Home Work: Lessons from Work-at-Home Parents. This series of Kidoinfo interviews looks at how these parents manage to squeeze in work time at home (whether working for someone else or running their own business) along with juggling kids, home life, and childcare (or lack of it). Do you want to share your home work with us? We love to hear how other parents get through their day. Nominate yourself or a friend or someone you admire from afar and we may feature their work-at-home story.
Rookie Moms is a website conceived by two friends, Heather Flett (left) and Whitney Moss (right), out of their need to find at least one fun activity per day while caring for their new babies. Today Heather shares how she juggles parenting, partnership, a new book and running the RookieMoms website.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Heather: My best friend, Whitney, and I challenged ourselves to come up with one suggestion for something that we liked doing for each day of the first year of parenthood that was more fun than wiping someone’s tushy. RookieMoms is a huge brainstorm of more than 600 activities for moms to do with their babies. Many of the activities are what we call "outings" or excuses to leave the house with your baby, but some are crafts, meal-planning tips, or date-night ideas. Since last year, we've met our original goal of a year's worth of fun activities for new moms and have moved on to seeking out toddler fun. Earlier this year we turned our website into a book, The Rookie Mom’s Handbook. (Read Katie’s review of The Rookie Mom’s Handbook, on Kidoinfo.)
How did you start your business?
Heather: We started it when my husband installed wordpress for us and taught us how to turn our hand-written list of favorite ideas into a blog.
How do you balance work and family?
Heather: RookieMoms.com started very much as a personal project we’d do when our babies were napping in the afternoon. We’d add a little bit every week (aiming for at least three new activities each week) and now it’s over 600 activities strong.
We find that writing and connecting with our online community is easier than being a parent so it’s easy to squeeze in the time.
Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
- I always make lunches and snacks the night before. I have several go-to foods that I pick up at the grocery store (so the thinking part is easy).
- I try to make sure to have a meal plan in place for the week by Sunday to make shopping and cooking as streamlined as possible.
- I divide up chores with my husband so that we don’t get too overwhelmed by the mess and chaos generated by a family with two little ones.
If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Heather: This “business” may grow and shrink over time. Do it because you love it and because you have something to say. The money will probably never come. And if it does, that will be a double bonus because you're already having so much fun.
Where do you find inspiration?
Heather: From our kids. From each other. From the community of support in the blogging world. From Julie McCoy.
What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
Heather: Laptop lunchbox is the current favorite for making an attractive lunch while also minimizing waste.
What is your favorite children's book or music CD?
Heather: Anything by Justin Roberts, his lyrics just crack me up and I like the music.
What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
Heather: Play-doh, train table, or potching.
What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
Heather: I just read Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me). I enjoyed the way it challenged my assumptions and thoughts about how good people have stupid ideas and just hold onto them and how I might be one of those people with hidden blind spots about my own ideas. Eye-opening in a good way.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Heather: Sex and the City reruns and dark chocolate.
If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
Heather: Finally get through my email; sad but true.
Can you share a story or anecdote that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and a mother?
Heather: As a blogger and author, I am a “parenting expert,” but as a mom, I’m just learning on the job like everyone else.
How has the experience and on-the-job training of being a mother prepared or changed you in business?
Heather: I’m a multi-tasker through and through; I can work smarter instead of harder (sneak it in before naptime is over!).
What is next for you and your business?
Heather: We’re celebrating rookiemoms.com’s third birthday with a major site facelift. We’re hoping to make it easier to connect with more new moms as we also expand into toddler and preschooler activities as well.