News: Working Mom

Should Children Be Welcome In the Work Place?

By Tammy Woeppel

Should Children Be Welcome In the Work Place?

Before I had children, I made my share of "when I have kids, we will/will not xyz" comments. Some, I've been able to stick too, like getting them on a good sleep schedule in their own beds. Others are a work in progress (so much for being stringent about screen time!).

One thing I thought for sure though was that I wouldn't experience separation anxiety. After all, a little distance is healthy, right? No child ever cried themselves to death. It builds their independence. They develop coping mechanisms. Etc, etc. Only when I actually had my first son, did I realize just how heart-wrenching it would feel for ME to leave him- even if only for a few hours!

I am one of the lucky ones that has had the option to stay at home with my children while working part-time on Nona. After starting my career in an industry that demanded long days for months on end (in Manhattan no less, where 2 incomes often isn't sufficient), I saw a glimpse of what could have been my life, and in no way take my situation for granted. Now that the kids are 4 and 2, I'm making the transition to working a more complete work week. Again, all my choice and on my own timeline. In this day and age, that is quite the luxury. Many other mom's don't have this flexibility. The lack of standardized maternity leave in the US is appalling, forcing 25% of new mom's back to work after only TEN DAYS. I was still walking like a penguin 10 days post-partum! New York State recently instituted a mandated paid leave policy for 8 weeks which began in January 2018 and will increase to a maximum of 12 weeks by 2021. This is a start but other states need to follow suit and it still leaves America much farther down the list of standardized maternity/paternity leave benefits than any other developed country. 

This leaves most families dependent on their employer's individual policy. I had read about a few companies making major exceptions to accommodate families- Patagonia and Rachel Zoe immediately came to mind with their onsite facilities to care for the children of employees, but then I stumbled across this Pop Sugar article titled: This New Mom is Applying to Jobs With Her Baby- Here's Why Companies Should Take Her Seriously.

The article opens by describing how job hunter Meesha Chang includes her daughter's 'qualifications' right alongside her own on her resume as she is only entertaining opportunities that will allow her daughter to come to work with her. My initial thought was "WTF? How does that work?" but then as I read through the article, I began an internal slow-clap for Meesha as I realized what guts it takes to not only put the question out there, but to stick to her guns. She is completely unapologetic for prioritizing her career and her child equally and doesn't worry about any potential push-back she may receive. Why? Because, it actually may benefit these companies to take her request seriously and implement comprehensive policies re: children in the workplace for ALL new parents.

Off the bat, the brain-drain of mom's deciding to leave their careers in favor of staying with their children would decrease, therefore employee retention would increase. The impending doomsday feeling of returning to work after maternity leave ends would no longer be an issue, and therefore, potentially encourage a return to work earlier with a cost-savings benefit for the company, and of course, create a happier environment/lift employee morale all around, because babies are magical! 

I still vividly recall the manic dash that the working mom's in my offices made each day to catch their trains home. Most, if not all, were living in the various suburbs of NYC at that point, whether in NJ, Long Island, Connecticut, or in the Upstate area. All had commutes of minimum 1 hour. This crazy ritual they practiced every single day landed them home just in time to perhaps bathe their child and kiss them goodnight. When I think about what a game-changer it would have been for them to collect their baby from the onsite nursery versus rushing off to daycare, and spend that hour on the train bonding instead of anxiously trying to rush through their door, I realize that this is a real request with real benefits and that anyone making this request is trying to pioneer change not just for her own benefit, but to shape a new way of thinking about work/life/balance for all parents.  


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The Most Useful Mompreneur Advice You'll Ever Get

By Tammy Woeppel

The Most Useful Mompreneur Advice You'll Ever Get

Sometimes we all need to shift our mindsets to view things from a different perspective and this is especially true when delving into the world of entrepreneurship. For some people, they inherently possess that entrepreneurial trait and make the transition into self-employment pretty seamlessly- it's not a matter of 'if' so much as 'when'. For others though, it can happen more unexpectedly. If anyone had told me 10 years ago that I would currently be living in South America with my husband and children while launching my own business with a former coworker, I could have NEVER believed it. I planned to graduate college, get a job with a major corporation, and stay put for as long as possible. Stability outweighed any need to chase my dreams and 'finding my passion' wasn't something I as a non-millenial had ever been preached. 

