After nearly 20 years of agency PR life, Mom of 2 Laura Beck decided to go the path of so many companies she advised and worked with over the years, take the leap and become an entrepreneur by founding
MM - How did your life change when you became a mom?
Everything changed. Everything. Prior to my first daughter, 85% of my life was my career (15% split among my husband, family, friends) and was pretty all consuming, 60 hour work weeks, travel. You have a child and there is no possible way for that to continue. But as many Moms say, the change actually made me better at my job: I focused on the bigger picture, thought more broadly, and dug into only those things were there could be a real impact versus stressing and obsessing over everything. And, every day, no matter what, I had to leave that job behind before 6:30 to get my baby. And no matter how stressful or consuming or bad that work day was, there was this little life form - and then the other, her sister, when she arrived 3.5 years later - who turned my whole day around, and needed me and made me smile and was my focus until I turned the work back on again after they went to bed at night.
MM - What is your biggest challenge as a mom?
No surprise, like every other Mama - the balance. Holy cow its hard. There are so many things that just aren't optional. You gotta have food in the house, the laundry has to be done eventually, the cats must be fed, the kids must be fed, the kids must get to school and get home, the bills must be paid, the grandparents must get that phone call now and again, the Aunt and Uncle must get the thank you note, etc. So, doing all that has to be done, and THEN finding the balance for all the other softer but super important things
like quality time and special moments, interaction with your kiddos
like fulfilling work that continues to keep that pre-kid-side-of-your-brain fresh - or at least with some sort pulse, even if slower and less frequent,
like spending time with your spouse, that is NOT each of you on your laptops sort of watching the same episode of Parenthood, and even better, actually talking with each other, not about the kids
like spending time with your girl friends and just laughing
and like actually taking care of YOURSELF - and I'm talking about working out once and awhile, reading a long forgotten book, closing your freaking eyes for a second. The massage, manicures, hair cut part of taking care of your self is even harder to find time for.
BALANCE - the endless working-mama challenge.
MM - Tell us a little bit about your career and what you are doing today.
I did public relations for agencies for 18 years of my life, including opening and running the Austin office of a big global firm, growing it from 0 to $3 million in billings. LOVED that job, and was great at it. Nearly 3 years ago, with my oldest about to start kindergarten, I threw it all to the wind to be able to be that Mom who drops off, picks up, reads to the class, plans the school Carnival, etc. I also was able to take advantage of that change to start a business dream I'd had for over a decade - stripedshirt. And I'm proud to say its up and running, 2 color combination stripedshirts for women, kids and babies. Learning something totally new has been such a blast. Oh, and I still do some PR consulting - and some times more than some :) - with about 5 clients at any given time.
MM - Would you please share some business tips for entrepreneurial moms?
See some of the thoughts in my motto below, but generally:
I've had so much
fun learning a
hard as it is.
OH and look away
from your cell
phone once and
- Seize and love the moments
- Learn to say no - or I'm sorry (and be able to push things off, or out)
- Get comfortable with not having make up on and that showers really can be optional
- Multi task - biking your kid to school is a way to have QT with them, teach them to be good to the earth, and get exercise and fresh air
- Lean on and depend on your friend support group, other kindred spirit
- Mamas who are fighting the same life battles as you every day and get what you are struggling with
- And TAKE
find ways to
be in the
MM - How do you balance work and motherhood?
I don't really. Or at least not well. Who does? But I take one day at a time, and freak out and focus on the most bleeding arteries, and move on the next day. I say "I'm sorry" a lot - for being late, for responding to an email after days (or weeks), for not being able to do something or take something on. But I do say I'm sorry, which is really as closing to saying NO as I can come, and it does let me juggle things around, and push things out a bit when too much is happening at once. But life is a constant dance and each year older my girls get, the faster I feel like I'm dancing. It doesn't get easier as the kids get older, especially when they are school aged. I anticipated this and it is why I changed my life and career once my first was in school.
MM - What is your parenting motto?
You CAN do it all, just not at once.
Pick your moments, and the ones that matter, and won't come back around again, and focus there, and REALLY BE THERE, in the moment. Change your life to be able to embrace those precious points in time, even if the change is hard, and you have to give up or sacrifice other things (money, career advancement). Your child will never be 4 years old again. Doing a press release for a client can always happen again.