Croissant chupa chups dragée donut apple pie.
A podcast where you join me (Penny!) as I chat to fellow creatives over a cocktail.
Caramels cookie marzipan chocolate danish soufflé powder oat cake pie. Candy icing lemon drops danish halvah macaroon jelly beans sweet.
Jen Saxton is the founder and CEO of Tot Squad, a marketplace that connects new and expecting parents with health, wellness and safety services like car seat installation, sleep consulting, babyproofing, and lactation consulting.
She’s an alumna of Duke, has a Kellogg MBA and is a serial entrepreneur having sold her first business in 2020 and was part of the 2020 Techstars Anywhere accelerator.
But above all, Jen is the mom of Charlotte and Sophie, aged 7 months and 3 years.
Selling her business in March 2020 (literally when the Pandemic was beginning)
Her vision and drive for starting a business centered around family and work-life balance and how she launched a baby company out of business school before she had kids or even was married
Her “infants at work” policy she implemented pre-kids
She didn’t take a break after selling her company (10 years) and dove into something new, joined an Accelerator and became pregnant with her second kid
What “maternity leave” the second time looked like and her fun out of office response
How she kept her boundaries within the company while on leave
How she implements the Fair Play system at home to create boundaries, manage her relationship, and replenish herself
Advice for founders on when to leave their “day job”
Subscribe, review and tune in weekly because you know you’ve yelled “Mommy’s on a Call” at least once in the last week!!!
[00:00:00] Stephanie: Welcome back to mommy’s on a call today. I’m excited to bring to you. Jen Saxton. Jen is the founder and CEO of Tot Squad, a marketplace that connects new and expecting parents with health, wellness, and safety services. Like car seat installation, sleep consulting, baby proofing and lactation consultants.
Jen is also an alum of duke and the Kellogg MBA. And she’s a serial entrepreneur having sold her first business in 2020. She was also part of the 2020 tech stars anywhere accelerator, but above all. Jen is the mom of two Charlotte and Sophie aged seven months and three years. Welcome Jen.
[00:01:31] Jen: Hello. I’m happy to be here.
[00:01:32] Stephanie: Excited to have you before we get started, I wanted to know what’s your biggest mom win of the week.
[00:01:37] Jen: Oh my gosh. My biggest mom win of the week. Well, we took our kids to Disneyland last night and neither of them got lost, but the three-year-old tried repeatedly to run away. I resorted to putting a little lanyard on her that says if lost and it has my phone number on the inside and I tucked it on the inside of her Ghostbusters costume because she just runs so fast.
[00:02:00] Stephanie: Oh, my goodness. What did you dress up as?
[00:02:02] Jen: We were all Ghostbusters, this is like my husband’s childhood fantasy. We have two little girls, but like they like Batman and Ghostbusters because he gets them into those things. And the baby was the stay Puft marshmallow man, which was like the highlight of my life.
This is just like adorable little baby. And everybody thought she was a boy, but I don’t care. It was very cute. And we got complimented everywhere. She and my three-year-old carried around. Slimer stuffed animal from eBay that I found, and we were, we were popular. Are you going to be Ghostbusters for Halloween also?
Probably because I don’t have the energy to find another costume.
[00:02:35] Stephanie: I’m impressed by the way to go to that at night, because I know it’s like at night. And so to bring them that’s major,
[00:02:41] Jen: I can barely see. You know, then maybe that’s not my mom win. My mom win is I hired my nanny to drive down to Disneyland at 7:00 PM, pick them up, take them home and put them to bed when my husband and I stayed for four more hours
[00:02:54] Stephanie: and that is a win.
But anyway, that is actually a good win because then you’ve got a date night out of that.
[00:02:59] Jen: Totally. So we went with a couple of other friends. We had a great time. We rode the big kid rides that you can’t ride. When you’re walking around Disney with the baby, we had a great time.
[00:03:07] Stephanie: Amazing. Well, on that note, I know you have two kids, but give us the audience a little bit of context of your family structure.
You know, what are the roles that you and your husband play? Kids work life dynamic. Give us a little picture about what that looks like right now.
[00:03:22] Jen: Oh my gosh. My life is crazy. I’m sure everybody says that my husband is a filmmaker. And he does like indie crime thrillers that are like dark. He had this great movie that went Sunday on this last year.
That’s like about, uh, want to be porn star that kills his best friend with a machete or something. And I work in the baby industry
[00:03:46] Stephanie: Babies and porn, sweet..
[00:03:49] Jen: I always have to caveat. I’m like, it’s not a porno. Like it’s just about the porn industry. I think it’s amazing. So he, uh, he works on a lot of creative pursuits. He does a lot of editing and other things, and I’m a founder CEO. I’ve been a. Startup founder for, I guess, 11 years now as a business owner and growing and scaling businesses, which is a whole adventure.
