Mama Shaker: Janice of Healthy Pregnancy Made Simple

With the swarm of warnings about what not to eat while you’re pregnant, Janice wants to help conscientious mamas-to-be figure out what to say yes to.

“We have this mama bear instinct to want to protect our babies, even though they’re not ‘here’ yet — because we know that they’re at their most vulnerable stage, growing every organ and every system in their body,” she says.

Janice understands firsthand that despite the desire to make thoughtful choices during pregnancy, it can feel overwhelming.

“You’re in the right to be concerned and to be on top of what you’re eating,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be really complicated, even though the internet makes it seem that way.”

Her Facebook group, Healthy Pregnancy Made Simple, is just the beginning of a new chapter for the wellness coaching business she started 4 years ago. She’s taking a holistic approach to helping women through those crucial 40 weeks.

“It’s not necessarily about what you eat. It could be what you drink, it could be what you’re breathing in,” she says. “So I go beyond the nutrition side of things so that women are feeling great during their pregnancy, hopefully reducing their symptoms, and feeling like they’re doing all they can to set the stage for a smart, healthy baby.”

How Motherhood Inspired a Business

After starting her career in the consumer packed goods industry, Janice decided to get smart about what she was putting in her body before starting a family.


After spending years trying to increase the consumption of most of the major brands you see in the grocery store, she came to the realization that “the messages that I’m putting out there aren’t really helping anyone.”

She planned it out financially with her husband, left her marketing job, and entered the world of wellness and nutrition coaching.

Her newfound freedom has also allowed Janice and her family to spend a few months abroad in Columbia, where her husband has roots.

“We decided to try and get away from the Canadian winters,” she says. “We have the flexibility, so we figured let’s give this a try.”

Women Helping Women Succeed

“Now that we can do everything online, it’s just amazing,” Janice says, as she describes how she’s tapped into groups of wellness experts, fellow moms, and masterminds to build her business.

“Being a mompreneur can feel very isolating, when it’s just you and the kids and the house,” she says. “So having these connections have been really helpful, because I was used to going to the office everyday and working with 40-50 people and having that social network.”

Similarly, Janice wants the moms she coaches to reap the benefits of a supportive community.

“Sometimes if you’re trying to do things differently, and you’re getting those head turns and eye rolls, having someone in your corner to say ‘yeah, it’s okay that you’re worried about that kind of stuff and trying to take action’ can really help.”

How This Mompreneur Makes it Work


“If you’re starting a business, and you’re trying to manage being a great parent, you can’t do everything all the time,” Janice says.

She encourages entrepreneurial parents to build a support system and create daily rituals that bring them energy, while letting go of the things that don’t.

“If you can afford to have somebody to clean the house, or do the grass, or shovel the snow, you can then use that time to spend better quality time with your kids or work on your business.”

She gets up before 5 a.m. and writes for an hour and a half before her kids wake up. They have a little bit of “cuddle time” before she heads off the gym, while her husband makes breakfast for the kids.

For any parent who finds it challenging to build in time for self-care, Janice recommends keeping it simple.

“Focus on doing the things that give you joy, whether that’s talking to a friend on the phone who lifts you up, reading a great book, watching a romantic comedy, or taking a nice bath,” she says.

The highs and lows of building her business have felt similar to parenting, “80 percent of the time it’s difficult, and 20 percent of the time it’s the most amazing thing ever.”

“It’s hard work, but at the end of the day I love what I do,” Janice says. “It’s not all rose-colored glasses, but I’d much rather being doing this than commuting 2 hours a day to work, missing my kids.”

Mama Maker: Elizabeth from Vacay Style

When I first came across Elizabeth, she was honeymooning on a 38-foot catamaran in the pre-Instagram, pre-GoPro era. My husband stumbled across the Hynes Honeymoon sailing blog, and we read all the way through their 18-month cross-Pacific sailing chronicles in a couple of nights.

Fast forward 10 years later, and back on Northern California soil, Elizabeth has raised three young boys and built an American-made apparel business inspired by her travels.

In 2015 she jumped ship from her corporate job and launched Vacay Style, a nautically inspired capsule wardrobe collection for fashionable (yet practical) seafarers. She’s been enjoying a more fluid schedule ever since.

founder pic (1)

“Since I work for myself and do not have a commute, I can easily walk my young children to school in the morning and volunteer every so often in the classroom,” she says.

