[Explore strategies and powerful tips for working moms to help you find more harmony between work and motherhood to make your working mom journey a little bit easier, more fun, and sprinkled with lots of self care.]
Today we are diving into a topic that will help so many moms find more balance and harmony in their everyday lives. We are specifically talking about tips for working mom. So motherhood is this incredible journey and this incredible work that we do.
It’s the work of a lifetime. But today we are talking about how to cultivate harmony and balance between the work of motherhood and anything else that you want to put your energy into.
Whether you work outside of the home, or you work from home, or you have your own business, or you want to start your own business or some combination of the above, juggling all these things can feel overwhelming at times. So I am so excited to chat with my guest, Laura Munkholm, president and co founder of Walla.
Today as we dive in and explore strategies and tips and practices to help you find more harmony between work and motherhood to make your working mom journey a little bit easier, more fun, and sprinkled with lots of self care. Settle in for this empowering conversation.
[Disclaimer: The information shared is from personal experiences and/or research. We’re not medical professionals. We share in hopes that it will help you tap into new insights and inspire you. Everything shared is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a trusted health professional for your unique journey.]
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Get ready to grow and feel empowered as a mom. I’m here for you, mama. Let’s get started.
Hi, Laura. I’m so happy you’re here.
Hello. Thank you so much for having me today.
Yeah, it’s truly an honor. And I’m really excited to dive into tips for working moms and how to find balance around all of that. But first, I would just love for you to share a bit about you and your family and how you came to do the beautiful work that you do.
Oh, perfect. Sure. So I’m based in San Diego and I’ve got two kiddos. My husband Gavin and I have two kids, an eleven year old, or actually, I keep saying that she’s twelve now, twelve year old daughter and nine year old son.
And my business baby, which is Walla, and it’s a studio management platform for boutique fitness studios. So your booking, your scheduling, your billing, client management, all of those things. So I talk in terms of that being my other child sometimes.
But yeah, I started my company about almost three years ago, just right before the pandemic, and I guess that is three years ago now. And my kids were at a good age, they weren’t infants anymore where I was needed every second of the day.
But as you mentioned, all of this, no matter what, takes balance because we’ve got a lot of demands coming from every angle. So I’m excited to dive into this conversation about how we all do the things and come out the other side a happy, healthy version of ourselves.
Yes, I love that. And even just as we were setting up this chat, we had chatted about kiddos and creating this space to record this episode.
Whether you work from home or out of the home, the boundaries can get interesting and it can sometimes feel overwhelming when you’re trying to create that harmony between work and being a mom.
So do you have any tips for us as far as setting those boundaries around work and motherhood in a way that feels aligned?
Exploring Empowering Tips For Working Moms
Yeah, I will say being an entrepreneur is a really special version of being a working mom. I, luckily, in some ways have much more flexibility and I also never stop working in one way or another. The brain never turns off. It’s not like I clock out at five and I’m just done.
So, one of the beautiful things is incorporating my children into my entrepreneurial journey. And I genuinely think, and I encourage you, moms out there that have kiddos that are at an age where they can kind of grasp what you’re doing, which is younger than you think, I will say that for sure. Share with them, talk to them about what you’re going through.
I mean, my kids now will come home from a school and be like, mom, did you close the deal? Did you get them yet?
And they get so excited and so fired up about what I’m going through. So when I do hold boundaries or when I do say, hey guys, today I know I’m actually home, I’m physically present in the home, but I need you downstairs or I need it quiet or I am not available, you have to pretend I’m not here.
They get it because they’re heavily invested in the success of my business and in the outcomes that happen after I put in a whole day of work. And they also share in the challenges with me. They’ve seen me cry because of business.
They’ve seen me lose deals they’ve seen me have employees turnover, deal with, challenging clients, and so many of those things turn into incredible learning opportunities for them and things that I was lucky enough to have an entrepreneur father as well. And I will never forget some of the things that I saw him have to deal with or the challenges he overcame.
And even just saying that out loud right now, I actually do remember the challenges that he had more than I remember the wins.
