Moms Who Do It at Home

. September 21, 2020.
Tiana Lashae, boss mama to 5 little ones, juggles her own photography business, Motherhood Portraits by Tiana Lashae, plus homeschooling her kids.

It’s a well-known story: women put aside their hopes and dreams to raise a family. As men statistically make more than women– women make 81.6 cents to the dollar according to the 2018 US Census Bureau— men’s careers historically take precedence in heterosexual relationships. This oftentimes leaves women struggling to juggle work, household duties, and child-rearing.

For women who run their own businesses, this juggling act was the norm before the coronavirus pandemic, and it has only gotten worse now that the resources moms relied on are all but gone: house cleaners, nannies/grandparents, daycares, playdates, and even a typical school day. Among heterosexual couples where both partners work, women are now performing 70% more childcare and, on average, women spend 15 hours more on domestic labor each week than men. 

It’s no surprise that women are exhausted– and that mental health issues for moms are on the rise– but these local boss mamas reveal their secrets to maneuvering it all. 


AXIOM LUX

Rebecca with her husband, Dan, and boys Xavier (7) and Pax (3).

Axiom Lux
Rebecca Ahern

What is Axiom Lux
Axiom Lux provides holistic wellness solutions for mind, body and spirit. 

Rebecca stumbled upon her business by accident. When she was researching natural ways of living during her first pregnancy, she became intrigued by herbalism and that we all carried the ability to find wellness solutions with the use of plants and their varied forms. Rebecca adds, “I loved that botanicals had been used by others for hundreds of years with great success.” 

How is COVID + parenting + running your own business? 
After the morning routine, Rebecca heads to Axiom Lux after she drops her two boys off at West Side Montessori. Sometimes she meets clients there, and other days she simply “holds space for the shop to be a safe place to land for anyone that wants to stop by and browse.” She works on Axiom Lux social media and the website, also squeezing in time to make products, plan classes, and create events–all before 11AM when she runs back to school to pick up her youngest for lunch and (maybe) a nap. If she has more work to do, she tries to squeeze it in between the nighttime routine. 

Anything else we should know? 
Rebecca reiterates that her entire business model “is because I had to search and research holistic solutions for my family and it wasn’t easily accessible. I want others, specifically locals, to have a reliable resource for healing. I help my clients realize the potential that they have within themselves. We are capable of taking our wellness into our own hands, and I want to help them remember their wholeness and inner knowing.” 

Quick Q&A with Rebecca:

Favorite Toledo restaurant?
Element 112 — they go above and beyond with dietary restrictions! 
Your life in 5 words or less? 
Crazy beautiful adventures walking each other home.
Favorite place to go as a family?
Metroparks Toledo!


BOOCHY MAMA

Boochy Mama store front in downtown Toledo on 10th Street.

Boochy Mama
Stacy Jurich

What is Boochy Mama?  
Boochy Mama brews and distributes botanically-inspired kombucha, tinctures and tonics. The popular kombucha brand started as a passion project. 

Stacy explains, “I was brewing kombucha at home for myself and to share a healthy drink that I loved with friends and family. That scaled up over the course of a few years, and then in 2015 on a trip to San Francisco, I decided that I would take it to the next level by brewing in a commercial kitchen and selling it wholesale. Three months after that, I had officially incorporated and secured a rental space.”

How is COVID + new motherhood + running a business? 
Stacy exclaims, “Usually our days are divided by nap times! Some days I’ll run to my shop or to a meeting before the morning nap, come home and [exchange] baby duty with my husband, and then work from the computer during naps 2, and some days, nap 3. My mom helps out a couple days a week, so I have longer stretches to work. I have a weekly bike ride in my schedule and try to do a rollerblading and stroller-pushing session at Swan Creek Metropark once a week as well. Having a baby has fine tuned my organization and scheduling!”

