Chatting with the Moms of Beaches Town Center

When it comes to running a business and a family simultaneously, there’s no shortage of challenges. From balancing school schedules and business hours to changing diapers and menus, being a mom at home and a boss at work takes a special level of finesse.

To gain a little insight on what it takes to master both sides, we chatted with some seriously boss babes who run businesses around Beaches Town Center. From restaurants to retail, here’s what they had to say:

EMILIE
Emilie Christenson
Mom to Carlie, 21 and Devon, 19 and Owner of Jaffi’s Boutique

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mom has changed my outlook on EVERYTHING! I quickly realized how precious life is and how much influence I have as an individual to hurt or help others - helping people became a passion for me both personally and professionally and motherhood made me see myself differently. At first my focus was on being a positive role model and setting the best possible example for my children no matter what. But eventually, I realized we are all "mothers" to someone, and I try to touch as many lives as I can in a positive and productive way.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business?
A: Balancing work and family is a challenge for sure - but when I went back to work after having our first child my Dad said, "don't worry honey, it's quality not quantity that matters - make the time you have count". I've found that to be incredible insight and amazing advice.  What rewards? The reward of being able to share my personal and professional life with my kids has been invaluable. Being self employed I get to manage my time, effort and energy to focus on what's most important to me and my family. My husband and I have also been able to show our girls that hard work can be lucrative, fun, and rewarding at the same time.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: My Mom and her family were very hard workers and they taught me the importance of rolling up my sleeves to get the job done no matter what. She also taught me not to take no for an answer (if it's the wrong answer) and to be resourceful. My Mom never really "told me what to do" which motivated me to figure things out for myself when I hit roadblocks or had to navigate through unchartered territory. Thanks Mom! :)

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Make time for what's important and always be present  vs. wishing you were somewhere else and/or doing something else. Your work/customers and family will appreciate it - and so will you!  I remember when the girls were young it was hard to manage work... school... activities... home. I remember feeling overwelmed, frustrated and exhausted all the time - like there weren't enough hours in the day to get things done. Once I accepted the fact that at 2:00pm I turned into a pumpkin and the kids/family was my "job" for the rest of the day, I found life became more
enjoyable and I was able to cherish each moment better then ever. That little shift - of taking full responsibility for what my "job" was at different points throughout the day - helped me put things in perspective and EVERYTHING changed for the better from that point forward!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: I hope they know they can do ANYTHING they choose and be ANYTHING they want to be. Henry Ford once said, "whether you think you can or you can't, you are right!" - and that is the greatest lesson I've learned from being a business owner.


DEANNE
Deanne Dunlop
Mom to Alec, 29 and Alivia 18 and Owner of Dunlop Photography

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mother and female business owner has given me a different perspective on raising optimistic, confident children and the importance of being present.  Our studio byline is "photography to celebrate life" and being a mother has taught me to encourage other mothers to put down the camera and cell and get in the frame ~ celebrate life with their children.  Photographs solidify our memories - I don't  want to see a generation of moms missing from their family memories.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: I think of active motherhood as a window that gets smaller and smaller as your children grow, so prioritizing my time has been really important.  Challenging you might say.  I have learned not to confuse what appears urgent with what is actually important at any given moment and that lesson has been a business reward as well.  And yes, it is even challenging for me to make time to have portrait taken of me with my children.  It's a good Mother's Day tradition.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?  
A: My mother taught me it's okay to blur the lines and include my children in my life's work.  She was a very inclusive person.  Thanks to her my children have experienced my passion for my work first hand.  

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?  
A: Prayer.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?   
A: My hope is that my children have learned to serve others and to value the preciousness of others at all times.  I hope they will be risk takers, contribute to their communities, be passionate about their work and share their faith.


