a bad mom as my kids played in a basement when the rest of the world was out experiencing “life”. Irrational or not, I didn’t want to bring that negative energy to my family, so I chose not to open my personal social media account while we are at home. We were all better for it. If something comes up that’s hard for you to see, you will be too!

Invest in yourself. I think the best way to invest in yourself in 2022 is to be more intentional about what fills you up outside of motherhood. So many of my clients took the last year to turn their passion or hobby into a profitable business. That meant investing in entrepreneurial education, hiring a business coach to help them understand what it took to start and run a small business, spending time creating a business plan and investing money in inventory, website design, and social media management. There are small things we invest in every day, like buying a sweatshirt you love, but stepping outside of mom-life, and investing in a long-term goal is so incredibly fulfilling. This year, focus on what fills you up as a human being. It will benefit you and everyone around you.

Let’s Talk Integrated Marketing Campaigns

When it comes to marketing, don’t put all your disco balls in one tub!
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When your content goes viral or you hit a big sales goal, it’s so validating to see tangible results from your marketing efforts! However, even if you’ve found a marketing strategy that’s working well today, it’s still a good idea to diversify your efforts.⁣⁣
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𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐌𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐠𝐧𝐬 promote your business using multiple marketing channels, all at the same time (paid advertising, social media, public relations, collaborations, direct sales, etc.). Test the market, get consumer feedback, reach more people, and promote your business in a cohesive way.⁣⁣⁣⁣
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𝐒𝐨 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐬𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐛𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐨𝐰𝐧𝐞𝐫, 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐞𝐱𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐥𝐲 𝐝𝐨 𝐘𝐎𝐔 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐚𝐧 “𝐈𝐌𝐂”?⁣⁣⁣⁣
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Here is an example! Let’s say a new coffee shop is opening in your town:⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•First you see the coffee shop promoted in a local magazine with a founder spotlight (𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬)⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•Then you drive past the coffee shop and see a big poster promoting a specialty coffee drink called the “Old Greenwich Grind”! (𝐂𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐝𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠)⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•Then you scroll through Instagram and see a local influencer sipping coffee with the store hashtag and your town tagged in the post (𝐒𝐨𝐜𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐚 / 𝐈𝐧𝐟𝐥𝐮𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐫 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠)⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•Then the coffee shop does a pop up at an outdoor event for your kids school (𝐄𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭-𝐛𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐝 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠)⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•Then you walk by and someone is standing outside passing out free espresso shots for tired moms  — I’m projecting. (𝐅𝐫𝐞𝐞 𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐚𝐥𝐬)⁣⁣⁣⁣
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•Then once you purchase you get an email or text message with a QR code offering you a free coffee with your next purchase —encouraging you to ask a friend for a coffee date! (𝐄𝐦𝐚𝐢𝐥 𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠)!⁣⁣⁣⁣
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𝐒𝐞𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞?⁣⁣⁣⁣
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If you have questions about how to create a customized “IMC” for your business — DM, comment, or set up a 1:1 strategy call with me to map it out! #thisisyourmoment⁣⁣
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#creativebranding #creativebrandmessaging #startuphelp #newbusinesstips #femalefounders #newbusinessadvice #smallbusinesstips #marketingtips #mompreneuer #momboss #integrativemarketing

A FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON INSTAGRAM

Does this quote make you pause, smize, and nod in agreement? Same. Any guesses as to where I didn’t want to the MOST as of late…

If you guessed INSTAGRAM, you are correct!

Instagram can be soul destroying, time sucking, confidence depleting, and embarrassing on so many levels. BUT… it’s also a marketing tool that allows you to sit back and reach hundreds of people — if not more — with the click of a button. So on balance, it has its perks.

But like any strained relationship, a little break can bring a fresh perspective. Here’s mine:

I think the idea of generating free content like a machine and then waiting to see if it “resonated” with people, and then hoping that those people will provide feedback in the form of engagement, is too stress inducing and a colossal wait of time. Instead, I think it’s time to stop creating content for feedback, engagement, and social media growth (stay with me), and instead, focus on creating content that provides value, insight, emotion, humor and connection to your audience. That’s how you can put your mind, heart, products, services, and business out into the world and never second guess your value.