Anything else we should know? 
With Stacy having a newborn just before the start of the pandemic, she has been sure to institute safety measures at Boochy Mama. You can see a video of how the downtown retail store is operating during COVID on their website

Quick Q&A with Stacy:

What is your favorite Toledo restaurant?
Tandoor, Koreana and Sidon.
Your life in 5 words or less? 
Respecting the ebb and flow.
Favorite place to go as a family?
I imagine we’d be at the Toledo Museum of Art quite a bit [if it weren’t for the pandemic.


FOWL & FODDER DOWNTOWN

Alicia Wagner, owner of Fowl & Fodder Downtown, making healthy food with her family.

Fowl & Fodder Downtown
Alicia Wagner

What is Fowl & Fodder Downtown?
Alicia Wagner, owner of F&F Downtown, describes the restaurant as “A food revolution using locally inspired ingredients to help our community #TasteThe419 with our completely fresh, scratch-made menu.”

When Alicia’s daughter was born seven years ago with food allergies, Toledo had limited organic grocery stories and few local food vendors, which proved frustrating for her new family. Alicia was impressed with her former business partner’s new venture, Fowl & Fodder, and their commitment to sourcing local ingredients. 

Alicia expounds, “At the time, I was looking to invest in a new project. I didn’t have a restaurant on my radar, but I felt moved…to help provide one [for] help people like me who needed more options.” So she asked her former business partner to consider opening a second location. “The rest, as they say, is history,” closes Alicia, and they are celebrating their third year on October 31, 2020. 

How is COVID + parenting + running a restaurant? 
“Whatever day I had planned, it goes in the complete opposite direction!” laughs Alicia. “People tried to warn me that there’s nothing like the food industry. I didn’t believe them, but it’s true. There are so many unknowns that come out of nowhere each day.”

“In this business, you have to stay flexible, change agile. Parenting and marriage have been great training to help me [learn to] maneuver a restaurant. Just when you think you have it figured out…boom. It changes,” smiles Alicia. 

“My to-do list is my best friend and turns into a daily game of chess with moving it around. With managing me, my kids schedule, my very busy husband’s schedule–who is also a business owner with hundreds of employees–and trying to run a restaurant… life’s a beautiful disaster over here,” shrugs Alicia. 

What else should we know?
“As women, we have been trained to be perfectly polished, put together and to distance ourselves from things that make us uncomfortable. If I have learned one thing as a female entrepreneur, it is this: If it feels uncomfortable–good. That means you’re growing.”

“We aren’t going to continue to move women forward in our country without getting ourselves uncomfortable….We need to dig our heels in deeper when we are being invited into growth. To embrace opportunities that are going to better the world for the next generation of women. So many before us endured so much to get us where we are. We will, too.”

Quick Q&A with Alicia:
Favorite Toledo restaurant? 
Souk in downtown Toledo. Great food, parking, locally owned, made-from-scratch menu, and a unique cocktail selection.
Favorite place to go as a family? 
Boating on the Maumee River. 


JUST TOLEDO

Just Toledo
Courtney Fillion

What is Just Toledo
Just Toledo is a zero waste business built on the milkman model. They deliver natural, small batch products directly to your door, and all containers hold a $3 redeemable value for your next purchase! 

Courtney vehemently believes “that everyone deserves clean products and a healthy planet. We chose the name “Just Toledo” for three reasons: 1) our recipes are formulated with simple, biodegradable ingredients, 20 we only serve Toledo and its surrounding suburbs because as soon as we ship products, we abandon our mission to limit our environmental impact, and 3) our pricing is equitable.” Courtney adds that if you cannot afford their prices, she asks that you reach out to her and they will find a solution for you. 

How is COVID + parenting + running a business? 
“Before COVID, my to-do lists were much longer and I operated at what could only be described as a breakneck pace. Because my two teenage girls and I all work out of our home now, I’ve had to learn to become more flexible and forgiving with my schedule. Since I typically work out of the basement, we use walkie-talkies for periodic check-ins. We all have handles. They’ve appointed me ‘Great White Owl’…which I’ve decided to take as a compliment! On any given day, you may find me formulating a new recipe, working in the garden, editing photos or driving with my daughter at the cemetery, which she finds relaxing. 