“It is a luxury that I really appreciate after working for a big corporation in the City for many years. I actually think the ‘all in’ or ‘you’re out’ mentality of today’s workplace is unfortunate and unfair.”

How Motherhood Inspired a Business

“I have always wanted to have my own business and quite frankly (for a lot of the reasons I already talked about) I got over working for a big corporation,” Elizabeth says.

“In addition, I love actually doing the design, sourcing, marketing, etc — not managing other people to do it,” she says.

Like so many of the mompreneurs I’ve met, Elizabeth rekindled her creativity by building her wardrobe collection from the ground up and staying hands on.

“As you move up the ladder, it all becomes having a team of people. I just want to be the one creating, not managing.”

Because each Vacay Style piece will be worn frequently in rotation, Elizabeth keeps the manufacturing local so she can personally ensure the quality of every garment that’s made.

“I hand select every fabric and road test every style before putting it on the site. Everything is manufactured at an ethical factory in San Francisco and made in travel-friendly fabrications.”

Elizabeth knows firsthand what women need while traveling — whether that’s from her sailing adventures, or her experience in merchandising.

“Packing is horrible and planning outfits is really difficult for some people. I love pulling together these capsule wardrobes that create 15 outfits from 5 items.”

“When I get a thank you email or a 5-star review, I know I have really helped that woman have an amazing vacation.”

How This Mompreneur Makes it Work

“I have an amazing husband and a multitasking full-time nanny. We all work together and share the load,” says Elizabeth.

“Often my nanny will do other types of household things for me so I can do the good stuff — hang out with my kids!”

She acknowledges how fortunate she is to have this support, and wants to pay it forward to her future “Dream Team” as she calls it.

“I hope one day to bring more parents on my team who have a lot to contribute but want more of a work-life balance than typical corporate America is willing to offer,” says Elizabeth.

Women Helping Women Succeed

Her advice to aspiring mompreneurs who also have big dreams, but don’t know how to start?

“Go for it! But, don’t expect to make money right away. It takes time to build a business.”

Elizabeth takes the waves of entrepreneurship in stride — a lesson that comes pretty quickly with the constant swells of sailing and motherhood.

“I have high expectations for Vacay but it has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. However, if you do it for the right reasons there is no failure,” she says.

“Not trying is the failure in my mind.”

Elizabeth and her family share a spirit of adventure, and there’s plenty more to come –on both land and sea — in their future.

Mama Shaker: Lori from Mindful Return

Every mom knows what its like to find herself at the brink. For Lori Mihalich-Levin, those feelings of overwhelm multiplied after her second child was born, “at that moment of desperation where one child plus one child felt like 85 children.”

“I was sitting on the kitchen floor crying many nights because I just didn’t know how I was going to hold everything together.”

“I was a wreck. It was really at that point when I realized I needed to build in some moments of intentionality,” she says.

After discovering Abundant Mama, which helps mothers focus on abundance instead of overwhelm, Lori “came out on the other side feeling so much better.”

“I had tools for focusing on gratitude and abundance, I had a community from moms all over who understood I couldn’t get the Cheerios off the kitchen floor and that was okay,” she says.

She noticed that there were programs for everything from birth plans to baby massage, but not how to plan for your maternity leave and return in a way that felt empowered, “like you weren’t going to go off the rails.”

Lori was inspired to fill this gap for new moms “who are just trying to get out the door to work.”

Women Helping Women Succeed

As a lawyer by day, Lori burned the midnight oil creating Mindful Return, a 4-week cohort-based program to help new moms plan for working motherhood, that’s flexible enough for any schedule.

“A lot of moms are in the course while they’re feeding their baby at 3 ‘o clock in the morning.”

  • Week 1 is about a mindful mindset for returning.
  • Week 2 is all about the logistics (“pumping, not pumping, putting food on your own table, negotiating flexibility, dealing with sick days, snow days and the unexpected”).
  • Week 3 is about how to view your maternity leave as a leadership opportunity (this particular topic has me intrigued!)
  • Week 4 is all about staying in a community and not isolating yourself.

“It’s so important to stay connected to other new moms and share in all the struggles.”

