Super Moms and Super Mom Bosses by Teresa Palmer 

I’m in kind of a conundrum. I love being with my kids so much that “hey! I don’t want to go back to work” has been at the forefront of many of my conversations with Mark lately. I’ll get all passionate about all the ways we could make it work but then he slowly brings me back down to reality. He reminds me that in fact I do love the jobs I get to have. I love so much about them. I love the adult interaction, disappearing in to a character, creatively exploring parts of myself that I didn’t even know existed. I love working abroad, exploring new places with our family and it’s my work that takes us to these places. He also reminds me just how fortunate I am that I can be both a stay at home Mom and bring them with me on work adventures. The flexibility it affords us is a game changer. 


We are all in different situations and I’ll be the first to say that my experience is not a typical one. It’s a special kind of luxury when you can bring your kids to work. There does, however, seem to be a movement in place involving mothers and their evolving careers. I’ve been meeting more and more women these days who are starting a new trend of choosing jobs that allow them to spend more time with their kids or at least not be slaves to set hours. Mothers dreaming about something and diving into it, ready to take on a new challenge. Women quitting their more traditional jobs and making a go of something they’ve always been drawn to. Allowing them to work from home, be self employed or run their own schedule. THE MOM BOSS. 


Meet Janel Molton Hertz, Ellie Knaus and Jessica Coulter. Three wickedly awesome, passionate, funny and totally deserving of the Super Mom/Super Mom Boss labels I’ve given them. 2 kids each, blossoming careers in kid's fashion, mommy podcasting and writing/producing/directing. They’re going to tell you how it’s done and give you a bit of inspiration to get started! 




Describe what you do and who is in your family? 

I am the co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of a children's clothing startup called Dopple that offers the coolest clothes, shoes, and accessories for newborns through size 10 from hundreds of the world's best brands (Rylee + Cru, Oeuf, Misha and Puff, Appaman, Gray Label, + so many more) all at 30-70% off retail. I have two little ones - Carmen (4) and Gustav (2) - with my partner Nick (also a co-founder at an early stage startup).


How do you juggle having a career and being a hands on super mama? 

Barely + a LOT of help. This concept of "having or doing it all" is inherently flawed and unfair to women! Being a mom is a full time job of itself so add in a career and there's no way you're not failing (definitely not doing it all) at one or the other at any given time (a.k.a daily). That being said, when I'm with my little ones I try (key word -- try) to be 100% and leave work at work, but that's definitely a "work" in progress. 


What would you say to the mom who wants to try starting their own business? What are the very first steps? 

Simple - just do it. It's just like parenthood! Super scary at first (do you remember that first night home alone with your firstborn? Terrifying!), but you somehow figure it out (hiccups and all) along the way. The most intimidating part is taking that first leap. 


What made you decide to start your own business? 

Motherhood :). I had been in women's fashion tech for over ten years, yet when I had children I was flabbergasted on how limited the childrenswear market was. So I started to dig, and soon discovered there were hundreds of thousands of incredible brands out there, most of them started by fellow moms and dads who couldn't find what they were looking for so they created their own collections to fill that void. I wanted to create a service that helped parents discover these amazing and unique products at an affordable price while also helping brands (and parental owners of these brands) get in front of a massive audience and grow their business.


Share a couple of the greatest challenges and a couple of the greatest joys of being a working Mama.

I think the biggest challenge is accepting the fact that you can't do it all (I'm still trying to accept this fact)!  And it's okay if you're not there for every drop off, every tear, or every memory. The greatest joy comes from seeing my children grow up to be fearless risk takers who are (hopefully) learning from their crazy parents to ruthlessly pursue their dreams. 




What's your job description and who is in your family?