And we had one COVID baby got pregnant in June 2020. And she was born in February and being pregnant in a pandemic is not for the faint of heart. And this is quite a scary, stressful time, especially now all of a sudden
[00:04:28] Stephanie: people were like, you have a baby, like where did that come from?
[00:04:32] Jen: It was really funny because I started my business so long before I had a baby that I had kind of like had this persona, that I was the person in the baby industry with no babies.
And actually it was great because by the time I had my daughter, I had so many industry contacts. I’m not even joking you. I received. Almost 50 strollers and car seats. Like every brand gifted me. My husband is like, when are we w what are we doing? And he’s like, only one stroller. If it’s in each car, like, get these out of the garage, you don’t need to tell him I’m to test them.
I have to make videos. I have to like, have an opinion about all of them, which is great. So that’s my first daughter, Charlotte, she’s three. She was 18 months old when COVID hit, which was a really challenging age because she like, wouldn’t watch more than five minutes of TV
[00:05:15] Stephanie: when COVID hit. So I
[00:05:16] Jen: completely feel you.
Yeah, it was like, I was like, oh, being quarantined to somebody who only says woof and moo is like not the most
[00:05:24] Stephanie: intellectually stimulating.
[00:05:26] Jen: Totally, totally. So we finally just got her to start preschool this summer. I wanted to wait until the baby was like at least three months old and had a little bit more of immune system going on besides, you know, I got vaccinated while I was pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get the antibodies, like kind of all the chaos and all that.
Mostly, I’m just delighted to have my three-year-old in the half day preschool and out of the house, you know, she can get her stimulation elsewhere.
[00:05:49] Stephanie: And where you both working out a house or do you work in the house? What’s
[00:05:53] Jen: kind of that. Yeah. I mean, I briefly tried to work from home. It was kind of crazy because I sold my business on March 12th, 2020, and it was very stressful.
Didn’t know if the deal was going to go through with all the chaos of the world, shutting down that week and had planned to just continue renting my little office in the back of the space after the new company took over. But then they decided not to renew the lease because there was a pandemic and like who needs a retail space in a pandemic.
So I lost my. And it was like that June. It was also when the black lives matter protests. And I’m in Sherman Oaks and all of a Boulevard here in Los Angeles was completely boarded up. It was a really, really scary sight to see, and just like a very tumultuous, scary time. So like we boarded up the front.
My husband’s like, you cannot be like working alone in this building. Like you need to come work from home. But I lasted like three days. I was like, I cannot be here with the chaos of the children, like making sounds. So I like briefly tried to rework and then I landed at my. I’m subletting an office there, but my team has now moved to fully remote.
[00:06:58] Stephanie: Wow. And do you have time or at home? I know she’s in preschool now, but with the younger one, do you have a nanny?
[00:07:03] Jen: Yes. Yes. We have a nanny. And the only reason I only put my older daughter in half-day preschool is because the nanny speaks Spanish to them. And I want her to keep learning Spanish and speaking Spanish.
So I’m like if I’m paying for the nanny for the little baby anyway, I might as well bring the preschool home to keep working on it.
[00:07:20] Stephanie: That’s amazing. Step back a little and talk about your pre-mom life, because I think it’s really interesting that you ran a company that’s based around children when you didn’t have any kids yet.
And then not only that you sold the company and you now have two kids and you’re starting something. And so for most moms out there who are like, I would love to start something or all that let’s step back to the beginning. And you know, where did TotSquad come from? How did you come up with this when you didn’t even know what, like kids were like you had no experience,
[00:07:53] Jen: Well, I mean, I guess if we’re going back to the way beginning, I would say that I kind of always had this drive to have a family business. When I was a kid, I grew up in Austin, Texas, and my parents bought the miniature train in Zilker park for anybody who knows Austin. There’s a little miniature train that goes around the park.
And my dad managed the engineers and my mom started the souvenir stand and my little sister, and I would go collect the tickets for people as they were getting on the train. And we loved going to work with our parents. It was like so much fun to like be in that environment and have a family owned business.
And so I kind of had the same vision for myself when I graduated from duke and I was doing management consulting. I saw all of these women turning 30. Trying to start a family and make partner at the same time. And they were like leaving the workforce in droves. Like we eventually had no female partners left and I just kept thinking to myself, like, I’m really ambitious.
I want a big career, but I also want a family. And like, how am I going to do both of those things simultaneously? Because I kind of just always had that nugget of like the joy of being able to like go to work with my parents. So I started following the idea of like work-life balance as a trend. And this was like 2006 and seven or something.
It was like long before it was a thing. And, um, I always say I’m the oldest millennial, I guess now there’s a name for us. We’re geriatric millennials.
[00:09:05] Stephanie: Exactly. I like to put on my thing zennials cause I think we’re like exactly the same. So yeah,
[00:09:11] Jen: Daniel. I was born in 82. And so I just thought this generation is just about to start having children.