What else should we know?
“We are looking to collaborate with like-minded makers and growers who favor environmental equity and social justice over personal profit. We have already partnered with three other vendors and are actively communicating with several others. Feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in working together.” The “we” in Just Toledo is Courtney and her daughter Jess, who is a freshman at UT in the engineering department. Her husband, Tom, has also been “incredibly helpful.” 

Quick Q&A with Courtney: Favorite Toledo restaurant?
The Beirut.
Toledo in a sentence? 
Everything you could want out of a big city–minus the traffic–and the BEST Metroparks.


MOTHERHOOD PORTRAITS BY TIANA LASHAE

Tiana Lashae captures and preserves real and raw moments of motherhood.

Motherhood Portraits by Tiana Lashae
Tiana Lashae

What is Motherhood Portraits by Tiana Lashae
Tiana Lashae, owner and sole photographer of Motherhood Portraits, captures and preserves real and raw moments of motherhood and beyond for families in the Toledo area.

Tiana laughs, “You know how everyone thinks their baby is the cutest? Yeah, that was me!” Infatuated with her adorable baby boy, Tiana was inspired to pick up her camera and start shooting. Between full-time work, motherhood, and graduating college, Tiana still managed to found her own photography business in 2015. Tiana expounds, “As I had more children and [became] a bonus mama to 2 more, it became so much more than photos, especially for my youngest son, who was born 1lb 14oz in and spent 6 weeks in the NICU. His birth, along with just the real life experiences of being a mom, ultimately helped me to center my business around motherhood.” Tiana felt supported by “the way the community rallied” for her and her family during that vulnerable time, and she subsequently dedicated herself to helping other families document “the small details we often forget.” 

How is COVID + parenting + running your own business?
Tiana exclaims, “With my husband working out of state these days, it’s just me and the gang!” Her kids are 9, 4 and 2, and she is homeschooling them all. “With all the differences in age,” she explains, “we are working through balancing activities so that my oldest, who has ADHD, can focus at least 15-20 minutes at a time without being interrupted. It’s a challenge, but we are making the best out of it.”

“We try to keep things as simple and easy as possible,” she adds, “and to be honest, I pick my battles.” She sets aside time during the quiet moments, like reading and nap time, to catch up on editing, sending emails, answering inquiries, and other business. 

Anything else we should know? 
Follow my social media platforms, I will be opening Fall Mini Bookings very soon for October 17 and 18 at Wildwood Metropark and Toledo Botanical Gardens!

Quick Q&A with Tiana: Favorite Toledo restaurant? 
Home Slice Pizza, their Italian salad is the bomb!
Your life in 5 words or less? 
I am Black and proud! #BLM


PADGETT COVID ART

The Padgett family: Piper, Oliver, toddler Penn, and husband David. Photo by Heather Meyer.

Padgett Covid Art 
Brooke Padgett

What is Padgett Covid Art
Brooke explains that the theme of Padgett Covid Art is “where profanity and sarcasm meet beauty.” Her goal with each card is to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Padgett Covid Art was born during the early days of the pandemic. Brooke found some sanity during quarantine by using her “me time,” which was before or after bedtime of her three little ones, to create art. She began posting her art and sayings on Facebook each day, and the positive feedback fueled her on. Brooke adds, “I knew that if I could put even one smile on someone’s face during a really tough time, then my heart would be happy.” Eventually that led to her creating and selling her handmade cards on Etsy! 

How is COVID + parenting + starting your own business? 
Brooke wakes before the kids around 5AM to get some solo time for creating–and drinking coffee, of course. After a morning family walk, her husband Dave begins his work day from home and her two older kids begin their virtual school. Brooke assists as-needed and plays with their 18-month-old son. Nap and bedtime are used for all things business-related: emails, printing, and preparing orders. 

