Interviews With Smart, Awesome Women: Katrina Harrington

Recently, we caught up with Katrina Harrington, mama of four, artist, and creator of Rose Harrington, an online destination for Katrina’s richly illustrated botanical art and hand lettered goods.

This summer, Katrina’s business, which started out as a tiny Etsy shop, became The Family Business. Excuse us while we go throw a party for the Harringtons…

interviews with work at home moms

One of the (many) reasons we find Katrina so inspiring is that--she’s us. A mama with a love of art whose husband was in grad school and whose family needed the extra income. She works with her kids in her lap and she stops mid-interview to smell a flower her oldest son offers. She does it with grace and a whole lot of honesty, so when she agreed to sit down and share openly about the hard stuff, the good stuff, and what’s worked for family, we took notes.

Here’s our interview with Katrina:

Stand for Mom: How did you get started as a non-traditional working mom?

Katrina: My first work from home job was actually very random. I worked for a company that did research on semi-truck drivers, so my job was to call semi-truck drivers who had left the company and conduct surveys over the phones.

When I was pregnant with my third, my husband was in grad school full time and we just could not make ends meet, so I started this shop, not thinking that it would grow to become our family’s income! That’s been totally by the grace of God, which is just amazing. It hasn’t just been my work, it’s also been my husband’s hard work. We feel really, really fortunate.

Interview with awesome, smart, work at home mom Katrina Harrington

SFM: Girl, we’re doing some major happy dances for you. Talk to us about working at home. What has it been like for you?

Katrina: A lot of times I think that working at home is so glorified and kind of the thing that is sought after, right? That’s what you always hear moms who are pregnant for the first time say, “oh, I hope I can find something so I can work at home!”

But it is HARD! It is so hard! And no one really ever says that. Everyone just says, “oh I can fit it in where I can, and it’s so wonderful that while the kids are napping I can work!” Well, my kids never napped consistently.

I know it varies from personality to personality, but for my personality it was really hard to work from home without any structured childcare. I’m not a naturally unstructured person, so that was hard for me.

Rose Harrington fiat and offer it up mugs

SFM: Do you still feel like it’s a daily struggle, or have you seen the light at the end of the tunnel?

Katrina: I definitely feel like I’m on the other side, into a very nice season. It just kind of crept up on me. I felt like I was always drowning and then all of a sudden I was swimming. So you just have to keep going.

I always think motherhood is so seasonal.

Things change from week to week, day to day, and for our family, my business has grown so much that my husband stays at home with the kids. Even before that, we had worked it out so that I had scheduled time throughout the week where I could work. One big thing is that my oldest is almost six, and you think that it gets crazier and crazier with more kids but it gets easier as they play together!

I do think it’s really important for work at home moms to realize that you can’t do everything, even though it seems like working from home gives you so much extra power.

You need to take care of yourself and recognize that help is a good thing! Starting three years ago, I got a mother’s helper. She only came two hours a week, and she was young, so I would still be home while she was playing with the kids, but those two hours a week where I wasn’t the one peeling the Clementine peels while I was trying to get my work done saved my sanity!

SFM: We looooooved the video you shared on Instagram (and gave us permission to share on Facebook). Those little hands were so precious! Tell us the backstory.

Katrina: That was Elise! I was pregnant with Elise when I started the shop, so now she’s two. She’s grown up with me painting, from when she was in my belly. I can’t even count the number of times she’s been in my lap painting! I guess I’m just really used to it now. It’s definitely harder to paint without her but sometimes it’s honestly easier to just paint with her rather than the start stop of trying to get work done around a toddler!

That day, my husband wasn’t home and I really wanted to get that painting finished. I decided to try it and I ended up finishing the painting but my desk definitely suffered and was destroyed. The video didn’t even capture most of it! She dumped hundreds of plastic envelopes everywhere and all of my washi tape was totally undone and pulled apart. It was not a picture perfect thing!

I thought this would be a good memory for Elise, though.