Lori partnered with a Mindful Return alum to create an artistic reminder of all the skills that working moms gain — something that we can never hear enough.

I spoke with another one of Lori’s students, who says she feels “more prepared, confident, and excited for this new chapter of my family’s journey.”

“As a first-time mother, the prospect of returning to work after maternity leave was both daunting and exhilarating,” says Jen. “The content of the course and the opportunity to connect with like-minded mamas going through similar experiences really helped ground me and helped me feel more prepared to re-enter the workforce.”

“I start work tomorrow and I am grateful for the community Lori created, and for the lessons learned,” she says.

Note: I’m not the only second-timer to find all this proactivity to be intriguing, after fumbling a bit the first time through.

“Some women didn’t have the best return the first time, and they want it to go better the second time.”

Mindful Return is not limited to first-time moms, or even just moms at all.

In fact, Lori recently launched a paternity leave course to help address the stigma that many dads face about asking to take time off.

“I really, truly believe that we all succeed when both men and women are engaged in the very early days of childcare and child-rearing.”

“Comparison is the thief of joy. If I’m looking around at my colleagues at 4:30 when I’m heading out of the office and thinking, ‘oh my gosh, what are they thinking of me?…”

“No, I need to worry about my plan, my life and what’s right for my family.”

Asking For It

Through the growth of Mindful Return and Lori’s family’s need for a more flexible schedule, she’s become a living example of how to create a “career portfolio” that works for you.

“I think we often have a lot more power than we think we do.”

While interviewing for a new role, Lori first presented herself as a candidate for counsel, instead of a partner (one level above), because she desired a 60 percent schedule.

“Then at some point, I said ‘no, I think I should be a partner at this law firm on a 60 percent schedule,’ and most of the firms that I was interviewing with said, ‘okay, sure, fine.'”

Her natural reaction was, “if it was going to be fine, why didn’t anyone say ‘you can be a partner’?”

“Because nobody is going to say it. If you don’t ask for something, people aren’t just going to offer it up to you,” she says.

Lori recalls another example where a mom who took her course was terrified to meet with her boss during maternity leave, to ask if she could switch to an 8-4 schedule (instead of 9-5) so she could have more time with her baby after work.

Her boss was so relieved that she wasn’t there to announce her resignation, she quickly realized she had “lost all this sleep over asking for this silly thing.”

“You never know until you ask,” says Lori.

So where to begin?

“Dare to dream about what might be possible in your world. Sit down and journal about it, exploring all your different options and trying to figure out what would be best for you,” she says.

“Then break the dream up into bite-size pieces and go after one of those pieces.”

Lori recommends starting by proposing a trial period for a flexible arrangement. In her experience, it often works out just fine.

“I attend to my legal clients’ needs whenever they happen, but I don’t have to be in one specific place at any particular, given time. So it allows for some flexibility in weaving together those two worlds,” she says.

How This Mompreneur Makes it Work

Lori builds moments into her daily routine very intentionally, along with mantras like “I am enough.”

“I think ‘enoughness’ is a huge problem in new parenthood. Because there’s never enough of anything,” she says.

Every morning, evening and sometimes on the way to work, she “carves out times of pause.”

Before the kids wake up, this includes:

  • Writing in a gratitude journal
  • 10-15 minute yoga practice

Between 7:00 – 9:30 a.m it’s a typical morning:

  • Her husband makes breakfast
  • Everyone gets dressed and off to school
  • She hops on the metro to get into the office

After work:

  • At 4:30 she hops on the metro
  • She picks up her kids with her husband
  • They alternate who makes dinner
  • She has “Thomas & Friends” playtime with her kids
  • Then it’s bath and bedtime

Her evenings after the kids go to bed, include:

  • Working on Mindful Return for a couple of hours
  • Gratitude journaling
  • Meditation

“You have to be patient with yourself. Know that each incremental step matters.”

“You can really make an impact, and be a leader, and start something amazing with a lot of baby steps,” says Lori.

Mama Shaker: Jennifer Jordan, Aeroflow Healthcare

When Jennifer Jordan returned from maternity leave back to her business development role at Aeroflow Healthcare, she set a goal to continue breastfeeding for the remaining eight months of her son’s first year.

