C-Suite Moms: “On Sundays, we turn off our phones and electronic devices. I don’t charge my phone until Monday morning.” with Lynn Mooney and Jessica Abo

Disconnect: On Sundays, we turn off our phones and electronic devices. I don’t charge my phone until Monday morning. This has helped us 100% be more present and is actually a huge mental relief. I don’t want my son to think of phones as something that needs to be glued to our hands at all […]

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Disconnect: On Sundays, we turn off our phones and electronic devices. I don’t charge my phone until Monday morning. This has helped us 100% be more present and is actually a huge mental relief. I don’t want my son to think of phones as something that needs to be glued to our hands at all times. We would ideally like to implement this on most evenings too — but for now, one tech-free day is a good step in the right direction.

As a part of my series about “C-Suite Moms” I had the pleasure to interview Lynn Mooney, Founder of PR and Marketing business The Launch, which offers both traditional and DIY PR, Crisis Communications, Event Management, Influencer and Social Media services. She has well over a decade of industry experience, working with hundreds of brands around the world, and leading some of PR’s brightest minds. She holds an MBA in Marketing, and Diplomas in Business Administration, Marketing Management and Business Management. Lynn has led PR, marketing and social media campaigns across a diverse industry mix including fashion, beauty, mining, non-for-profit, technology and travel. Her clients have been featured in major media outlets across the globe like Forbes, Vogue, The Daily Mail, USA Today, and Fox News. She has also worked on multiple crisis campaigns and provided strategic guidance in events such as natural disasters, political crisis, bad press, negative social media chatter and employee deaths. Lynn is an Irish native, an Australian citizen, and currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, son and two dogs.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the “backstory” behind what brought you to this point in your career?

I’ve been entrepreneurial my whole life, something that I proudly got from my Dad. When I was a child, I would hold art exhibitions for my family and sell my artwork to them (aka. blobs of paint). I always had some little business on the go, like selling Rice Krispie treats to neighbors or doing hair wraps for my friends.

Even when working for other people, I was very ‘intrapreneurial’ and treated every company with the care that I would give my own, which really worked out well for me career-wise leading to regular promotions and allowing me to climb the corporate ladder at a relatively young age. Marketing and PR was a natural path for me as I loved the ever-changing industry and the opportunity to be creative.

The Launch was created to help businesses of all sizes share their story with the world, regardless of budget/time/location restraints. The company has two arms to it — an agency side and a DIY/training side, so we can really help brands in any stage of their business lifecycle achieve their communication goals.

I have always been passionate about two things: customer service and delivering exceptional results. The Launch incorporates both daily, and our team embodies these principles.

Can you share with us how many children you have?

I have a three-year-old son Lennon and am currently pregnant with baby number two who is due this summer.

Where were you in your career when your child was born/became part of your family?

I was, at the time, the General Manager for an Australian PR company (whom I still work with as their official US partner).

It was my absolute dream job, and I was surrounded by a group of incredible, fearless and motivated women daily. Soon after I returned from maternity leave, I was promoted to Managing Director, and I stayed with this wonderful business until I eventually relocated to Los Angeles in 2017.

Did you always want to be a mother? Can you explain?

Oh, this is a tough one to answer. I was never someone whose sole goal in life was to be a mother. When I met my husband Dave, I definitely felt that I would love us to have a family together eventually, but we also had lots of other ambitions — career, education and travel wise.

When we eventually decided the time was right to have kids, I was very much career-focused, working in my dream job and worried that perhaps I wasn’t ‘maternal’ enough to be a really great mother.

But that all changed the moment I had my son Lennon. The bond was so intense that I literally couldn’t envision anything other than being his Mama. It was the best decision we ever made, and we are so excited to welcome baby number two into the family!

Did motherhood happen when you thought it would or did it take longer? If it took longer, what advice would you have for another woman in your shoes?

It actually happened for us really fast, we were very fortunate. It happened so fast that I was almost three months pregnant before I realized! For some reason, I just always assumed it would take us longer.

My advice to women starting families later in life (I was 30), would be there is never the ‘perfect time’ in your career to have a baby. Start trying as soon as is practical, because you never know how long it will take. And obviously, when you are in your thirties time is precious should you have any difficulties.