Anything else we should know? 
“The name ‘Padgett Covid Art’ gives way to allow other members in my family to contribute to the shop one day. My husband is an actual artist, and I would love for him to contribute his talents. My older kids love any form of art as well, and I would love to include them one day in all aspects of selling something, so they can experience and have first-hand knowledge of the hard work and planning that it takes to produce something from start to finish. I have big plans for the future!” Brooke smiles. 

Quick Q&A with Brooke: Favorite Toledo restaurant
Plat8.
Favorite place to go as a family?
Side Cut Metropark.


SOLACE HEALTH AND COMMUNITY OUTREACH CENTER

Erin Marten, here with her family, will soon be opening Solace Health and Community Outreach Center, the first of its kind in the Toledo area.

Solace Health and Community Outreach Center
Erin Marten

What is Solace Health
Solace Health and Community Outreach Center, which is still in the works, will be a wraparound service that provides maternity and reproductive health care, mental health care, and social services for the most marginalized women in Toledo. 

Erin, who is a midwife, explains why she is embarking on founding this new nonprofit: “I am starting this business because in our country, and even in Toledo, there is a desperate need to address maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates. We know that there are huge disparities in these outcomes for women and babies of color, and especially Black women and babies. The systemic racism and implicit biases that we see playing out in our streets, our businesses and our schools is rampant in our healthcare system.”

Her goal is to establish a maternity and reproductive health center that combines mental health care, social service coordination, education, and wellness for those who need it the most. “I want to create a place where people feel safe no matter who they are,” emphasizes Erin, “and that is run by a diverse community of professionals who are committed to providing culturally appropriate, respectful, and thorough care. I feel called to use my resources, education, privilege, and connections to play an active role in the movement for reproductive and birth justice.”

How is COVID + parenting + founding a nonprofit? 
Erin recently resigned from her position as a full-time midwife in order to focus on developing Solace Health. She laughs, “But my older kids are doing remote learning for school right now and I have a 15-month-old, so the days are mostly chaos!” She spends nap time planning, writing, emailing, and making phone calls, and when the kids’ schooling or overall well-being takes front seat, Erin spends her evenings working. 

What else should we know?
“Please follow us on Facebook!”

Quick Q&A with Erin:
Favorite Toledo restaurant? 
Sidon. 100%.
Favorite place to go as a family? 
We love the Metroparks, especially Side Cut and Wildwood. 


THIS HOLISTIC LIFE

Practicing what shes teaches, Tracie pauses to care for her well-being at Side Cut Metropark. Photo by Jenna Knott.

This Holistic Life
Tracie Braylock

What is This Holistic Life
This Holistic Life is an online mind, body, spirit wellness education center for women.

Tracie wrote a book about pregnancy and early motherhood, without the intention of starting a business, but the book evolved into the beginning of her entrepreneurial journey. Tracie explains, “As I combined the various aspects of my education and experiences–nursing, writing, and teaching–I created a business that allows me to work completely online with clients from all over the world.”

How is COVID + parenting + running a business? 
Tracie jests, “No two days are ever the same! My four children are schooling virtually, and I do the majority of my work directly from my phone. We also spend plenty of time playing outside, making meals and watching movies.”

Quick Q&A with Tracie: Favorite Toledo spot?
El Camino Real.
Favorite family spot? 
Toledo Zoo


TICKLE BUG JEWELRY

Tickle Bug Jewelry father/daughter necklace and keychain set is a popular holiday gift.

Tickle Bug Jewelry
Lisa Tremblay

What is Tickle Bug Jewelry
TBJ is an online specialty shop that creates personalized, hand-stamped jewelry and gifts to keep loved ones close.

Lisa created TBJ in 2014 after the birth of her 3rd son. She explains, “I needed something that was all mine…I think a lot of mamas can relate. I had been a stay-at-home mom for 9 years, at that point, and knew that I would have another 5 years until my youngest was in kindergarten. I needed a creative outlet, a way to contribute to our household finances, and a challenge that could allow me to grow as a person yet still be heavily involved in the day-to-day lives of my kids and husband. Now I get all of that plus more: creating little treasures with the names of my customer’s children or special dates that remind them of what matters most in this crazy world.”

