Woman in Business While Being A New Mom

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

Being a woman in business has never been easy. We’ve had to fight for the right to work in the first place, fight for safe working spaces that are free from sexual harassment, fight for equal pay, and fight for respect. The fight for true equality in business may be far from over, but with more than 9 million businesses in the US now owned by women and more women opening businesses than men in the Philippines (*Philippine Statistics Authority report), we have made undeniable progress and have forged a path for future generations of women to follow. 

When it comes to business women there’s always one topic that recurs time after time – how do women balance the running of their business with being a mom and a parent?

The reason why this topic comes up so often is that being a mom and a parent can be hard, but just because it is hard, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. After 9 months of pregnancy, the experiences of childbirth, and surviving the first few months caring for a newborn baby, women aren’t in the same position as men when it comes to jumping back to work, but these differences don’t make us any weaker than our male counterparts, no, in fact, our ability to overcome our biological differences makes us stronger. So if you are currently feeling overwhelmed as a new parent but are rearing to get back to your business, then here are some tips to help you balance things as a new mom. 

Give yourself some support

As a woman in business, there can often be this overriding feeling that we need to prove ourselves, leading us to try to do too much. You may be a supermom, but even superheroes have “back-ups”. Make sure that you put some support in place to help you with your workload at home and at work. This could be having a family member or friend help you with childcare, utilizing a cleaner so that it’s one less thing on your mind, using a recipe box service so that you and your partner need not worry about grocery shopping or dinner, or even outsourcing some of your simple work tasks so that you can focus on the ones that matter most. Using the services of a virtual headquarters or virtual office, sometimes abbreviated to a VHQ, can be a great way to free up your time, handling your incoming phone calls and screening them so that you only need to speak to the people that matter. 

Outsourcing is one of those things that needs to become habit, as it is impossible to do it all yourself. And while you may feel that you want to put your own personal stamp on it, the lesson that outsourcing can be a way to save your sanity needs to come first. Whether you need custom labels that communicates a rustic feel or you want to personalize your emails more, there are ways and means to outsource this to people who actually have the time to do it!

Schedule in time to just be a mom 

When you own a business, it can be very difficult to switch off, putting pressure on your mental health and potentially impeding the valuable time that you have as a family. Many new moms feel guilty about going back to work, so to give your brain a rest and to allow you to just focus on being a mom, try scheduling in some time each day for you to switch off from work, put your phone down and enjoy the unadulterated pleasures of being a mom.

If you are working from the office, then this could mean scheduling time in the mornings and evenings, but if you are working remotely then you have more flexibility to schedule in family time throughout the day. By scheduling in free-family time, you will begin to feel less guilty about the time you spend at work and will start to feel as though you are achieving a more realistic sense of balance. 

Don’t be afraid to allow your family and business lives to mix 

Although scheduling separate time for family and business is very important, you shouldn’t be afraid to let the two mix. With more women in business than ever and antiquated attitudes to business changing, it is now more widely accepted that family and business sometimes have to mix. If you can’t schedule childcare and have an internal meeting, make it known that your child will be joining you for the call, let them see you in action as a businesswoman and not just as a mom. If you need to travel for work, then so long as you are able to, then there is nothing stopping you from taking your child with you for the trip. Many clients like to see a family-friendly attitude within the businesses they choose to work with, so embrace the fact that you are both a mom and a businesswoman, and don’t feel as though having children is ever something you need to hide. 

So there you have it – a few tips to help you in the first few months of life as a mom and a woman in business. Balancing being a mom and a businesswoman may not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. 

Mompreneur Michelle of Bella Pelle tells her Story

Recently, I introduced you to a site called BellaPellePh.com. I mentioned that it’s a website where you can buy premium and hard-to-find dermatological beauty products in the Philippines.

I learned about the site, because I actually know the owner. The founder was my previous yoga instructor. This super momma is someone that I look up to, and admire. I wanted to share her story with you, so I’m reviving the “mompreneur” interview series in my blog. I think we all need our weekly dose of inspiration!

About Michelle Reyes-Navarro, Founder of BellaPelle.Ph

Michelle, Co-Founder of Yoga Manila and Founder of BellaPelle.ph

Michelle is a housewife and a mother of two. She mentions that two of her passions are travelling and Ashtanga yoga. Michelle is the co-founder of Yoga Manila, the longest existing Ashtanga studio in the country.  “Of course, the reason why I also do these two things is I want to age gracefully. I want to enjoy living a quality life of being able to spend time with loved ones and seeing the world,” Michelle excitedly tells us.

Interview with Michelle 🙂

Ginger: How did you come up with the concept of BellaPellePh.com?  

Michelle: My husband is a dermatologist and I love being the guinea pig for beauty products and machines.  My friends and acquaintances always compliment me for my skin and ask for recommendations. I realized that I could effectively recommend products as much as or even more than my husband and people trust me. 

So I thought, ” why not do a small business out of it?”  

