Tag Archives: mompreneur

Head of the Class Mom: Michelle Muller

Meet our latest Head of the Class Mom, Michelle Muller—co-founder of Little Spoon, a fresh, organic baby food company—and an amazing mom of three boys!

michelle-muller

Why did you start Little Spoon?
When my first son was born, I had a difficult time finding a baby food that I was comfortable feeding him. Everything was shelf-stable, filled with stabilizers, severely lacking in vital nutrients and most shockingly, all of the food was actually older than my son who was consuming it. I set out working on recipes and flavors that babies love using only fresh, whole fruits and vegetables. Fast forward to meeting my business partners a few years later. We joined forces and Little Spoon was born. Our mission at Little Spoon is to offer convenience without compromise, so you can be sure you’re giving your baby the best and freshest food at every meal.

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
The truth is there is no secret: my work life and family life are far from balanced. Some weeks, luck is in my favor so I have more time with my boys but more often than not, I work more than I would like to. I think this is the burden that every working parent carries – we constantly feel that our children need more of our attention. One thing I have learned is that no matter if I were a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, I will most likely carry guilt in some shape so it is most important to focus on being truly present when I am with my children. My phone is on silent mode when I am with them so my boys have 100% of my focus. I can always stay up late after they are in bed to work on emails or deadlines, but I will never be able to replace this time with them.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
I once participated in a friend’s study focusing on how mothers interpret the job they feel they are doing with their children. Each of the mothers was interviewed and asked questions like “How do you feel about the job you do as a mother?” “How do you think your children view the job you do as their mother?” Across the board, all the mothers’ responses were negative (including my own): “I need more patience;” “I wish I had time to prepare better lunches;” “I should spend more time focused on my kids;” “I need to stop raising my voice.”

The next part of the experiment was to interview our children. My oldest son, Pearce represented my three children. The interviewer asked my son “How would you describe your mother?”

His answer: “My mommy is my hero. She is so pretty. She makes the best apple pies and quiche in the world. I love her so much and want to be around her all the time.” I realized that I must be doing something right and need to stop being so critical of myself. Feeling a sense of success with my children gave me confidence both at work and at home. I’ve stopped second-guessing myself as much and hug my boys every chance I have.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
My biggest challenge is the constant battle for a work-life balance is accepting that I will probably never find that “perfect” balance and that it is okay. Recently my mother was in town over the holidays, and she asked me about my memories from our relationship during my childhood. I lovingly remembered waiting for her close to the mud room so I could hear the garage door click and be ready to fling my arms around her legs once she walked through the door. My mother recounted that she always felt exhausted and zapped of energy when her feet crossed the threshold, but it was my absolute favorite moment of the day – I think this really surprised my mother. My favorite moment of her every day was the time she felt the most inadequate. My daily challenge as a parent is remembering that my children value every moment they have with me whether it is 5 minutes or 17 hours. I try my best to value every second I have with my sons, because there is always another parent somewhere in the world who would give anything for just “a little more time.”

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
Don’t wish your life away – be in the moment. Clichés are clichés for a reason: life is short indeed. I think it is incredibly important to be truly present in each moment of your life as it happens. Don’t wish away your single life hoping to find a partner. Don’t wish away that beautiful courting period hoping your partner will propose to you. Don’t wish your early married life away hoping for a baby. Don’t wish your baby’s first weeks and months away hoping they sleep through the night sooner. Every hour, day and year of your life is precious and valuable. Make an effort to look around you, feel every feeling and enjoy your life because everything will eventually pass.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
Involvement in charity work is very important. Working with the less fortunate holds a special place in my heart and one of my favorite quotes is from Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” I believe it is critical to communities, both large and small for the fortunate to give back. Not only do YOU gain from the act of giving but those on the receiving end are better for it as well. I was recently educated that 90% of individuals who are involved in charity work in childhood continue their involvement as adults.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book? The Giving Tree

What has been your favorite kids’ class? Karate classes for my three boys. It teaches mindfulness and presence and builds a great mind-body connection.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends? Between my and my boys’ schedules, we are running around all day long Monday thru Friday, so on weekends I love to curl up on the couch and watch a movie with them. Nothing beats snuggling under a blanket with them.

