Yesterday, I cozied in with creative local Edmonton Mom, Jacquie Duval, at the Woodrack Cafe.
She’s one of the gutsiest mamas I’ve met, and I love her story.
Our meeting goal was to learn from each other — and drink lattes. We wanted to get to know each other and also draw on each other’s talents, like a good-old-fashioned exchange of services. We talked social media management for small business, blogging, and the delicate dance of self-employment.
Jacquie is a wife, mom to Anna, her toddler, and is over halfway through her second pregnancy. She is also the Director of her own new strategic communications business, Plated Public Relations, which she launched recently. As a new mom, with another baby on the way, and attempting to balance (that ever-elusive balance) her work and increasingly busy family life — she made a big decision. She decided to create her own part-time job as a freelancer to gain more flexibility, despite the risks of leaving her job and starting from scratch.
And guess what — it’s working out well.
Want to know how? Read on:
1. Do you think Edmonton is a great place to be a new mother?
I think Edmonton is the best place to raise our growing family. As an Edmontonian my whole life, I love the diversity of things to do in our city. We have so many events and festivals to go to that there is never a weekend where we are bored. There is also tons of things to do with kids under 2. All city attractions are free for them, and we certainly take advantage!
2. As a new mom, what were your favourite things to do in Edmonton?
I loved to take Anna out and about to as many playgroups as possible. We would go the library weekly, attend various baby activities through La Cite Francophone, and have playdates with my sisters, who were also on maternity leave at the same time as me.
3. Becoming a mom is a huge life change. How did you navigate it?
At first, I found it extremely isolating. As an extrovert, I went from going to work every day to often not speaking to anyone expect my husband when he came home from work. I got use to it after a few months, but it was a hard transition for me.
Another huge change was where my priorities were at. I knew that I still wanted a career and a work-life after leave, but I also knew that I could never work full-time again. I just couldn’t picture working a full 8-hour day and then trying to get everything done that a mom has to do on top of that. I asked my employer for part time hours and was denied.
That’s why, after having gone back to work full-time, I left my full-time job for a part-time one. Unfortunately, things did not work out with the part-time position, so I began to run my Public Relations Agency, Plated Public Relations. Plated PR is a multi-faceted strategic communications agency that focuses on social media management, media relations and content creation. I like to work most with companies in the Agriculture and Food industries in Alberta, however, I will always work with all types clients.
4. What do you do for you? Your self-care musts as a busy mom?
I find that taking the time to still work is a very important self-care option for me. If I were to devote myself to my daughter every single day without taking the time to exercise my brain, I would be unhappy. I feel I’ve found a nice balance between getting to spend some mommy-Anna days, but also getting to move my career forward.
5. How do you manage to “balance” everything?
Some days, I find it tough, with the laundry and the meal prep, while throwing in a load of laundry and taking a client call. Other days, I find it a breeze. But that’s the nature of running your own business – Some days its crazy busy, and other days I have time to take things slow and have a nap. It is tough starting a business while also growing a baby. I balance things (my blog post is linked, there, hint hint) by managing expectations and letting my clients know that I spend Mondays and Fridays with my daughter, but will sneak in some emails and work during her nap. I also have an incredibly supportive husband who gives me a few hours here and there on a weekend for a networking or client meeting. I could never have dreamed of doing this without him!
6. Any other advice for new moms?
Never take no for an answer. I was denied my request for part-time work at my full-time job more times than I can count. Through it all, I kept my eye on the prize and never gave up looking for a part-time job.
When that job fell through, I made my own. I was determined that my daughter would not be raised full-time by someone else and that I would get the chance to help her grow into the smart, sassy, talkative and wonderful girl she is now.
Feature Photo: Alexandra Stratcotter Photography (Instagram)
Are you a mom in Edmonton that works hard to run your own business, or run a business with your family while caring for babies and/or toddlers? Want to be featured in your own special interview, as well as linked on my Facebook and Instagram accounts? I love to highlight new Edmonton Moms who run unique businesses, like photographers, bakers and chefs, doulas, writers, communicators, makers of products, suppliers of unique services, event planners and more.
Send me an e-mail and I’ll send you the details: firstname.lastname@example.org.