I started with posting in IG (@bellapelleph) and it became quite a successful small business — the type that  suited my personality. I can still work while I travel and do my other duties. It’s not a 9-5 job, which I can never do.  I retired from corporate work at the age of 24, simply because I do not want anyone holding my time, and I want to travel whenever I want.  And I love helping people out. So even when I expanded to having a website, I still make sure that almost all my transactions are very personal. Customers can message us for recommendations or about their concerns and questions.  

Ginger: Who is your market for this site? 

Michelle: Mostly women, 35 and above, who want to age gracefully and beautifully (although I also have a few products specifically for men). Since the products are branded and premium, recommended by dermatologists and clinically researched, most of them tend to be mid to high end in price.  So the site attracts women who do not settle for less and are discriminating when it comes to personal care and skincare, women who value good quality and know what they want.   

But I am also in the process of testing products that cost less so that some will be more affordable for many.  I just need to personally test them and seek for feedback and research. I do not like selling for the sake of selling. I always want to be sure I am recommending effective products. Of course, like anything, beauty products require trial and error.  What works well for most might not work for some. But I want to be able to suggest what is mostly effective for most people.  

Ginger: I love it, Michelle. We, entrepreneurs, go through a lot of challenges. What were the challenges that you encountered in building this business, and how long has this business been in existence? 

Michelle: It has been a challenge growing followers since I am not tech-y and social media savvy.  I also wanted to grow it organically, really attracting “my tribe” — people who truly understand my brand essence and who are really interested in what I have to offer. So it’s not about the quantity (but of course that helps) but the quality of followers. The Instagram page started June 2018.  The website went live August 2019.

Ginger: Given how competitive the beauty landscape is in the Philippines, why should people buy products from Bella Pelle and not from other online stores?

Michelle: The comprehensive line of products we offer are not usually sold over-the-counter in the Philippines.  You would have to go to a clinic to get these products.  As a person who used to buy tons of commercial brands before I met my husband, I really got to compare them with those that are accessible only through dermatologists here. My skin really transformed for the better! I don’t have to worry about breakouts, not even during PMS.  

We earn people’s trust because we are not about how much you shop.  We sincerely care about recommending only what you need to address your concerns. A fellow of the Philippine Dermatological Society and board certified dermatologist is consulted when recommendations are asked for.  

Ginger: I love it! What I like about is that you really get to know your customers and genuinely care for them! I’m curious to know but this is for those checking out your site, what are three products that you really really love and recommend?  

Michelle: This is tough to answer because there are so many products I love recommending depending on the customer’s concern.  There’s always a great product for every skin condition. 

But if I have to choose, in general, I would have to say…

  • Viviscal Hair Growth Supplement as it is the most effective supplement I know for healthy hair growth.
  • All Heliocare products!  But if I only need to mention one – Heliocare Purewhite Radiance Max 240 Oral Capsules
  • Lumiderm Underarm Whitening Serum 

*Check the images above!

Ginger: Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your journey and story with us. I wish you more luck with you business!

For those who are interested to check out Bella Pelle, these are their details:

Website: https://bellapelleph.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bellapelleph/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bella-Pelle-Skin-Solutions-445768045846884/?ref=br_rs

How to Squeeze in Exercise While Driving

If you think about it, it’s amazing how man continues to make discoveries that would make everyday things faster, easier, or more efficient. Before the birth of the automobile (now that we say car, this word sounds so “old” haha!), people mostly walked from Point A to Point B or relied on horses. What used to take months of travel by going on foot, can now be done in a few hours. However, modern conveniences like these have also made it difficult for some to find the time to establish a fitness routine. We tend to pack our schedules to fulfil all our obligations, that it becomes tricky to find that balance when everything in life seems to be happening at the same time.

This is especially true for moms, and for some who have already established a bond with their cars from driving the kids to and from school or running errands. Some moms have even partnered up with Uber to augment to the household income. They already drive around most of the day, so why not make money while on the road, right?

So how do you find the time to work out when you’re busy with…, well, life? Luckily, experts have proven that you don’t have to spend a straight hour at the gym just to get your fitness requirement done for the day. You can exercise while driving! Yup! You can break down that hour into more manageable chunks so you can squeeze in a couple of fitness moves while you go about your day. Yes, some of them can even be done while in your car! A word of caution: be sure not to be distracted while doing these moves. It would be best to do this routine while waiting for the stop light or while sitting in traffic (which tends to happen a lot in Metro Manila). Allow me to share some quick exercise hacks that you can do in your daily commute.

Deep breathing. I kid you not, breathing exercises are one of the easiest things you include in your commuting fitness regimen. Sitting in traffic can be stressful, so breathing can alleviate that restlessness. Take a slow, deep breath in and feel your diaphragm expand. Hold your breath for 3 seconds, then start to exhale slowly through your nose until you feel that all the air has been expelled from your chest. You can repeat the steps until you finish 1 song from your playlist. The purpose of this exercise is to make you more relaxed and calm. It is important to note that you should limit this routine for the duration of 1 song, or roughly 2 minutes. Prolonged deep breathing may make you too relaxed and sleepy. Remember that a sleepy driver is a dangerous driver!