Someone once said to me that I’ve always created content as if I had a million followers — even when I had a few hundred. And that’s what I hope we can all go back to. The idea that whether the audience shows up or not – whether it’s big or small – that you still continue to show up in a way that keeps you feeling authentic, sane, proud and productive.

I will challenge you to ask yourself this: What would you post if there were no likes, comments, shares, saves, and tags? What if it was just you and your audience having a chat? Post that and see what happens. I tried it out yesterday and while it was vulnerable and scary, it worked. It was pretty enlightening, too.

3 things I’ve started to do too:

  • Hide your like count. You can check but no one else can see. Sometimes I go back and unhide later on but it removes external pressure in the moment.
  • Post only when you feel good and ready not when you’re in a rush to get something up. It allows time to be more thoughtful and confident about your content. Plus you will find proof-reading after you’ve stepped away makes for better
  • Think about how you would feel reading your post if you hadn’t written it yourself and what value you would take away. Will it connect with your core audience? If it doesn’t – save or delete.

Always cheering you on!

x Sara

#thisisyourMoment

3 TIPS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS AS AN INTROVERT

Owning a business requires a lot of visibility, but many of the entrepreneurs you see regularly putting themselves out there on social media are actually introverts. They like to keep their circles small, their networking to a minimum, and doing interviews and creating video content can be pretty intimidating.⁣

Some of my clients have expressed concern that their introverted tendencies might impede their ability to grow a business, especially with all the new video content on social media. Mark Zukerberg, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet (all self-professed introverts) would disagree. In fact, a study from the Harvard Business Review assessed the performance of more than 900 CEOs and found that people with introverted personalities exceeded the expectations of their investors more often than extroverted ones.

3 TIPS TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS AS AN INTROVERT

CONNECT AND CONVERT

Being introverted is often confused with being shy or not being social. Many introverts actually love to be around people, usually in smaller groups, where they feel more comfortable. Introverts like to think before they speak so they may appear stand-offish when they first enter a room but they’re typically wonderful conversationalists because of their ability to listen and thoughtfully engage. If you use this trait to connect with your customers, both in-person and online,  you can get to know them in a deeper way and use that information to market to their pain points. The best marketers have the unique ability to listen, learn, and convert their findings to impactful messaging.

KEEP IT COZY

Crowded rooms and small talk are never ideal for an introvert, but if you want to pitch yourself and your business, you’re going to find yourself in the middle of both. Compared to a large room of strangers, more intimate groups will help you communicate and connect in a way that will truly highlight your personality and your business. If you do find yourself at a larger event, branching off into one on one conversations will allow you the opportunity to connect in a comfortable way. When you find a friend who you click with, you can then work the room together. Creating a business that is built on one-on-one relationships also works well for introverts. Some examples include consulting, design, writing, social media marketing, and mental health.

QUIETLY PROMOTE

The ability to sell yourself is a critical one in business, but self-promotion can be particularly difficult for introverts. The trick is to self-promote in ways that will allow you comfortable visibility. For example, introverts often excel at writing, so consider submitting a well-written piece to an industry publication, cultivate a strong social media presence, or write blog posts. The idea is to get your name, experience, and insight out into the world without having to constantly interact.

As an introverted entrepreneur, I believe that if you own who you are and what works for YOU, there are always creative ways to think outside the box, break the mold, and run your business in a comfortable and impactful way. Introverts unite!

x

Sara

MA/ME INTERVIEW WITH DEE EKE

Our next MA/ME interview is with the smart, bright, resilient, and bold Dee Eke of Dee DiARY. Dee and I connected over, where else? Instagram. I’ve followed along on her journey of sickness, health, motherhood, self-care, and her ability to rise above everything 2020 threw her way. Plus, she eats ice cream with a fork, and who doesn’t love an out-of-the-box thinker? I think Dee is a prime example of how you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors. At first glance her online presence is full of color, style, and an immense love for her family. But take a deeper dive and you will find her simultaneously opening up about the more serious ups and downs of her life – all with beauty, humor and grace. 