And like we’re already obsessed with work-life balance. It’s going to be even harder once we’re parents. So by the time I got to business school, I kind of had this thesis, like I want to improve work life balance for busy moms. How can I do it? So I just like, would tell everybody that, and then people would share ideas with me and their problems, their frustrations they were having as moms.
And ultimately I landed on this idea of. Strollers and car seats were really disgusting and really hard to like disassemble to clean, to like repair, just like to deal with them. And I thought, well, there’s gotta be something here. Like everybody I’ve talked to said they hate dealing with this. There’s nobody else out there solving this problem.
Like, am I onto something? So I won the business plan competition. And I went on to start the company and I’m like, here I am with my like huge student loan debt from my like fancy MBA program. And on the weekends, I like went back to my strategy job during the days. And then on the weekends, I’m like driving this big yellow baby bag, cleaning vomit and poop out of people’s car seats.
It’s like a hundred degree, like the freaking CEO, like this is what I’m doing with my MBA,
[00:10:21] Stephanie: working in the mail room. You start from the beginning, you gotta learn.
[00:10:24] Jen: You got to learn and it’s, it’s truly an asset as you build a company to have done every job in the business, because you can really relate to what your frontline staff are going through.
So I, I really put in the outputs.
[00:10:36] Stephanie: And once you had your kids where you like, this is so easy, I can do childcare. Like I can clean up poop and everything where you like, not phased.
[00:10:44] Jen: I mean, my husband thinks that I know everything about babies and I was like, I really just know like how to install car seats and like clean them.
Like, I don’t know how to breastfeed, um, just like any other new mom, but he just assumed that I over-indexed. I mean, I did and do read a lot of mommy blogs, so I know more than the average person, because that was part of my job. But when it comes to my own kids discussed, I. I don’t know, like I tolerate a lot, I guess, like if it’s not actually smelling, like there’s a lot of Cheerio’s and goldfish in my car seats right now.
And it used to be before I sold that business, I was like, there’s this pressure. If anybody sees me with a dirty stroller or car seat, I can, I can’t be the face of my company and have my own gear be dirty. So I would like bring it into the office once a week and somebody would clean it for me. Just amazing.
[00:11:33] Stephanie: Amazing. What do you think is like a common thread that you saw throughout all of these things that like, what were the biggest things that people did wrong or what are like,
[00:11:42] Jen: oh my gosh. I would say one thing that, I mean, car seat safety is the statistics are abysmal. There was a study out of Washington state a couple of years ago that showed that 95% of new parents leaving the hospital with their new baby.
Had a critical error and use of their car seats. Like literally only 5% of people do. Can I
[00:12:04] Stephanie: tell you a little funny story? So my second kid came four weeks early and I wasn’t anticipating that. And I had cleaned the first car seat, but I hadn’t installed it and it was still in the wash. And so my husband was at home and he’s like, I don’t know how to do this.
And I was like, well, we have a brand new car seat. That’s in a box. It was going to return it to bye-bye. Why don’t we just bring it, he brings the whole car seat attached to the base and everything into the hospital room. And he’s like, I have no idea how to unlatch this guy. I don’t know what to do. I was like, it’s not in the car.
And he’s like, Hey, I hear he brought literally the entire thing so I can see why that 95% of people would not do one thing. Right.
[00:12:41] Jen: Well, I know the mom when maybe I’ll share my mom fail. So, I mean, I’ve been a certified child, passenger safety technician since 2000. My daughter is born in 2018 and I’m like, this is a big moment for me, like bringing my baby home from the hospital in the car seat for the first time I’m going to like videotape the whole thing and use it on our social channels and all that.
And I get home and I look at it and like the headrest was in the wrong position. It was too high. I was like, I cannot use this video anywhere. I, a person who is like a public face of child passenger safety. Did not have my car seat properly used on my own child’s hospital. And I was like, I’m so embarrassed.
I can never post this video. And then my second baby also came three weeks early, but we knew we were going to the hospital. My blood pressure was high. I was, you know, um, geriatrics. So you got to have the baby early. We actually went to the hospital with no car seat, no car seat for the baby. How did I manage to have two major car seat sales with both of my children?
I can’t even believe
[00:13:40] Stephanie: it. I’m so embarrassed. Well, it’s a good thing to know. Everybody is, you know, it’s not a mistake. It’s, it’s perfectly normal. We don’t have to be these perfect moms that we see on Instagram and things. So I love it. Thank you for being vulnerable and, and showcasing that you should put it up like a, do not do this.
This is not for real. This is just exactly
[00:14:00] Jen: like don’t videotape your car seat being used incorrectly with your small child. So yeah, so
[00:14:05] Stephanie: now we flashed forward and you have this company and now you have two kids. Well, one kid and then. How are you managing that? What did your kind of pre mom, entrepreneur life look like?
