This week’s SpitfireMom is a woman who seems to defy the laws of physics, being in many places at the same time. And, yet, she’s also an phenomenal example of honesty, authenticity and truth-telling about the challenges of doing so many awesome things. In fact, I first her heard her speak at Alt SF on the power of Roadblocks, Detours, & Potholes. Yup, the positives of potholes. Really, she’s just one of the cooler people out there. Whether reflecting on the The Lady Web or gamely letting me interview her on building community and culture in coworking spaces, she’s got something engaging, thoughtful, and spot on to say about everything from motherhood to maker spaces to telling the gospel of slowing down and eating donuts.
Rena Tom is a retail consultant, working with product makers, brands and stores, matchmaking, doing product development, merchandising and more. She also founded Makeshift Society, a coworking space for creative professionals. With one location established in San Francisco and another (that just opened last week!) in Brooklyn, life can be hectic. Rena’s adorable son Ivo is 4-years-old and in preschool. His dad and she alternate picking him up early and hanging out, so he’s not there for 10 hours a day.
Here’s what Rena had to say about being a SpitfireMom.
How does being a mom influence your work?
Like most moms, my time management and multitasking skills have gotten awesome. I am also better at standing up for myself and for others. There’s just a better understanding of what’s really important to fight for, and what I can let go. That said, I don’t have enough time in the day to ever feel like I’m doing an excellent job at anything, though perhaps I feel like I can do an average job at many things.
We know a SpitfireMom like Rena has tips to share, so we asked for her best time saving trick:
I don’t have any good tricks – I have to fight for every minute! Let’s see. I haven’t owned a TV since I was sixteen-years-old. I will watch maybe two Netflix series a year, and a handful of movies, but video really doesn’t have any sway over me. That’s the time I get to work, or even better, read a book.
What’s one thing you haven’t figured out?
I’m awful at planning meals in advance. I don’t have the follow-through! I might go shopping with the best intentions, but then inevitably I don’t want to eat those meals that week. So, grocery shopping is done in short bursts almost daily, although it would save so much time to do a week at a time, at least.
Do you talk about your kids with clients or potential clients?
I think much of my business comes through my social media, and Ivo is all over my Instagram. I’m pretty upfront that I have a kid and can’t take a meeting certain hours of the day. The nice thing about being the boss is not having to worry what other people think.
And, if you’re a mom entrepreneur and just found out your expecting, Rena says:
Save money to be able to hire help, and start banking that sleep now! I think working for yourself is very doable as long as you can figure out how to get plenty of help – at work or with childcare.
Rena, thanks for helping us articulate, explore, and celebrate what it means to be multifaceted. You shine bright like a diamond, lady. And to all of you out there, as a research tool for responsible journalism, I took her advice and slept in yesterday. The world did not end. Instead, everything was a bit more awesome all day long. Consider me a convert.
Julie & Heidi
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