I've been thinking about launching this new series for a long, long time and I'm delighted to launch it today! The goal? To share brave, honest, sometimes hilarious stories of how we hold it all together in one breath and let it all go in another. I want to share stories of what mamahood + biz really looks like, and demystify the idea that we can’t do both well....because I believe that we can do both really well.
As a newish mom I created these questions as a way for me to sit and pause inside the wisdom of the mothers who are ahead of me. I'm deeply interested in hearing what they have to say about how they manage, how they cope, how they do their work in the world while also being fully present in the center of their motherhood journey. I need the examples, the stories, the truth.
(Hannah, me - few weeks ago)
Get ready to be inspired. To be struck. To pause for several moments while letting her thoughts sink in. This is a woman who has done the work - her soul work - and she continues to live and breathe that work and offer it up to those of us who need the reminder to do the same. And please be sure to check out her website where you can read all about her amazing business guiding women to their highest potential.
What makes you come alive?
A kiss on the back of my neck, kissing my little’s necks, a steaming mug of coffee (decaf, non flavored with coconut milk) in a huge white mug, watching a child blow a dandelion puff and wish so deeply, dairy/gluten-free chocolate pudding pie, daydreaming in my minivan, the goosebumps remembrance of falling in love, a glass of red wine while creating my work, waking from a dream that feels real, letters from women all about their acceptance of change, a new idea (oh-my-lord!), connecting to a soul-sister, bracelets sparkling on my wrists, that first moment you smell the beach air and feel the softness in your hair, moving furniture, new gorgeous fabrics to wear, when words flow from a place I can only imagine is ultimate beauty, white stones, feathers flowing, pulling weeds, candles dancing, holding hands in silence, that look in someone’s eyes that sends little sparks of knowing into your core, being with myself and capturing photos and stories of all of it.
What matters to you most?
Trust and truth. Not the dictionary versions but the lived versions. How those two things are scary and beauty all at the same time. I desire them, I don’t always live them. I crave the level of trust with people so that when the truth is what is spoken or heard, I am safe. We are safe, together. Trust and I are working on a new way of being together. Age will do that to you.
Magic. Magical people, places, moments - these are must haves in my life. I stop making sense without the connection to the beauty of magic inside what/whom I love.
Deep connection. Giggles, tears, sweat, near or far. Touch. Words exchanged. Compliments that move you to tears.
Joy. The soft, cozy, deliciousness of knowing that joy was born inside of me and everyday I get to choose to shine that light. Or fight it.
Being Real. Always feeling like I’m different depending on who I am with. I struggle with how to be the same in different parts of my life. I value the realness of knowing that I’m getting closer each year to being one self. One whole. One love.
How has being a mom changed your boundaries & priorities when it comes to your business? What do you find yourself saying NO to, when you used to say YES?
When I was pregnant with my third child I knew that a part of me no longer was alive and that I had to find a way to connect back to her. I had been living only as a mother and the creative side of me was coming out in craft projects with the kiddos and elaborate birthday party themes! But I was depressed. Anxious.
I initially started my work with the mission of connecting women back to themselves, because that is what was on a mission to do.
Life changed quickly. I no longer was lazy nursing, I was nursing while writing blog posts. I started to say yes to things I never thought I would. Like the ipad my little one is on while I’m typing these words, although that also comes with having two older siblings who teach the little one how to use an ipad!
I went from a rather social mama to really needing my introverted ways. Mothering makes us social by default, I had to learn to be more out in the world on playgrounds, talking to other mothers or in La Leche League meetings when I had my first two because I was so lonely and the kids needed interaction. Every day we had something going on.
With my business, I craved quiet space to create and write and dream. Finding a way to treat my business as a real part of my world meant finding help with the kids. That was hard for me. The hardest thing for me is reaching out for help. This business has given me the opportunity to work those muscles time and time again. Still learning this one.
I do say no to spending 3 hours on a weekend at some crazy over-stimulating birthday party with one of the kid’s friends (or sending their dad!). I’ve been lucky that so far I have just put my trust in my gut. When women started asking me to meet them for tea or have phone calls to talk about their businesses, I knew I would need to start to draw boundaries.
So I created a whole new coaching service for them. That is a great way to make a boundary and magic all at the same time!
Because I never had this business without the craziness of being a mom, I don’t know what it would be like to have great expanses of time to work. I learn how to fit days into hours and to let go of things that aren’t feeling good to my spirit.