Fast forward and so many unexpected changes occurred that ultimately led to the creation of Nona. Along the way there have been many start/stops, bumps, obstacles, high-highs and low-lows and plenty of this-is-never-going-to-happen's. One thing I've realized as I've grown/evolved is how connected the mind-body is. Visualization of my dreams, focusing on putting positive energy out in the world, and constantly talking myself off the ledge are all habits that I've had to create in order to get this far. And sometimes it's just hearing a piece of advice that is so meaningful, it actually helps me change my perception of any given situation. In this post, I am sharing some pearls of wisdom that  have really stood out and truly helped me to keep my eyes on the prize.  

1) Will + Intention + Discipline 

I had the pleasure of working with Mona Bijoor at Ann Taylor LOFT before she  went on to create and head up JOOR, the largest online marketplace serving the wholesale industry, while raising 2 children. I recently read an interesting article Mona wrote on preparing the body and mind for entrepreneurship, and the idea of combining will+intention+discipline really stuck with me. 

"The mind is a better servant than a master. We need to train it to think a certain way, and if we don’t, our mind is left to its own devices. It can latch on to our insecurities, fears, and anxieties. So we actually have to provoke intention. Without this, our subconscious is left to think whatever it wants — positive OR negative. 

Intention — which is something you want to accomplish today or over a long period of time, alone is very powerful. It sends a message to your subconscious mind, a mantra that gets replayed even when you’re sleeping.

When we add will and discipline to the equation, we’re able to turn intention into a reality. If I set the intention to meditate every day for ten minutes, that may or may not happen. I need will and discipline to manifest my goal. Will is really just self belief. Without discipline, I won’t receive the full benefits of meditation unless I do it consistently. The discipline part is setting my alarm at 6 am, getting organized, putting my headphones near my bed, picking out my guided meditation, listening to it and then zoning in. Doing this over and over improves my subconscious to handle more difficult tasks in other areas of my life."

This is hardly rocket science. If you want to lose weight, you must set the goal, and then combine diet and exercise consistently in order to see it through. The same goes for starting up a business. Social media posts don't just happen by themselves. Neither does bookkeeping, factory visits, website copy, photoshoots, packing and shipping orders, etc. It's a very easy trap to fall into the 'tomorrow' game and at moments when I've been exhausted putting the kids to bed, this has been a great reminder to revisit my to-do list. 

2) Planning & Priorities

While we definitely DO NOT support the scandal that erupted around her these last few weeks, one thing that we cannot take away from digital fashion entrepreneur Miroslava Duma is her ambition and drive in building her empire. The founder of digital company Buro24/7, it's luxury lifestyle and fashion platform, and now the head of Future Tech Lab- a sustainable fashion incubator and VC, clearly knows a thing or 2 about priorities as she balances everything on her plate in addition to raising 3 small children. 

“I believe that the more you do the more you can manage,” says Mira. “The most important thing is planning and prioritization: I always have my top five priorities and say no to everything that doesn’t get me closer to one of them.”

When you take away all the noise of daily life and think of things this way, it does truly break everything down into manageable actions because there is more space around them. In the past, I have had a tendency to do things out of obligation or because I would feel bad if I didn't agree with someone else's idea. One of the advantages to maturing is the ability to feel your best being your authentic self and that means practicing the word no, which in turn, frees you up to focus on your priorities. 

 3) Progress Not Perfection

This has maybe been the biggest learning lesson for me as I am a perfectionist, but to the point of paralysis and inaction. Starting a business is like having a child. There will never be a perfect time, where everything is in alignment and  progresses perfectly without any hiccups, or unforeseen costs. I am deathly afraid of overpromising and underdelivering but in the business world, sometimes you just have to put that target out there in the universe and do everything you can to meet it. If that's not possible, beg for a little forgiveness, then keep on trucking. Once I stopped and looked around, I saw that I am hardly the only one that may be guilty of this- think about how many Kickstarter's you have backed that promised deliveries by a certain timeframe. I would say that in my experience, every project has ended up an average of 4 months behind schedule. 

This article from Entrepreneur magazine highlights Ashley Lucas, the current director of the Babson College Women Innovating Lab program, and she had this advice to offer:

Accelerate progress by letting go of perfection: treat incremental progress as the only pathway to innovation. “At the WINLab, we teach our entrepreneurs to use a Babson pedagogy called Entrepreneurial Thought and Action. The approach prescribes experiments, prototypes, and gathering feedback to continuously build a better version based on what their customers want,” she says.