Can you tell us a bit about what your day-to-day schedule looks like?

Ah, the schedule of a toddler! We’ve actually just gotten into a much better sleep-schedule with my son which we were feeling pretty chuffed about — but this will all go up in smoke in a couple of months when the new baby arrives!

At the moment, we usually all get up at around 7am and have breakfast together. I get my little one ready for daycare drop-off by 8.30am. Once he’s been dropped off, it’s all systems go!

I usually start my day off, reviewing the schedule and preparing an action list. There is often a team meeting first up and then my day is jam-packed with business development, content creation, client conference calls, and media meetings. I try to do one thing a day to ‘move the needle’ in my business, be it hunting for new clients, creating a new ad campaign or attending networking events.

We pick up my son at 5.30pm and once home, we try to go out for a family walk with the dogs. Then it’s family dinner, playtime, bath time, and bed for my son. He’s in bed by 8.30pm, and then I usually spend about 30 minutes catching up on work or emails. If there is an ounce of energy left between us, my husband and I will hang out, catch up and watch a show before we go to bed.

Has being a parent changed your career path? Can you explain?

I don’t believe so. I moved from Ireland to Australia and built a career for myself over 10 + years before having kids. I knew what I wanted for myself since I was a teenager so I wasted no time building it — and I have always loved to work. Being a parent can maybe throw you off schedule for a period of time (in the best way possible!), but I certainly didn’t park my goals because I was a parent.

If anything, it made me more determined to continue to grow, set an example and want more for my family. I don’t necessarily believe that women with young children can ‘have it all’ — there is always sacrifice — but you can certainly come close. It also helps when you have a solid support system cheering you on, which for me is my husband.

It doesn’t make you a better or worse mother to have career goals. Each to their own, but I have always been driven by the desire to rock whatever role I am in — be it a mother, wife or businesswoman.

Has being a mother made you better at your job? How so?

YES! I absolutely feel that it has made me better at my job, and I love when I am recruiting, and I receive applications from mothers returning to work. Working mothers mean business!

When I became a mother, there was a fire in my belly to show that I could have both a happy family and a thriving career. I mean, there were a lot of men out there killing it AND being wonderful dads — so why was I any different?

Also, returning part-time initially meant I needed to be extremely resourceful with my time. I was productive all day and actually felt that my output was the same (sometimes better) than if I was full-time. If I need to be away from my kids to be at work, you can be certain that I am going to make it worth my while!

It also really improved my interpersonal skills as it gives you some serious perspective! I am much calmer, a better negotiator, and can now truly evaluate what a business crisis is and what is not. If you can deal with a toddler tantrum (and come out unscathed), you can deal with just about anything.

What are the biggest challenges you face being a working mom?

I would say balance and being present in whatever hat you have on (work or family). For a period at the start when I first returned from maternity leave, I really struggled with this. I was forever feeling ‘mothers guilt.’ Guilty of working when I should have been spending quality time in with my son, or guilty for missing work because my son was home sick from daycare.

In the end, I ultimately made peace with the fact that I was doing my best — in business and as a mother. There is no secret potion that makes you perfect at both, but feeling that guilt all the time is a wasted emotion. I got pretty good at trying to be more present in whatever I was doing (but am still mastering it!). This involved making some changes to my habits, like leaving my phone at home while at the playground for example. Scheduling like a pro also helps, and I live for weekly and monthly planning!

Something I do need to improve on is making time for me. Unfortunately, this is always what comes last. After kids, husband, work, dogs, life — I am usually too exhausted to do anything other than fall into a reality TV-induced coma!

Are there any stories you remember from the early days of parenthood that you want to share?

When I think about the early days after returning from maternity leave, I always remember a situation that the parenting books don’t prepare you for! I was at work, and my son was about 7 months old, so I was still breastfeeding. I had a big pitch for a new client coming up, and I desperately needed to pump beforehand.

At the time the only space to do this was in the boardroom where the meeting would be held (which happened to have no lock). Halfway through the (noisy) pumping, I heard the client arrive early and sit in the waiting area right outside the boardroom. Now let me tell you, this is a very vulnerable position to find yourself in!