I just love that the kids are going to have these memories of painting with mom, and that’s more important than if I get peace and quiet every single time. I definitely appreciate peace and quiet but I also have to remember that my family is my vineyard; my family is what I want to bear fruit

Katrina harrington fiat mug

SFM: We know any working mom has times where she has to tell her kids, “no, mommy can’t read you that book. Mommy has to work.” How do you handle that?  

Katrina: It’s the hardest to balance, because I want my kids to be independent and I want them to be able to recognize, “oh mommy’s working right now, I can go do something else.” But then again I chose to stay at home with them, because that was so important to me. That’s where having structure helped out: if I gave them my attention first thing in the morning and found an activity that fulfills them and makes them feel totally loved, then I could work, because they were already feeling happy and loved. Of course, does that always happen? No. But then that’s when they can play with their special coloring books.

Working is more fun and more relaxing than dealing with three children, and so that’s what I naturally want to do. But honestly when it’s those days, when I feel like pushing my kids to the side to do the work first, those are the days that it’s the hardest. I feel like they pick up on it. Those are the days that’s it's the craziest and I end up not getting that much done. I always just try to remember that our family’s priority is to create this loving home-centered family and I need to remember that even though I love creating art so much.

I want to make my family my first art.


Katrina, you're a gem. Thanks for sitting down with us! 

Visit Rose Harrington here
Go say hi to Katrina on Instagram here
Browse Rose Harrington on Facebook here

SFMS #8 What To Do When You've Lost Yourself in Motherhood

interview with entrepreneur and mom Maruxa Murphy

When I realized I’d lost myself in diapers and goldfish, my first instinct was to buy more yoga pants. Maruxa Murphy’s first instinct? Start a coffee company!

In this week’s episode of the Stand For Mom Show, I interview Maruxa about entrepreneurship as a mom and woman, being a coffee snob, and how life changes when you stop trying to be the perfect mom.

Maruxa went from being a career woman and feeling on top of the world to feeling like motherhood was a battlefield. After years of feeling like she was smart and capable, motherhood found her struggling to validate what she knew somewhere deep inside: that she was so much more than just a caretaker.

How Coffee Helped Maruxa Rediscover Her Brillance 

Fortunately for us, Maruxa found some stable ground, and in our video interview talks about the first step she took to start giving herself space and energy again. It started with coffee--and that’s when Maruxa realized something was missing in the coffee space.

The World Needs What's Inside of You

This January, Maruxa launched Perky Perky, a craft roasted coffee company designed to bring women back into their brilliance. You’re going to love how Maruxa has managed to insert supportive, encouragement messages into moms’ everyday lives using what we love most--COFFEE! Maruxa is relatable and inspiring. You’re going to feel empowered to drop perfection and embrace your own growth, even as your children grow and learn.

You’re going to love…

  • The counter intuitive secret that allows Maruxa to work full time, manage her side hustle, and still show up as a mom
  • How Maruxa identified a huge, gaping hole in the market--and how she’s filling it
  • Why Sarah included herself in her son’s first day of school
  • What you’re really giving up when you prioritize
  • How Maruxa gives you permission to embrace your calling
  • This freeing tip for moms who want to start their own business

Show Links

Watch the full interview on Facebook >>

Like Perky Perky on Facebook and comment on the video post to enter to WIN a Perky Perky giveaway!

Text COFFEE to 66866 to download Maruxa’s Top 3 Tips for Moms Starting a Business (or sign up below)

Find Perky Perky on Amazon (Maruxa recommends starting with the Dark Roast)

FREE DOWNLOAD! 

Maruxa's top 3 tips for moms starting a business

Why Moms Fail--and How to Win

fitness for stay at home moms

When my youngest son was born three years ago, I felt normal (whatever that means),

but by the time he was three months old, I was in pain. I couldn’t sit or stand for long periods of time without my abdominals muscles (and sometimes my pelvic floor) aching. I couldn’t carry my children for very long, couldn’t push a shopping cart at the grocery store, couldn’t move without thinking about how it would impact my sore, aching midsection.

