This week, I'd like to welcome Karla – A mother to Jack & Charlotte, wife to Jason, who is an amazing stylist and loves to go thrifting. Karla is one of those women who look like they have it all figured out. Maybe its the stylist in her that curates such amazing pictures, but I wouldn't know even half of the woman she truly is, if it weren't for reading this interview. It's probably one of the main reasons why I am so passionate about this series. It allows us to pull back the layers of these wonderful women and dive into their lives and hearts for a moment. When I read Karla's interview, I was and still am going through what I feel is a major transition in my life. I'm turning 30 in a couple of months and nowhere near where I thought I'd be, I went from 3 kids to 4 with 2 under the age of 3, and my business is at that fight or flight point. Needless to say, It's been a bit overwhelming. There is a particular part in this interview where the very words I was reading made my heart & mind unite. Often times as a mother our hearts are speaking one language full of intentions that we so deeply want to fulfill and the mind is speaking another... filled with a virtual to-do-list sky high and racing against time to do it all. Personally, I take a little something out of every single interview I read. It has truly helped me in one way or another...and I hope it does for you too.
Tell us about yourself: Where do you live, age, marital status, number of kids and business.
I'm 36 years old. I've been married to my college sweetheart for 15 years this July. We have a son, Jack, who is 9 and a daughter, Charlotte, who's a little over a year. We moved to Salt Lake City 2 1/2 years ago from Chicago for my husband's job. I am a stay at home mom who also juggles being a stylist, model and a fashion Instagramer. I also run an additional Instagram feed where I sell things I find thrifting @chicthrifty.
Describe a day in the life of you.
My day starts around 7:30 when my kids get up (thank goodness they aren't super early risers!). I get my son ready for school, feed them breakfast and pack Jack's lunch so he can catch his bus at 8:30. After he leaves I usually put a show on for Charlotte so I can get ready. If I can't get ready in 30 mins or she becomes uninterested in what I've put on I give her a box of old necklaces for her to play with while I finish up. I try to document my daily outfits, which I'll take right after getting ready but that has become more difficult now that Charlotte is getting older and is walking. We then head out and hit up 1-2 thrift stores to scavenge for things to sell. Charlotte does pretty well as long as I bring plenty of snacks and we go to the toy section at some point for her to play with something while I shop. Many days I'll also be dropping packages of things I've sold off to the post office and stopping at the grocery store or Target as well. Charlotte usually falls asleep on our way home. Most days I'll just bring the car seat in the house with her still sleeping for her afternoon nap. Luckily she's pretty flexible about her sleep. While she's sleeping I try to answer emails and/or photograph the items I hope to sell in my shop. I will usually stay home the following day and post all the things to sell... so I try to get all the pictures taken the day before. Jack gets home around 4 and he has to eat immediately. I try to have a few things ready for him so he doesn't get too grouchy :) Because of his communication delays, school is very tiring for him. He watches 2-3 shows to help him unwind before we start on his homework. When my husband gets home he helps Jack with his homework and usually starts dinner while I finish up my work for the day and entertain Charlotte. After dinner I usually help Jack with his reading before bed and then put the baby down. After they're both asleep I will package up the items I've sold to be taken to the post office the next day. After that I sit down and watch something with Jason and chat a bit. Right before bed I try to think through what needs to be done tomorrow and may start on outfit planning but will usually wait to put things together the morning of. I hardly ever get to bed before midnight.
Do you have help? A Nanny or Housekeeper? Family?
No help...but my husband is a saint! He does so much. There's no way I could get as much done if it weren't for him.
How do you manage to have “me” time?
Me time with friends have never been hard for me, if I'm honest. I'm good at scheduling getaway weekends with my girlfriends; making plans at night once the kids are down or sneaking off to go shopping :) I actually struggle more with taking alone time to reflect and meditate...to read or to study. I've come to realize how important that is for my mental health... so I'm trying to be better at scheduling that. Whether it is during naptime or on the weekends when I can get away to be alone.
How do you manage to make time to stay in shape? Do you workout? Diet?
This is something I'm not good at. At all! I don't work out and I don't really diet. I consider myself active (moving all day. I rarely sit down). And we live in a third floor walk up apartment, which I call my daily exercise. Haha. But I know I need more. I honestly don't see how I can make the time at this point. But I know it's something I'm going to have to start doing sooner or later.
Do you get ready every day? Makeup, hair and curated outfits? If so, how do you do it with children?
I get ready any day I leave the house. Putting together an outfit is one of the things I love to do the most so it never feels like a chore to me. I live for the challenge of waking up and creating a custom outfit for a particular day. I rarely plan outfits ahead of time, unless it's for a special event. I'm not a huge makeup person. I have a few things I put on. I don't ever leave the house without concealer, mascara and blush. Those are the basics and if I have time I add eyeliner and lipstick, and that's it. The true 5 minute face. I also style my hair everyday but I only wash it every 5-7 days. This saves me a ton of time. After the second or third day I wear it in either a ponytail or topknot to keep it looking cute without taking a ton of time. I'd say most days, if I'm not washing my hair, it takes me 30 mins to get ready. That's one show for Charlotte. I usually schedule the days I wash my hair around my husband being home or nap time:) It takes me about an hour to get ready on those days.