Without further ado… let’s get this conversation started! ⁣

Name: Dinah Eke (I go by Dee)

Kid(s) names and ages: There is Baby Z (1 year old) and not so baby M (3 years old) 

Location: New York, NY

IG handle: @dee.diary

Q+A:

Tell me about your business/job/career? I am a Senior clinical operations manager. Which means that I am in charge of global operations to bring investigational drugs to market. 

What led you to your current line of work? I sort of fell into it. I went to graduate school to study public health epidemiology and global health. And then I met someone that was working in the pharmaceutical industry doing what I do now and the rest is history. Always thought I would be working for a non profit company doing maternal and child health outreach.

What is one thing you do just for you? Therapy            

When do you feel most like your authentic self? When I am being creative for my blog deediary.com 

When it comes to managing a career and motherhood, what insight or advice would you share with your pre-mom self? Read the book “Drop the Ball” by Tiffany Dufu BEFORE marriage and definitely BEFORE kids. 

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a mom? Making it through 2020! I gave birth to my second son and made it through brain surgery and still have my marbles enough to tell the story. 

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a woman? The moment when I admitted to myself that I was NOT OKAY and sought the professional help of my therapist.  

How do you separate the MA from the ME? I recognize that the two now exist as one and I stopped striving for perfection in being either of those.  Some days I am an excellent mama (if I do say so myself!) and some days I just need a f’cking break from mummyhood. And it’s TOTALLY ok !

Thank you Dee! You can find more on Instagram at @dee.diary

SEIZE THE MOMENT: A MISSED OPPORTUNITY AND A BIG LESSON LEARNED⁣⁣⁣

Have you ever passed on an incredible opportunity because it just didn’t feel like the right fit? Your gut was screaming “no” even though your resume was screaming “yes”? I’m taking you behind the scenes on what that moment looked like for me — and the most important takeaway.

In 2016 I was asked to give a TED talk sponsored by Estée Lauder. I would be joining a group of other beauty industry “disruptors” to share my thoughts on the current social media landscape as it related to business growth and mental health. At the time I was running a successful and first to market personalized nail polish company, Pretty Please Nail Polish. I was also newly pregnant and very sick.

I put all my nerves aside, came to terms with the fact that while public speaking is my worst nightmare, it was an opportunity that one simply doesn’t turn down, and I said YES! Well, I actually said, “ye..s..?”, and seized the moment! I was in!

I wrote the talk. I still have it somewhere. Then the event date got pushed back due to scheduling conflicts. Then it got pushed back again. The TED talk was now scheduled one month from my due date.

At this point I was so puffy I couldn’t see over my cheeks. I was consumed with nerves about labor and breastfeeding and all the unknowns that life was about to throw my way. And then there was the fear of getting up on a stage at the beautiful Bumble & Bumble HQ overlooking New York City and giving a talk in front of hundreds of women while I was barely holding my nausea back long enough to cram in another bagel and melted cheese.

After more contemplation and anxiety than I care to remember, I ultimately declined the invitation to speak, sighting the new date as a conflict. But more importantly, putting my mental and maternal health before my career.

Here’s the thing — seizing opportunities and overcoming fear are part of entrepreneurship, and a part of life. But at the end of the day, nothing is more important than your well-being. Thinking about the nerves running through my body and the fear of what that could do to my baby was too much. And so, while yes, it was an incredible opportunity, I had to ask myself— at what cost?