How is COVID + parenting + running your own business?   
“Oh boy,” begins Lisa. “My three boys just started back to ‘school,’ which looks very different right now due to COVID….So right now, my oldest, who is a freshman, is up in his room on a google meet, my middle son, 6th grade, is at the kitchen table on his google meet, and my youngest, 1st grade, just finished up his work. As a work-at-home mom, I am so blessed to be able to work in my home studio while keeping one ear on what the boys are supposed to be doing. It’s a challenge, but we are making the best of it.”

Anything else we should know?
Pre-COVID, Lisa partnered with her good friend, Sara Ellet, to offer hand-stamped jewelry home parties and workshops so people could stamp their own special piece. Lisa exclaims, “We are looking forward to restarting these fun get-togethers with TBJ customers once it is safe to do so!”

Quick Q&A with Lisa:

Favorite Toledo restaurant?  Rumors and My Way Bistro.
Favorite place to go as a family? 
We love exploring all of our Metroparks Toledo
Your life in 5 words or less? 
Family. Coffee. Dreamer. Personal Chauffeur. 


TOLEDO WEB DESIGNERS & DIGITAL MARKETING

Stephanie Solheim and her two children: Wesley (10mos) & Liam (3.5 years).

Toledo Web Designers & Digital Marketing
Stephanie Solheim

What is Toledo Web
Toledo Web Designers & Digital Marketing helps businesses grow with responsive and easy to manage websites, SEO, content marketing, consulting and training.

Stephanie explains that she worked in the Credit Union industry for over a dozen years, but when she returned to work after taking time off for the birth of her son Liam, she no longer had the passion for that work that had once fueled her. Stephanie confesses, “I tried to balance going into the office and leaving Liam at daycare [for about a year], and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I missed him so much.”

“Fortunately for me I have the world’s most supportive and encouraging husband, Byron, who said, ‘Okay, stay home, you’ll find something to do.’ The problem was that I love to work and to be busy, but I also really needed to be with my baby.”

Almost immediately upon resigning, Stephanie’s mother-in-law offered her a position in marketing and communications, which she could do from home. She then helped her mother launch the website for her massage studio, Massage Therapy Center of Sylvania. Stephanie started taking online courses, networking on social media, watching hours of YouTube videos related to website design, and then applied it all to the work she was doing. She founded 3 Tubas Digital Marketing, which then led to Toledo Web Designers & Digital Marketing, a joint partnership with her friend Alex Brinkman.

Around February of this year, Stephanie connected with Nina Corder of Women of Toledo and joined their HerHub initiative task force as their marketing and communications lead. 

How is COVID + parenting + running your own business? 
“Honestly, It can be chaotic,” confesses Stephanie. “I think as moms we see ourselves as this limitless superhero, and when we fall short of ‘doing it all,’ we feel discouraged. It’s my season in life to learn how to let go, find ways to say no, and be okay with not doing it all and having it all. I still wake up basically with my laptop in one arm and a baby in another, hoping to have another arm magically appear to hold my gallon of coffee.”

Anything else we should know? 
“I think I am drawn to working with women entrepreneurs and other freelancers because I know how good it feels when someone takes a load off my plate…and and tells me, ‘Hey, I got this part.’ Most of my clients and I have a close relationship and I value that over everything else. My business is not just another stuffy corporate affair. Alex and I are super relaxed, responsive and friendly.”

Quick Q&A with Stephanie:

Favorite Toledo restaurant? Registry Bistro.
Describe Toledo in a sentence?  Toledo has the vibrant culture of a big city with all the feel of a small town.
Your life in 5 words or less?  Cheerful Nihilist finds her purpose.

Photo L to R: Nina Corder, Stephanie Solheim and Kaitlin Kaiser of Women of Toledo.