Home Work: Lessons from Work-at-Home Parents. This series of Kidoinfo interviews with parents looks at how they manage to squeeze in work time at home (working for someone else or running their own business) while juggling kids, home life, and childcare (or lack thereof).
Today I talked with two moms, Darcy Novo Albrecht (left)Â and Jennifer Ashdown (right), of Chicks-n-chickens. Their combined creative passions, business savvy, and the realities of parenthood were the seeds of inspiration that launched their business. Lullaby Exercises is a DVD that starts with high-energy “groove” and then slows down as your baby slips into slumberland, a great way to stay in shape and have mom time while baby sleeps. Today they share what it’s like to balance work, family, and working together.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Darcy: After my first son, Reed, was born, I knew a different “career path” had to be taken. When I created Lullaby Exercises, “the light came on.” Yes . . . this is it! I can do this, I believe in this, and this could be really fun.
Jennifer: Darcy approached me with her idea back in September of 2007. Her original request was that I join the cast of the DVD, but I kept generating ideas for Chicks-n-chickens and haven’t been able to stop.
How did you start your business?
Darcy: I jumped. I think when you’re ready to start a business, you just gotta jump.Â And then keep jumping!
Jennifer: I have always had an entrepenuerial spirit. In my twenties I had my own jewelry business called Pretty Fab, which has recently been reinvented as Pretty Fab Collection.
How do you balance work and family?
Jennifer: Hmm, that is a difficult question to answer and even more difficult to do. I’d be lying if I told you it was always balanced–it isn’t. I find it hardest to do when I have deadlines and what seems to suffer most is my own self-care.
Darcy: Whatever/whoever needs the most attention . . . gets it.
Please describe a typical day.
Darcy: Go. Go. Go. Rest. Go. Go. Rest. Repeat.
Jennifer: Breastfeed Lila, tell the kids to hurry up, run, run, run, breastfeed Lila, check email. Repeat.
Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
Darcy: Eat in the car. I have a basket full of snacks (Luna Bars, Goldfish, oatmeal cookies, almonds, etc.) that we (me included!) snack on. I think the kids eat more in the car than in the dinning room. Is that bad?
Jennifer: What seems to help us most is getting things in order the night before–lunch made, clothes picked out, etc.
If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Jennifer: Be patient; things don’t have to happen right this minute.
Darcy: Don’t stress. It all works out.
Where do you find inspiration?
Darcy: Jennifer. She keeps me sane, thinking, and moving. She calls me twenty times a day–I have to keep up!
Jennifer: Hmm, I should say Darcy, right?
What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
Darcy: 1. Dust buster 2. Goldfish (original flavor) 3. FLOR rugs 4. Envirosax bags. Oh, did you say one?
Jennifer: Markers. Both my girls love to draw and create.
What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
Darcy: Love kid books! Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon rules.
Jennifer: The book Lila Bloom will always be a favorite because that is where I first saw the name Lila. I also love The Lupine Lady, which reminds me of our Aunt A.
What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
Jennifer: It doesn’t rain that much in the Bay Area so I can’t say. The last rainy day I can remember we read a lot of books at Aunt A’s beach house.
Darcy: We go to Target. Reed likes Target more than going to the park. Oh no!
What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
Jennifer: I loved the Twilight series. Perhaps not the best writing but such interesting characters and plot development.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Darcy: Beer and Dancing with the Stars.
If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
What is next for you and your business?
Darcy: Go strong! We’ve been in business for thirteen months and it’s just the beginning. We’re going to get on Ellen/Oprah . . . we believe!
Jennifer: Planning something special for International Baby Wearing Week in September. Barnes and Noble, NewBaby.com videos, DayOne classes, and Avon Breast Cancer walk in July. Busy!