But seeing him get over each one of those and come back to the family and come back to playing catch with me in the backyard and being able to be present, that’s what really shaped, I think, a lot of these ideas and values I hold when it comes to parenting and being an entrepreneur.
Oh, I love that. I love that you incorporate your kids, and they do they do get so much, and it creates this really beautiful and respectful and this relationship, this bond between you because they get to peek into your life. And so same here. When I do coaching calls or podcast episodes, they have their quiet time. They understand. They’re like okay, mom we’ll be quiet.
They get that I’m doing something where we’re recording this space. And my kids also have recently really enjoyed little craft fairs and things. So, like, getting to create something and sell it. You know what I mean? All that learning and all that experience is so beautiful, and I love that you got to see your dad be an entrepreneur and then go through those challenges. I think the challenging parts are they obviously feel the hardest, but that’s where so much of that growth comes from.
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And I think another piece of bringing your kids into the fold with what your work is, even if you’re not an entrepreneur, even if you’re in a working position, sharing with them so it feels tangible, and it’s not something they resent.
So I think that was the learning lesson for me. I used to run a large yoga studio, and that was when my daughter was really little. She was two, three years old, and she would get so frustrated when I would leave for work for 10 hours or 12 hours, sometimes during the day.
And then when I started having my husband or nanny or somebody bring her into the studio sometimes and have her play with the yoga blocks in the room or whatever it is, she got to have this tangible experience with what work was.
And she also saw me interact with clients and see the joy that I had in the work, because I feel like so often we paint this picture of, like, oh, I have to go to work. I’m so sorry. It turns into a really negative thing. And I personally want my children to know that work can be an enjoyable, fulfilling, really, really amazing part of your life.
And if we constantly apologize for it and make it this like us versus them or work versus them mentality, that’s going to have implications down the road for them. And so I really find that, especially as I’ve gone through building this business as often as possible, I talk to them and even if it’s think concepts that I don’t think they’ll understand, I try and they’ll ask questions and dive in. My kids watch Shark Tank all the time with me now because I had to raise money for this business, right.
I run a software company. It is very expensive to do, and I had to raise a lot of money to do that. And so as I was pitching to investors and going through meetings with venture capitalists, I had them watching Shark Tank with me so they could understand what it’s like to pitch a product and to have people asking you really challenging questions. And how do you come up with a valuation?
And why is the valuation what it is? So there’s so many fun, life things that they’re going to gain out of that, and it’s planting seeds.
Maybe they’ll want to be an entrepreneur, but maybe they’ll also see that wasn’t for them. But at least I think they’ll have a tangible something to grasp. It’s not just like my mom had to work and my mom had to work doing X, Y, and Z that were really fulfilling for her.
Yes, and I love that you bring that up because in this community, there’s stay at home moms. There’s moms that are starting their own businesses. There’s moms that work outside of the home, part time, full time, work from home, all the different things. And sometimes there’s the guilt around going out of the home and working or starting your own business.
And then there’s sometimes there’s the guilt of not working. But no matter what we do, even if you have a job outside of the home or whatever it is, we all have passions and things that we want to put our energy into.
I know there’s moms in the community that love gardening or knitting or painting or creating jewelry or just so many things, whatever your heart desires and letting your kids see that it’s okay for you to have passions, right?
Like, you love and care for your children and you are your own whole person, and you get to have dreams and passions and that gives them that permission to do that too, right?
I totally agree. And I’m not saying it’s going to be without guilt all the time. I’ll never forget my team actually nominated me for San Diego Magazine’s Women of the Year, and they have like a mogul category of entrepreneurs businesswomen. And I made the finalists. So I was invited to this event and I had to get all dolled up. And my husband came, my whole team came from San Diego.
And my kids were so excited for me, and I didn’t win the Ultimate Woman of the Year, but I got home and my kids were like, did you win? Did you win?
And I was like, no. But I started telling them about the woman that won and how unbelievable she was and all of these accolades and all the things that she had done. And my son, my nine year old, was like, I’m kind of glad you didn’t win, mom, because if that’s what it takes to win, I already don’t see you enough.
It sounds like she’d never see her kids. And I was like, Punch in the gut. But also, I appreciate that he shared that and was confident and comfortable saying that to me. But children are children, and of course they want time with their parents. That’s always going to be the case.