I'm mom-in-chief of a top-rated podcast and I pretend to be in charge of my wild and sweet little family. On Atomic Moms podcast, I collaborate with experts in the parenting and maternal wellness fields, from neuropsychologists, to bestselling authors, to even the #1 TedTalk speaker of all time. The lines are blurred between my family life and the podcast, and they constantly inform each other. I'm always airing our dirty laundry to get free advice from people who've been on Oprah. Sorry fam! And it's free for everybody to listen.  

On the home front, we're celebrating! Our baby Eliza turned one. Our party animal, Sabrina, who is four going on twenty-four, pulled out all stops for her little sister's big day. My husband Adam Sztykiel is a film/tv comedy writer, which means we laugh at inappropriate things our kid says, he's home a lot (score!), and he's always a great podcast guest. We're also celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary. The traditional gift is steel. Who comes up with these things? 


How do you juggle having a career and being a hands-on super mama? 

I'm an expert at the "no win" game. If I'm hands on with my children, I feel guilty about not moving the ball forward with work. If I'm working, I get a pang of guilt that I'm not with my kids. But I have a catchphrase that has completely changed my life. When I was pregnant with Eliza and I had a complaint, my birth doula Carmen Bornn-Gillman would joke, "You bore me with normal!" And it always made me feel better. Because it's completely normal to feel stressed about the juggle. It's just a part of being human. I come from a long line of entrepreneurs, and I'm wired to be a hard charger. But when I start to feel stressed, I acknowledge how grateful I am to have childcare and that it's a privilege to be able to do both. 


What would you say to the mom who wants to try starting her own business? What are the very first steps? 

Okay, Mom. Drill down what it is about the idea that excites you in the first place. Is it the problem you'd be solving for others? Is it the community you would be serving? Ideas are a dime a dozen. But if you can remember the true reason you started, you can tap back into that beginner excitement again later when you get overwhelmed. It works, I promise! 


What made you decide to start your own business?

Podcasting is an incredible medium. I'm so glad it started gaining momentum at the exact moment I became a mother back in 2013. I always forget how intimate I get in my job until I meet a listener and they know everything about me. There is something confessional about it. There's no make up or lights or cameras. I don't have to worry about doing my hair. The podcast reflects the tenderness and messiness of motherhood. Podcasting has very low overhead, and I can have complete control of the episode from start to finish. I record from home, make my own schedule, and work on the weekends. It has sharpened so many skills from creative and technical problem-solving to scaring the hell out of myself by producing live shows. 


Share a couple of the greatest challenges and a couple of the greatest joy of being a working mama. 

I'd say the greatest challenge is not losing my cool when I hit an avalanche of parenting pain points, like childcare snafus when I have scheduled interviews and interrupted sleep when I need to bring my A game. But the first time my daughter Sabrina leaned into the microphone and said in her little voice, "Welcome to Atomic Moms!" I knew I had created a world that supported families and women's voices, and that she'd grow up to be proud of what her mom was doing. 




What’s your job description and who is in your family?  

I am a creative director at an advertising agency in New York City but live in Los Angeles with my husband Cyrus, my 4.5-year-old daughter Minnow, my 4-month-old son Ace Wonder and my 14-year-old dog Walter. I’m also hustling to build a reel as a commercial director and have recently pitched on a few films as a screenwriter. 


How do you juggle having a career and being a hands on super mama? 

With help. The advertising agency I work for has given me the gift of being able to work from home, my husband is a hands on super papa, my work partner is a family man and gets it, I have a trusted nanny and a loved mother in law that helps during the hours I am working and I have a wonderful woman who comes once a week and cleans my home. Praise Be and two-hands-raised emoji. I’m able to wrap things up by 4:30 most days (7:30 EST) and take over with the kiddos. Being a hands-on mama to me means getting on the floor and playing. Not just watching Minnow run through the sprinkler but running through with her. Getting on her top bunk and being the pirate captain. Saying YES to her requests that seem weird to me but amuse her. “Can I eat my rice with this giant wooden spoon?” Uhhh, YES. And that was all just yesterday. Thanks to my work situation I get a long stretch to play with her before we have to get down to the dinner/books/bed/I don’t want to go to bed/My sheets are messed up/I’m hungry for cheese/The light’s coming in the door/My foot might be broken business. I am also able to nurse my baby throughout the day and if there’s time I take my lunch break at Minnow’s soccer practice. It’s awesome and hard but mostly awesome. 