The experience turned into a life-long lesson of how NOT to be regretful: stay true to yourself, listen your gut, do your best with the information you have in the moment, and put your physical and mental health before everything. Sometimes seizing the moment is simply making the hard decision to say “no”.

x Sara

MA/ME INTERVIEW WITH CAROLINE HUGALL

In honor of International Women’s Day, this MA/ME interview takes us across the globe to hear from my dear friend, Caroline Hugall. Caroline resides in Sydney, Australia, with her husband Kyle (one of the coolest blokes around), and her 3 beautiful children. During our years together in NYC, we shared countless cookies, coffees, and conversations at Stumptown Coffee in the West Village, making professional moves and growing in motherhood, marriage, and friendship. I’m so excited to share some of that insight with you today.

Without further ado… let’s get this conversation started! ⁣

 

Name: Caroline Hugall

Kids:

Beatrix 5.5

Ralph 3.5

Frances 2.5

Location: Sydney, Australia

Company Name: Insurance Australia Group (IAG)

IG handle: @carolinehugall

Tell me about your career!

“I grew up in Sydney, Australia and left to explore the world the second I finished my Economics Degree in the early 2000s. I went straight into communications and spent 7 years working in London at some fabulous advertising and communications agencies including Wieden+Kennedy and Naked Communications before I landed in New York City in 2010. I worked at Ogilvy NY, before taking a global role at Mondelez in North America working on some of the most iconic brands in the world including Oreo, Trident Gum and Triscuit. I joined IAG in 2018 as Group Brand Strategy Director.”

What led you to your current line of work?

“Working in Insurance was definitely not a lifelong dream for me, but I am extremely passionate about brands and understanding how to grow them. I remember a recruiter calling me about the job at IAG and pretty much shutting down the conversation! I felt it wasn’t for me. After having two small children in Manhattan, it was time to return home and I wanted a job that had the scale that I knew I’d be missing on the sandy shores of Australia.

When applying for a job I have two main filters and they are absolute deal breakers for me. The first is the people. I knew instantly that I liked my new boss. After a few conversations we built a rapport that was really important for me. Working with and for people who you get on with and trust is vital. The second filter is the brand and I ask myself a simple question. Does the brand have integrity? I learnt that IAG is a purpose-driven organization. It wasn’t just another “insurance brand”, its purpose, “To make your world a safer place”, is embedded in everything the business does. Three years on and it’s been such a wonderful journey of growth – both for the business and for me. NRMA Insurance (our largest brand) was ranked as the strongest insurance brand in the world in 2020.”

What is one thing you do just for you?

“I get into nature at least three times a week and go for a bush walk. We are fortunate enough to live quite close to Sydney Harbour and I get up early a few times a week and walk along the foreshore. The smells, sights and wildlife fill my soul and re-centre me.”

When do you feel most like your authentic self? 

“Probably when I’m on a bush walk, when I strip back the layers and have a good old think about the world. My husband would probably say he gets my authentic self when I’m nagging him to do something – but honestly, he’s incredible at sharing the domestic duties!”

When it comes to managing a career and motherhood, what insight or advice would you share with your pre-mom self?

“If you want to have a career – whether that’s starting your own business or working for someone else – get a little help with your children.

I have a nanny that comes every day just for a few hours each evening. They help with dinner and bath time (in my opinion, the hardest part of the day!). Most evenings I am working till they finish but once a week I try to grab an hour to myself to do something just for me. It gives me some sanity and some much needed space.”

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a mom?

“When it comes to being a Mom, I am so proud of the partnership I have with my husband. Raising children is no joke but I’m so proud of the way my husband and I work together to raise our children. Someone wise said that in anything we do, we should start as we mean to finish… and I can say that from day one, the domestic duties of child-rearing has been 50/50 between my husband and I. From the very beginning we shared meal times, we shared daycare drop offs and pick-ups, we shared bath times, we shared early mornings. I am so proud that our children witness us in equal measure with no bias or prejudice against what Moms or Dads should do.”

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a woman?

“I am proud to be raising three children that will have a Mom that has a career that she enjoys and finds fulfilling. I want to raise my daughters to command the respect of their peers for doing what they love.