I would be considered a work-aholic at any other job. Because my business is my joy it is tough for me to not blur the lines. My clients laugh at me because the kids have all made appearances in my videos. On the porch one day I was making a video for one of my programs about surrender and how it changes our lives when we can embrace it and my three year old says, “Mama, see that lady bug?” He continues to talk about lady bugs and I pause for him and his special moment. Great teaching moment of surrendering to perfection or how it should go.
I don’t have an office, I have a porch, a couch, a bed and a table in my teeny tiny home. If I need to make a video from my minivan my daughter might be incorporated into it because she came with me to the coffee shop while I work.
My business was born because of my motherhood. For this I am forever grateful.
How do you structure your day? When do you rest, when do you create, and how do you summon the energy to show up for your kids, while running a business?
My day starts with sleeping as long as I can before all three kinds pile in or the dog makes his needy sounding noise. Making it to 7:30 am is awesome! I pray each day that I can wake up to a house without fighting, but that clearly does not always happen with all of these pairs of little feet running around.
I like to catch up on emails in the morning. So if the two big kids are at school or camp Lucas (3 year old) and I have work time. He’ll either go out and ride his bike or on the ipad and I’ll do my emails and social media. Then we need to move and groove. We walk the dog or go out together. He has been my little assistant for the last 3 years and next year will start some preschool time. Should be life changing for me. For us. I will start to lift weights again and have little meetings with friends over tea. I’m in complete happy overwhelm for what this time will open up.
My creation time is rather specific. Wed evenings I have a work night while my kids go to one of my dearest friend’s house. We have co-parented our children together since they were born. This is when I sit with my tea and then wine and create. My weekly love letter, Making Space, is always written during this time. I am a believer in being as present as I can be. After I write I will spend time in my house alone. Music, some cleaning and I cook a dinner for Patrick (my husband) and I to eat when he gets home with car full of our children. Being home alone heals me. Candles, wine, music, me.
Saturdays I will take the computer to a coffee shop and create. I catch up. I breathe into the uncomfortable places of feeling scared or comparing myself to other women by doing. the. work. Nothing changes my perspective more than a full day with lattes and creation. So today, I am sipping a soy latte, answering these beautiful questions, writing a few days of my new program, working on an about page for a new site that I am co-creating and doing my email coaching.
Creation days are days when I move through the fear. I sit in scarcity until I realize my abundance. I stare at a blank screen until the beauty soars from my soul. I let my eyes fill with tears and they become the source of my power.
Creation days are when I let myself feel.
When I get lonely I pop onto FB and start a thread, today about coffee! These days I’ve been daydreaming about a co-working day once a week or month. This has me quite jazzed up!
So that all sounds lovely, but honestly, I work all the time. I fit in a blog post when inspiration hits whenever I can. Often I am up way too late at night, currently working on changing this habit. Last night I took all the kids to the beach knowing that I would be off in creation today. We had such a beautiful time, we filled up on each other and today I am able to have that space.
Energy is a natural extension of doing what I love and when it burns out I know I am depleted and not showing up for myself. I struggle with asking for space. That is why I teach how to make space, it is my most beautiful and terrifying journey.
What kind of world are you trying to create for your child to grow up in?
A world where they can step into their joy and passion and it isn’t seen as odd but the norm. A place where we don’t use paper cups and overflow landfills. One where choices are a gorgeous extension of living, not a place of anxiety. A world where when they shop they don’t have to go to special stores that don’t have BPA lining in the cans. A world where every front yard is a garden, not grass. I want love for them. A place where mystics dance around trees and we don’t think that is odd because they are healing our world.
Have you ever had a full-on, grown-up-lady tantrum or puddle-of-mush meltdown? (Be honest.) What triggered it? What was the lesson, for you?
A few years ago I found myself on the kitchen floor sobbing. Perhaps less of a melt-down - those I think I have on a daily basis - but a breakdown.
I wasn’t showing up as the mother I wanted to be and as a Highly Sensitive Person I was constantly triggered into anger at my kids. It was me not knowing how to process being so overstimulated all the time. Noise is a big one for me and I have 3 kids. I don’t live on a farm. I run a business in a tiny home. I felt like I was living a double life.
My husband after one of my anger bursts, combination of exhaustion and stimulation, said, “I don’t think the women you work with would even recognize you if they saw you at home.”
It was a defining moment for me. I am honored that my husband felt strong enough to say that to me. I sat on the floor sobbing, sobbing for what seemed like hours. What came to me after the release of tears and my kids coming to sit next to me, no talking, just touching me, was what changed everything.
I knew that I wasn’t alone. I knew that I couldn’t be the only person who felt like the work they were doing was in opposition to their truth. I know that we teach what we most need to learn. And so I wrote about that moment and from then on decided to have as much transparency as I could in my writing so that women who were gifting me with their time and energy would know that they were not alone. I photograph my jiggly belly. I talk about my marriage almost falling apart. I take pictures of my dirty dishes.