 SAILORS SIREN
Whitney Toomer Canney and Michele Toomer
Whitney is Mom to Tallulah, 1, and Michele is Mom to Whitney, 31, and Joshua, 28
They are Owners of Sailors Siren

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Whitney - Having become a mom a year ago, I've just learned the lesson that you have to be intentional with your time across all aspects of life, but especially your business.
Michele - I was a Navy wife for 23 years, with two kids. Most military wives are the original "momagers." Juggling is a skill that takes practice and a whole lot of patience.                                                                                        

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: Whitney - The challenge and reward is almost one in the same as it boils down to time management, but I control my schedule. It's a blessing and curse!
Michele - My challenge is being able to carve out time to be with my kids. Even though Whit is able to spend a lot of time here, her home base is in DC. My Son is in Southern California. Luckily we are together as much as possible.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: Whitney - My mom and partner exposed me to everything I can attribute my aesthetic to; travel, culture, art, design, food, etc. She's also a list maker which helps in the day-to-day of running a business, so that passed down habit is vital!
Michele - My mom taught me about the arts, travel, and the love of reading. You can see that when you walk into our shop through the local artists we carry, coffee table and lifestyle books we carry and handmade items from makers we know.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Whitney - My mom! We tag team when I'm in Florida so that when I'm in the shop or working she watches the baby most of the time. Couldn't do it without her!
Michele - Life is about balance. I've been a mom for a long time so this business is a lot like having another child. It requires time, effort, energy, and love! My biggest challenge is my fur babies. Boo is usually in the shop with me, but I couldn't do it without my husband who works mostly from home and can hang with them during the day.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: Whitney - That you're in control of your own destiny and that you get back what you put in.
Michele - Anything is possible if you put your heart and mind to it. Don't be afraid to pave your own path, life is all about the journey.


ASHLEGRYRE
Ashely & Robin
Mother and Daughter Duo and Owners of AshleGryre

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Ashely - In work and life, I've always been a "get it done yesterday" kind of person, so with becoming a mother and growing business that requires 24/7 t.l.c., challenges do present themselves and it can feel like a circus act checking things off the list. I'm not sure my level of patience has ever been one to model, but it's what works for me. Since becoming a mom, I try to take a bigger-picture approach and focus on time and consistency when I'm at the office, giving 100%. I'm my happiest when my plate is full.
Robin - Being the mother of two and owning a business is much like running a "start up" corporation... with each new customer - we add to our family and our life experiences.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: Ashely - Being in both places at once! Understanding that when I'm at work or traveling for business, I'm provided the opportunity to do what I love, with my best friend and it provides me fulfillment making me a better mom.
Robin - The biggest challenge?  The "fear of failure"!  As mothers we're not suppose to fail...after all we're "MOM"...aka superwoman!  As a Mom- we network with our children... as a Mother owned business it can be daunting developing that peer networking group to help with the fear!  But, over the years in business "I have stopped worrying if people will treat me differently in business because of my
gender.  There is just no time for that in business.  The bottom line, if we're successful, no one cares whether your a mom, woman or a man!  

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: Ashely - If you're going to do it, give it your all. Don't half-a$% it! People will talk, let them. Your dreams are worth going after. Moderation is key. Enjoy your own quiet time, no one can take that away from you. Never leave the house without making your bed.
Robin - My father was my Mom!  Thank god he stood by me and raised his only child.  Though not intentional on my fathers behalf- I learned to be very independent...taking care to get things done.  

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Ashely - It's a family effort. After coming from a rigorous corporate tenure, working for a family-owned and operated business has blessed me with the opportunity to still be present for milestone moments as a mother to a young toddler. Not sure I believe there's a perfect recipe for balance, but my mantra includes prioritizing, not being afraid to ask for help, and taking moments to breathe.
Robin - With two feet grounded by the support of a great husband and father!  Thank goodness Ashely and Josh are grownups now!  Back in the day...we kept to a structured schedule.  It kept us all sane!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: Ashely - This adventure is still very new to me, but I pray that Aniston will grow up with a thirst for adventure and not be afraid to step out of her comfort zone.
Robin - Never forget that even as a business owner - we've got a "JOB" to do- take care of those that patronize you and do it well.   We're not perfect - but we should at least try to be!


