My children are my reset button. They remind me every day what the important things are in life and that it’s OK to not work every second of my day. While I’m still trying to achieve a work-life balance, I try my best not to answer calls in the evenings and on weekends when we are together as a family.
At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep, preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving women who have gleaned and are practicing their own philosophies on maintaining their wellbeing.
As a part of this series about what successful women leaders do to thrive, both personally and professionally, I had the pleasure of interviewing Tori Hamilton, BScN, RN, IBCLC.
Tori Hamilton is a Registered Nurse, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, writer, mom of three and Founder of Mothericity.com, the first virtual health clinic for all aspects of motherhood. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tori has juggled being a full-time mom with designing, creating, building and running a multidisciplinary telehealth platform from the ground up. Her platform provides everything a mom may need from preconception to parenthood including online consults, courses and articles.
Thank you so much for doing this with us, Tori! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path and to where you are today?
Igrew up in Kincardine Ontario, Canada, a small town next to Lake Huron mostly known as a tourist destination. My drive started at a young age — I began working at 13-years-old pumping gas and working at a general store. I used to stand on milk crates to wash the windshields of large trucks. I have worked many other difficult entry-level jobs including dishwasher, cook, waitress, and personal support worker. These jobs taught me that every position in a company matters. As an honors high school student in both Art and Science, I combined the two through a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Western Ontario in London. After completing the 4 year degree with honors, I began working in a temporary contract position at a nursing home to gain experience. After about six months I received a position as a Registered Nurse at our local hospital on a medical, surgical, palliative and obstetrical floor. While assuming an expert generalist role caring for clients from birth to end of life, my passion has always been maternal-child care — with a particular focus on the postpartum period.
After giving birth to my first child, I was shocked by how little support new moms have after leaving the hospital. To help moms feel less alone, I created a blog called The Mama Nurse. Once recognizing my passion for writing, I began creating content for nursing companies as an Obstetrical Subject Matter Expert and NCLEX test item writer. I became a La Leche League leader and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to fill the healthcare gap for moms struggling to breastfeed. Since there were no funded lactation consulting positions, I began working in private practice, providing online, home and office consults. As an IBCLC I connected with other maternal-child health providers both online and in-person. I found that all of the providers I talked to were having similar challenges — huge waitlists, burnout from travelling long distances to client homes, funding cuts and reduced hours. As I began researching more and more about the telehealth services available to moms, I realized that there were no online resources to connect moms to trustworthy health and wellness providers. I strongly believe that telehealth is the future of health care, and moms are often the primary health decision-makers in their families. I used my website design and writing experience, as well as my health background to create Mothericity.com — the first platform that provides access to online consults, courses and articles from preconception to parenthood.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
After my third child, I was having a lot of difficulty managing childcare while working shift and was becoming restless at the hospital. I made the difficult decision to leave my full-time, secure, well-paying job. I applied for a Director of Nursing position in a Long-Term Care Facility. Though I had minimal managerial experience, I was interviewed and got the job. It was completely out of my wheelhouse and was a massive learning curve, but I grew from the experience and gained many managerial tactics as well as a new perspective on health care. I believe that being in the Director of Care role helped me to gain the confidence to create a never-been-done-before platform and manage a multidisciplinary team virtually.
Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?
As a new entrepreneur with little background in marketing, it was quite the eye opener when I was invited to be interviewed by a large television broadcasting company. Imagine my excitement, only to find out that the coverage would have to be sponsored for the low cost of a mortgage down payment. I am proud to say that Mothericity has been an independently-funded venture right from the start, which means that all spending has had to be carefully considered. I have learned to be much more cautious before becoming excited about opportunities. It takes money to make money, but it’s also important to spend capital wisely.
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture and work life?
One of the best things about Mothericity is that our platform gives our providers independence and flexibility while also giving them a sense of community and connection that many independent providers don’t get to experience. I know that for me, the hardest part of transitioning from working in the hospital to private practice was the loss of my work family. Even though the providers on Mothericity live Canada-wide, I have made an effort to connect with them through online group messaging and frequent video calls. It’s really exciting to foster this community of professionals all with different specialties that are so passionate about maternal-child care. I receive many emails and messages each week from providers interested in joining our team.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive in three areas, body, mind, and heart. I’d like to flesh this out with you. You are a very busy leader with a demanding schedule. Can you share with our readers two self-care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.
Since I spend a lot of time on my computer and phone for work, I experience neck, shoulder and back pain at times. I use heating pads to help, as well as chiropractic and massage therapy. I try to use my time as efficiently as possible while using a device. Taking breaks through the day and maintaining good posture help as well.
A couple months ago I cancelled my gym membership as I wasn’t going often enough. Luckily, I was able to connect with Jenny Rolls, our Yoga Instructor. She provides a yoga and meditation membership on our online platform. Since I work from home most of the time and work 12–15 hour days, the only way I was going to get some exercise in was if I was able to do it at home in between meetings.
Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
To help my mind thrive, I am always looking to connect with professionals in different disciplines, whether it is in business, health care, technology or women’s issues. I believe that in order for a business to grow, we must accept that our work will never be done and we always have more to learn. I am very honored to be able to connect with so many thought-provoking leaders through Mothericity, whether they are writing an article, creating a course on our platform, or providing online consults to families across Canada and world-wide. My mind thrives every day when I’m working on creating connections!
Apart from my long-hours spent working on Mothericity, I also try to keep my mind sharp by reading a good book. In this day and age, and since our platform is completely virtual, it’s important to me to have a hobby that I can do away from technology. I often choose texts that I can learn from, though I love historical fiction that speaks to the human condition.
Finally, can you share with us two routines that use to help your heart, your emotional or spiritual life to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)
For better or for worse, my children are my reset button. They remind me every day what the important things are in life and that it’s OK to not work every second of my day. While I’m still trying to achieve a work-life balance, I try my best not to answer calls in the evenings and on weekends when we are together as a family.
Once the kids go to bed, my husband and I try to set an hour aside to spend time in our hot tub. We use that time together to talk about our days, our struggles, the kids, our relationship or sometimes we just sit there and look at the stars. That time together always gives me the strength to keep going, even on the hardest days.
When life is very busy, and you cannot stick with your ideal routine, are there any wellness practices, rituals, products or services for your mind, body, or soul that you absolutely cannot live without?
Between work and home, life is always busy — But as most entrepreneurs, I thrive in high-stress situations. I have found it a challenge moving from working outside the home to working at home. When I have a busy day ahead of me with tight timelines, I get up early. I find that spending the time to shower, dress professionally and do my hair and make-up, even if I’m going to be working from home, gives me time to regroup and it increases my productivity. I also try to include yoga into my daily practice.
All of us have great days and days that are not as great. On days when you feel like a rockstar what do you do? What does that day look like, and what did you do to get there?
I believe that mornings really shape our days, and late nights make mornings more difficult. On a rockstar day, I’m not overtired from working late and have spent time connecting with my kids before they go to school. We get up early so there is no rushing. Then, the real work begins. During a good day, my meetings would all be on time and am able to complete all my tasks for the day, including completing multiple writing projects, sending press releases, interviewing new providers, creating content and marketing.
In contrast, on days when you feel down, what do you do?
On days that I feel down or overtired from working late into the night, I give myself grace. I know that there are some sacrifices that entrepreneurs and their families have to make. Sometimes I let us all sleep in and I drive the kids to school a bit late. I also find that a healthy smoothie in the morning before starting work can give me the boost I need to stay focused. One of our Registered Dietitians on Mothericity.com gave me some great smoothie and protein ball recipes. When I’m feeling discouraged, I take the time to talk it through with someone I trust — my spouse, sister, friend or mentor.
Do you have a story about the weirdest, most bizarre or most humorous wellness experience, treatment, practice, or practitioner that you’ve ever partaken in? If you do, we’d love to hear it.
For a few months, I worked at a holistic center and it opened my eyes to all the different wellness practices available — reiki, naturopathy, massage, osteopathy, reflexology, counseling. I loved their team atmosphere! One thing many of the providers loved is cupping — where hot glass cups are suctioned to the body in various positions to increase blood flow. While they swore by it, I couldn’t quite get over the round, red, swollen markings left behind — afterwards you look as if you have been attacked by an octopus. Apparently, it has wonderful benefits!
You’re a high achieving business leader, and you also have family and loved ones that may require a different side of you at home. How do you leave the executive at the door, and be the most loving caretaker at home?
Setting boundaries and creating a schedule has made a big difference in my life. Weekends are usually designated as family time. I work through the day and late into the night, but when my kids are home, I try to set the phone down and connect. Our family has been working on less screen-time as a whole, and we have found that it makes a big difference in our mood and behavior. Less screen time also gives us more time to have meaningful conversations and complete activities as a family. I’m not perfect — I forget about school activities and can never find matching socks. But our kids know that they are loved, and that’s what matters most. I hope I will make them proud someday.
Is there a particular practitioner, expert, book, podcast or resource that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?
I listen to a lot of audiobooks while I do work around the house and drive in the car. I would highly recommend The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Doulas Carlton Abrams. It is full of words of wisdom on how to live with joy, even when faced with adversity. Right now, I am listening to Dare to Lead by Brene Brown which I highly recommend as well.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I hope that Mothericity.com will help to place mothers at the forefront of our healthcare system. Moms are the backbone of their family, working tirelessly for others, but their needs are often not taken seriously. It just doesn’t make sense. I see a huge shift in health care, where families begin taking their health into their own hands. Empowering families from the very beginning to raise well-adjusted, healthy children is what our world needs most right now.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?
My grandpa was a farmer, and the best summer of my childhood was spent at his farm playing with the barn cats and learning to bike on the gravel road. There is no one who works harder than a farmer. My favorite Life Lesson Quote is to “Make Hay When the Sun Shines”. I never pass up an opportunity that presents itself and always try to make use of the time I have. Even as a kid, I never was one to waste time — there was always too much to learn!
What are the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
It was my pleasure. Thank you so much for the interview!