Realizing that “being a mother made me the subject matter expert,” Jennifer identified an opportunity to create a new division at Aeroflow to make it easier for women to meet their own breastfeeding goals.

“Luck, opportunity and hard work came together,” she says. And in 2013, Jennifer became director of Mom and Baby at Aeroflow Healthcare.

While pumping is a non-negotiable for any mom returning to the workplace, the Aeroflow Breastpumps team is on a mission to make it accessible — and reimbursable — for more women in all walks of life.

Only the Best for Baby

Jennifer’s team searches for quality breast pump manufacturers to partner with, like Medela whose products are manufactured in the United States, Canada and Switzerland, and packaged in the U.S.

During my first pregnancy, I chose Medela’s Pump in Style since it got the highest reviews and the bottles were BPA-free. I rigged it with a portable battery to make pumping on-the-go somewhat easier, sported a poncho or nursing cover, and carried my precious cargo around in an insulated lunch bag and cooler.

This time around, I may opt for the Sonata, Medela’s first smart pump, since it’s designed to be quieter, and comes with a portable battery and mobile app. I’m also excited to add the much more discreet Freemie hands-free pumping to the mix, and perhaps a sleeker-looking Petunia Pickle Bottom Tote too.

How This Mama Makes it Work

Jennifer believes as mothers that we’re our greatest critic, and proudly describes herself as “perfectly imperfect.”

By finding a way to channel her passion at Aeroflow, she’s also discovered the formula to being the best mom and wife she can.

“I’m a better mother because I work,” she says, encouraging moms to embrace whatever balance is right for them.

For Jennifer, that means a daily ritual with her son on the drive to school every morning. They have what she calls “our special time together” to talk and prepare for the day.

Women Helping Women Succeed

Jennifer’s advice for other entrepreneurial moms is to trust your instincts, live your truth and your passion, and surround yourself with powerful women you can learn from.

“Put 100 percent into each and every moment,” she says.

Mama Shaker: Rachele from VFit

As Rachele nears the 3rd birthday of both her virtual fitness company and her youngest child, she’s embracing the growth that comes with getting out of her comfort zone.

This includes spontaneously running a live virtual fitness class for a casting agent in a Las Vegas hotel ballroom, in front of 100 fellow entrepreneurs auditioning for the popular TV show.

“The only way to experience VFit is to do VFit,” she says, as she describes the moment where she and her fellow trainer streamed 50 class members from around the country over Zoom, much to the bewilderment of the casting agent.

“It was amazing to see all these familiar faces from outside. We had nurses logging in–in their scrubs–from their hospitals,” she recalls. “That’s the culture we have. It’s lifting each other up, being there for each other.”

“My eyes started watering, thinking, ‘This is incredible. If it doesn’t go anywhere further than this, I’ve done something special.'”

“When I left it wasn’t about what was going to be the next step. I felt so in the present and so much energy. For once, accepting that I give so much, receiving all that support and love, and feeling like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.”

Overcoming the Fear of Failure

It was her husband’s words that gave Rachele the push she needed to finally audition 10 days earlier.

“The reason I decided to go is because he gave me this one line, ‘If you see somebody else on that show with your same idea, and you never tried, you’re going to have that regret.’ ”

“And that got me right there. Regret. You can’t run a business with regret,” she says.

“What is failing, really? If you put something out there and it doesn’t work, you learned and you can usually get yourself out of it. It’s the fear of failing that’s so debilitating.”

“Vulnerability is my word of the year,” she says.

outdoor handstand

How Motherhood Inspired a Business

After working in an “everyday 8-5 job at a computer, without any windows” for about 8 years, and moonlighting at a gym, Rachele had her first child.

“I went back to work part-time and it just didn’t feel right,” she says. “I felt like I was going to miss her big moments, and it was more of a hassle to get her to daycare every day.”

Rachele says she devised a plan that started with getting her personal training certificate online and building enough clientele over Skype to allow her to leave her office job.

She’s also a big believer of “being around the right people and putting yourself in situations.”

After conducting a combo workout and cooking class with her friend over Zoom (the same video conferencing app that has vastly improved working from home for me), she got inspired to scale her business, as her husband had been encouraging her to do.

“The wheels just got spinning,” she says. With the addition of MINDBODY for booking, Rachele had everything she needed to host group classes.