Panic set in and I frantically unhooked myself, bagged the milk and casually had to walk past the client with the pump and bag of milk in hand. I was sweating bullets, but thankfully the client didn’t (seem to) notice. I was able to get it together in time to present, pop the milk in the fridge AND signed the client! That was a super-mama moment for me!

Are there any meaningful activities or traditions you’ve made up or implemented that have enhanced your time with your family? Can you share a story or example?

Last year we got a children’s book by Veggie Tales called ‘I Thank God For This Day’ which is about giving thanks for what you have in your life. So, most nights before bed, we ask each other what we are thankful for. My son loves thinking of the cool things he’s experienced that day, and it’s lovely (and sometimes hilarious) to hear what he’s appreciative for.

We also have at least one day a week which we call ‘Mama and Lennon Day’ where I let him pick the activities/outings for the whole day, and we get lots of quality time in just the two of us. That’s my favorite day of the week!

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 3–5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

Family Weekends: we try to keep our weekends free and aim only to schedule events during the day that the whole family can attend. We like to go outside whenever possible and spend most weekends together at the park or by the pool in our complex.

Disconnect: On Sundays, we turn off our phones and electronic devices. I don’t charge my phone until Monday morning. This has helped us 100% be more present and is actually a huge mental relief. I don’t want my son to think of phones as something that needs to be glued to our hands at all times. We would ideally like to implement this on most evenings too — but for now, one tech-free day is a good step in the right direction.

Travel: we love to travel and take regular trips, just the family. Even if it’s just a weekend away, we try to do this often, so we get pure quality time with each other, without distraction. My son loves our family time and is happy doing pretty much anything, as long as we are together.

Master Your Schedule: I am really strict with my work schedule and aim to be at home to tuck my son in every night. I’ve also been lucky enough that if I need to travel for work, my son (and often my husband) are able to come with me. He is three now and I only recently spent my first night away from him!

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or a story?

My son is only a toddler, but we do try to encourage him to do/play/create anything that makes him happy. As my kids grow, I will always encourage them to follow their own passion — not what is assumed for them.

If they want to be a CEO, a bus driver or an artist — we will always encourage them to do whatever feels right for them and to try to be the very best version of themselves.

My husband and I lead by example, we both have big dreams, and we work hard to achieve them.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I really love ‘The Happiest Baby on the Block’ and ‘The Happiest Toddler on the Block’ by Harvey Karp which are both fabulous resources for first-time parents. They truly make you realize that what you’re experiencing is normal and there are proven strategies for just about everything your child is going through.

I also regularly read books by phenomenal women, which motivate me to be a better parent and leader in general. Some of my favorites include ‘Becoming’ by Michelle Obama, ‘She Means Business’ by Carrie Green and ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg.

If you struggle to find time to read, Audible is a great app and I often listen to books while out walking or driving.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that you share or plan to share with your kids?

One of my favorite quotes, which is framed in my office is: “Don’t be like the rest of them darling” by Coco Chanel, which I will ensure my kids hear often. Life is too short to blend into the background, and why would you want to?! You are your own brand so showcase it proudly, embrace your differences, take chances and don’t worry about what other people think. Chances are, they probably aren’t even thinking about you!

And for working mothers, this is a quote that’s pinned to my desktop and fuels me every day: “Someone once told me not to bite off more than I could chew. I told them I would rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.”

If you could sit down with every new parent and offer life hacks, must-have products or simple advice, what would be on your list?

● Don’t get caught up in the pressure of ‘having it all.’ Appreciate (and nail) what you have and know that it will all work out in the end. Oh, and do not let being a mother hold you back from any opportunity or promotion. Always say yes, and then figure out how to make it work.

● If you are breastfeeding and working, read Work. Pump. Repeat. by Jessica Shortall. And invest in an ‘on-the-go’ pump like Medela ‘Pump in Style.’

● Don’t underestimate the power of maternal instinct. Sometimes you know better than any doctor/caregiver/family member. Trust your gut!

● For husbands/partners — book your lady in for regular date nights/ massages/ beauty treatments. This is something that we often put last, so trust me, she will love you for it!

Thank you so much for these insights! We really appreciate your time.

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