Seated cat. You will quickly find that the car is a fun place to try all these modified yoga poses. This is a great way to work out your core, as we don’t get to work out that area while sitting down. Sit in the standard driving position and extend your arms to the steering wheel, putting your hands in the 10 o’ clock and 2 o’ clock positions. Slowly start to tighten your core and abdominal muscles as you inhale, curling inwards until your upper body is curved to a letter ‘C’. Slowly exhale and come back to the standard seating position but keep your abdominal muscles tight as you push your back into the seat. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds, and repeat. You can perform this move for the duration of 2 songs, resting for a few seconds in between songs.

Stretching. I love this move as it feels wonderful on my back when I have to drive for long hours. Simply reach your arms as high as you can toward the roof of your car while engaging your abs and back muscles. Hold for 10 seconds and come back to the standard seating position. You can do this move while the car is stopped in traffic. Do not attempt this move while in motion! It is important to keep your eyes on the road and keep your full focus on your surroundings while driving.

So simply put! There shouldn’t be any excuse for not staying in shape — driving around is definitely not an excuse anymore! haha! You can exercise while driving. Do you have other tips that you can share?

Speak Up with K! Speak Up with Kamillosan!

Over the weekend, we had an event called Boss Bellas: Mompreneurship 101. This was the first event that we (Frances of TopazHorizon.com and yours truly) ran to make our dream of connecting women entrepreneurs and aspiring women entrepreneurs with each other. In the Philippines, gender inequality is not really an issue, but nevertheless, in an emerging market like the Philippines, the desire to pursue one’s dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and having a business is strong. Both men and women feel the urge, but we believe that the challenges by women is quite different.

Boss Bellas: Building a collective voice for women entrepreneurs, both current and aspiring entrepreneurs!

Women are obviously expected to be the “light of the home” and the one who takes charge of the kids and everything related to running the home. So when a woman wants to pursue her own dreams, she may struggle in expressing that desire to go for things that she wants in her life. I, too, have felt that need to be more than what was expected from me, and to be honest, it was hard in the beginning. A lot of people were telling me to just stick to the job that I had and not to start a business. They would say that going into business is hard, and I may not be able to handle it. So, see? Women have to face and speak up. Speak up with K (*K for karapatan since it’s our right).

Kamillosan encourages you to Speak Up with K!

Speaking of speaking up, I love the new campaign of Kamillosan. It’s called the Speak Up with K! campaign and it encourages all of us to let our voices be heard. If we know that it’s the right thing to do, if it’s for the greater good, if we can help other people, support them and serve as inspiration, or if we can make a difference, we need to speak up!

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Kamillosan M Spray is a clinically proven all-natural sore throat spray solution. It has eight active ingredients that effectively soothe and relieve sore throat: Chamomile extract, Methyl salicylate, Peppermint oil, Sage oil, Anise oil, dwarf pine needle oil, Bergamot oil, Cineol.

Chamomile is an anti-inflammatory agent to reduce pain, swelling, and redness. Combined with the anti-bacterial effects of essential oils such as Peppermint, Sage, and Bergamot, Kamillosan M is highly suited for sore throat relief. I also love that it leaves a minty fresh sweet aftertaste (feels like you just brushed your teeth). It is so different from the other medicinal throat sprays available in the market today.

Kamillosan M Spray is available in all leading drugstores in the Philippines at Php 428 only. Each 15mL bottle is good for 104 sprays. Kamillosan M Spray is from A. Menarini Philippines, which belongs to one of the largest Italian biopharmaecutical groups, Menarini.

So, women, let’s unite and speak up with K!

Even if we feel unsure.
And even if we feel insecure.
Speak up with K!

You are not alone. We, women, are all in this together. If you need someone to talk to, or someone to bounce of ideas with, we will be here. We will have more Boss Bellas workshops and events, so we hope to see you there!

Last Night Captured in Stills: Life of a Mompreneur

We bought this recently…

Zeeka: Ooooh, what is this? Fancy! A remote control! Let me press it!

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Zeeka: Daaaang, did it just take my picture?

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Zeeka: This is pretty cool!

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Zeeka: I’ll take another…

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Zeeka: and another (with my top model pout)

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Zeeka: and another (with my PJ Masks pose!)

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Zeeka: Let me take a video…too! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xpg9oQ0mGBo&t=48s – Please subscribe to my Youtube Channel)

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Zeeka: I love these black and white pictures!

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Zeeka: But this is getting to be a little bit boring. I need a new subject.

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Zeeka: *Oh, Mommy!* Mommy, can I take your picture? I want to press the remote!

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Ginger: Okay, but only for a few minute. I need to finish work.

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Zeeka: Smile Mommy!

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Zeeka: Again Mommy!

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Zeeka: Funny face, mommy!

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Ginger: Zeeka, I really need to work. haha!

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Zeeka: Moooommmy! Smile!

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Zeeka: *Mommy is not listening. I’ll just sit beside her* Mommy, smile!!!

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Zeeka: Mommmyyy! *Pretends to cry*

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Zeeka: Looks at Mommy. “Awww man, it didn’t work!”

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Zeeka: Mommy, you need to smile.

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Zeeka: Oh well… hmmm… what to do… what to doooo?

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Zeeka: Oh… hehe! I’ll take this to daddy!

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