I love watching other women when they are in their flow and truly passionate about what they do, which is why I started a web series called How Did She Get There, featuring women from media, communications and the arts. It makes me proud to celebrate these women and put a spotlight on their careers so that others can follow.”

How do you separate the MA from the ME?

“In very practical terms I delineate between weekdays and weekends. Weekdays I lean more into myself and my job responsibilities. On weekends I am all for my children. It isn’t always so cut and dry, and I absolutely give my children attention on weekdays, but on weekends it is not negotiable. They get all of my attention. Then I usually fall in a heap on Sunday night and look forward to putting on grown up clothes and heading in the office for some peace and quiet on Monday!”

Make sure to check out Caroline’s incredible web series, How Did She Get There. You really don’t want to miss it. Thank you Caroline! I MISS YOU! x Sara

*As a mother, you are always a “MOMMY”, but women are constantly learning how, why, and when to separate the “MA” from the “ME”. In this interview series we hear honest insight from women who share their own experiences finding that separation and balance. I invite you to learn more about them, as you in turn learn more about yourself.

 

MA/ME INTERVIEW WITH TARA CLARK

I’m so excited to share the next MA/ME interview with the funny, authentic and relatable Tara of Modern Mom Probs! Established in 2017, Modern Mom Probs is a parenting humor and lifestyle Instagram account amassing close to 600K followers. Tara Clark is the voice of a generation of modern mothers. Without further ado… let’s get this conversation started! ⁣

Name: Tara Clark

Kid: Jack, age 8

Business Name: Modern Mom Probs, LLC

IG handle: @modernmomprobs

Tell me about your business/job/career?

While I was a SAHM mom in 2017, I created the Instagram account @modernmomprobs as a way to connect with other mothers and have a creative outlet to make jokes about motherhood.  Although the tone of the account is light-hearted and humorous, it also is uplifting and normalizes the tough conversations surrounding modern motherhood.

What started out as a creative outlet turned into a full-time career, including my writing a parenting book which launches in April.

What led you to your current line of work?

I always wanted to work in media and majored in Communications at Villanova University. Before my son was born, I worked at Nickelodeon in the digital marketing department where I managed several social media accounts. This was pre-Instagram though. So I do have a background in social media. It’s funny because now I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do at my own pace. Now I sort of run my own very minuscule media network. It’s really a culmination of all of the things that I ever wanted to do and had experience in doing over the years. 

What is one thing you do just for you?

I enjoy doing my makeup. Even though we’re home every day and my son does virtual learning, I like to put on my makeup, especially for creating content.  Now my hair on the other hand… it’s usually a mess.

When do you feel most like your authentic self?

I feel my most authentic self when I am home with my family– hanging out with my son and chatting with my husband about random stuff. I also feel very comfortable when interviewing people on Instagram Lives. I enjoy the conversations with talented, creative people. I’m a connector. I thrive at connecting people and connecting WITH people. 

When it comes to managing a career and motherhood, what insight or advice would you share with your pre-mom self?

My pre-mom self was an executive assistant, and it was really important to keep myself organized in order to keep my boss organized. Now in my current mom self, it’s still true. I need to keep myself organized so that I can keep my family organized. Simple routines that I can do to streamline my work and to help my son be more streamlined in his work. I sometimes joke that being an executive assistant really prepared me for virtual schooling because it’s a lot of printing papers out and putting them on his desk before the day starts. There’s definitely a lot of parallels.
Another bit of advice would be just to walk away sometimes when you need to clear your head. Put your phone down. Stare at the window. Open up the door and take in some fresh air.

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a mom?

Every time I see my son act kindly towards someone or when someone says “wow! your son is so kind, thoughtful and empathetic!” That has me absolutely beaming because I think it’s the most important thing. 
At his school, there’s a program called ICARE, which focuses on practicing integrity, caring, attitude, respect, and empathy. In school even before academics, they grade the children on ICARE, and his teachers always say he’s the embodiment of ICARE. That makes me proudest of all.

