3 Mom Bosses Share Key Bits Of Advice For Working Moms

Chairish is proud to be a company where women make up the majority of the leadership team, which means we have a lot of mom bosses in the house. Recently, In Good Company, the one-day conference that caters to creative women entrepreneurs, tapped our very own Anna Brockway to participate in a panel focused on the relationship between creativity, starting a business and motherhood. Her fellow panelists were Elise Peterson, a New York-based visual artist, writer, podcaster, and host of MANE, an online video series, and Dominica Rice, the chef, community activist and Chez Panisse alum behind Oakland’s beloved restaurant Cosecha. Here, they share some words of wisdom around the unlimited potential of women, the importance of making time for yourself, and the freedom of having nothing to lose.

In Good Company founder, Katie Hintz-Zambrano, kicking off the conference.

On thinking of motherhood as a limiting factor…

“I honestly feel like I have come into myself being a mom. I don’t subscribe to it as something that means you can’t do things. I went to an artist’s residency for a month when I was five months pregnant, and I was the only American and everyone spoke French. I was the only pregnant person. I had a lot of late nights in the studio making things, up on a ladder, teaching myself to sew. I traveled by myself. I knew that I could do all that, and I could move through things, and I don’t think of motherhood as any kind of a hinderance.” —Elise Peterson

Journalist and author Erika Hayasaki moderated the panel discussion.

On the transition from stay-at-home mom to founder of a startup…

“After working forever in the fashion business, I stopped working for ten years and was a stay-at-home mom of four kids. And it was great – I loved it! It was also really humbling, when you go from running a really important brand like Levi’s from a marketing perspective, and suddenly you’re in charge of getting all the paper towels in the house. It also gives you a lot of time to think. You’re busy, but it was also the first time in my life where I didn’t feel like I had a to-do list where everything had to be done by a certain date, which I had had my whole life. And so in that time I was really able to think about the idea for Chairish, and I also had the humility to be able to go after it knowing that it was highly likely it would fail. And I think that if I hadn’t had the experience of being home for so long, I may not have been willing to take that risk. It allowed me to pursue it in a way that was more fearless.”—Anna Brockway

On letting go of perfection…

“A few years ago I told my daughter and husband, ‘I am not going to be the perfect mom. I’m not going to be the perfect wife. I don’t have to be perfect, so just deal with it.’ When you open your own restaurant, everything gets thrown at you, and I wasn’t prepared for all of the details. Working with the health department, city sales tax, bills and purveyors, there’s just so much involved in the business part. The cooking became the easy part. But I knew I had to do it. I knew it was time…It was a lot of work, but again, I had to be okay with it not being perfect.”—Dominica Rice

The entire conference, including this outdoor lounge area, was designed by the SF-based firm Homework.

On not waiting for the perfect moment to start a business…

“I had been thinking about the idea for Chairish for so long and I just said, ‘I might as well try something.’ But, it’s really scary. I get asked a lot about how you should go about starting a business by people thinking about trying something, and a lot of it is not waiting for things to be perfect to give it a try. It’s never going to be the right moment, so you might as well put it out there. It’s never going to look the way you wanted it to look or reflect exactly what your intent was, but you can learn so much from that. You’ll get there and learn if, over time, it’s the right thing.”—Anna Brockway

On practicing gratitude…

“I try and have real moments of gratitude as much as possible. Early in the mornings I don’t check my phone immediately. I bring my son in the bed with me and we just look out at the trees and talk to the trees because we’re tree people. If I do nothing else, I make sure in the morning we talk about being thankful for the trees because they give us shade and they give us air. We talk about how it’s important to be like a tree because you have to be rooted, but you also have to be able to move with the wind and be flexible. That’s my important time, and it’s a good reset for the day. I look at my son and I remind myself, ‘It’s going to be okay. We’re good.'”—Elise Peterson

Erika Hayasaki, Elise Peterson, Anna Brockway, and Dominica Rice

On scheduling time for yourself…

“I do think you have to make appointments to not do anything, and block that time out on the calendar. Even if it’s on Saturday morning and someone has a game. You have to have that time, and it will never happen unless you do that for yourself. I also feel like the other thing to think about is pacing in life a little bit. Give yourself space and understand and acknowledge that you’re not superwoman all the time.”—Anna Brockway

All photos by Kara Brodgesell Photography, Courtesy of In Good Company

December 6, 2018

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