Monica: Jill, the ethos you’ve built through Motherly is one that millions of mothers across this country (including myself!) connect with so deeply. How did you first get started on your entrepreneur journey?
Jill: I grew up in a family of small business entrepreneurs so I was influenced at an early age by the passion and grit it takes to be an entrepreneur. I remember watching my father work late nights to bring his dreams to life and always felt such pride that he was creating something that had an impact on our community.
From childhood, I knew I wanted to make a similar mark on the world. I really believe that if you can see it, you can be it. I was privileged to have an example of entrepreneurship in my life and that’s what gave me the confidence to take the plunge when the timing was right.
Motherhood was the catalyst for me, connecting me with the strength and power that I knew was inside but hadn’t yet been exposed until I became a mother. It ignited a fire in me to serve others during the beautiful, messy transformation of motherhood.
I was raised to leave things better than how I found them and carry that with me in big and small ways. That means I pick up trash if I see it and straighten the carts at the grocery store, but it also drives me to leave this world better when I one day leave it. Better for my children and my grandchildren.
And while there are so many ways to leave a mark on the world, I believe motherhood is the most foundational and influential role in society. So, supporting mothers and helping them lead their best lives is the most impactful way I can think of to change the world for the better. When mamas thrive, families thrive, and the whole world thrives.
Monica: In our society, so many mothers strive to find that balance between work and family. What have you found works well for you?
Jill: A long time ago a mentor helped me understand the definition of integral in a new way. It means ‘necessary to make a whole complete’ and for me, health and happiness are integral and occurs when my health, work, life, spirit, and family are all integrated.
It’s not about balance but about integration for me.
This belief has greatly influenced the way we’ve structured Motherly as a business, specifically creating a fully remote workforce with flexible work hours that enables our employees to thrive in their personal and professional life.
Monica: Supportive work cultures are so needed to help more women thrive, professionally and personally. How do you try to keep your own health and life in perspective as you grow Motherly?
Jill: Serving as CEO of Motherly means I need to be at my best physically and mentally each day. We are growing quickly and the work we do matters to millions around the world so I feel a true responsibility to prioritize my health. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three short months after launching Motherly and that was an important wake-up call that I can’t run on empty. In many ways, my diagnosis was a gift because it forced me to prioritize my health.
I’m incredibly lucky to have stopped MS in its tracks through innovative twice-yearly medical treatment, but the identity shift that occurred with my diagnosis keeps me on a healthy path every day. I feel a deep responsibility to myself, my family, and to Motherly to prioritize my health.
Monica: That is such a beautiful perspective to hold, and a reminder of why life is so precious. Before we go, if there’s one thing you had to share with mamas everywhere, what would that be?
Jill: Self-care is not selfish. Period. So often we, especially women and mothers put everyone and everything above ourselves because we are being asked to nurture in a world that does not nurture us back. But we can’t continue to run on empty.
Our work is too important and while self-care is certainly not enough (learn more about www.yearofthemother.org and our advocacy platform), it’s a small but important start.
Prioritizing yourself is not selfish – it’s essential. So find the thing that fills your cup whether it’s a workout, a warm bath, or a good book and make time for it. Make time for yourself.