Friday, August 20, 2010

Sage Mamas Making A Difference

Gwen Trowbridge
Founder & CEO of Baby Guru, LLC

As we gear up for Gwen to teach Sign, Say & Play, a baby sign language workshop starting September 2nd at the store, she was also kind enough to take a few moments out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts about being a mommy of two healthy and handsome boys as well as a career woman. Gwen was also one of the twelve finalists in our very first Hot Mama Hawaii Contest earlier this year. We have a lot to learn from her example of poise and wisdom.

Baby Guru has such a great concept and mission (I especially love the Mommy Personal Shopper service). How did you even begin to start your own business while still being a new parent yourself?  
I was the Marketing Director for PacificBasin Communications (Publishers of HONOLULU Magazine, Hawaii Business Magazine among others) and I loved my job, but was struggling with balancing my career with my family after I had my first son. I wanted to find something with more flexibility, which meant taking the leap to start my own business. I also wanted to make sure it was something I was passionate about because otherwise I would regret taking time away from my family for my career.  At that time I was having a difficult time finding resources and classes for new parents so I decided to try to fill that void. I was actually pregnant with my second son while I was getting trained and certified for a lot of my services and it reinforced my determination to launch this company to help parents keep their keiki safe, healthy and happy! It’s truly a labor of love!

It's natural for parents to always be thinking of ways to take care of baby that we often forget to take care of ourselves. As a working mother, how do you balance your work life, personal time, and being a caretaker?
It is so true that it is difficult for moms, whether working or stay-at-home moms, to take care of themselves. It’s a struggle for all of us to fulfill our expectations to be the best parent, wife, friend, worker, etc. I talk to so many moms in my business and we’re so hard on ourselves and often each other! I have to remind myself often of the advice I give to other moms...we’re a better mom, wife, worker, and every other role we take on, if we take time for ourselves. It’s important to do those things that fulfill you beyond your family and career... whether it’s going to a yoga class, having a shopping day with your girlfriend or a date night with your husband. There is always more work to do esp. when owning your own business because it’s hard to shut it off. I have to force myself to put it aside and focus on my family and also schedule time for myself separately. If it’s on my calendar like an appointment I’ll make sure it happens!

When you have that free moment to indulge yourself (hopefully at least once in a blue moon), what is a sans-kid activity that you like to do?
I recently trained with Team in Training to run the San Diego Marathon in honor of my mom who is battling leukemia. As a non-runner it was a huge challenge for me, but running became an indulgence for me because it was time alone and a way for me to incorporate fitness back into my life. And to pamper myself I love a good pedicure!

What's your favorite part of being a mother of young children?
It’s those moments where they make you feel like the most important person in the world, like when my older son Tanner said the other day that I am cooler than all the Transformers in the world (I actually teared up!) or when my baby Chase holds onto me like a koala bear and we’re almost one person. It makes all those tough moments disappear!

Baby Guru must be evolving as you are evolving, learning, and growing as a family. Anything new or exciting on the horizon we can look forward to? New classes or services, or events?
I am very excited to be working on a cookbook that will feature recipes for baby purees & toddler foods with a regional flare. I will be writing all of the tips, how to's and overview of food safety, benefits of making homemade baby/toddler food and recipes for basic baby purees; Pediatrician Dr. Michael Sia will be writing the sections on food transitions, nutrition and allergies; and local chefs who are also parents will be providing recipes on complex baby purees, finger foods and toddler meals. The daily experience around the dining table is an important one; it’s where a family gets its nutrition and where the family unit is cherished. I hope this cookbook will inspire parents from the start to emphasize the importance of both by cooking healthy, homemade meals. It will be released in summer 2011 by Mutual Publishing. This cookbook is my next baby!

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