But I think as long as he knows and they know that I’m not doing something with resent or I’m not doing something that is deliberately ignoring them.
But I’m doing something fulfilling and there’s a deep why behind it and that I’m improving and changing lives as a result. I mean, not everybody’s going to be able to go into their job every day with a huge motivated why, but find the things that do bring you joy in your job so you can bring that back to your kids.
Yeah, I love that, and thank you for sharing that story. We all have those moments of mom guilt, but I also love that and congratulations.
Balancing Career And Motherhood
I love his perspective that he was able to see. Like, I am so happy for my mom right now, and I love that I get to see her. I love that we get to spend time together.
It’s just one of those you can’t be everything to everyone all the time. And I think that is one of the lessons that I try to share as often as possible when I have conversations with other moms is, like, in a traditional sense, no, I don’t have balance because I do give 100% to certain things all the time.
But I know that there are certain aspects of my life. I have my family life as a whole family unit. I have my child, like my kid life, where it’s like individual time with each kid. I have my friend time, I have my work time, and there are seasons and phases where work takes 100% of me and I need my support system to help with the kids or times where I know my kids need me.
If I have a sick kid or if one of my children really needs me, I have to just lay the boundary down with work sometimes and say, I’m sorry, I’m not available today or this afternoon because I need the family time. And I think in starting a company, trying to establish values that say, you know what, we’re humans, we’re not robots doing a job.
And there are going to be times where family is needed, where your family needs you, and that’s okay. I want family first, and I want you to be able to come to work, not resenting it and not feeling like you have to do this, but you’re missing out on something else.
Obviously it’s hard because we always have deadlines and we’ve got intense pressure moments, but for the most part, we do try to instill that family first value.
Yeah. And I love that you said I can’t be everything to everyone. Can we talk about that some more? Like how often we want to say yes?
There’s so many things asking for our attention. And it’s not that we don’t want to say yes to these things, but how can we navigate sort of that people pleasing and that wanting to be everything for everyone? Because we really can’t. Right?
We can’t say yes to everything or we end up just depleted and burned out. Do you have any tips for navigating that?
Exploring Boundaries & Mom Work Life Balance
Yeah, man, I wish I had the silver bullet there. That always solved the problem. But I think this may be simple, but I say out loud often, I can’t be everything to everyone. Like kids, I need your help right now I can’t handle. Like today I’ve got a really big meeting.
My husband is already at work or he’s got to fly for a meeting somewhere. I need you to own getting ready for school, making your lunches. And I really do try to my kids are old enough where they can do things like that. Right.
But I really do try to say, guys, we’re a team. When you have a team, everybody as jobs on a team. But there are different times where the jobs are like certain jobs are needed in different ways and we support each other. We’re not coming into this with only our own needs. I don’t know. So I talk about it.
I mean, I’m very verbal with my family and my friends and work about the fact that there’s a lot, and I think that garners a certain amount of empathy. But also understanding when I do hold a boundary or when I do say, I’m just not available for that right now, or I don’t have the energy, or it’s not a priority, I think where I struggle still is there’s so many times where everything feels like a priority.
For The Mother Juggling Work And Family
And it’s really hard for me to sit back and be like, okay, I have three more hours left in my day. What can I get done? What needs doing the most? And how do I prioritize that? Because I think we just live in a world where everything feels urgent.
Really does. Yeah. And everything is at our fingertips too, right, with our technology and stuff, which is so amazing. And also being able to say, like, oh, like you were talking about family first, knowing what it is that’s really important to you and then carving out the space to do that and then everything else fills in the gaps.
How To Be A Successful Mom And Entrepreneur Mom
Right? Absolutely. So our clients at Walla are studio owners. They own Pilates studios, yoga studios, fitness, cycling, whatever modality it might be. And more than 75% of the business owners are women in this industry, which is amazing. It’s so much fun to see them succeed and follow a passion and do something that is rewarding and where they impact so many lives.
Right, like a fitness studio owner has hundreds of people that come in a day that they get to make their life incrementally better, but a lot of them are moms. And I talk to them on a regular basis. I try to do calls with at least three or four clients a week. So I’m just constantly staying in touch with what’s happening in the studio world and they face the same things.