I’ve spent years now trying to understand my HSP nature without being medicated and it is a lot of work. I don’t always feel like a great mother because I am highly reactive, but I know that this is one of my lessons to learn and teach. For that I am filled with grateful. And it is really hard.
What is the BEST thing about being a mom and an entrepreneur?
I work in my pajamas from the couch, or the porch while the kids ride bikes. When my daughter makes little cartoons about her mother helping women or writes stories about me. That I can model pride, abundance and joy.
The pride that I feel in my belly when I pay for camp, groceries, travel and new shoes. And I hear the whisper of, “I did that, I created this. From only my soul.”
For you, is balance a myth or something you reach for - tell us your philosophy, your secrets, your ideas.
I think the word is gorgeous. My daughter has developmental coordination disorder, which for her meant crawling, walking, climbing stairs took more work and practice. She is a bit clumsy and awkward running or moving around space. I watch as her body is always seeking balance. One side of her body has to work harder than the other. She moves in and out of balance without grace but with pure desire.
This is how I feel balance is in my life. I am moving in and out of balance without grace but full of pure desire. So it continues, the highs and lows.
::LESSONS DISGUISED AS AWFUL-NESS::
Your biggest struggle? How do you handle/manage/cope?
The irony of me doing this whole business thing is that I am not organized. I procrastinate until the final hour. I love the rush of adrenalin. I have no concept of grammar and my husband tells me I make verbs nouns. My virgo self is so not hanging out in the virgo glory.
My biggest fear is that someone won’t like me. I recently had my first blog post written in criticism of my work. It stung like a nest of bees right in my gut. The Universe always sends us what we need to learn, to let go of. During this time I was receiving letter after letter from women describing how my programs and coaching had changed their lives, from leaving abusive marriages to finally making a profit in their business to saving their marriage.
I would cry when I read these notes and then go back to obsessing how I could make this one person who criticized me like me. I imagined seeing her in the grocery store and asking her for tea. I wrote the letter to her in my mind for days. I wanted to send her a gift, that is how crazy I was to hold onto that fear.
I had to surrender to the pain of not being liked. I sat in it. I felt it. I forgave myself for needing it so deeply. I sent the woman a blessing. I released the fear. I went back to doing the work. My abundance shifted within days of that release.
::The BIZ-BRAIN, at HOME::
How has being an entrepreneur influenced your parenting style? Do you bring your entrepreneurial spirit ‘home’ with you?
I am pretty sure I bring my parenting spirit to my entrepreneurial style. Being a mom to three kiddos gave me a strength and conviction I couldn’t tap into before. I became a woman with these children. I became an entrepreneur who sat on her couch, baby in arms and believed she could. And did.
::The MOM-BRAIN, at WORK::
How has being a mom influenced your business? Do you bring your mama ways to work with you? If so, how?
What’s one of your secret indulgences . . . something you love to do, when you’re unplugged from your work & nobody’s watching?
I love watching shows on the computer, Downton Abbey, complete addiction. I rearrange furniture with reckless abandon. I also love hours on etsy filling up a shopping cart full of pottery and jewelry and art. I don’t buy it all but it is like my vision board of who I am becoming. Ordering something from an artist, exchanging money energy for creative energy is a pleasure of mine.
If you kid was in charge of your business, what changes would he or she make — immediately?!
Well, I asked the kids. First they would have me work less, I saw that one coming. Then my daughter would have me post my daily outfits on my blog. This is a great plan, I can rock out some yoga pant outfits!
Anything that you feel compelled to share? A story? Advice? Secret weapons and resources?
As I opened these questions I started to cry. I did a quick check in.
Me: Hey self, what’s up? PMS or what?
Self: Yeah, kinda PMS but I just feel so grateful to be here now. It is really amazing isn’t it?
Me: Thank you.
Sometimes being where I am feels a bit like a dream that I am living. As a little girl I knew that I would help change lives, that I would create beauty. Living it, even the bits that are filled with struggle, I am in awe how each year of my life brings me more peace, joy and love. I turn 38 in a couple of months and I am surrounded by my soul-sisters and a community that I have created through lots of work and with a heart full of love.
I choose to shine this light.
Shining is a choice.
My mantra: Yes, I can. Thank you.
Huge thanks to Hannah for her time, her wisdom, her inspiration.
You can connect with Hannah through
Website | Facebook | Twitter
You can connect with Hannah through
Website | Facebook | Twitter