And then your post bomb? Like what were the biggest, I think like things that changed for you.
[00:14:21] Jen: Well, I will say having worked in the baby industry, like a baby is a great accessory. Like it’s a very baby friendly industry and so totally, and lots of free goodies, which again is like awesome. And I. Had started before I had my own babies, having an infants at work policy.
And I thought it was really a mom friendly way to get some of my employees back to the office earlier. And everybody who works at TotSquad loves babies. Like don’t work here if you don’t love kids. And so I had moms that would come back to work after six weeks part-time maybe one or two days, but they would bring their baby with them up until the baby was like six or seven months old.
Cause like they’re not mobile. They sleep most of the day. Right. But they start moving
[00:15:04] Stephanie: it’s.
[00:15:05] Jen: Game over once they’re crawling, which my daughter is sort of calling last week. So I’m like, oh my gosh, my life is over. Um, I, I think that having set that precedent with an employee before I brought my own daughter into the world was great.
It didn’t look like the CEO, like just made up some policy where you can bring your baby to the office, like just for me, because we’d had other people use it before, which was really awesome. And I feel like that helped like ease my way. Into the office and being a working mom, but I mean, so much change.
Like again, I was the single person in the baby world with no babies. So I would like on random Tuesday nights go to the working moms, meet up in Santa Monica, go to these things and be like, what are you doing here? You know, children are so weird, but it was that kind of like networking and hustle that really allowed me to build my business.
I, I was never big on paid marketing. I did everything very much. Grassroots bartering partners. Just like straight up sales biz dev has always been the way that I’ve grown my companies. And so it’s all about just like the networking and the hustle and getting, getting out there and meeting people. I’m
[00:16:02] Stephanie: actually curious on that note because I’m a true believer that networking and like who, you know, is really important in growing your business over paid advertising.
I know that’s controversial. A lot of people will say like no paid marketing. I mean, there is an extent to pay, but now in this like, say not post COVID, but like, you know, in this different world where a lot more things are either online, people are still not comfortable going out. What do you see as a big shift in the way now you’re building this business, this new business, even though it’s still totsquad, but this new company versus before, since you were like out there hustling.
[00:16:39] Jen: Yeah. What are you doing differently? It’s hard. I mean, as an extrovert, like COVID has been hard for me. I’m like, I love to be around people. And as much as having a fully remote team has been amazing because I’ve been able to like, get access to talent that like I wouldn’t have had otherwise it’s, it’s hard and very lonely to be here all by yourself.
And I think that sometimes we do have to use that. Chit-chat portion of a meeting to like establish some connection when you’re on video chat all day, which is so exhausting. Like, I feel like we’ve moved into this world now where things that used to just be a call or now a video chat. It’s like, why can’t they just be a call again?
I’m tired of looking at myself.
[00:17:20] Stephanie: I actually started to push. Self view on zoom because it would be distracting. Yeah. It started to get distracting. Like, I’d be like, why am I touching my hair? What am I doing? Like, and so I get that. I miss that interaction.
[00:17:33] Jen: Totally. I mean, I think for me, I love to go to conferences and trade shows and things because you can just make so many connections in like a very short period of time.
And I feel like nobody has really mastered getting those done virtually, like I might block out my calendar. This happened last week, the Techstars had like a big all-day conference. I blocked out my whole calendar for the day. So I could like really be part of this conference. I like worked most of the day.
I tuned in for two sessions and it was, it was nice that I didn’t have meetings on my calendar all day for once, but I just think it’s so, so hard to like build new relationships virtual. That I wish I had better answers for that. Like, I haven’t really mastered it yet. I think I’m in a different position now, you know, 11 years in that I was before, because now I have a lot of relationships, so I’m not having to like get out there and meet people as much, or like the kinds of people that I need to talk to her, not the people that are like necessarily showing up to those types of events now, but it was really, really important to me in the early days to just be like networking anyway I could.
[00:18:29] Stephanie: For sure. So then now let’s look at, it was March of 20, 20. You weren’t pregnant with your second yet, but you sold your company. You could have easily said, okay, I’m going to take a break. I’m not going to do anything. And then you become pregnant. So now you have two kids. What made you, or what inspired you to, you know, go forward and do a new company?
Instead of maybe taking a different route. Cause I know there’s a lot of moms out there who might take a pause in their career because of children and they want to get back into things. So they want to start a company. I mean, you did tech stars, I think pregnant. Or did
[00:19:02] Jen: you have your kid yet? Yeah, it’s a big
[00:19:06] Stephanie: commitment and actually TechStars with any child, like is a lot.
And so I’m just curious for you like to those women out there and moms who have. Like need that push or want to know how did you do it? How did you do it? Yeah.
[00:19:21] Jen: Well, a couple of things first, I just want to talk about startup accelerators as a comment. So we got accepted into 500 startups and tech stars, and we got a term sheet from a VC in San Francisco all the same, like two week period.
