Happy Monday, mamas! This week's #MamaNextDoor is Lauren Girardin. Lauren and I met a few year ago in Chicago when I was still an aspiring "influencer" and she owned the South Loop branch of Fit4Mom. In 2019 I briefly joined her team as a stroller barre instructor. Lauren is one of the most hard-working, genuine and inspiring woman I've ever met. Her commitment and passion for helping others in whatever way she can is truly unparalleled. I hope you'll love reading Lauren's journey through motherhood and entrepreneurship.
Tell me a bit about yourself before you became a mother, and how did you change after becoming a mother?
Before becoming a mother I was the type of person that would do anything at anytime. If there was an event or something going on I rarely said no to going and doing things. I loved being on my own time and schedule with events, trips, planning things. I became a kindergarten teacher after college and worked with many kids outside of school for extra curricular activities. I have always been one throughout my childhood and career to be involved in many other things. I was never sitting still and never involved in only one aspect of "work." Once I had my son in 2017, I decided that I wanted to take a break from teaching and stay home with him. It was so relaxing to just be home and not have a crazy schedule, however it's just not my personality to not work.
However, after having my son I knew I needed to find something that was "work" but not have to leave him either. So I started FIT4MOM Chicago Loop, which was a moms fitness group. It was the best thing I could have ever done to still "work" and meet so many amazing new and veteran mamas. I just recently sold the company and have now entered a different place in the health and wellness industry. All of this I'm still able to do while having both my kiddos home with me.
What does your absolute dream version of motherhood look like?
Honestly, living in my dream home working my business and having my babies home with me as long as I possibly can. I must add with minimal tantrums haha!
What societal or cultural messages about motherhood frustrate you and how would you like to see them changed?
That moms who are "home" are just that they are at home. Moms who are "home" and not physically leaving to go to work have it just as tough as moms who leave for work. When the expectations of moms at home are to clean, cook, bathe, take care of the kids and nothing else. Or even more moms that are home and also work and are expected to still do all of those things or else they are looked down upon as a "stay at home" mom.
What do you do well? What’s really works for you? Do you have a secret? Your mom super power?
What works well for me is just staying busy. I have no super power other than I just keep myself busy and my kids busy with activities or fun adventures together.
How do you take care of yourself? How do you deal with mom guilt?
So taking care of myself is probably one of my biggest struggles. When I owned my fitness business it was great to always get my workout in because I had to be there. But now that I do not I struggle more to get a workout in. I also rarely get alone time, which is something I really need to work on. Whether that is going to get my nails done, a massage, or a dinner with friends. I don't count grocery shopping a self care event haha. Mom guilt is real, but I really try hard not to let it get to me. I try not to judge others and take opinions with a grain of salt.
What’s a topic related to motherhood, or life after becoming a mother, that you wish we talked about more?
Postpartum anxiety! I had this so bad after my daughter was born and when I opened up about it more and was vulnerable, I found out soo many other moms had the same thing. We were able to talk and support each other, but also all felt like we needed to get through it on our own, which is sad.