Mommy CEO

CEO Mommy: Doing it all – and loving it!

*This post is part of a monthly series called CEO Mommy which will be guest written by a few amazing ladies in my personal and professional network. This month’s post is by Katherine O. McHenry who is the Owner of Building Blocks Toy Store who I met professionally a few months ago as a scholar in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program in Chicago. 

Photographed by Thomas | © 2016 TK Photography |
TK Photography Headshot: Event with Moms In Business at Purple Monkey Playroom

Every once in a while, I get asked, “how do you do it all?”. I know it may be a rhetorical question and meant to be a compliment, a positive comment about how much I can accomplish as a mother running her own business. I often feel like I want to really answer the question and set that person straight. Not because I want her to feel badly, but for the completely opposite reason.

Being able to “do it all” is a function of what “all” includes. I barely cook. I don’t know how to operate my washer/dryer. I don’t know where the broom and cleaning supplies are kept. Even in my business, I don’t “do it all”. I have no idea what my kids’ shoe sizes are and where their swim goggles are. With these confessions made, I can proudly say that my family is well fed, we always have clean laundered clothes, the house is relatively in order, my company is thriving, and my kids are becoming better swimmers as they practice in class each week. No mom can do it all, literally, by herself. The secret to a successful mom? Empower all those around you to make the magic happen. Outsource (pay!!) for any and all “chores” that you and your partner get no joy out of partaking in. My husband likes to do the laundry, even loves the steam iron (his man toy!!), so he handles that. Neither ones of us cooks a lot so we order in, eat out, and tell all our friends we love their homemade meals. We pay for housecleaning and raised our acceptance level for messiness. We don’t have family for emergencies and free babysitting so we have a list of great services which we occasionally use. We both take on child-rearing in a supportive way to each other. Sometimes he is doing more of the work and sometimes I”m pulling more weight. Without our partnership, I would not be able to feel completely satisfied as a parent. Without him, I would not “have it all”, the best of both family fulfillment and entrepreneurial achievements.

At work, I am constantly scrutinizing the use of my time. Having kids forces you to think this way. There’s just not enough time to be doing everything all by yourself anymore. These kids need your time now! So I ask myself: Do I need to be the person handling this. Can I outsource this? Can I give this responsibility away to someone else who would do a better job and enjoy it? As a result, people who work in my company are able to take on more important roles and feel satisfaction. They are the reason my business is growing and thriving at this caliber.

Cyclist Kristin Armstrong just won her 3rd Olympic Gold medal at age 42. She says “…being a mom is my secret weapon”, and no truer words have been spoken about motherhood for me. When I became a mom for the first time 6 years ago, I couldn’t operate my business and myself the same anymore. The transition from a “me-life” to a “mom-life” gave me the opportunity to create community and create a bigger and more rewarding life for myself and for those around me.

Everything is handled, mom. So now what? Go play of course!

About Building Blocks Toy Store: 


From their company website: At Building Blocks Toy Store, we love to have fun. In fact, you could call us “champions of play.” Walk through our shop and you’ll see toys, books, games, puzzles, crafts, trucks, trains, dolls, science, baby toys and so much more. These playthings didn’t come here by chance; everything is meticulously scrutinized for its play value and quality. No matter your budget, you’ll find a great discovery, from affordable toys that just require a quick dip into the piggy bank, to high-design diversions for those that want the top of the line. Whether you are looking for party favors, birthday presents, tools that inspire learning and developing, or well-curated books, Building Blocks will leave you smiling.

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