Meet Jacki - Our September Mommy of the Month !
This month we asked Jacki a few questions regarding her new career path, and her families commitment to sustainability!
Question 1- How has the pandemic changed the way you work and view parenting?
I always wanted to be home with Elle from the day she was born. Every day that I went into the office, I felt torn leaving home without her. I wondered what she was doing, how she was being cared for, whether she ate well or not, and if she was happy. Being under the same roof throughout the pandemic gave me peace of mind but at the same time, it became increasingly overwhelming for me to hear her crying for me from the other room or worse, in my arms and beneath my desk. 10 months into the pandemic, I was blessed enough to be able to leave my corporate job so that I could give our daughter my full attention.
It was easily one of the best decisions of my life and it provided us all so much peace. My husband and I had been planning for this moment for years (regardless of the pandemic), but even so, it was still a surprisingly difficult decision to leave the traditional workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. I was so worried about what my family would think, and that I'd lose my appeal in the corporate world if I ever needed to go back. However, all my worries about how others might perceive me melted away when I realized that my daughter's perception of me was the only one that mattered.
As she learned to communicate with us better, it became clear that she wanted to be with me as badly as I wanted to be with her, and so the silver lining of the pandemic was that we finally got that chance. Of course, the career woman in me couldn't give up everything that I'd worked so hard for, so in the same week that I quit my job, I also created two startups, E-Side Consulting (e-commerce consulting) and Good Deeds Market (zero-waste lifestyle store), which would allow me the flexibility to work when it was best for me -- at night, nap time, and on the weekends when my husband was available. I am still trying to figure out how to balance everything but I am so grateful that I don't have to choose between my family and my career - as my own boss, I can finally have both.
Question 2-What is one tip you can give to parents who are thinking about working from home with their little ones?
Be flexible, be patient, and give yourself grace. What works one day might not work the next, and that's okay. Test out different schedules, but don't be too structured. Follow their lead, work when you can, and drink lots of coffee. Surround yourself with people who support you, inspire you, understand your needs, and make you feel valued. And when you need to, take a day off, get rest, be present, enjoy the fleeting moments with your little one, and know that those emails will still be there when you're ready to read them.
Question 3- How has working from home changed you and Elle’s relationship?
I think that our relationship is the same in the fact that we've always loved each other and have been attached to the same degree. However, we're all a whole lot happier being together. I think she feels prioritized, and I feel so much more fulfilled. I also feel invested in shaping her character, educating her, and instilling values that she can take with her throughout life. I hope that this time together will teach her to love herself and the world around her -- to be gentle, kind, and curious, to be appreciative of other cultures, to have empathy, to be an ally, and to help others. I am also a firm believer that this early sense of love, security, and connectedness will have long-term benefits in building trust and confidence as she learns to navigate life herself.
Question 4- When shopping, why is it so important for you to shop sustainably?
When you support people and companies whose missions you're aligned with, it just feels good. When you know that there's someone who genuinely wants to make a difference, you pour into that, you help push them forward. Caitlin has inspired me personally to self-reflect and self-observe, to figure out what I can do better at home and through my work. I think the more we all do that, the more we talk about it, then the more it will catch on. In every industry, there are ways we can do better if we just take time to reevaluate what we've always done. While the biggest changes will need to come from policies, lawmakers, and corporations, I believe that sustainability begins with us. If we change the way we shop, if we demand better, the world will change with us.
Question 5- How do you fit sustainability into other aspects of your home life with Elle?
We talk about waste and how we can prevent it daily. We make sustainability swaps as often as we can. At 3 years old, I'm surprised how much she gets it. I take all the opportunities I can to teach her about circularity. When we find plastic washed up on the beach, I explain to her the implications and remind her why we shouldn't purchase those items at the store. When we're shopping, we talk about and observe the packaging, ingredients/materials, where the item was made, whether it is organic or not, and then she helps me to pick the most sustainable option. She also helps me drop off Good Deeds Market packages at the post office, and each time I commend her for making a difference and remind her about how our zero-waste store provides tools for people to do better and to be kinder to our planet. We also save seeds, plant them, and then watch them grow, we compost at Bowfish, we thrift, we read about nature and how to preserve it, and then we put those words into action.