As an added incentive to finally give it her all, the logistics of teaching at the gym had lost its luster for the now working mom of two.

“It became stressful and I wasn’t even enjoying it anymore,” she says. “It was a three hour production to teach a one hour class. Waking up two kids from naps, finding someone to watch them, or lugging them to the gym…”

Rachele officially launched VFit by putting out a free week with 10 classes on the schedule. Immediately there were 25 sign-ups and 12 people became members.

Fast forward to today, VFit has grown to 225 members, 99 percent of which come from referrals.

“Friends bringing friends makes it more fun” and adds accountability, she says.

Women Helping Women Succeed

VFit has helped Rachele realize that she enjoys working and feels a sense of pride and self-worth by contributing to her family’s income, despite the challenges she initially faced as a new mom trying to juggle it all.

“I think it would be boring to not work hard,” she says, which she credits as a lesson she learned from her own hard-working parents, as well as the legacy she hopes to leave her own children.

“There’s no perfect balance. Even when I think I have perfect balance, day care closes, or my kids are sick, or something else comes up. You don’t have this perfect plan. You just try,” Rachele says.

“I don’t sit there worrying about the unknown. I just do what I can.”

Flexibility is an important part of the culture of her team of trainers as well.

“If you had to get a sub at a gym last minute, good luck. Everyone at VFit has stepped in –from a hair salon to a park — to cover classes for each other.”


Rachele also values the lessons she learned with her partner in an earlier coaching business that ultimately helped prepare her for VFit.

“I don’t think I could have started this business on my own without working through it with someone else, the first time,” she says.

It Takes a Village

VFit has taken off in what Rachele describes as “these little microclimates that don’t have gyms with daycare, that have severe weather, and that are in rural areas,” very similar to where she lives in Mammoth Lakes, Calif.

Despite her loyal following in places like Kentucky, New Hampshire and Oregon, Rachele has aspirations to grow her virtual fitness studio in a way that’s manageable and keeps the “human factor” that sets VFit apart from pre-recorded alternatives.

“There are millions of people whose lives can be changed from this platform that have no idea we’re around,” she says.

Rachele isn’t discouraged going up against companies with “millions of dollars to spend” because of the connections she’s built with her team and her close-knit community of members.

“They’re the best marketers I have because they’ve stuck with it,” she says, noting the “sweaty selfies” members share with each other after class in a Facebook group.

Rachele has also found VFit’s unique voice, with the help of a copywriting coach she calls her #1 investment, helping her “dig into the truth of who you are.” She says it’s about so much more than weight loss or developing biceps:

“It’s a way of life. It makes you a better person. It’s a fun group to be around every day because they truly lift each other up.”

Mama Maker: Leah from LCeeeDesigns

American Made Baby Brands

Leah is a lawyer by day and a mom of three boys who embraces life’s chaos with the same resolve that her Midwestern home is known for. So much so, that a particularly messy plane ride with her first-born led to creating LCeeeDesigns and its first product, The Flipping Holder.

It all started when Leah decided to stock up on squeezable food pouches and accessories for her first flight with her then 1-year-old son. She typically made her own baby food, but figured that going through security didn’t need to be any more complicated than it is with baby gear in tow.

Unfortunately her best laid plans for feeding her son on the flight back-fired.


“It was a matter of 30 seconds. I opened up one of the pouches…he grabbed at it, and it just squeezed everywhere. It got all over me and all over the person next…

View original post 689 more words

40 Working Mom Stories That Made 2017 Shine Brighter

2017 was undoubtedly a big year for women, and looking back it feels like working mamas are finally getting a chance to shine.

From a conference dedicated to mompreneurs in San Francisco to booming Facebook groups with 20,000+ members, there is a movement of moms leading and building businesses, and redefining corporate culture in the process.

As a working mom myself, I haven’t written as many stories about all these amazing mamas as I’d like to, so I found Twitter to be the next best way to quickly spread the word.