What is your favorite rainy day escape? If I’m solo, you will always find me squeezing in a yoga class and with my kids, we like to check out what’s new at The Whitney.

Head of the Class Mom: Erica Koffler

Meet this week’s Head of the Class Mom, Erica Koffler—owner of Kidfections, a kiddie personalizing business—and a mom to three amazing kids!

Tell us about yourself. Why did you start Kidfections?
I had recently finished working a full-time job as exective assistant to a celebrity chef and was looking for my “what’s next.” I had wanted to purchase a personalized Fisher Price Grow-to-Pro Basketball Hoop for a friend’s son’s birthday and was surprised to find that even in New York City, there was no one personalizing those types of toys—not even anyone on Etsy! I figured I’d try doing it myself and I sent my mom the picture. She said it was perfect and asked where I had it made. When I told her I did it myself, she casually said I should start a store and I thought, “You know what? Why not!”

What is your secret to balancing work and family? Is there a balance?
For me, the secret is being able to enjoy life when I’m with my family as well as when you I’m doing things as an individual. It’s not necessarily about balancing, but being able to find happiness within so that you can be happy in every role that you play.

Share a funny story that helped you become a better parent and/or better at your job.
My daughter has been potty trained since 22 months, and now at two and a half she almost never has accidents. One Sunday she was throwing a tantrum about not being able to have a third lollipop (it was Sunday, don’t judge me!) and she clenched her legs together in the middle of the living room and began to pee—almost out of spite. My husband, Daniel, immediately scooped her up, and as he picked her up he unknowingly held her over our nine-month-old son Lucas’, head. So then Lucas was covered in pee. Then Lily, Lucas’ twin sister (probably feeling left out) felt the need to crawl through the trail of pee that her sister left behind. So now we have three kids completely covered in pee. We headed straight to the bathtub only to see that the water was a disgusting brown because, of course, the water in our building had been turned off for some type of repair. Simply one of those ridiculous sitcom moments where you don’t know if you should laugh or cry or give up. Luckily, we have a friend who lives across the street, so we loaded up the triple stroller (yes, we have a triple stroller) a la the Beverly Hillbillies and high-tailed it across Murray Street, inflatable ducky bathtub in tow, to give all of the kids their much-needed bath. And you know what? It was the first time all three kids ever took a bath together and it made for the most incredible photo-op. The lesson? You have to take it all in stride. The best parents are adaptable. And when you have the choice between laughing and crying always choose to laugh, and then take a photo.

What has been your biggest challenge and/or greatest reward in the struggle for work-life balance?
When you work, you often find yourself stretching the limits of your child’s “schedule” when you’re around in order to maximize the hours in a day. For me, as a cook and someone who has worked in the restaurant business for a decade, my oldest daughter’s love of food and going out to eat are the greatest rewards. It is something that we can enjoy together as a family and has given us countless memories. Whether it be Chloe eating salmon sashimi or smothering her face with sugar donuts to be silly, going out to eat has become an escape for us to get out of the house and spend meaningful time as a family (@chloemaxmessyface follows her dining escapades). When you sit down at dinner and your two-year-old asks, “How was your day?” you definitely feel like you are doing something right.

What is one thing you wish you knew before you had kids?
Enjoy sleeping in now! My husband and I are self-confessed gym rats. Before children, we’d wake up, hop out of bed, and race to the gym just to be done with it for the day—weekends included. Some days, especially after that extra glass of wine (or three), I wish I could just lounge in bed. Enjoy that leisure time before your little ones are telling you that they have to go pee-pee at 6:45am. You kinda have to take them to the potty.

If you could give other moms one piece of advice what would it be?
While you are a mother, you are more than just a mother. You are still the same person you were prior to becoming a mom. You are a still a daughter, a wife, a sister, and a friend, maybe an employee, and you need to be able to wear all of these hats as effectively as you wear your “mom” hat. At the end of the day, the sum of our relationships define who we are, not just our relationships with our children.

QUICK Q’s:

What is your favorite children’s book?
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.

What has been your favorite kids’ class?
Songs for Seeds.

What is your favorite thing to do with your family on weekends?
Brunch! We absolutely love the jazz brunch at the newly named Roxy Hotel (formerly TriBeCa Grand).

What is your favorite rainy day escape?
Playgarden.