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a woman?

I’ve always been independent. I’m an only child of a single mother, so I learned from a very early age to take care of myself.
I actually love going places alone, like Disney World or Universal Studios (pre-kids).  I’m the single rider right up in the front row. I have the best dates with myself (don’t tell my husband)!
Professionally, I am so proud of the digital village I’ve created on @modernmomprobs and having the opportunity to help modern mothers through my platforms. 
How do you separate the MA from the ME?
Once I wrote a meme which said “you were someone before you became a mother and that person still matters.” I wholeheartedly believe that. All day, every day I am immersed in the world of motherhood from memes to stories to jokes to blog posts, so sometimes it is hard differentiating my brand from me as a person and me as a mother. It seems to all blend together sometimes. So even professionally the MA and the ME is combined. 
Now as my son is getting older, I definitely am finding more opportunities to have alone time because he could sit and read a book while I can flip through a magazine. He doesn’t need my help quite as much as he did when he was a toddler. 
I’m trying to get better at fostering his independence. I’ve always been quick to do things for him, but I’m trying to pull myself back in order to help him in the long run. The more independence I can foster for him, the more ME I can be again. 
Thank you Tara! You can find more on Instagram at @modernmomprobs

MA/ME INTERVIEW WITH JUSTINE MCDONALD

I’m so thrilled to share the next interview with the incredible, hilarious, motivating and goal chasing Justine of Goal Chasers!

As a mother, you are always a “MOMMY”, but women are constantly learning how, why and when to separate the “MA” from the “ME”. In this interview series we hear honest insight from women who are open enough to share their own experiences finding that separation and balance. I invite you to learn more about them, as you in turn learn more about yourself!⁣

Without further ado… let’s get this conversation started! ⁣

Name: Justine McDonald

Kids: Kensie, girl, 5 and Layla, girl, 4

Business Name: Goal Chasers

IG handle: @thegoalchasers

Tell me about your business/job/career?

I coach female business owners to chase their goals with confidence, clarity & strategy.

I’m also the creator of the Mama’s Got Goals Planner, a luxurious tool kit for any Mama looking for a step-by-step roadmap to achieve her goals. Relationships, health, finances & career are the top categories my clients seek clarity on.

What led you to your current line of work?

The back story is I was an overwhelmed Mompreneur who couldn’t gain clarity on her goals. But the truth is I have fought with my corporate identity for years. Never feeling like I quite fit in to the bureaucracy but never having the confidence to go out on my own. Then one day, life hit me and I went all in until I found what lit me up.

What is one thing you do just for you? 

I started my business without a single penny saved. And everyday I show up for that vision for my legacy.

When do you feel most like your authentic self? 

Chatting with clients, sharing stories on Instagram after the first take, spending time near the water and giving back freely to people I love and perfect strangers.

When it comes to managing a career and motherhood, what insight or advice would you share with your pre-mom self to help her better prepare? 

You can do both, well. You just can’t live by other peoples rules. You have to create your own standards and trust in your intuition. One day, one decision and one milestone at a time. 

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a mom?

How kind my children are to people. Children are simply a reflection of their environment, so their kindness means they’ve been shown that same kindness in their lives. 

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a woman?

Starting my business after a failed business, a pile of obstacles and my own self-doubt. Betting on yourself through to victory is the most rewarding feeling in the world for me and I’m so happy I get to be that example for my girls and my mom community. 

How do you separate the MA from the ME?

I have zero guilt taking time away from my kids and I actually know I’m a better mom when I do. Practicing gratitude has actually allowed me to stay calm and present in the moments with my kids while detaching from any weirs feelings about needing time to myself. Spa days, sleeping in on Sat and solo weekend are just a few of the tools but it really comes down to me giving myself permission to want to wear two different hats.

Thank you Justine! You can find her on Instagram at @thegoalchasers

MA/ME INTERVIEW WITH ERIKA LONDON

I’m so thrilled to kick off the MA/ME Interview Series with my OG and forever business bestie, Erika London!