And I was trying to decide between the three of them. And it was really hard for me. And this isn’t necessarily a dig on 500 startups specifically, but they wanted you to move to San Francisco for. And that’s how every accelerator in the world pre COVID work like you had to relocate. And I was like, this was literally designed for tech bros, like in their early twenties, not like moms, my management team.
Like we have kids, we have husbands with jobs and like kids in schools, like we can’t just go to San Francisco for three months. Like that’s not mom friendly at all. And so we actually got into the tech stars anywhere accelerator. Which was their only one that was intended to be virtual. Like there were three in-person one week meetups and the rest of it was all virtual.
And I was like, why can’t the rest of the world? Do this? I’m delighted that there’s so many more virtual accelerated,
[00:20:16] Stephanie: um, accelerator, something that like, you know, parenting and work stuff, but also has people in it that aren’t.
[00:20:23] Jen: Yes. Well, somebody is kind of doing something similar to that. It’s called parenthood ventures.
Okay. The founder, Charlotte has a great slack group for early stage family tech, parent tech companies that are trying to solve problems for families and parents and caregivers. So if anybody is looking at business ideas in that space, check out parenthood ventures. It’s amazing. But anyway, that was not the question that you asked me.
That was my aside about the tech bro culture of startup accelerators. So for why did I not take a break when I sold my business and like, how did I decide I wanted to do it again? Cause like, you know, I did 10 years in the first business. It was like a very long time to be building and growing something and it’s exhausting and it’s a roller coaster and all those things, the short answer is.
It kind of happened simultaneously. I had a new idea. So when Charlotte was born, my three-year-old in 2018, that very same month, the old business was right cleaning service for strollers and car seats. And we were scaling it kind of like the geek squad with little service centers inside of BuyBuyBaby stores.
So I think we were opening in like 30 stores in 10 markets all over the country. The month after my baby was due. So they like gave us the green line in August, 2018 and she was due September. I was like, okay, so I’m nine months pregnant. And I need to like, raise a series a and like open in 10 cities and like have a baby, like, sure. Like I can do that all next month.
I did not raise a series a, but we did open and I did have the baby and we were really growing up business, but I quickly realized. As a mom, myself, all of a sudden, after many years of like eating, breathing and sleeping the baby world, that I had way bigger problems than just a dirty stroller.
And I was like, why is it so hard to find a lactation consultant and a sleep consultant? And like all of these providers and I want night nannies, there’s no national brand name in any of these categories. And what if, instead of like being the company that employees, these hourly workers that clean gear, like what if I can become a tech company?
Uh, glam squad or an Uber, a marketplace that just connects end consumers with a service provider. And I started tinkering with that idea and then it quickly became apparent to me that I could not run the existing cleaning business all over the country and start this new tech company and be a new mom all at the same time.
If something had to give. I was actually like, just trying to explore my options of like, how can I go this new direction? It occurred to me, like maybe I should try to sell the cleaning business. And so I actually sold that business to enable me to pursue the new idea that I had because I had become a mom and it was amazing.
So it was not a personal exit for me. I did not actually take any cash out of the transaction. But I formed a new company and the new company acquired the TotSquad brand named from the old company. And the rest of the business was acquired by baby Quip, which is the world’s largest baby gear rental marketplace.
So you kind of like sold part of the company to yourself kind of. Yeah. So I was like, I used to say, I was like divesting part of the business, the cleaning service, but like after all the legal schmancy stuff has done, like, we actually have a new company. That acquired the brand name. And so, yeah, this is like TotSquad 2.0, here we are.
And we’re, uh, we’re, you know, selling services through walmart.com and amazon.com and helping connect moms to the search providers all over the country. It’s great.
[00:23:28] Stephanie: And I was gonna say like, did you take maternity leave at all after your second?
[00:23:34] Jen: Yes, but it was challenging. So we were in the middle of this restructuring, right?
Because of the way to kind of legal entities had to get all sorted out after the sale of the core business. And I did have these like angry investors emailing me while I was in the hospital. After I had my C-section. And I had this call set up for them to like meet with the baby Quip founder four days after my baby was born.
And there wasn’t really anybody else that I could like pass that to, to like run it. And so I tried to send out a meeting reminder. I had a C-section. I was like all, a lot of painkillers. I sent out the meeting reminder, like, oh, see you guys all at 11:00 AM or something. And then I joined on the zoom and there’s like two people.
And I was expecting like a much larger group to show. And then somebody is like, oh, well I thought it was at one. O’clock not 11 o’clock. I looked at my calendar like this, sure enough. I had the time totally wrong. Then they had to send a correction, email out to all the investors being like, sorry, it’s not at 11 minutes at one, I got the time wrong.