There's a reason that companies like Apple release updated, improved versions of their products every year. If they waited until they created the most perfect product, we'd never know the iPhone. While you always want to put your absolute best foot forward, at the end of the day, progress not perfection.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and strategies you use to stay sane in the crazy world of working, parenthood, or running your own business! 



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15 Simple Self-Care Ideas to Make You Feel Like a Pampered Mama

By Tammy Woeppel

15 Simple Self-Care Ideas to Make You Feel Like a Pampered Mama

One of the BIGGEST challenges that moms face is finding time for self-care. I can't count how many times I have heard something along the lines of "I haven't even eaten anything today" from various friends in my circle. Part of it is all the 'stuff' that needs to get done in any given day, creating a feeling of running from one thing to another, but part of it is also not recognizing that we can only give what we have. There's no way around it; people who don't find ways to carve out time for themselves will eventually hit a breaking point, and mom's in particular are extremely susceptible.

I recently started following fellow Hey Mama member Tina Marie Clark and something she pointed out in a recent interview was so simple yet so symbolic of how we need to shift our mindset when we become moms:
"they don't tell you this on an airplane for your own mask first, before helping others.” Well, amen sistah! 

Read on to see a roundup of ideas that any mom  will be able to incorporate into their daily/weekly/monthly routine with minimal time/budget, starting from easiest to the most complex. These may seem redundant and obvious, but just because we KNOW we should do something doesn't mean that we always do it, and sometimes these things just need to be reiterated. 

1. Drink More Water

It's surprising how difficult it can be to get our daily recommended intake of water (after all, I need to get in about 4 cups of coffee before I can even think about making the switch). Obviously, water is life, so create a goal like refilling your S'well bottles 4x/day.

2. Light a Candle

Aromatherapy is a powerful thing and can really create a vibe. I had never thought about the deeper psychology behind what a candle represents until I saw this video from the Keap Candle founders. Creating a ritual around lighting a candle makes it more meaningful and is truly is a conscious choice to be done with everything that came before: all the smells, moments, and stress. 

3.  Meditate

Ok, hear me out on this one. This does not mean that you need to find an ashram, or devote an entire room to your practice, or be a new age tree-hugger. It can be as simple as attending yoga class as most, if not all, begin/end with a meditation. I became a believer during my 2nd pregnancy when I began to practice hypnobirthing techniques. Relying on the power of breathing (which I learned on Youtube, btw) I went my entire labor and delivery without any pain until the final 15 minutes. Powerful stuff! After a stressful day, I'll often throw on a guided meditation for sleep and even my husband finds it beneficial. I would say on average we make it through about 10 minutes before we both fall asleep. We keep it really simple and brief but the point is that any amount can have a postive impact on a person's overall well-being.

4. Go To Bed Earlier

For being such a simple concept, this is something that I've really struggled with in the past and only recently became more disciplined about. It's so easy, especially with all the screens and social media, to suddenly realize that a quick 2 minute Facebook check has somehow turned into 2 hours. Just like committing to an exercise routine, or maintaining a blog, it requires will, intention, and discipline to follow-through but eventually becomes a habit and therefore, easier to stick with. 

5. Read a Book

If you're in need of a good book recommendation, I always find the Skimm Reads full of really intriguing choices.

6. Apply a Facial mask

Be it an indulgent spa-quality formula, an easy bentonite clay/vinegar mixture, a homemade avocado concoction, or a pre-soaked kbeauty sheet mask, you can easily apply it and proceed to catch up on your latest Netflix guilty pleasure. 

7. Take a Bath

Turn your bathroom into a mini spa. Get some luxurious bath products, light a candle, and set aside 30 minutes to soak. I also add these magnesium salts to mine to do double duty. 

8. Buy Grocery Store/Farmer's Market Flowers

Having fresh flowers in the house feels like such an indulgence, but definitely doesn't have to come with that luxury price tag. Hydrangeas are so voluminous that you only need a few blooms (and they grow in most places, so plant your own to clip during summer months!). You can also pick an inexpensive flower such as a carnation but in a large quantity to make more of an impact. If you want to make an investment, companies like Melissa Andre or Venus et Fleur offer pricey arrangements, but they last for up to a year so it's an easy way to have low-maintenance florals year-round. 

