Can I just take a moment to say that I am a major fan of the Mompreneur I’m featuring today?! Of course, I’m a fan of all the moms I feature in this series, but Angela is extra special to me because I have been following her for YEARS. Back when Brian and I were eating strictly vegan, Oh She Glows was my number one go-to and it continues to be a source of meal inspiration for us as we still maintain a largely plant-based diet. If you caught my post yesterday, you already know she has just released her second cookbook (her first is a New York Times bestseller), and today she’s sharing about how she balances her work and family life and why it’s so important to be surrounded by a community of likeminded women…
First things first, tell us a little bit about your family and where you live.
My husband, daughter (almost 2!), and I live in Ontario, Canada. We’ll be welcoming our second addition to the family at the end of September, and life is about to get even more crazy, but I can’t wait!
Which came first, the babies or the business?
Eric and I are high school sweethearts and we were married for around 7 years before we had our first baby. I’m actually glad that we waited to start a family because it gave me the opportunity to discover my real passions, and to start/grow Oh She Glows.
What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
Back in 2008—a time when I was unhappy with my career as a researcher and needed a fun, creative outlet to distract myself—I started my blog, Oh She Glows. I quickly fell head over heels in love with it, and discovered a passion for recipe creation and food photography that, to be honest, I never really expected to find! Nope, I barely knew how to cook a potato back in the day, but I was driven and motivated to learn. Eventually, blogging became my full-time job; I’m beyond grateful every day that I decided to take that leap. I’ve always been a people pleaser, but this was a rare time in my life when I decided to listen to my heart and not worry about what others would think if I walked away from my previous career. Life works in mysterious ways sometimes!
Are you a morning person or a night person?
My daughter has never been a big sleeper, so our mornings are always quite early by default! My mom tells me I was the exact same, so I guess it’s in the genes. I tend to handle the lack of sleep better than my husband does (he’s a night owl) as I’ve always been fairly high energy; as long as I get to bed at a decent time, I’d say I’m more of a morning person! At 8 1/2 months pregnant, it’s hard for me to keep my peepers open past 9:45pm most nights.
Coffee or tea? (Or are you a unicorn who does not need caffeine?!)
I’ve gone through phases where I’ve cut out caffeine just to experiment, but I always come back to it! I love the ritual of tea and coffee, and decaf in the morning just doesn’t feel the same. I’ve gone overboard with coffee in the past as I’m pretty sensitive to it, so I now enjoy it occasionally as a special treat. My go-to morning drink is matcha green tea. I love green tea because it gives me a stable boost and mental clarity without the anxious jittery feeling.
What does your morning routine look like? What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
My wake-up time is when my daughter gets up, which lately has been between 5:00 and 5:30am (ouch!!). We usually wake up to “Mommy, mommy, mommy!” or “Daddy, daddy, daddy!” coming from her nursery. She sure knows how to pull at our heartstrings. After coming downstairs, the first thing I do in the morning is give my daughter some fresh water and heat up some water for my green tea. Lately I’ve been chugging back some awful-tasting green superfood powder with water while I wait for my tea to steep. Anything for extra energy!! After I’ve made that, my daughter is usually looking for breakfast so I will get started making her pancakes or scrambled eggs right away. I respond to emails and write the day’s to-do list while feeding her if I can. Then I’ll make a green protein smoothie and we’ll head out for a morning walk shortly after (well, when it’s not the dead of winter, that is!).
Balance—we can’t do this interview and not talk about it! Mostly because I’m desperate to know all of your secrets. How do you make it work?
A big part of making it work, for me, was realizing that I could no longer do it all on my own. I’m a bit of a control freak so I refused to get outside help for the first 6 or so years, despite having rapid growth in the business. I honestly wish I hadn’t waited so long, but at the same time, I had to wait until I had a stable income. My husband recently joined our business full-time, and I hired a Content Editor earlier this year, too. Starting a small team was the best thing I’ve ever done and I can’t wait to grow even more. Now I’m able to focus more on the things I do best, which feels incredibly powerful and inspiring.
Childcare is a big factor—what’s been working for you? Nanny, daycare or the stay-at-home/work-at-home life? Or do your kids go to school now?
Up until my daughter was 18 months old, my husband and I looked after her full-time with no outside help while running the business. We don’t have family super close by (and to this day we don’t have a sitter), so it was a challenging time to say the least. She recently started going to a preschool and it’s been life-changing (even though I was against the idea at first). She absolutely loves it, and the social aspect of being around kids her own age has been such a great thing for her. Adriana is a very happy girl most days. It’s been amazing for us having that work/family divide, which we didn’t have for so long.
How do you make room for personal time for yourself? When you do get down time, what do you do to relax, refresh and/or get inspired?
After my daughter goes to bed at 7:30pm, I have my downtime. I make a point not to work at night like I used to, and use this time for recharging. (Lately, this looks like making myself a raspberry leaf tea and snack while watching the Olympics with a face mask on. Pure bliss!) I’m sure this predictable evening quiet time is all going to change when the new baby arrives though!
It’s also really important to have a network of other moms and fellow entrepreneurs. My girlfriends and I try to get together once a month to discuss everything from kids to relationships to running a business and all the ups and downs that come with it. Sometimes all I need is to hear another friend say, “I’ve been there before” or “I’m going through that too” and suddenly I don’t feel so scared.
What one bit of advice would you give to a fellow mompreneur trying to make it all work?
Becoming a mom has reinforced something I’ve strongly believed in for a while: things won’t go smoothly all the time. It’s not possible or practical to expect that, even though I know as business owners we often put even more pressure on ourselves to juggle it all. There will be weeks that are a hot mess (family stomach illness, anyone?!), and some weeks where you feel like you’re killing it. But raising a child has taught me to take things as they come. My family will always be my priority, but I can do my best each day given the current circumstances, and make peace with whatever that is! I’m incredibly grateful for so many things in my life, and anytime I start to feel overwhelmed I just remind myself of this. I applaud anyone who is trying to make it all work while facing obstacles and chasing their passions. It’s not easy, but it’s so worth it.
As a side note, it’s been amazing following Natalie’s journey through motherhood, growing the blog, and starting her own jewelry business. Congrats, girl! I really love this series and I’m happy to take part. :)
Thank you for taking the time to share with us, Angela! I’ve been such a huge fan of your work over the years and am honored to get an inside peek into how you do it all!
P.S. Angela’s recipe for vegan pumpkin cupcakes with spiced buttercream frosting.
All professional photographs in this post are copyright © 2016 by Ashley McLaughlin