Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Rachel Jarrett—owner of Chocolate Works Upper East Side and a mom of two!
Tell us about yourself. Why did you open Chocolate Works?
You could say it was part of a “mid-life crisis,” although I would prefer to call it a “mid-life awakening.” In 2013, I turned 40, had a baby (my second), and decided life was too short not to pursue my dreams. So I quit my job as a corporate retail executive and took the risk of becoming an entrepreneur. For a long time, I had wanted to run my own business and the opportunity of opening a Chocolate Works, a fledgling franchise, on the Upper East Side, came to me from a small business broker. I immediately fell in love with the concept and the idea of making people smile every day.
What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
You should never open a small business believing that you will have more balance or free time than you did in corporate life. The workload is in intense and 24-7. But it does give you a fair degree of flexibility, which is very nice when you have a family. I think the trick to “balance” is being sure that your life is not only about your kids. Happy parents = happy kids. The other thing I try to do is remember that the most important thing you can do for your kids is love them and support them emotionally. This year, I forgot to apply to preschool for my son because I was so busy at the store. At first, I felt so bad and guilty. But now it is something that I laugh about and shrug off.
Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I didn’t have my son Spencer until my daughter Eden was already four years old. So, she was pretty used to being the center of attention. One day she said to me, “Mommy, I don’t like having a brother. Let’s bring him back to the hospital.” I looked at her—dead serious—and said “You know, you are right. Let’s take him back right now. Go pack up his stuff and I will call for a car.” Her jaw dropped to the floor. Then we both started laughing. Since then, she has never asked to return him!
What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
My biggest challenge, as a perfectionist, is having to accept that it is IMPOSSIBLE to do everything perfectly. So I have stopped trying. But sometimes I beat myself up and then I try to remember that “good enough” is okay.
What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
I wish I knew how hard it would be to keep your figure after kids!
If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Read the Ferber book cover to cover. Don’t trust what others say about it until you have read it for yourself. This book has saved me on multiple occasions.
What is your favorite children’s book?
What has been your favorite kids’ class?
My son loves his music class at Hands On. I think they do a really great job of entertaining and educating kids.
What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Visiting the duck pond in Central Park or having bagels and lox at Barney Greengrass.
What is your favorite rainy day escape?
Renting a family movie and staying in bed!