Like, this is why you should not be working four days after you had a baby. Like, what was I thinking? Why didn’t I just cancel or move this call? Like this was so dumb. I just had, I was just so embarrassed.
But I did hire some great people to like run the business while I was out. So I was trying to take like a full two weeks unplugged and then just check in once or twice a week that lasted maybe six or eight weeks.
And then I was probably ramping up to work like 10, 20 hours a week towards the end. So. I was very intentional about it. It’s a, for any mom, that’s a business owner. I think if you’re going into a maternity leave, you know, you’re about to have a baby.
My advice to you is be very intentional. I hired an executive coach and I worked with her to outline these are the things in my business that I am going to engage in.
Like, you know, if we have this huge new deal coming from target, like I want to be on that phone call. Like I will make it happen. And these are the things I’m not going to. I am not going to renew the financials or review them the financials this month. I’m not going to deal with customer support tickets.
If somebody is angry and had a bad experience, like these are things that can be delegated. And so I actually wrote up the list, like things I am not doing and things that I am doing, and that was communicated very clearly with everybody on my team. So they knew what to escalate to me and whatnot.
[00:25:34] Stephanie: And how did you keep those boundaries?
[00:25:36] Jen: I actually unsubscribed from a lot of my slack channels so that I would just wouldn’t see it because I knew I couldn’t resist the temptation. Like if I see the conversation happening, I can’t not participate. Like it’s just too hard. If I know that I know the answer and can help. So I had to disengage, I put up an.
It was a little witty. It made me happy. Um, you know, it was like, oh, I’m without access to like email or clean, like cleaning myself showers. Like I said, like clean clothes, showers. I don’t have access to any of these things. And I got a lot of fun responses to my out of office, but, you know, I got the out of office, but I was still checking emails every once in a while.
So. No, that if I didn’t want to respond, they got my out of office. But if I did want to respond, I could jump in.
[00:26:19] Stephanie: Well now in the day-to-day of being a mom, being a business owner and all of that. Do you create any boundaries or space for yourself for your life, whether it’s self care or do you have any sort of routines you do daily? How do you replenish you.
[00:26:33] Jen: I’m working on that. So my husband and I are in the process of rolling out the fair play system.
[00:26:37] Stephanie: Eve’s going to be on my podcast.
[00:26:39] Jen: Oh my God.
[00:26:41] Stephanie: I’m interviewing her I think in a month. And I’m like, I I’m nervous.
[00:26:47] Jen: She’s so nice. She’s so nice. So excited.
[00:26:49] Stephanie: She’s like, I want to learn things.
She’s writing a new book called unicorn space and I’m like, I really want to know once I have the time, what do I
[00:26:57] Jen: do with it? What is, what is my unicorn? So, yeah. Anybody who hasn’t read Fairplay, please go read it Eve. Rodsky she’s a genius. She, I did not realize in the whole book, she doesn’t say this maybe because it wasn’t true at the time, but her husband was one of the co-founders of hello, sunshine with Reese Witherspoon.
And they just sold that company for like a bazillion dollars. And I was like, yeah, go Reese Witherspoon go. You. And I was like, and this is why he talks about her. Like very powerful, successful husband maybe does doesn’t now. That’s why
[00:27:22] Stephanie: she was a recently. Book club
[00:27:24] Jen: thing. Totally, totally. There’s a connection who, you know, connecting exactly.
I put the pieces together and I was like, this makes so much sense. So anyway, we’re doing the Fairplay system and we were basically like, just going through the cards to like agree with like, what does it mean to be the person who’s in charge of like automotive? Like yes, it means you take the cars for oil changes.
And like, if there’s a flat tire or a situation, like you deal with it, like whatever, like just agreeing to what each card and. Because there’s a hundred cards for anybody who hasn’t read it. And there are everything that you have to manage as like a family, a household with children in it, from watching the kids to like making sure you have an estate plan and life insurance, and like paying the bills every month.
Like every single thing that your household is managing is probably a part of this deck. And what shocked me about this? Was that it said the number of cards that like the typical male, like in a heterosexual couple, the typical husband holds that is like the magic number to like make women the most happy was 21 cars out of a hundred.
I was like when I went through it and I was like, oh, I think my husband’s doing eight or nine. It’s like, yes, I can get to 20. That is twice as many. That was like, oh my God, that would be game changer for me. If I could give him 10 more things that I don’t have to think about. So we’re doing Fairplay and it was part of Fairplay.
You were supposed to carve out this time for yourself for self care. I do an annual like goal session for myself. So usually it’s like the first business day of the year, like January 2nd or third or whatever that. I go to like a nice hotel on the beach or something by myself. And I have this little workbook that I do, and I do my business goals for the year and I do my personal goals for the year.
And this year I had some self-care goals written out. Like I wanted to start tennis lessons again, it’s been like 20 years since I played at duke and I’m not good. And I wanted to have more time just like checked out, like not checking my phone, whether it’s like drinking wine with my girlfriends or.