Here’s a recap of 40 moms, moments and would-be blog post topics I found to be particularly inspiring in 2017:

Working Mom Tales From the Road

Discovering the Working Parent Resource podcast set the year on the right foot. (Thanks Sarah for everything you’re doing to help make it easier for working parents to find their way!) Here are some of the working mom voices that inspired my morning drive time:

There’s nothing that gives a busy mama more relief than hearing a kindred spirit tell their story, which was my experience hearing Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less author Tiffany Dufu share hers on the Heroine podcast:

The Naked Truth About Working Motherhood

Getting other humans out the door in the morning is nothing to sneeze at, and Liz Petrone managed to bring humor to the madness:

While Neha Mandhani reminded us why it’s helpful to embrace imperfection…

Motherly editor Colleen Temple perfectly captured the conflicted emotions of motherhood, “to every mother who wants to give herself a hug when she checks on her sleeping children post-bedtime because today was a tough-as-nails day and now in the still of the dark night, she wonders if she was enough, did enough—I’m that mama, too.”

SWAAY captured confessions from 14 working moms, including the mompreneur behind Kindred Bravely (softest maternity/nursing bra ever!):

Why It’s Worth the Working Mama Juggle

Sometimes we need a reminder of why we’re crazy enough to try and juggle it all. Two videos captured it very nicely — one from tried and true baby food brand Happy Baby and another from which helps create flexible jobs:

Tend Lab founding CEO Amy Henderson is championing the evolution of corporate culture to better recognize and support parenthood. In addition to her spot-on quotes about the benefits of working moms in Mother, she also moderated a fantastic panel on juggling it all at the In Good Company conference:

These quotes are the closest things I’ve found to an antidote for working mom guilt. The first comes from a profile of stylish mompreneurs behind Nomad CollectiveELLIS BROOKLYNFreshly Picked Baby MoccasinsPembroke PR, and Catherine Kwong Design in Mother. The second is from the Krazy Coupon Lady who appeared on Mario Armstrong’s Never Settle Show:

Making Life Before and After Maternity Leave A Little Easier

I loved the words of maternity-benefit pioneer, Maven‘s CEO and founder, Kate Ryder, on the GirlBoss podcast discussing how to make the most of her time in the office as a new mom, “One of the first things I did when I had a kid was reduce meetings to 30 minutes.”

Author of Here’s the Plan.: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood and WeeSpring founder, Allyson Downey, is helping women educate themselves on maternity leave and returning to work after baby, as featured in Motherly:

Kim Chappell so eloquently captured the emotions of a new mom getting ready to head back to work after maternity leave, which made me want to reach through my phone and give her a reassuring hug:

Designer Sarah Sherman Samuel admits she “had no idea how I was going to feel, what I was going to take on, or how I was going to do it” once she became a working mother. She shared how she’s currently arranged childcare in a way that works for her:

A new mama who’s near and dear to the TripIt team, Natalie DiScala, wrote two great pieces for moms facing the reality of traveling for business, covering everything from nursing to childcare:

When Motherhood Inspires New Business Ideas

“Kids are the ultimate start-up.” I love this quote from the co-founder of bkr glass water bottles in Mother (which were a welcome inclusion in the spring The Zoe Report’s Box of Style along with other mompreneur-created products):

Sarah Michelle Gellar found the inspiration to start FoodStirs and step away from travel-intensive acting after she had her daughter:

Kango founder Sara Schaer set out to kick carpool chaos to the curb by launching a Lyft-like service in LA and SF, in which all the drivers are fingerprinted and background-checked:

Air Force veteran and Euphoric Herbals founder Cindy Collins started making herbal teas for her clients as a doula, around the time she had her first son. As her family grew, so did her business (from $3,200 in revenue in 2011 to more than $400,000 just five years later):

Beluga Baby wrap founder Haley Campbell launched her company four months after giving birth to her daughter. She lived to tell the tale in Motherly:

Advice from Women Who Paved the Way for Today’s Working Mamas

I’m lucky to be surrounded by inspiring women leaders at work, some of which were featured in Working Mother and Inc:

SitterCity CEO Elizabeth Harz has refined working motherhood by planning ahead and shared other tips with Working Mother on how to carve out more time and cut yourself some slack:

Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, the powerhouse literary agent behind Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg, Brene Brown and Arianna Huffington, reminded us that guilt is essentially useless:

Fashion mogul and pioneering mompreneur, Eileen Fisher, shared her one working mother regret on the How I Built This podcast:

Research that Gets it Right

It’s time for outdated research on “advanced maternal age,” “geriatric pregnancy” and my personal favorite, “elderly multigravida” to go the way of the dodo. The New York Times helped shed some light:

A study in the Atlantic followed up with 37 women who graduated together, 20 years later; the results from the  “Ambition Interviews” were both fascinating and heartbreaking. Authors Hana Schank and Elizabeth Wallace have written a book, The Ambition Decisions: What Women Know About Work, Family, and the Path to Building a Life, which comes out in June 2018:

Working Mom Voices Are Getting Louder

Melinda Gates became a welcome and powerful voice in the gender gap discussion by highlighting how America’s workaholic culture isn’t helping moms–or anyone really. She’s not the only recognizable face bringing much needed attention to the issues facing working moms:

As a “digital” participant of the inaugural In Good Company conference, I was delighted to see these recaps (and live vicariously through them) in Vogue and the San Francisco Chronicle:

Stitch Fix CEO Katrina Lake made headlines when she IPO’d with her toddler in tow. I was equally interested in surfacing the day-in-the-life secrets to her success as a mompreneur:

I can’t wait to see what 2018 holds in store for working moms. In the meantime, you can count on me to keep sharing stories every chance I get!

When Working Mamas Need a Break

I’ve been hibernating. I haven’t written a blog post in two months. I just didn’t have it in me to give up any spare moments of rest. But I know I’m not alone.

Some of the most driven mamas I know — who are actively raising young children, working in corporate jobs and even building businesses on the side — find themselves needing to turn one dial down from time to time, like Sarah from Piperoos.

For Paula from Ceh Flora Gifts, caring for an aging parent comes with many curve balls. But it also puts things in perspective, and can even be a source of inspiration to change direction.

I’m learning from the mompreneurs I speak to that we all have different modes. Sometimes we’re on, sometimes we’re off. Building a career, a family and a business (or passion project) has to be at our own pace. But it’s hard to give yourself that forgiveness.

Patagonia has proven that you can keep an eye on the long game, while having ups and downs along the way:

“We didn’t know if we were going to make it or not,” said Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia on NPR’s “How I Built This,” about the period following a down turn.

“All decisions from then on were made as if we were going to be here 100 years from now. So, slowing down the growth, saying no to a lot of opportunities and just being more responsible.”

“One year we’ll grow 3 percent, another year we’ll grow 20 percent,” said Chouinard. “It’s not this smooth curve like public companies that have to grow 15 percent every year… There are two kinds of growth, one where you grow stronger and one where you grow fat.”

This philosophy comes from the same company that retains 100% of its moms by providing on-site childcare.

Have you taken time to recharge lately? I’d love to hear your story.

How Working Moms Find Inspiration in Hard Times

When the going gets tough, working moms get going. If you’re feeling saddened or discouraged by the wake of the recent hurricanes, wildfires or earthquakes, just read the Twitter feed of mama mogul Bethenny Frankel. You’ll see a woman on a mission, filling up private jets and cargo ships to get supplies straight into the hands of victims.

As of mid-October, Bethenny’s B Strong organization has raised more than $4 million in in-kind donations for Puerto Rico and she’s now reaching out to companies, celebrities and citizens alike to help pool together more than $50 million in donations.

Bethenny’s a lifelong entrepreneur who was driven to create her own success after a difficult upbringing. You can read more about her journey in A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life.

Fellow “Celebrity Apprentice” alumna Nely Galan has demonstrated the same boundless determination. Building her own fortune as a Cuban immigrant taught her lessons that perfectly capture the spirit of the mompreneur stories that follow:

I’ve added her book,  Self Made: Becoming Empowered, Self-Reliant, and Rich in Every Way to my reading list, and encourage you to do the same.

From personal struggle to a more flexible business

“I was sitting in ICU with my mother, who I almost lost the night before, and I knew I needed to be available to her when she was well enough to come home,” says Paula, who fits the definition of “Sandwich Generation,” caring for children and aging parents simultaneously.

As a personal concierge by day, Paula came up with the idea to create a service to help save busy professionals time by curating personalized gift boxes for special occasions. She “scratched out a rough business plan, started researching vendors and took the leap” to launch Ceh~Flora Gift Co.

Paula’s typical clients are busy working women, many of whom are moms as well. She’s raising 3- and 5-year-old “little divas” who she hopes to inspire to be “lady bosses of tomorrow.”

