Growing careers while raising babies is as challenging as it is beautiful. Every working mom has a unique story to tell, and balancing work, life, and everything in between is a little easier with the power of connection. My dream at Freshly Brewed Mama is to connect with working moms in all phases of their journey to embrace this season, and support the incredible work that moms do every day. It is a privilege to hear your story and share it with this community with a working mom interview.
I am beyond grateful for the fellow working moms in my life that motivate me every day and I love getting the chance to connect with mamas from every stage of their motherhood journey. As I was nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey with my youngest, I was fortunate to meet Kelly Brown of Love by The Ounce Jewelry. She created the most beautiful breastmilk ring for me and the entire process was seamless. It is something I will treasure forever, and I was incredibly impressed by the quality of her work. Not only is she running an amazing business, she is also a mom to two little ones! She was willing to share her story of working motherhood in this working mom interview and connect with all of you in this community.
Please tell us about yourself!
Where do I even start? I’m a mom to two wonderful little boys, married to my college sweetheart, a business owner, and an advocate for moms and mental health! I think my journey to get where I am now was one with lots of roadblocks and heartache, that each served an unknown purpose until now. I think that when something challenging happens in someone’s life you have two choices: you can choose to let it consume you or you can rise above it and let it rewrite your future. When I was 26, my mom died of cancer after an 11 month battle. I was her caretaker and by her side everyday. I did not believe that she would pass away even with the terminal diagnosis up until two days before she was called home. I wanted so badly for her to stay with us. I postponed my wedding because she was doing chemo and wanted her to be able to enjoy the day. When God called her home a small piece of me died and has never returned.
I thought that becoming a mom would fill that hole but I was completely wrong. The hole grew larger. Somehow, by becoming a mother and completing this circle caused this overwhelming feeling of emptiness. I struggled for many months with crying daily, and was not left alone with my perfect baby because I mentally couldn’t handle it. I was suffering from severe PPD. I reached out for help but was turned away from my OBGYN because I was past the 6 week window. I was told I needed to choose between breastfeeding and taking an antidepressant. After 11 months, I stopped breastfeeding and got help. There is nothing OK about my postpartum story, and I am using my current platform to educate and raise awareness of PPD.
What do you do for work, and what do you enjoy about your job?
I am a full time stay at home mom! Something that I never aspired to be or thought I would be. But when the pandemic hit and I was done with maternity leave, I found myself thrown into this new role. I love every minute, but felt compelled to do more. I thought long and hard about where I could work and found nothing that inspired me, and the pandemic didn’t leave as many options. This was around the same time that I was thinking about my breastfeeding journey and I was consumed with mom guilt. I knew if I was struggling, so were other moms.
So I decided to try and fix the piece that felt broken by creating a keepsake that I could hold from my journey. I truly love helping moms freeze this fleeting phase of life. We never know when the last time our baby will nurse, and to me that is such a hard pill to swallow. My hope is that I can help give each mom a little piece to carry with them for when their journey is over.
Does your work look differently after entering motherhood, and what changes did you make to your career if any?
Everything looks different after motherhood! I went from working full time as the Marketing Director at a small investment firm with my husband, to working part time after my first, and now to SAHM status after my second while owning my own business. I had never aspired to be a business owner and always thought that it would be easy to be your own boss. Boy was I wrong! I have never worked so many hours, and yet most of the time it doesn’t feel like work.
What parts of working motherhood do you love, and what parts are most challenging?
I love being able to be here for all of my toddlers’ firsts! I was here to see his first steps, his first words, and everything in between. Also, I am able to put my oldest on the bus and be there to pick him up. My mom was always the breadwinner and ran the lab at the largest hospital in the city, so she was always working during the day and wasn’t able to do those things.
I will say this is not without serious challenges. The pandemic has made everything so much harder. When the world shut down, my family took it very seriously and we went for almost a year without seeing my family. Thus, I couldn’t get any help with childcare either. I just recently stated allowing my Aunt to come over one day a week so that I can devote the entire day to working on my pieces!
What is your best piece of advice for other working moms who may be struggling with working motherhood?
I would say remember to try and be present. Put the phone down and enjoy the time with your littles. They are only this little one time ever and we only get this day with them once. We need to try and make it count. I need to take this advice most! I know I am constantly tied to my phone for work and I need to relish each moment with my little men. The emails can wait, and the calls can go to voicemail unless you are someone that deals with life or death.
With all the things we balance as moms, where does mom guilt most often show up for you and how do you cope?
Ugh the mom guilt is constant! I think that we put this impossible pressure on ourselves as women and moms. Social media puts on these rose colored glasses and we think that if we don’t do everything perfect we are failing. We need to normalize just being an “ok mom!” We don’t need the Pinterest perfect nursery or the Instagram worthy lunch photos. Give yourself some grace and know that your best, and sometimes your mediocre is enough.
I think my mom guilt is the worst when I just feel tapped out or I need a break from my kids before I lose it. Being a SAHM brings a whole other level of challenges in being around the kids all day long. By the time night hits, I just want to run away some days. I struggle with finding a balance in my life. Usually I cope by taking a bath or going to Target!
What is one resource or success strategy that you could not be successful without?
For me social media has been such an invaluable tool. I have never been one to share on social. I didn’t even allow pictures of my first born for over a year! But now, I get most of my mommas from Facebook! Who would have thought social media would give me so much!
What makes you feel most fulfilled in motherhood at this point in your journey?
I think just looking at my boys and seeing the good humans that they are becoming is the best part. When I see my 6 year old stand up for what is right and treating others that are different than him with kindness, it is the best feeling ever.
How do you make time to take care of yourself and what does that look like for you?
I am terrible at this! I think like most other moms I put myself and what I need last. At the end of the day, there is just nothing left in the tank for me. I also am not a morning person (just ask my husband!) so getting up before the kids is not realistic. In a perfect day, my self care would be a Starbucks run, a good workout, a bath, and perhaps some lounging couch time. Maybe some retail therapy if I am lucky!
How can people connect with you and support you in your work?
ONLINE! I have a website, Facebook page, Instagram page and just started doing TikTok. I had one go viral and it crashed my website!
If you want to connect for your own working mom story, email me here.
Until next time friend! Enjoy your brew and may your days be filled with all the beautiful things in this life.
All the best,