Intentionally carved out time, where there is no guilt that I’m not working. Cause that’s like, I struggle with that when I’m not working. I feel like I should be working. I think everybody has that issue. So really carving out that time where I like fun, unplugged and checking out. So I didn’t start my tennis lessons.
I was so proud of myself. And then like three weeks in, I broke my toe. So I. Frantically cleaning my house before my mother-in-law arrived. I like stubbed my toe on the, um,
[00:29:44] Stephanie: extra
[00:29:44] Jen: story. I’m going to get back into the tenants, but I’m, I encourage people to really think about doing quarterly annual goals, planning sessions, and not just for work and not just your professional goals, but thinking about what are your personal goals for the year as well?
[00:29:57] Stephanie: Do you do, like, do you have any sort of morning routine or is it just like get up and go?
[00:30:02] Jen: So my one, here’s one of my mom hacks, as I like hire the nanny to come early and help with the morning routine. Because like right now, between nursing the baby, trying to get the toddler ready. Cause this are like first time even having a morning where like the kid has to be out of the house because since during COVID she was home with the nanny the whole time.
Like we’d wanted to put her in daycare at 18 months, but then there was a pandemic and so. Previously, I didn’t have to worry about it if I left for work. And she was like in pajamas and hadn’t had breakfast, cause the nanny would just deal with all that. Now it’s like, I’m going to nurse the baby dress, the kid feed the breakfast, like do all the things.
So she comes early and helps like wrangle the toddler while I’m on baby duty. And then we switch, she keeps the baby, I dropped them toddler off at school. I mean, it’s great. But like my time for putting on makeup and like thinking about my husband works late at night on his like indie crime thrillers.
So that’s what we’re calling it. I’m just kidding. That’s right. That’s right. So he’s often asleep in the morning. I feel like I’m like tiptoeing around my bedroom, like trying not to wake him up. Cause I know he was working so late, so it’s just, it’s hard. It’s hard to have a good morning routine, like get in and out as fast as I can.
[00:31:02] Stephanie: How do you and your husband get time for you? Like, do you have any to standing date nights? Like how do you communicate in your relationship?
[00:31:10] Jen: Oh, I don’t know that we’re that great at having like standing date nights, but like, I’m trying to get better about hiring a babysitter and not feeling bad about it.
Cause I think I was doing this math before of like, okay, last Saturday we went to go see modest mouse. Like I loved that band and we went downtown and we’re like so excited about our date night acoustics were horrible. The whole concert was a bust, but it was like, I used to do this math where it’s like, okay, well, the babysitter’s going to cost like 15 or $20 an hour, four hours.
Like, is this thing really worth $60 to like pay the babysitter? Do I need to go to this movie that bad?
[00:31:41] Stephanie: Plus you pay for the actual date. And then all of a sudden it’s like a $500 a night. And you’re like, what just happened?
[00:31:46] Jen: What just happened? This is crazy. And so I feel like I’m like trying to. Stop focusing on that because like, we are, we’re like an early stage startup founder and a, and an artist, you know, a budding film maker.
Like we don’t have a ton of money yet. And so we, you know, like I don’t have a lot of money to just like spend on extra things like that. But I think I just have to like put it in the calculus. I’m like, this is an investment in my marriage and my personal sanity. Like we were talking about vacations, like Disneyland.
That is not a vacation that is like working remotely of parenting, like instead of parenting jobs, it’s
[00:32:19] Stephanie: job relocation. So we always say, when you go on vacation, it’s not vacation. It’s called job relocation. You’re just relocating your parenting and another, and another place would none of your things that you are accustomed to.
So that it’s actually more work.
[00:32:33] Jen: Exactly. It’s like, it’s so much harder. One of my friends actually travels with a nanny and I’m like, I might have to get on that train. That feels like if you’re going to have like one vacation a year, Instead of doing like lots of little vacations, like do one big one and just hire the help.
[00:32:49] Stephanie: I don’t know. I’m like big on like my personal space. And so it’s like, I know people who do that, but I’m just like, I like my, like, I don’t know if I want you
[00:32:55] Jen: here.
[00:32:57] Stephanie: It’s like, I want my privacy, but then I want the help. So it’s like, so this time we’re going to Hawaii with my parents.
[00:33:02] Jen: Very smart. Very smart. Thinking about getting an AU pair, just to have more flexible childcare on a budget, but I just can’t get over the fact that they’re going to be like right there upstairs in my house, like a few doors down.
I don’t know. I just want more privacy.
[00:33:17] Stephanie: Yeah, no, I completely understand. Well, let’s see. Okay. So before we wrap this up, you know, to any moms out there, any final words on just, I guess, like looking to get back into things, looking to do a startup, like, would you say yes, no. What would you look for? Like, why would you go forward into.