“I work while they’re at school. I set an agenda of 3-5 items I need to accomplish,” Paula says. “Whatever doesn’t get done before my oldest gets home moves to the top of the next day’s agenda.”

Gaining perspective and finding your voice

“Last year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it totally pulled the rug out from under our feet,” says Sarah, a “proud mumpreneur of two.”

“It made me realise that life is precious and it goes way too fast. That nothing is more important than spending time with those we love. It taught me to slow down and made me want to help others do the same,” says Sarah.

“I’d finally found the topic for my blog and so A Simple and Contented Life was born.”

For Sarah, it’s the relationships with her husband, parents and siblings that nurture her.

“My husband is my biggest support,” she says. “He works from home too so we share the workload when it comes to housework and school runs etc. As a family we’re very close, our parents and siblings are an amazing support and we all help one another out whenever we can. I have a great network of mum friends too!”

Sarah has a plan in place to build her blog in a way that doesn’t take away from quality family time:

“My youngest is at school, so I usually work between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m,” she says. “I try to get up at 5:30 a.m. to get an hour of writing in each day before everyone else gets up… but I don’t always manage it! I’ll sometimes work in the evening too. I sit on the sofa with my laptop whilst watching box sets on Netflix with my Hubby.”

“Friday nights and weekends are reserved for family time so there’s no working unless absolutely necessary.”

If these mamas can make lemonade out of lemons, so can the rest of us!

This is the latest post in a series on how working moms are building and leading companies.


Giving Mompreneurs a Boost with The Zoe Report’s Box of Style

Tuning in to The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo was part of my early curiosity around the inner workings of a #momboss. Fast forward a decade, and the glamorous mama mogul is now supporting other mompreneurs in The Zoe Report’s Box of Style.

Each season, a new set of emerging beauty and style brands – powered by female founders – are featured in a luxurious package that’s convenient enough for busy moms to feel pampered too.

Women Helping Women Succeed

After arriving in my Spring 2017 box, this foot-loomed Tribe Alive handbag – warmly tagged “Made in India With Love” – became my carryall for everything from notebooks and charging cords during the week, to diapers and wipes on the weekends.

Tribe Alive Handbag from Box of Style

For Tribe Alive CEO Carly Burson, The Zoe Report’s Box of Style has helped expand her brand’s mission to empower female artisans around the world to raise themselves out of poverty.

“We were able to reach a large audience of women through this collaboration and were thrilled over how well the design was received by Box of Style subscribers and how the mission behind our brand resonated with so many,” Carly says.

“Our team at Tribe Alive is full of hard-working moms and we all act as one support system,” she says. “We take on extra work for each other when one needs it, we offer to help with each other’s kids, and we understand that sometimes schedules need to be flexible. We work really hard to foster a culture that allows working moms to be successful in their career while also feeling successful at home.”

“Our team supports each other every step of the way so that we can accomplish all things in all areas of life,” says Carly.

Forever India. Forever changed. 📷 @erinloechner

A post shared by Carly Burson (@carlyrburson) on

“I’m honored that my ‘village’ is full of the women who sit beside me everyday to help me build a brand that in turn allows women all over the world the opportunity to care for their families.”

How this Mompreneur Makes it Work

Helping women succeed comes full circle for Carly: “My support system is my life line. I could not do what I do without the Tribe of women who hold me up.”

“I work with so many amazing women who help guide me through the balancing act of being a female entrepreneur,” Carly says. “Most days it feels like an impossible job, but I surround myself with colleagues and mentors who share about the true struggles of being a business owner and a mom.”

“Some of the women and friends I look to for guidance are Erin Loechner from Design For Mankind, Liz Bohannon of Sseko and our own [Tribe Alive] Brand Development Director, Reagan Shedden.”

Stay tuned for more stories of the mompreneurs featured in The Zoe Report’s Box of Style.

Fall 2017 Box of Style

Here’s my hyper-speed unveiling of my Fall 2017 box, which just arrived last week: ​ ​

This navy GiGi New York clutch converts into a laptop case…Be still this working mama’s heart!​​


(To get $10 off the Fall 2017 box, use promo code FALLBOS10, or to get $20 off an annual subscription, enter promo code BOS20 at Box of Style.)