Some days it feels like it’s impossible to juggle working from home with small children, but there are incredibly inspiring mamas out there who do pull it off. I’m super excited to share with you an interview I did with one such super mama.
I have been emailing Jessica from Nerdy With Children for a while now, and I was absolutely stoked when she agreed to do an interview with me. Her rad clothing line aimed at geeky parents and kids alike is really starting to take off, and I am in awe of her. I mean, not only is she an entrepreneur, but she also has a bub around the same age as mine! Needless to say, I was definitely curious to see how she makes it all work.
N: Firstly, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
J: Sure! I’m currently living near Ottawa, Ontario but grew up in California. In another life I taught high school English, but now I’m working hard to grow my online business schlepping my wares to all the other geeky families out there. As far as free time goes, my husband and I are major Blizzard nerds. We met while raiding together in WoW and currently spend free evenings playing Heroes of the Storm with our friends. We even named our daughter Jaina!
N: What inspired you to start Nerdy With Children?
J: Nerdy With Children actually used to be a content site where we published articles spanning the breadth of the nerdy parent community. I started there as an intern and gradually worked my way up to main contributor. When one of the site owners and I both had babies within three months of each other, we decided to dive in head first and found our clothing company.
N: What does your typical work day look like?
J: All the other work at home mommies out there know that some days are more “productive” than others! If it’s a day that goes according to plan, I get up with the baby and have a few quiet breakfast hours with her before it’s time to help my husband get out the door. Then I put her down for her nap, have a call with my business partner planning out the day, and spend the rest of the day working the plan in between chores, diaper changes, meals and playtime. Throughout the day I answer customer emails, post on various social media outlets and research and try new marketing ideas.
If the day goes well, I give myself the night off after she goes to bed. If not, night time is the best time to work!
N: How do you find a balance between work, family and free time?
J: You’re asking this question because this is the hardest part of it all! I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near mastering it, but reminding myself to be present is extremely important. Working at home adds an element of stress because the laundry and dishes and dog hair are right there staring you in the face, but if you can stop planning and worrying and just be, there is joy immeasurable in a baby giggle or getting a big online order and all you have to do is be present enough to to feel it. In short, I can’t possibly find balance all the time, but I do try and find pieces of joy.
N: What hurdles have you had to overcome so far?
J: Personally, this year has been a major time of learning curves with a new baby, a new business, and even a new country. The toughest personal hurdle has probably been going from a more structured professional life as a teacher to having a lifestyle where I need to manage my own time. The hardest thing I’ve had to do is build in time for myself to go outside or have a screen-free family dinner while the to-do list sits unchecked, but those things are the most important and need to be protected. I still haven’t totally figured that out!
N: Who are your role models?
J: My business partner is a huge professional role model. He’s taken me in and mentored me all along, and through his example he’s shown me how to fiercely protect and pursue my dream. Entrepreneurship is exhausting, but you can never give up no matter how tired you are.
I have a lot of real and fictional role models, but lately rather than looking to others to be an example to follow, I’ve been thinking about the woman I want my daughter to be. I want to make myself as much as I can into the person I hope she will become, because who we are and what we do (and not what we say) are what kids will emulate, and that’s a heavy responsibility. It’s tough to do, but the more I ask “what would I want her to do in this situation,” the more I am able to make the choice to be patient and healthy.
N: Are you brave enough to show us a shot of your work space?
J: How fun! Photos are attached.
N: Do you have any advice you would like to share with mothers who are considering starting their own business?
J: Be ready for it to be hard (really hard), and be humble enough to listen to the lessons a temporary failure is trying to teach you. You may need to do something else to stay afloat while your business becomes profitable (most small business owners don’t take a salary right away, I’m learning) but if hanging in there feels right and you don’t want to give up, listen to yourself.
Allow yourself to take an hour, a day or a weekend off. You can’t be your best self if you’re tired and frustrated. Coming at problems with a fresh perspective is absolutely essential.
Most importantly, never apologize for putting your family first.
If you really want to start a business, don’t wait. Just do it, even if all you have at first is 20 minutes a day.
N: How can we stay connected with you?
Be sure to check out Jessica’s site, and if you see something you like, use the code MAMANEEDSMANA at checkout to receive 20% off your order! 🙂