What would you say to the mom who wants to try working from home? What are the very first steps? 

Ask! And if you don’t feel comfortable asking you might not be working with the right people. It helps to surround yourself with supportive people above you and to hire and nurture those kinds of people behind you. Working partially or fully from home can be a big ask. Try pitching it as a trial. An experiment for a month or two with a scheduled check-in to decide if it’s something that’s working for everyone involved. With technology like Skype, Google Docs and weird telepresence ipad holdin’ robots so many jobs can be done remotely, but the way to sell the idea is to show the idea in action. You might also find out working from home is not for you and that’s ok! But if you’re not loving the situation you’re in, there’s little risk in making a temporary change. 


What made you decide to branch out into other fields? 

A few years ago I got a contractor recommendation from a male commercial director friend. The contractor came out and while he was measuring my very 90’s bathtub he commented on how cool it was that my friend is a director. I mentioned that someday I would like to direct and he did an actual LOL. He said “You? REALLY?” The reason there aren’t more women directors is because of The Sam Cohen The Contractor Affect. “You? REALLY?” needs to change into “You. REALLY.” And it starts with women saying it to ourselves. 


You. REALLY.  


It was empowering to feel 2 inches tall. I texted my director friend what happened and within two days I had a meeting to talk to a production company. Thank you, director friend! Thank you, Sam Cohen The Contractor! You should see my bathroom, Sam. It’s gorgeous.   


I am thankful for every opportunity where someone took a chance on me. To me, the best briefs in advertising are very “millennial boy humor” and my agency has always thrown me on them. I’m so grateful! Being funny is fun! Let more of us try it! And I’m looking to return the favor to the universe by taking the same kinds of chances. There is an effort called Free The Bid ( that is asking agencies to pledge to always include at least one woman in the director bidding process. Every time I see the words “Free The Bid” I’ve started mentally replacing them with “Rig The Bid”. Because the thing that will actually get more women directing, writing and cinematographering (cool word I made up) is just by hiring them. Do it. Instead of self-protecting, take the chance. While her reel might not be equal to the competition, she likely made what she made with a shit ton less than what her male competitors had. And that’s how Super Mom Bosses are made. 


Share a couple of the greatest challenges and a couple of the greatest joys of being a working Mama. 



-iphone note to-do list and sub to-do list and sub sub to-do list anxiety. From “label art supply bins” to “get baby a passport” to “try Krav Maga” it is an illness. 

-The not-showering, the not-working-out, the not-not-wearing-my-pajamas-all-day-night-and-then-day-again. My self care comes down to two scoops of collagen in my morning cup of coffee and watching Netflix at night. (go to @work_looks on Instagram for proof)

-Writing jokes while resisting the urge to google school shooting stats because your kid is about to start public school.



-Future-me bringing my kids to set. Showing them that mama is leading lots of different fun lives all at once and that they can do! 

-I don’t know, the everything. Having babies is damn delicious business. 


Whether you’re a stay at home mama, a working mama or a mixture of the two I salute you. Check in with yourself: are you content where you are and with what your spending your time on? If you have an idea or have longed to always try something, please just start. One step in front of the other. If you fail, that’s okay.  You’ve given it a go and learned a ton about yourself along the way. You deserve to lean in to all the giddy feelings that are conjured up when we feel passion for something, those magical moments that you get when you’re in flow with your dreams. You should be doing what you love. Quiet the critical inner voice of you can’t or it won’t work or it’s too hard. Life is too short to spend another moment wondering what if? What do you dream of?.