Tell us about your journey to motherhood.
I've always known I wanted to be a mom, but I prioritized my work and entrepreneurial dreams in my early 20s. I thought I'd push off having kids till my mid-30s since that's what fit my career plans best. Then, when I was 27, I couldn't stop thinking, 'If I died tomorrow, what would I most regret NOT doing in life?' The answer was: becoming a mom. So I set forth on my path to conceive and had my first child, Ansel, at 28. He was only nine months old when I got pregnant a second time -- I hadn't even had my period return yet! And nine months later, Austin was born. It was a LOT of work in the early days, especially while me and my husband were both running funds and companies, but they are now 4 and 5 and have turned into best buds.
How long did it take you to get pregnant? What did you do to increase your chances of pregnancy?
I was one of the lucky ones. My doctor told me that due to complications that others in my family had with pregnancy, not to mention the fact that I'd been on birth control for 14 years, that it may take me up to a year to get pregnant the first time. It took 3 months. And as I stated above, the second time around we weren't even trying. I feel somewhat guilty telling this story because I know how rampant infertility problems are. I recognize that it is definitely *not* the norm.
You have two boys -- was this how you always envisioned your family?
Absolutely not! I run Brit + Co, whose mission is to encourage and teach women to follow their passions. I'm on the board of the Girl Scouts, whose mission is to cultivate girls of courage, confidence and character. My entire world is female! So of course I got BOYS. My husband likes to joke that my body felt too much estrogen at work, so I needed to balance out the testosterone at home. (Even my dog, Pixel, is a boy!) We still aren't sure if we are done having kids yet... I might still go for that girl :)
My husband likes to joke that my body felt too much estrogen at work, so I needed to balance out the testosterone at home [with two boys].
Tell us how you found out you were pregnant. We'd love details!
The story of me peeing on a stick is not that interesting, but I did it in confidence without telling my husband. He happened to be having one of the worst days of his life, with a massive blow up at work that altered his mood in a very negative way. Down in the dumps, I walked over to him and placed the stick on the counter. He lit up unlike anything I've ever seen. We still believe that this was quite a spiritual lesson, teaching us both what really matters in life.
You met your husband Dave at 19 -- how has your relationship evolved as you’ve become grownups and parents together?
Dave was my second boyfriend ever! I'm very good at monogamous relationships ;) It's interesting to think about the answer to this question. In some ways, we are exactly the same people: dreamers, adventurers, and jokesters, with a passion for giving back, lifting others up, and of course, country music. On the other hand, we've had to deal with some really crazy life stuff over the past 15 years, from entrepreneurial ups and downs, financial ups and downs, parenting ups and downs, and so much more. We've learned that we have to prioritize time with each other, or else our kids and our jobs will take it all away. Pre-COVID, that meant date nights twice per week, and at least one yoga class together each week as well. Post-COVID has been a bit harder, but we are still soaking up many nights at home together post bedtime. It's been the most stressful time of our lives, independent and together, but we've never been emotionally healthier and happier. In fact, we're now even partners of a new fund, Offline Ventures, together. Partners in work, partners in life. We're committed for all of it.
You have become the poster child for creativity! What are creative ways expecting mamas can document the maternity journey?
Oh boy, this is such a fun question. I enjoyed putting the weekly bump photos into a video montage with the Black Eyes Peas "My Humps" as background music. I also bought a Meural brand digital photo frame for each child and put all the gazillions of photos I take of my boys in them to rotate in throughout the day -- it's so amazing to look back on and watch them grow every time I'm wandering through my house! I'm also a big fan of creative announcement photos and hilarious maternity Halloween costumes (yes, I did dress up as a Troll, Juno *and* a bottle of Prego tomato sauce for a Brit + Co shoot while pregnant). On that note, my best Halloween advice is to go crazy with the DIY family costume ideas for the first few years. Enjoy the time when YOU get to decide the theme, because by age 4-5, your kid is going to have very strong opinions about their costume!
Last question: what advice do you have for other aspiring mamas?
Your child will learn much more from watching you practice ambition and self-care then they will watching you let others take from you all day, every day.
Prioritize your marriage, especially in the early years. As Brene Brown once told me while chasing around two crazy toddlers backstage at a Brit + Co event, "Divorce is not an option until your youngest child is four." Also, do whatever you can to get help so that you can focus on having at least one time block a week with significant "me time." Too often, moms end up as martyrs because they stop taking care of themselves while taking care of others. Trust me when I say that your child will learn much more from watching you practice ambition and self-care then they will watching you let others take from you all day, every day.