As a mother, you are always a “MOMMY”, but women are constantly learning how, why and when to separate the “MA” from the “ME”. In this interview series we will hear honest insight from women who have been open to sharing their experiences as they find their own balance in life, work, and motherhood. I invite you to learn more about them, while in turn, learning more about yourself. The goal as always, is to inspire, motivate, and connect!
Without further ado… let’s get this conversation started! ⁣

𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞: Erika London⁣

𝐊𝐢𝐝𝐬: Jada (3), Misha (1)⁣

𝐁𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐍𝐚𝐦𝐞 (𝐬): simplevenue (Sushi by Bou, Sushi by Bae, Sushi Suite, SideBAR, etc.) ⁣

𝐈𝐆 𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐥𝐞: @erikalondon_

Tell me about your business/job/career?

“I’ve spent the last 15 years creating and building hospitality brands in NYC. Currently, my company, simplevenue owns and operates unique food & beverage concepts within underutilized spaces in addition to more traditional brick and mortar venues. Most notably, the list includes; Sushi by Bou, Sushi by Bae, Sushi Suite, SideBAR and Hudson Terrace. I love the hospitality industry for its fast pace, captivating energy and its endless possibilities of creating memorable experiences that bring people together.”

What led you to your current line of work?

“I was a college student at NYU studying Economics and headed towards a career in wealth management while also bartending to make extra money. I was lucky to be surrounded by some very innovative people and fell in love with the magic of entrepreneurship in NYC and using creativity to create experiences, venues and brands that people connected with. It started with event production and I quickly fell in love with the ability to conceptualize something and then see it come to fruition. As the years went by and the projects became bigger, I became more and more intrigued by the systems behind the operations and how to make all the moving parts work in order to increase efficiency and successfully scale the business.”

What is one thing you do just for you?

“Like many moms I know, I realized recently that I wasn’t actually doing anything for me so I started doing a daily 15 minute meditation and a weekly bath and those weekly 130 minutes of peace have been glorious and now a necessary part of my day to day.”

When do you feel most like your authentic self?

“When having a dance party with my girls to some ridiculous music and completely losing ourselves in the moment where MA/ME collides. Even though there are no cocktails, the lights are all on and I’m usually in my pajamas and in the kitchen, dancing with my kids and seeing their laughing faces while hearing my favorite songs makes me feel like all is right in the world.”

When it comes to managing a career and motherhood, what insight or advice would you share with your pre-mom self?

“It will never be perfect or feel balanced so give yourself a break, do the best you can and try to be as present as possible in each and every moment instead of thinking about what you should be doing instead or could be doing better. I would also tell her to relish the days of sleeping in, savor the solo trips to the bathroom and be prepared for a whole new level of love you never knew was possible.”

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a mom?

“Seeing genuine happiness and empathy radiate from my 3 and 1 year old makes me feel proud and gives me the proof I need that whatever I’m doing is working.”

What makes you the most proud of yourself as a woman?

“I’m proud that I was able to recognize what I needed in my life to achieve personal and professional fulfilment, make the difficult decision to balance my family and my career, take the necessary steps and am here in the present loving both sides of my life. I have exciting new projects in the pipeline and my work with @mindrnyc also enables me to empower women to help them to manage the same choices for themselves.”

How do you separate the MA from the ME?

“Moment by moment. It’s not easy and definitely even more difficult recently but I find the easiest way to separate the MA from the ME is physically. Although I am constantly integrating my mom life with my professional life and bringing my kids to my venues, to social events, meetings if I have to and now hiding them below the zoom screen, they will always come first when they need me which of course makes MA come first and anything else secondary. Separating ME means making time for the other roles that make up ME.. to be a wife to my husband and not just the mom of his kids, seeing friends by ourselves and not as playdate supervisors and spending even a few minutes at a time alone to hear myself think without anyone literally sitting on top of me.”

Thank you Erika! You can find her on Instagram @erikalondon_