RACHEL
Rachel Crismond
Mom to Two Boys and Part Owner of KYDS Boutique

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: My outlook on work has changed simply because I have two sets of little eyes watching everything I do. Work will always be around, but my boys are only little once and they’re my top priority- even if it means getting behind on work and having to go to bed a little later. My multitasking skills have soared to an entirely new level once I took on business ownership while having 2 young sons. With that said, things do slip through the cracks and I need regular reminders— thank God for my business partner, Melody Joy, who’s my twin sister.
I had always admired businesswoman who were also mothers and observed how they managed it all.
I think you can apply a lot of what you learn from raising children into business operation. Especially when it comes to patience...and that includes patience with myself. When my sons are learning a new skill, or make a mistake, I need to be understanding and encourage them a long the way. In the same way, remaining positive with myself and learning from my mistakes alleviates unnecessary and detrimental pressures.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A: I’d say the biggest challenges are finding balance—and learning to function optimally on limited sleep. Balancing schedules with my kids and making sure they’re not missing out on anything...and that I’m not missing out on priceless moments with them. All the while, making sure to stay on top of business responsibilities.
It’s rewarding to witness the time and energy you’ve invested pay off. It’s a great feeling to hear feedback from our valued customers when they tell us a gift they purchased from Kyds was a huge hit. Or when customers come in to pick out the perfect outfit for a special occasion. It’s also especially rewarding when we’re able to use our business to help raise money for local causes. Additionally, I find it rewarding that my boys can be involved at Kyds too! They’re some of Kyds top models and are an excellent test panel for the products we select. Gavin (my 4 year old), enjoys helping with the selection process off line sheets and product catalogs. Carson (3) is more interested in testing the durability of products.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A: My mother has many gifts and talents. She’s very creative, personable, and works hard. She excelled in a lot of what she did and her example taught me to strive to be my best and do my best in every area of my life.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Balancing my kids, home, friendships, business has a constant ebb and flow. Sometimes I feel like I’m nailing it, and other days I wonder what in the world I got my self into. There are definite sacrifices made when trying to be a present/involved parent, yet also pushing myself to excel as a businesswoman. I take one day at a time and try not to get too anxious. My husband, Kevin, is very laid back and calming so he helps me to “chill out”.

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: There are so many things I hope my boys will learn through observing the way I handle my business. Teaching by example is very important to how I am raising them. I want them to develop a solid work ethic, to be honest and to live and work with integrity. I hope they learn to use failures as stepping stones towards their goals and dreams. I want them to see that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. I desire for them to handle challenges and setbacks by creating solutions and learning how to efficiently solve problems with positive resolutions.

Being a mother to my two intelligent, beautiful boys, is such an indescribable blessing and they’re the ones that motivate ME on a daily basis to seek growth- for myself personally and in business!


SANDRA
Sandra Hanania
Mom to Ashley, 30, Daniel, 27, Patrick 23 and Owner of Joseph’s Pizza

Q: How has being a mother changed your outlook on work and business?
A: Being a mother and running a business definitely helped me be more organized with my time.

Q: What challenges does motherhood bring to owning and operating a business? What rewards?
A:  The challenges are trying to be at every event, golf tournaments, dance, soccer, etc. Also owning a restaurant can be difficult because of the hours. The kids use to come after school to enjoy a snack and also do their homework. The customers enjoyed seeing them there. The rewards were seeing the kids appreciate what I do. They would always offer to help buss tables. This really helped them mature and to be comfortable with adults.

Q: Were there any lessons or habits your own mother taught you that help you in your day to day life as a business owner?
A:  My mother would always say family first. My parents often would say the restaurant business is too hard. They would discourage us from wanting to open others. We decided 2 stores were enough so we can have quality time with our families.

Q: How do you balance running a business and raising a child or children?
A: Balancing running a business with children is hard but also rewarding. Seeing them grow and customer seeing the family grow from generation to generation is a blessing. Our customers are like family. They love seeing my kids and Mama Rose my mother at both locations. The heart warming part of being in business for over 60 years are the stories from customers. They are amazing!

Q: What lessons do you hope your children learn from you being a business owner?
A: The lessons are work hard in anything you do. Nothing is easy. Love what you do. Respect everyone. Remember the customer is always right.

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