I felt absolutely overwhelmed--I had three small children under the age of four, and I was managing marketing part time for a booming business. I had never successfully been able to make a diet change or exercise routine that stuck, and I was terrified that I would feel like this for the rest of my life.

Pain as Literal Motivation

The terror helped--I finally hurt so much that I made an appointment with my OB and got a referral to a physical therapist. I did a ton of research online. I knew without question that I could not handle a total life change, but I knew I had to face all the fears that were holding me back, or things never would get better.

So, I started walking for twenty minutes every day. It was January and it was cold, none of my clothes fit well, I felt like a giant cow, and the small exercise hurt so much that I (literally) iced down my hoohaw after every walk for the first week. I cut out processed sugar and gluten from my diet. It. Was. Hard. I failed at both things, a lot--there were many days when I did eat sugar, and many days when I did not walk, and sometimes whole stretches of time when nothing was going right.

Glimpses of Victory

But little by little, things begin to get better. I began to walk without pain. My hernia (I had an umbilical hernia!) stopped presenting. I started to lose weight. Mostly, I just felt better. I have a long way to go in my fitness journey (more about that later), but I DO NOT HAVE PAIN ANYMORE!

I can hike short distances without hurting! I can hold my babies for as long as I want! I don’t pee on myself when I sneeze anymore! Frankly, those things are fantastic, but what stunned me was what I learned about failure and (especially) what I learned about myself through my journey.

When I talk to other women, some who work and some who don’t, what I realize is these are universal issues we all struggle with. We all face failure--and we all have to wrestle it down if we want to get to the (beautiful) other side. Here’s what I learned:

1. I Can Do Hard Things 

I was always somebody who was naturally good at a lot of things, but I think that actually instilled a deep fear of failure in me. In the last year or two, I've found myself with new opportunities--writing, starting my own business, new areas of ministry and serving--but I’ve been floored by how deeply my fear of failing runs.

The truth, however, is that anything worth having is hard won. The beginning of my fitness journey was a lightbulb for me, a kind of beacon of hope reminding me that hard things are worth doing. I can now almost literally taste how much sweeter the victory of better health is, because I had to work so hard for it.

2.Tiny Changes Have Big Impact When Done Consistently

There is so much science behind this now, but what we know about routines and triggers and changes that last is that they need to small and accessible and plug in really naturally to our daily routines. Walking around the block every day felt so silly and pointless.

It wasn't a massive lifestyle overhaul, it wasn’t a significant schedule change, and it wasn’t an hour of intense working out every day. But when I kept at it, and walked more days than not, and the days and the weeks and the months started to add up--that's when I started to see some changes.

3. Do Not Despise Small Beginnings

I have put off so many hard things because I feel like I'll look stupid, or I cringe at how unprofessional or just not good my beginnings look. But what I disservice I to do myself! A beginning is only one step, and the only reason it's important is because if you don't take the first step, you'll never take the step where it gets good. I do not want to miss out on something really precious in ten or twenty years because I was afraid of my humble beginnings today.

New Victories to Win! 

This fall, I have some more winning to do. While I feel light years better than I felt three years ago, my fitness level has plateaued. The old exercises I've done are boring, I don't have a consistent routine anymore, and I don't have a community around fitness. My kids are starting to get a little older, and I want to be able to take some awesome family vacations where we hike, canoe, and camp.

I want to get to the point where I could say, I could train for a marathon now without injuring myself! I can go rock climbing or kayaking all day with my husband and love it! I just know the power of listening to my body now and nourishing it and strengthening it and that's a really exciting place to be, and it's great that I'm not peeing on myself anymore, but I know there's a lot farther to go.

For the first time in my life, however, I'm not intimidated or scared. I know it will take time and I know I will need to give myself a ton of grace--but I can't wait to get started!