A year ago I met Jenn Murphy when she was new in town and starting a business. Since then she has had amazing success here in Kingston, Ontario. Jenn works as a esthetician and runs her own business. Her business is called Cove Esthetics and she is amazing at skin care. She is also a very busy lady!
Jenn was excited to be a part of this series with me. Although I did have to follow up a few times to get her responses to my questions. Did I mention she’s been quite successful and so very busy? I’m so happy to support local businesses on my blog.
Because Jenn chose not to respond to each question individually, I’m going to just list off the questions I ask, and then leave her answers in the story format she provided me with.
Here are my working mom questions:
Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?
What do you do? Describe your working life.
And how many hours do you work in a week?
How soon did you return to work after having a child? And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)
What do you do to treat yourself? Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?
Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.
What are your goals going forward?
Any tips to share for balance in your life?
And here is Jenn’s reply to me:
Home life…uhm, it’s BUSY!! Through the week home is a place we eat and sleep but neither my fiancé, Allyn, or I, take days off through the week. We technically both have one day off a week but it’s usually filled with catching up on things that we’ve neglected over the weekend, from email responding to laundry. Weekends are different. Weekends are completely chill, it’s our time to devote all of our attention to our 3 and a half yr old, Ella, and with each other. We spend so much time going in different directions through the week that weekends are precious to us We fill the days with rest, play dates, special outings with Ella or projects around the house.
I run a growing business downtown (Kingston, Ontario) called Cove Esthetics. We’re coming up on our first year here in Kingston, and I’m blown away by the support and growth I’ve had in that time! I’ve been in this industry a long time…14 years long, which is insane but it’s been an interesting journey! I started in Nova Scotia, went to Banff and worked the resort scene for a year, came back and met my now fiancé. We moved to Victoria BC and I hit a complete hiatus as far as work went.
We found out we were pregnant just before our military posting in BC, so I was un-hireable in my industry, between having too much experience that no one wanted to pay me for, and the impending mat leave. I took the remainder of my pregnancy off and enjoyed 7 and a half months of tackling motherhood before deciding it was time to start back!
I only went back two days a week, sometimes more if it was a busier time like Christmas or wedding season. Once Allyn returned to work from parental leave we decided that it was time for him to release from the military, and, in the best interest of our family, we were on the road again to Ottawa. It was here that I returned to my career full time. I was working for a very well known spa in an up and coming, desired, neighbourhood.
If I’m being honest I was miserable. I worked with some really great women but I struggled with the balance of being a mom and power struggling my way through working in an environment of different standards than I was used to in NS. They also didn’t seem to understand or empathize with the common things that arose from raising a family. We loved the city but both despised our work environments, to the point I considered getting out of my field all together. Mentally, I was done, and it was taking a toll on my health. We needed a complete shift in only one year.
Originally we came to Kingston for Allyn to attend St Lawrence College, but very quickly realized that it was going to take some serious hustle to get ourselves settled here. After interviewing and being offered next to nothing in wages to support our family, I was encouraged by a local hair studio to rent and took a massive leap into working for myself.
It was intense and scary and overwhelming in that first 6 months. I often sat and prayed for clients to start showing up but didn’t know a soul in the city so I had to start putting myself and my work out there, and I quickly realized the power of social media. Allyn ended up putting school on hold for a year and sought out full time work, and when Score Pizza opened, he was hired on as their GM and it was a huge blessing!!
That all being said, my work day as a business owner usually starts when I wake up to booking msgs and ends around bedtime, something I’m desperately working to find balance in. Physically I’m in the studio as early as 8:30am and as late as 8:30pm, it depends on the day and our daycare schedule of who is doing pickup. I work two nights a week and usually so does Allyn so there is a minimum of 4 nights a week when we parent solo for dinner and bedtime routines.
It’s taken time but we now have a system and routine that works for us but one thing we lack is a pause button for ourselves. The biggest goal going forward is balancing and getting our health as a main priority! It’s been a busy summer and now that fall is here we need to set some boundaries for having personal time to work on ourselves.
Before running businesses and having a busy toddler I was very much into the yoga community in Halifax having gone through a 200hr training. I tried to maintain a practice on the go but over time it’s fallen by the wayside. It’s one major goal I have for myself to get back to my yoga roots and training again. It’s the best thing that kept me grounded, balanced and focused so I feel like I’ve lost that aspect of myself over time.
I don’t know if I should be dishing out advice on work/home balance but I do know it looks different for everyone. You have to take a step back at times to evaluate what is working for your family and what isn’t. Where you can make changes and what you might have to sacrifice to find balance. One thing I’ve realized is there are limited hours in a day and you will fit in the things that are important to you, you just have to decide what those things are!
I have incredible respect for any fellow business mamas out there juggling it all, it’s intense at times!
Jenn Murphy is an esthetician. She does amazing work in eyebrow shaping, lash lifts and tints, and whatever other skin care needs you may have. Visit her Instagram for shots of her work. And be sure to take a look at her Facebook page (Cove Esthetics) for hours, promotions, and whatever else you need to know!
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To read all the posts in this series click here for the complete list.