Momtrepreneur Finds Way To Have It All

In 2012, former senior policy adviser Anne-Marie Slaughter wrote about her struggles as a working mother — and ultimately, her decision to step down from her high-level position in government — in an article titled, “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic. That piece drew a lot of attention — and a good deal of controversy — for discussing the pitfalls of trying to juggle a successful career while raising a family. The article concluded that there are ways for women to have it all — but that the current 9-5 structure really isn’t built for it.

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Jennifer Armstrong

That same year, local public relations professional Jennifer Armstrong opted to become what she calls a “momtrepreneur,” in order to allow for a more flexible work schedule.

In just a few months, Armstrong had both her first daughter and launched her company, Kaia Consulting, which offers services that include public relations, marketing and social media management.

Previously, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s in communications, Armstrong had worked in TV, radio and magazines. Most recently, she had been at a large PR agency. But when she and her husband, who teaches at Highlands Intermediate School, started talking about having kids — something that was very important to her — she wondered about her ability to make it work.

“My struggle is not an odd one,” Armstrong says. “There are tons of women who deal with this issue. It’s the kind of thing where you have to look at it and think, ‘Is this the type of quality of life that I would want when I start my family?'”

Armstrong launched Kaia Consulting nearly three years ago — and in that time, both her business and her family have grown. Shortly after she had her first daughter, along came her second. And she has grown Kaia to include clients in a range of industries — from nonprofits and video production to hospitality and food.

“I love the fact that I get to help companies and organizations and people tell their stories to the public, and share it in a way that is going to bring back rewards,” Armstrong says.

“It has been very rewarding, personally and professionally,” she adds. “There is not another type of situation that could be best — I’m doing the work that I love, but also am able to raise my children.”

One of the keys to juggling both responsibilities, Armstrong says, is to become a pro at multitasking. (She typically begins her day, for example, by preparing breakfast for the kids while checking email.) Working from home, however, presents a new set of challenges. It further blurs the line between personal time and work time. When do you stop working when your bedroom also is your office?

“The lines are very, very thin when you’re a momtrepreneur,” Armstrong admits. “You have to be able to set boundaries. You can get distracted a lot more because it’s your personal space.”

Looking forward, Armstrong has big goals for Kaia: She hopes to hire staff, expand services, and grow and diversify the client base.

“I’m also a realist — I know that is going to happen along the same timeline of my kids growing up,” Armstrong says. “It’s like a domino effect with my career and my family life. Whatever decisions I make for (one) affect the other — and that is how I wanted it to be.

“I truly believe women can have both.”

For more information about Kaia Consulting, visit kaiaconsult.com.

coconnor@midweek.com