Has your style changed after motherhood?
Absolutely. I'm much more confident in what I like and don't like. And I no longer care about what's "in style". I focus on what I love and what makes me feel good. It's freeing! Something about having kids makes you realize what's really important. And keeping up with trends isn't!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Fast, easy, cheap food. I'm just waiting for it to catch up to me!
If you breastfeed, how do you schedule your day around feedings and outings?
I do! Charlotte is very flexible. It definitely gets easier as they get older but I would just make sure to feed her before I leave the house and make sure that where ever I'm going has someplace where I can take her to nurse. I usually nurse her in the dressing room.
How many hours of sleep to you get a night on average?
I average around 6 hours. I'm pretty sure my 25-year-old self would've thought that was impossible! Before I had my son I averaged at least 10 of sleep a night. Now I don't think I could sleep that long if you paid me!
What is a priority for you, and what gets sacrificed? For example, everyone looks great but the house is a disaster, or the house is clean but work deadlines get pushed back.
Looking good and feeling like myself is definitely the priority for me throughout the week. The house for sure gets neglected. Thank goodness my husband usually stays on top of the dishes for me throughout the week and then we tag team on the rest of the house every weekend. It definitely feels like an endless battle. Especially the laundry! Also I think people would be interested to hear my house is not really decorated. I don't feel it's a strong suit of mine. I'm great at putting together an outfit but can't decide on one thing to hang on my walls...so they're empty! I envy those who have an eye for home decor.
Do you cook meals every day for your family? If so, how do you plan them?
I actually don't do a lot of the cooking. I will do simple meals every once in a while but my husband does most of the cooking... thank goodness!
Have you ever felt like you are loosing yourself to motherhood and or life? If so, how did you bounce back?
I had Jack in my late 20s and it changed me. Before that I didn't know who I was or what I wanted to communicate through my clothes. I just wore whatever. Having Jack turned my world upside down and for a few years I lost myself completely. Motherhood was consuming! Once he became more independent I started using my wardrobe as a much-needed creative outlet. Being able to express myself creatively through styling saved me from losing myself. It also made me want to help others find themselves on the other side of motherhood too. And for other moms to know they're not alone.
Does hubby help you with anything particular? If so, what and how?
As you've probably picked up...he helps me with everything! If it weren’t for him we would live in a messy house and be eating take out everyday!
How do you manage motherhood and marriage?
I try to remind myself that we were first. We are at the center of this family and if we aren't connecting, then nobody is. We try to get in as many date nights as possible:) And when the kids go down we try to do something together...either watching a show or making a late dinner. And communication is key. Even if we don't have time to do something alone together there's always time to talk...and we try to make it a priority!
Do you work? Do you work in an office or at home? What does your work consist of and how do you get it done during the week?
I work from home for the most part. My work usually consists of taking pictures and being on my computer or phone. I get most of it done during naptime, after the kids are in bed or while they're occupied watching TV. There is no set schedule so I just get whatever I can done whenever I get a chance!
What’s the least favorite household chore you dread doing?
Cleaning the bathroom. I can't express how much I absolutely haaaate it!
Describe a recent experience when you didn’t have it “all together” and how you handled it all.
Last month I had a photo shoot where I didn't have a choice but to take Charlotte along. It was 3 hours long in a non-child friendly studio space. I was absolutely swamped the whole time. I just kept throwing food at her and literally giving her anything I could find to keep her occupied. At one point she had sprayed hair spray in her mouth, was drinking someone's diet coke (she loved it, of course. Lol) and was wandering in an out of my shots. I was totally frazzled and she was a total mess by the end! It was quite a wake up call for me that I can't do it all. I can't be a full time mom who's attentive to my child AND be working a job and giving it my best. Something's gotta give! I need help. And that's ok to admit and to ask for.
Fill in the blank: As a mother, it's a luxury to __________________
Do anything alone!
What is your philosophy on balance and does it exist in your home?
I've come to believe balance is a myth when you have small children. To have balance requires quite a bit of control. With a small child who is constantly growing and changing there's no way to have complete control! I think longing for balance is in our nature. A desire for all things to be as they should and to be made right. And striving for balance is a good thing! And on some levels is attainable as our children grow. But I don't think it's healthy to beat ourselves up over the lack of it especially in the early years. Cut yourself some slack and do the best you can. Tomorrow is a new day. (All things I try to tell myself!)
What are your dreams outside of motherhood that you would like to accomplish?
I'd love to be an encourager, an uplifter...however that may apply. I've had this dream of being a closet consultant...or better yet...a closet counselor of sorts. Helping women find themselves and their confidence. Encouraging them to be who they are and love it.
What is one thing that keeps you sane?
My close friends. I have a few in particular that I use as sounding boards. If I was left alone with my thoughts I'm convinced I'd go insane!
What is one question you'd like to ask our mommy readers who can answer your question in the comments below?
How do you handle your mom guilt? We all have it. How do you silence the negative voices in your head that tell you you're not a good mother?
Thank you so much Karla for sharing your words of wisdom and allowing us to get to know the real you! I don't know about you, but I feel like I see a whole new woman when I look at her Instragram! To see more of her lovely feed – follow her @karlareed
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