Entrepreneurial mothers in Metro Detroit share how they balance their babies and their businesses.
By Blessing Adesiyan
The women of Detroit are at the forefront of Detroit’s resurgence. Many of them are mothers who are combining the “high-chair” game with their work and businesses.
These women are embracing the gift of motherhood while leading healthy, productive and fulfilled lives. We caught up with five women who are boldly following their ambition, creating success on their own terms while also creating space for motherhood, community and self-improvement.
Carly Goidosik is the owner of The Dailey Method — a barre studio in Birmingham for women. When asked how she started The Dailey Method almost six years ago, and how she continues to thrive as an entrepreneur and mother, Carly took us down memory lane and how she survived her first year in business as an expecting/new mom.
I started out as the “technician.” I knew how to teach Barre class but knew little about the other roles of running a small business, like management and entrepreneurship. I am proud to say that with grit and determination to succeed, I have embraced all the roles as a small business owner, and I am proud of where we are as a community today. On starting a business while pregnant — my husband and I had planned to wait at least one year into business ownership before trying to conceive, but life had a different plan. It wasn’t the easiest path, but it was all in divine timing and I learned a lot in the process. Leaving my first baby (the business) before it was a year old to nurture my first-born human challenged me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I only took five weeks of maternity leave, and during that time I vividly remember crying in my kitchen over the thought that the studio might not survive (my hormones played a role in that too). But in that experience, something unexpected and magical happened. I survived my first lesson to entrust my team fully. It was during that time of surrender my team felt empowered to take ownership of the studio. The studio did survive. Not only did it survive, it thrived. I now have an incredible staff of loyal, dedicated, capable women.
It’s taken me years to overcome the mommy guilt from working outside the home and feel so fulfilled by my career. I always thought that I would be a stay-at-home mom, so this new identity of entrepreneur has taken a while to not only accept, but embrace. Through meditation, mentors and experience, I’ve come to realize what a gift I am giving my boys by honoring my dreams. I am a living example for them that you can find something you love and do work that is fulfilling. The thought of that makes all the mom guilt melt away.
Christine Rhee and Jennifer Rhee
Christine Rhee and Jennifer Rhee are twins, both fulltime anesthesiologist at Anesthesia Associates, fashion bloggers and entrepreneurs at Ajeless Health and Medical Spa in Northville. When asked how they align motherhood and ambition, they acknowledged it is a tough, yet rewarding challenge. Asking for help and surrounding themselves with supportive women have made all the difference.
We don’t think there’s really such a thing as a perfect balance. Demands of a family and work are constantly there, but these demands change as the kids get older or your work obligations evolve. We both accept any help that’s offered to us, and we don’t feel guilty about outsourcing work like house cleaning or grocery shopping. Sometimes as a mom it seems that we put so much pressure on ourselves to do everything that’s traditionally expected of us. We let go of that expectation years ago! Our best advice to busy moms is find all the help you can! Don’t try to do everything by yourself.
We have a great group of physician moms we work with on a daily basis. We all work together very well, and there’s not that stereotypical female jealously that people seem to talk about. It doesn’t need to exist. Confident smart women can work well together. We both feel very inspired by our fellow female co-workers. It’s great to work with a group of ladies who face similar challenges. We all give each other advice about our careers and motherhood.
Honestly, our definition of success right now is really shaped by our children. We want to be moms who raise great, respectable, well-rounded children. We want them to feel like we will always be there for them no matter what, and we want to be people they can look up to and be proud of.
Brooke Miller started Honey For Moms, a space for moms and moms-to-be in Ferndale, less than two years ago. She is a licensed psychotherapist and recently co-founded SIX Corporate Parent Experience Consulting. When asked how motherhood has shaped her business, she shared how Honey was started because she needed it. Today, she brings mothers together to learn, discover, engage and live their best lives.
The journey to Honey started because I was looking for it and couldn’t find it. Motherhood cracked me open and brought both a beauty and a mess into my world that I could never have imagined. I was definitely a “searching for the meaning of life” kind of 20-something, and when I had my first daughter in my 30s, I felt like I had finally found it — the meaning of life and love and all of it. But that didn’t come without pain, confusion, fear and loneliness, as much of the best stuff in life is grown from. So I was looking for Honey. I knew there was a need.
Being a mother is what solidified my career and brought my entire life to the next level. My kids broke me open, and I see the world differently now. I loved being a therapist, but becoming a mother showed me what kind of therapist and leader and innovator I truly could be. I made humans. I can do anything. It [motherhood] ebbs and flows, I feel like I’m in a good flow right now, but we are entering summer when my kids will be off school and with me. I have an incredibly participatory husband who is my true partner in all things work, life and raising children, so I feel very lucky. We also have amazing friends and neighbors who have stepped up in a pinch to help if needed. Balancing it all is a continuous learning curve!
Christina Brillati was a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, until earlier this year when she started Tribe Detroit, a co-working space for creatives and entrepreneurs in Warren. She took an old bank building and flipped it (She was an interior designer before she made the decision to create space for motherhood.) Christina walks us through her thought-process during the early stages of Tribe and offers sound advice for moms looking to stay relevant and engaged.
As my four kids have been growing, I felt that it was important for me to get back to work. I use my business as a platform to not only inspire creativity for myself, my kids and whomever wants to join us, but also as a way to give back to our community. All of these things fit into the larger vision of how I want to raise my kids.
For moms looking to re-enter the workforce as a professional or entrepreneur — it’s definitely easier if you keep your foot in the door, even if it it’s just a toe. I don’t think you necessarily need to be on a payroll to do this. I always stayed up to date on trends and what was going on in the design industry through, books, magazines, blogs, Pinterest and later Instagram. I also was constantly taking online courses on blogging and Instagram, branding and whatever else I could find. Last summer I flew to Virginia for a three-day workshop for creative entrepreneurs even though I didn’t have a business and didn’t know what my business would look like. This workshop ended up being key.
As a creative in this area I can say that we have waited a long, long time for Detroit to catch up with what has been happening around the country. My dream is that this space would be used as sort of a “ design laboratory.” I love that one day we’re having an event and the next day a photo shoot for clothing and the day after I’m surrounded by buckets of flowers or babies. It’s always something different and exciting, and the people I’ve met have been amazing.
Blessing Adesiyan is the founder and CEO of Mother Honestly — a think tank, platform and community carefully curated to inspire and enable the modern woman to thrive beyond motherhood. Through online content and offline activations, Mother Honestly is aligning motherhood and ambition in a new way.