9. Schedule a Hair Appointment

There is nothing like the luxury of having a great blow-out to make you feel like a new woman! 

10. Listen to a Podcast/Book on Audio While Commuting or Running Errands

Use your time stuck in the car to feed your soul with an audio book or podcast that really captures your attention and makes the most of your daily commute. Having wellness and motherhood on my mind so much, I have been listening to Kimberly Snyder and Birthful, but there are so many others that come highly-recommended with a variety of topics for everyone. 

11. Go To Sephora 

Something about a fresh tube of lipstick or a shimmery new eyeshadow provides such a little pick-me-up. Get a make-over while you're there to see what new products deserve to end up in your arsenal. 

 12. Call a Friend/Make Time for Adult Conversation

We may love our spouses and families, but there is just something about having adult interactions with the people we choose to spend our time with. Try to dedicate a chunk of time so you are not constantly interrupted by your little ones. 

13. Find the "Thing" That Makes You Feel Like Your Pre-mom Self

For some people, it's putting on those stiletto heels to go out to dinner. For others, it's getting their brows and eyelashes did. I always have fun with my nail art. Whatever it is that makes you feel like you again, just do it.

14. Do A Girls Trip/Weekend/Overnighter

Obviously, this one may not be realistic for everyone, but if you are able to get a girls trip on the books, it is SO worthwhile. Get creative- it can be within driving distance, or a short flight (I find that psychologically, I am much more calm about leaving my children if I know that they are a short commute away). Whether you need a weekend away to drink all the wine or you just want to sleep 8 consecutive hours, it is so valuable in giving you the opportunity to:

a) recharge
b) appreciate your family
c) actually miss them! 

15. When All Else Fails, Drink Wine!




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Spotlight: Brands You NEED To Know About

By Tammy Woeppel

Spotlight: Brands You NEED To Know About

From time to time, we are going to be highlighting other brands/companies that we think deserve a shout out. Either we know them personally, they offer innovative products in the green space, or we just think they are downright rocking it. In our first installment, we are going to feature two amazing networking communities for working moms that we recently became a part of:

1) Hey Mama,

This is a members-only lifestyle site/business platform designed to give working American moms a destination to seek out resources for their own business, as well as connect with other like-minded mamas. Co-founded by best friends Katya Libin and Amri Kibbler, they sought to create a system of support for working mothers and to empower women to realize their dreams with the help of the Hey Mama community. In a nutshell, we love their insightful articles, exclusive networking events, and special discounts to all the swoon-worthy brands that we covet: Varley Activewear, Mignonne Gavigan Jewelry (these earrings tho!!!!), Rebecca Minkoff, and Anine Bing among many others. As a member, you can also participate in killer giveaways as well as have the ability to contact any of the hundreds of members personally (their roster includes celebrity powerhouses such as: Anna Kaiser, Helena Glazer Hodne, Denise Vasi, Mandana Dayani, Emma Hemming Willis, and Haylie Duff, just to name a few). We were psyched to attend a panel lead by Rag & Bone to discuss Digital Marketing Trends and met so many other moms doing the same thing that we are. Mamas supporting mamas do bad ass things. We're all about it. 

Sidenote:  Membership is $350/year and most events are held in NYC, LA, San Francisco, Miami, Chicago, Portland, Salt Lake City, and the Hamptons with plans for expanding to other cities. 


Another lifestyle parenting site but geared at the international community of working moms, Babyccino is a great one-stop-shop for all the latest parenting articles, must-have mama fashion, and the CUTEST collection of luxury online children's boutiques. We are kind of dying over Little Hipstar and Peter Jo Kids at the moment! The cool thing about Babyccino is that the benefits of joining are not strictly limited to the boutiques that pay for membership- anyone that signs up for a free account will gain access to their monthly discounts and be the first to know about their Shop Up's (basically a pop-up market version of their website) that are regularly held in London, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles. Their boutique partners include Ace & Jig, Hatch, Artifact Uprising, and Ariel Gordon Jewelry. We definitely recommend checking back monthly as the deals change and I have seen discounts go as high as 40% off. So check them out if you're into that (unless of course, you enjoy paying full price, in which case, carry on!).

Sidenote: If you are a boutique interested in being a featured member of Babyccino, annual dues start at approximately $425/year. 




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