And I really do believe as you’re making purchasing decisions, as you’re deciding who to do business with, it’s so empowering to find other people that are living through the same thing so you can be there for each other, support each other in your decisions, and just really help each other out.
And I think in a world where it’s really easy to isolate yourself and it’s really easy to feel like you have to do it all yourself, we forget that there are so many people going through the same thing. And that’s what’s so beautiful about your podcast, just making sure that women don’t feel alone in this really overwhelming experience of momming in a world where we’re expected to do a lot.
Yeah, you’re so right. That community, I definitely felt like I had to do it all myself at the beginning, and I didn’t realize that there was other people going through the same thing, having the same thoughts, experiencing the same guilt and overwhelm.
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I so appreciate you for being here and sharing your story because it’s helping so many women realize that they’re not alone.
I talk a lot about how I feel so incredibly lucky to have the partner I have who’s so supportive in my business, and it worked out in our careers.
I say often, I don’t think I could have done I couldn’t have started a tech company with an infant. It really is a crazy demand on time and the energy and the stress and the pressure. From a timing perspective I have women ask me all the time, I have this idea I want to do this. How did you get started? When did you do it? Is there a good time?
While I think anybody is capable of doing anything at any time. I really do believe that having kids just a little bit older where they’re capable of making their own lunches, if you’ve got meetings, just the little things where they’re not so needy all the time was tremendously helpful.
And whether it’s having a partner that’s super supportive or a family or I also say I feel very privileged that we have been able to have a nanny that helps us out with our kids as well. Over the years, I invest in my support system, and I think that is what keeps me sane through this process, because I find friends and people and my partner who I know and trust will maybe they won’t do everything the same way I do it with my kids, but they’ll love them.
One of the things I hear moms just really struggle with is like, well, I just know I’m going to do it better, I do it the right way, and so I need to do it. And there’s an aspect of letting go of control and just saying, you know what, things don’t have to be done the way you think is best.
Maybe you do know the way that your kid likes their peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and maybe you do know the way that they like to go to sleep the best. But our children are so adaptable, and we need to let them experience life through different lenses.
And it’s so critical that they understand that you’re not doing that. You’re not shoving them off on somebody. You’re gifting them an experience with a different human being that loves and cares about them, and that makes them a more adaptable human being.
So I don’t know, I’ve taken that approach honestly since my kids were babies. I knew I was never going to be the parent that could do everything, and I didn’t feel like I needed to. I’m one of six kids. I felt like my mom always had a baby, right?
And so we were very independent, very self sufficient. We raised each other. It was definitely not a helicopter parenting style in my household growing up.
But I do think it created a very independent, confident me as a teenager, as an adult. And I want to encourage my children to feel like they can ask for what they need from other adults or people in their lives that they feel safe around and they feel cared for by.
I love that. I love that you’ve talked about the different aspects of team and support even within the family, like everybody working together and supporting each other and moving towards whatever your goal is for that day or that moment.
And then also surrounding your home, your family and yourself with the support that you need. Whether it’s a nanny or whatever it is friend or family or groceries in whatever ways will make your life easier and better and create that space for you to do the things that are really important to you.
Yeah, I think I had a conversation with another mom friend talking about how there’s fear sometimes around asking for help, partly because we feel guilty if there’s not reciprocity, right? Like if I ask for help from you, I owe you something back and do I have the capacity to be there for you? And in reality, there’s a reason we hear all the time it takes a village to raise a child, right?
The nuclear family and kind of the idea of family that all surrounded each other and raised children together is so different now because we don’t live like geographically. We’re spread out really, you know, and and even through technology, we’re isolated in different ways as well.
So it’s just a different phase that we’re in of raising children and being a family and so we can’t with being mentally healthy, it would be very challenging to do it all by yourself. So I encourage people, don’t hesitate to ask for help. It’s honestly an honor for me when friends ask for help. I know that means to me that they know they’re unconditionally loved by me and supported by me.
And that feels good. And so I really encourage you to not only be there when you can for your friends, but to ask for help. It’s more often than not, it’s going to feel good to them when you do.