[00:33:35] Jen: Yeah. I mean, I think a lot of people are always telling moms like, just go for it, just do it. Like don’t wait, start your business. I give a little bit of a nuance on that advice. Like I, a hundred percent encourage everybody who has a passion and idea to like go for it and figure it out. But I always say, don’t quit your day job until you are in revenue, because there are so many parts of starting a business that has to happen before you actually start earning any money.
Like filing for all of your business licenses and in California, it always takes forever. Here. You’ll have to choose a name, get the URL, design, the logo, design the website, figure out the pricing. Like there’s a bazillion little elements that go into it. That until you actually start to see cashflow coming in on a regular basis, you can do it on the side.
And so, you know, maybe it’s on the side of parenting before you’re investing in hiring the nanny. You could do it full-time but I think that there’s enough of the like kind of startup process that can happen on the side, whether you’re a full-time parent or a full-time employee somewhere, do all of those things first.
And when you start to feel a little momentum. And some excitement, like that’s when it’s time to quit your job. Like I said, after I finished business school, I was starting my business while I went back to my strategy job. And sometimes I was working from 9:00 AM to 3:00 AM. Like, it was like I had no children, but I was just working full-time job on my startup and a full-time job, all my, like.
And it was amazing. And the moment I knew it was time to quit. My job was when I got booked on shark tank and unfortunately my episode never aired. It was like a total bummer. Like my helper person was standing in the wrong spots. Like the edit looked weird or something. I got a deal with mark Cuban on the show.
They never aired. I was so bummed. I walked away from the deal offline afterwards, but I was going
[00:35:09] Stephanie: to actually ask if they honored it, even though you weren’t.
[00:35:13] Jen: They would have. Yeah, but it was just like my strategy going into the show was like, get a deal, even if it’s bad and then renegotiate offline. And I quickly realized I didn’t actually want any sort of deal
[00:35:25] Stephanie: when I was going to say really.
I think most people don’t realize it’s really a marketing play. Not really like a money
[00:35:31] Jen: place. Totally. So I was like, I don’t want this deal. This deal is bad, bad terms. So let him take the deal on my show. Never, ever like left, but it was like, I can’t go on shark tank and say, I have a full-time job. Like they’ll eat me alive.
Like I have to be all in on the business. So that was kind of what gave me the courage to finally jump ship and start working on my business. But I think like, you’ll know, you’ll know when your business is starting to consume more of your time because more customers are demanding your product or like you’re starting to just feel that momentum.
And it’s not just. The sense of like, I have so much to do, and you have this long to-do list of ideas of things to try. That’s not the time to quit your job. Like keep trying those ideas on the side. And when you actually start to feel the momentum, that’s when you can like, think more about taking the risk
[00:36:11] Stephanie: Great advice. So I’m wondering what is your superpower that you gained once you became a mom that makes you better in either business or life.
[00:36:20] Jen: Oh my gosh, my superpower, when I became a mom, I was going to say my superpower is like negotiating. I love negotiating. In fact, my husband and I, whenever we go get a new car, they all think that he’s the bad cop and I’m the good cop, but like they don’t know.
He’s just a decoy and I’m the good cop and the bad cop. Like I’m going to get the best possible deal. And I think that that superpower has started to come in very handy with a toddler it’s it’s, it’s unlike learning new nuances to my ability to negotiate with. I mean, she’s like really cute. And she’s also a terrorist that
[00:36:57] Stephanie: actually a book or something that was like negotiating with toddlers is like negotiating with like terrorists.
And it was it’s like something along the
[00:37:04] Jen: lines back. I’m going to need to find that, because that sounds right up my alley. So yeah. I feel like I’m doing a lot of negotiating and using all these like MBA strategies of like redirection, like distracted red herring.
Um, I’m definitely, I’m getting a new. To my negotiations.
[00:37:24] Stephanie: Awesome. Well, where can we find you online?
[00:37:27] Jen: We firstname.lastname@example.org. And are
[00:37:34] Stephanie: you guys linked? Everything we can rely on lactation consultants. We can find different. You can
[00:37:39] Jen: find different things and you will, next month we will be launching in 500 Walmart stores all over the country where you’ll actually like next to the car seats.
You’ll be able to scan a QR code and buy a car seat installation service from right there, inside the store. So really excited about some of those new launches that are coming up.
[00:37:54] Stephanie: Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining today, Jen. I loved having you. Thank you.
[00:37:59] Jen: Yes. Thank you so much Stephanie.
[00:38:01] Stephanie: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of mommy’s on a call.
Your support means the absolute world. To me. You can find the show notes for this episode and other goodies over at mommy’s on a call.com. And if you enjoyed this episode or have gotten value from the podcast, I would be so grateful if you could head on over to apple podcasts and leave a rating and review so that we can reach and empower more moms all over the world together.
Thank you so much again, mommy pod, and I will see you.