When I think of the many Moms who inspire me, I think of women who are not only exceptional mothers to their children, but also powerful women in their communities and voices of positive change. These women that I look up to take the time out to give back to others and truly make a difference in the lives of others by the work that they do and their continued passion to promote nothing but positive change. And the best part about it is, they are truly passionate about what they do! I recently had the opportunity to interview an amazing Chicago-based Mom who is not only a mother of 5, but is also an entrepreneur, content creator, and motherhood muse.
When I first stumbled across Ericka Polanco-Webb’s Facebook profile, I instantly noticed that we had something very special in common. Ericka is the mother of a special needs son and I am the mother of a special needs son. I instantly felt connected to her in some way when I scrolled through her timeline and previewed her family photos. It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. When I saw Ericka’s photos of her precious moments between her and family, I didn’t see endless challenge or frustration because of her super busy life as a special needs mom and as a mother of 5. Instead, I saw pure joy, happiness, honesty, fun, and pride. This is a mom who I can tell absolutely adores her family and wouldn’t trade any of them for the world. She starts her mornings off bright and early at 6am to live her best life and instill positive values in her children to do the same! Check out my interview with Ericka below to find out what mother hood and entrepreneurship is like for her and how she’s able to manage her dual roles successfully.
What is a day in the life like as for you? Ericka’s Top 11 Things to Do:
- When I am asked this I chuckle sometimes because as a mom of 5 kids and one having special needs, there is always something interesting happening. My household (excluding the 5 month old) wake at 6:00am. From this moment on everyone is running around. I wake up and make coffee (that’s literally what I do first), Thereafter, I get dressed for the day (it’s a quick process. Leggings and a Shirt). Soon after I am done grooming myself I rush out to take my two oldest girls to school, first the middle schooler and then the high schooler. I then return home make my 2 year old breakfast (really quick, a waffle) and I help my husband with the finishing touches of getting my son dressed to put him on the bus. At this point depending on time, my husband takes himself to the train or I take him to the train (cuts out time for him trying to park) or we drive downtown and I drop him off.
- Next, up for the early morning hours, I finally eat, I nurse the baby and I allow them to play. During this time I work on Emails for either my blog, my consulting business, my PTO duties or my MOPS mom group publicity efforts (that’s my duty in that group). A little before 10am I change the second round of diapers and get them dressed. A 10am, I begin homeschool activities with my 2 year old daughter. We only work for 20-30 minutes. After we are complete she watches a movie for 30-40 minutes and then she eats lunch. Next we take a nap. This process takes about 30-1 hour and during this time I am nursing again so that the baby naps along with my 2 year old.
- If I don’t fall asleep with them (hey, it happens sometimes), I continue working on whatever I didn’t get complete while they were playing. This is also my opportunity to get things around the house clean.
- Upon waking up typically 2-3pm and at that time It’s time for my middle school daughter to walk in the door and my son to get off the bus. I typically place a pizza in the oven for the middle schooler or something else pretty quick for her and the 2 year old to munch on until dinner is done.
- My son arrives between 3:10-3:15 and I wheel him in the house, place him in bed, change his diapers, put on comfortable clothes, start a movie for him and start his tube feeding (it lasts an hour).
- Next up its time to start dinner. I like for dinner to be complete by 5 (it represents ending the day kinda). I also nurse the baby during this time
- At this time the feeding should be complete so, I have to flush his feeding tube, check his diaper and adjust him and prepare the youngest two girls to hop in the car with me while I pick up my oldest daughter from dance practice.
- When she returns home, we eat and I give the youngest free range because it’s time to give attention to the older kids. We sort through the school day, talk about homework and typically within an hour (6:30-7pm) my husband is home or on the way.
- Once my husband arrives, I typically sit with him while he eats or I will eat with him. I update him on the kids and we chat about randomness and I nurse the baby.
- Next up it’s the early stages of preparing for bedtime. I use these couple hours to do miscellaneous things.
- By 9:30pm I try to have the kids (youngest two) in bed.
What inspired you to start Red.Image and Becoming TheMrs?
Red.Image was started in 2009. This was done after I was laid off from my job. I decided to go into business for myself. I obtained a couple of clients and learned a lot. I also ended up at the Grammys with one of those clients, it was a great experience. Due to the excessive networking I had to scale back from that career path because my daughter was getting older and I wanted to focus more on my relationship. Fast forward to 2014 I got engaged and started a private Instagram Page (Becoming TheMrs) as a way to keep family and close friends updated on my wedding planning process. It was just mere fun! After I got married and my husband and I began to have children together, I felt called to keep the page going and transition it to a blog. So I started sharing my journey into Becoming TheMrs. Within the last year, I decided to really take my blog to the next level, so, I made the page public and I began to create a site and write. Red.Image is still in business and I still have clients. I am amazed that it’s been almost 10 years!!!
What are some obstacles you’ve experienced starting your business and being a mom?
With Red.Image, I encountered issues with trying to decipher what events I should and shouldn’t go to because I had to heavily depend on my mother as a babysitter. This was difficult because I started feeling I was spending too much time away and I wasn’t being present. Currently with my blog, having five children and trying to attend events in the city is pretty much impossible. With this, I sometimes feel that my brand is lagging and that my audience reach is in jeopardy. However, I have learned that it’s best to share my journey just the way it is and with that it makes it so fulfilling because I feel I am giving my audience my authentic self.
Name an accomplishment you’ve received since opening your business?
I have had mothers inbox me and tell me that I have inspired them and that I make them feel that they can do it too. This is an accomplishment because, I authentically am interested in reaching people and not just sharing a “lifestyle”but a journey. I am not so interested in the numbers part of it all but more so the influence to reach women that are in trenches of motherhood.
How have you been able to manage your time between your small business and being a full-time mommy?
I have learned to block time dedicated to my business. With so many other obligations that I have, I had to learn how to make time for the things I was interested in and that required me to time block. Also, I read a book called “The Best Yes”by Lysa TerKeurst. The book explained before answering yes to something to ask yourself a series of questions to help decide if what is being asked is something that you can do comfortably.
What are three key takeaways you feel that moms who are looking to start a business should walk away with?
Run your race, don’t allow how other mamas do things make you feel inferior. Do it in a way that is fitting for your household. Next, exercise your Best Yes! This means before you answer yes to and commit, take an inventory of the implications that your yes will have on your family and if those implications you feel can be worked through or are deal breakers. This serves as a guide for you to have a rhythm. Finally, NIKE! Just Do It. You never know unless you try. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if you have the passion just step out and do it. It’s a learning process but it’s a beautiful and insightful journey.
Where can we find you on social media?
Do you have any new projects coming up that we should know about? If so, what is it? And how can we help support you?
I will be releasing an eClass called “I’m a Mom Now What”and it’s for the mother who wants to get more out of her parenting journey. That will be released the beginning of October. Look for that information!