And that’s the thing too, right? Even with your partner, whoever your kids, they can’t read your mind. And when you do ask for help, they’re usually super happy to be there.
I know I definitely have had to go on that journey of, like you were saying, feeling like, oh, I need to make sure I give back right away. And one of the things that’s really resonated with me or stuck with me is when I allow myself to just fully receive the gift that the other person’s giving me. That is a way of giving back. Right.
That’s so beautiful.
Yeah. Open to whatever the gift is.
That’s such a nice way to think of it. And you’re right, people feel energy like that, and it’s probably more powerful than you giving something physically back.
Self Care Tips For Momprenuers
Right? Yeah, I know. I really appreciate it when I do something for someone or give them a physical gift and they’re just, like, overjoyed by it, that just makes my heart we’ve talked about surrounding ourselves with support and doing things that just light us up, carving out that space for the things that are important.
Can you share a little bit more about what your self care journey has looked like through all of this, with all the demands on your time and everything?
Yeah, it has evolved quite a bit, but I will say years and years and years ago after I had done my yoga teacher training so I think it was 25 when I first became a yoga teacher. 24, 25. And the woman I did my teacher training with also did kind of business coaching because she ran a successful studio and teacher training school.
And ultimately I was like, okay, I have this business, this sales career, but how the heck could I take this yoga world and make something out of it? And so I had hired her.
And before we dove into any kind of business coaching, she had me spend a week just thinking about moments where I found joy, where I felt lighter, where I was happy, where I was nourished, and just jot those things down and create what she called a well being checklist. So I have it still on my phone.
That was 15 years ago. And there are things on there as small as, like, sit outside and take a deep breath with the sun on your shoulders or, like, singing out loud in the car while I’m driving. And of course, there are lavish things like getting a facial or what you think of when you think of self care going on a yoga retreat or something like that.
But so many of the things on that list are simple, less than five minute moments that I refer back to on a regular basis. And I know, like, taking a five minute walk with my dog or taking a deep breath outside. I have one where it’s just literally like, I go lay in the middle of my grass, like starfish style in the sun, and I’m like a creature of the sun.
I really, really need vitamin D to energize me. And I weave those things into my day. And I find that there are some pretty telltale signs when I need a recharge or when I need some soul nourishing and self care. And one of them is when I get really short with my kids, when I have no patience or when I get really short with my team, or I’m frustrated with people not doing things the way I think they should be done.
It’s like, okay, Laura, you need a moment. Stop blaming other people. This is probably your reaction right now more than it is the work that they did. Yeah. And I just I find that a lot of the things that really count as self care for me are cheap, easy, and quick.
So I encourage people all the time to just when you find yourself in a moment during your day that you’re just like the corners of your mouth turn up and you’re capable of taking a deep breath and you feel like, wow, I’m lucky, or I’m grateful, or I just feel good right now.
Like taking a bite of delicious food or a sip of coffee in the morning. Write it down and just have that to reflect back to every now and then, and then make those little moments a reality in your life as often as you can. And that’s really what nourishes. You more than going to a spa for a day.
In fact, I’m the most impatient person. Somebody got me a 90 minutes massage one time, which sounded like the most amazing thing in the world, and I was so excited about it.
And then by, like, minute, probably 65 into the massage, I’m like, okay, this is a lot. Like, I need to get out of here and do something. I’m not being productive right now, and I’ve got enough rubbing. This is good. I’m good. But anyway, I feel like there are just so many small things that you can do for self care.
Oh, absolutely. I love that you said it so beautifully and so many of us get overwhelm with, oh, my goodness, I have to carve out time. It has to be complicated and complex, and I have to spend money on this. And really, it’s those moments that you weave into your day where you’re just reconnecting and you’re just feeling that joy.
Yeah. I truly believe we’re seasonal creatures too. So you might have seasonal self care things that feel really nourishing to you. And right now, our bodies and our minds and everything in us probably wants to get outside a little bit more, so it might just be more fresh air.
But, yeah, I think starting with a little checklist or a little list of things for yourself, and some of those things might need other people. Right. Maybe it’s just a phone call with an old friend or watching the sunset with somebody that you care about. Those can be just as nourishing as time alone.
