This week's Working Mom of the Week is Nicole Leinbach Reyh. She is the mother of 7 month old little girl and a three year old dog. She can be found at www.retailminded.com and www.retailminded.com/blog.
To me, success is defined as being happy. And up until the ripe age of 30, I thought working hard and climbing up the corporate ladder was success. And it is – just not for me, anymore.
After ten years of working in fashion and footwear wholesale for such companies as Franco Sarto, Via Spiga, and Adidas, I decided I needed to find a job that would allow me to feel the rush of success I craved while also allowing me to be a “successful” mom. In my previous marketing management roles, I was traveling up to 60% of the time and working well over 40 hours a week. In addition, I was an adjunct faculty instructor of Fashion and Retail Business at Columbia College in Chicago. This left me little personal time and definitely no mommy time. Something had to change.
Just after my 30th birthday I was blessed with the news that I was pregnant. Around this same time I was offered a promotion that meant moving to New York City from our current home, Chicago. Though my husband and I discussed the possibility of moving and changing both of our lives, we decided to stay put and slow things down. I quit working for corporate America and enjoyed a healthy, care free 9 months of pregnancy that allowed me to also build a small business dream of mine. During this time, I founded Retail Minded, which is a boutique style retail consulting firm. My goal was to use what I had learned working with the nation’s leading retailers, media and wholesale brands to help support smaller, independent retail and wholesale businesses. Nearly two years later, Retail Minded has grown, reaching not just Chicago businesses but small retailers and wholesalers across the US. In addition, I launched a professional blog in January 2009 in an effort to reach out to more stores and wholesalers as well as link retailers and wholesalers together through my IN THE SPOTLIGHT section. The blog has grown tremendously and has followers all over the world. I love that I can offer businesses great advice regarding marketing, merchandising, publicity, e-commerce, and more while still being an active mom and still getting to teach three classes a semester.
I have a nanny two days a week, which allows me to get to campus to teach class but also gives me some time to meet with clients and do some work for Retail Minded. The best part, though, is that the majority of my time with Retail Minded is completed when my now almost 8 month old daughter is asleep. I feel like I have found my balance of both work and mommy-hood that allows me to feel success the way in which I believe success should, through happiness. But it can get busy and it does get overwhelming sometimes. My passion for work and my love of being a mom have conflicted sometimes and I know I will always have to make decisions that will affect both as a consequence. But being able to make these choices and still have both is what amazes me. My daughter is the most important part of my life and as her mother, I am proud to show her that I can work and be a mom and still be good at both! And even despites some sleepless nights and way too early mornings, I wouldn’t trade the “juggle” of work and being a mom. Working allows me to be a better mom because I feel a sense of success in a different way than the success of being a mom brings me, but it only feels great because I have my little girl and husband to share it with. And who knows, maybe one day I will switch things up again. But for now, this is the best balance there is for me and more importantly, for my daughter, too.
If you are interested in being featured as my Working Mom of the Week, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org).