Just one day after launching SpitfireMom, I boarded a plane and left my 6 month old daughter for the first time. With my husband (and nanny) at home tending to our 2 kids, I headed to Altitude Summit – the premier business conference for bloggers and creatives. Earlier in the year I had pitched them to be a speaker, and low and behold they picked me! Excitement, butterflies and a bit of nerves ensued. One of the things I’d most looked forward to were the keynote speakers – Joy Cho* and the incomparable Martha Stewart. Both mothers and creative forces in their own right, they are each such an inspiration to me about following your passions, staying true to your voice and being a “go-getter”.
Now, I’ll admit I wasn’t sure what to expect from Martha. But let me tell you… talk about a true SpitfireMom. Martha was warm, gracious, funny and engaging. And WHIP SMART. It was like attending business school over a perfectly styled lunch. Gabrielle Blair, co-founder of Alt, creator of DesignMom and mother of six (!) led the interview and guided us all through the rise of Martha’s career from a small catering company she started in her basement, to her multitude of life and style books, Martha Stewart Magazine, and the powerhouse that is Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Impressive doesn’t begin to describe her success. She’s a force.
Throughout the interview, Gabby took special care to make the interview relevant to everyone in the room. Beyond the gorgeous photography and heady accolades, a topic that came up frequently – one that we at SpitfireMom are VERY passionate about – is the Juggle and Hustle of being a working mother. That balance of being yourself, a creative, a mom, a friend, and a partner. Of meeting the needs of clients and kids. Of pursuing passions with relentless energy. Of taking time to prioritize yourself. As Martha explained, the juggle and hustle was no different for her, or for her daughter Alexis, mother of 2.
Martha shared some tips with the audience – many of whom were creative mompreneurs, and several who actually had babies in tow – about how to stay inspired, keep creating, and getting it all done. Trust me, it was a good thing.
1. NEVER STOP LEARNING
Martha talked about her voracious appetite for learning. And not just for the pretty things, but for world politics (Troubles in Iraq? NOT a good thing), the latest technology (she can’t wait to get the new Amazon Fire) or traveling the world (she loves Asia).
“If you have that spirit in you to constantly produce and be useful…that’s part of being an entrepreneur”
2. GET HELP – ANY WAY YOU CAN
As mothers, we all know that it takes a village. Sometimes literally. Martha talked about her own childcare woes at the start of her catering business, and how you have to
“Beg and borrow help at all times”
to meet the needs of your clients, your family and your growing business. And “Don’t be afraid to ask your mother!” loved that.
3. SHARE YOUR PASSION
She talked about how important it is to share your passions with your children. It’s inspiring to them to see their parent doing something they love. So put away that guilt, and keep going for your dreams.
4. GET THEM INVOLVED
One touching and seemingly simple thing Martha said, was to involve your children in the day to day chores that may seem mundane – like prepping for dinner or weeding the garden. Elizabeth Messina recently mentioned how she does this with her three children. Each experience can be a lesson for them, and a way for you to connect. I just loved that.
5. LASTLY, IT’S NOT EASY
Being a working mom is EASY….said no mom ever. When asked about the juggle and hustle of being a entrepreneur and a parent, Martha said:
“Well, it’s really, really hard”
to which the room erupted in laughter. And that you may have to “wake up 2 hours early or stay up 2 hours late” to get the work done. I know this is true in my house (I’m partial to the later side of things, what about you?)
Thanks Martha, for being SUCH an inspiration to us all. #bosslady4life
*ps: we’ll have more on & from Joy Cho very soon!
Photos by Justin Hackworth