And I love that you have this list, because I think it’s easier for us as moms to be like, okay, here’s what my kids need all the things like, you know what to do right away if they’re feeling sick or whatever it is. But when it comes to us and you’ve got a moment, like, what do I do? Being reflective about what brings you joy and then having that list there for you to pick from.
You’re right. It’s so funny. Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach often have the conversation talking about the ticker, like the constant ticker that’s going on in our heads as moms, like, everything that needs to be done, from laundry to lunches to the meals.
And it’s so funny how good we get at that. We really become experts and gurus and caring for other people and all of the things that need to happen in a day, but then when we reflect back and turn it on ourselves, we’re clueless. And it’s just like, oh, God, what now?
I don’t know how to make myself feel good right now. So anyway, I totally agree with you. I think having an easy thing to reflect back on makes it and you’ll feel immediately you’ll look at your list and be like, yes. Like the walk or the treating myself to a croissant at a coffee shop and sitting there and just watching people for 20 minutes or walking around Target. I mean, whatever it is.
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. I love that so much. And I always love to ask, you have been on this beautiful motherhood and entrepreneurial journey, if you could go back in time and share your wisdom with your younger self, what would you tell her? What would you want her to know?
I would want her to know that I don’t have to look like anybody else’s version of mom. I think there is tremendous pressure to fit a mom molds, whatever that might be, that you’ve seen or you’ve experienced in your life. And I spent a lot of time and a lot of tears and a lot of energy trying to fit into a mom mold that really wasn’t ever going to work for me.
And I realized throughout that process that was going to make me physically and mentally ill. And so, again, I luckily have a really supportive partner.
I’ll never forget when he I struggled with postpartum depression after my first and part of that was really feeling like, why do I want to go back to work? Nobody wants to go back to work after having a baby. Everybody’s like, oh, you have to go back to work so soon. And I was excited. I loved work, and I missed work.
And everybody made me feel so bad about that, even if it wasn’t directly trying to make me feel so bad. And he, at one point was like, get in the car. I called your Acupuncturist. We’re going. I’ll sit with the baby in the lobby. Like, I’ll bring her in if she needs to eat, but you need Acupuncture you need a moment. And he recognized that I was struggling.
And I think there are so many times throughout our journey where we have guilt around how hard it is. And when you’re trying to fit into someone else’s mold of mom, there are going to be a lot more hard moments. Rather than just accepting that you as a mom can be whatever that looks like for you and your family, it doesn’t have to be somebody else’s version.
Yeah. That hits home in a lot of ways. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that.
Yeah, thanks for the question.
Thank you so much for sharing your whole journey with us and all of these beautiful tips and inspiration. Can you let us know where we can find you online?
Yeah, absolutely. So my company, again is called Walla, and we are @WallaSoftware on all channels. You can find me very easily on Facebook, Laura Munkolm. If you have any questions about what we do, if you just want to know more about entrepreneurship and motherhood in different stages you can always reach out.
I love chatting with people about this topic. I think it’s something that we need to discuss more openly and without defensiveness. I think there’s a lot of defensiveness in any kind of talking about decisions on whether you’re working, whether you’re not working, what you’re doing, so just having a really open mind and open heart, and I’m happy to have conversations, so please feel free to reach out.
Thank you for sharing all the ways that we can connect with you. And yeah, you’re so right. I think that’s starting to change. The conversation is opening up more about acceptance and just allowing each one of us to follow our own journey.
Like you’re saying, not trying to fit into anybody else’s mold is a beautiful way to live and support each other. Yeah. So thank you for sharing all of that. And we’ll put it all in the show notes.
Yeah. Thank you for being here. I so appreciate you in this conversation.
Absolutely. Thank you so much. Catherine.
Thanks for joining me, mama. I’m over here smiling from ear to ear and giving you a big virtual hug. I love spending this time with you.
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I’m Catherine Wilde homeschool mama, yoga & meditation teacher, best selling author, and mom life coach. I believe you can feel calm and find your unshakable confidence as a mom, when you first care for yourself.
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