WHO SHE IS: Raluca State, blogger at WhatWouldGwynethDo, PR consultant, mom to two
SUCCESS STORY: Turned a successful agency PR career into her own PR business
WORK SCHEDULE: M-F, full-time, work from home
KIDS: Devyn, 6, and Kai, 2
BEST TIP FOR MOMS: Menu plan. It changed my family’s life and I talk about it all the time on my blog
SANITY VICE: Happy hour during the witching hour (even at home)
How she got here: Striking balance as a freelancer
My career path has taken many unexpected turns. I studied journalism in university and was determined to be a writer but somehow ended up with a job in PR (I was promised you write a lot…you don’t, really).
I started out working in video game PR for a small company in Montreal. That led me to Los Angeles where I continued in the gaming industry for another year or two and then promptly made the move to lifestyle PR.
I worked for one of the biggest agencies in the business and loved everything about it until I had my daughter and tried to balance the full-time, high profile job with first-time motherhood. So I went out on my own as a consultant one year later and haven’t looked back in the five years since.
That was really the first time in my career that kids had to factor into any decision – and while they certainly did, my career goals played an important role as well. Yes, I wanted more flexibility and freedom to be an engaged mother, but I also wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t lose the groundwork I had laid in my professional life. Freelancing was the answer to that – I still maintained a full-time workload (sometimes more than full-time) but was able to do so from home, where I could be in touch with my daughter’s growing needs. She had a nanny who cared for her and let me focus on my work, but I felt engaged and available for anything she needed at the same time. It was (and five years later, still is) ideal.
5 Questions for Raluca: The blog, celebrating the fun of being a working mom, and recharging
1. Tell us about WWGD and the story behind the name.
I started WhatWouldGwynethDo shortly after I started working from home because although public relations was a great professional career, it simply wasn’t engaging my creative side. I have always considered myself a writer and somewhat of a “lifestyle junkie” and I was really passionate about inspiring women to “have it all”, before and after kids, with or without a career. My writing comes from the place of a busy, working mom who doesn’t want to lose her sense of self, style and creativity but it has attracted an audience of all types of women, which is so great to see.
The name really came to me by chance. I knew I wanted to start a blog. I have been a Gwyneth Paltrow fan since her early 90s days, and I really do consider her a strong role model for today’s working mother. Yes, she holds a high standard in many respects, but why shouldn’t we all hold ourselves to our own high standards in this life? I have realized along the way that many women have strong opinions on her as a celebrity and public figure, and I respect that, of course. It’s less about her, per se (you will see that I rarely post about her on the blog) and more about the ideal of having “it all” as a busy woman in today’s world.
2. Have you ever met GP? Does she subscribe to your blog?
I have met her once at a book signing for her cookbook in Beverly Hills. She was lovely and kind and seemed to know of the blog, which was flattering. She also RT’d the blog once on Twitter, but I don’t believe she reads it regularly…would be great if she did!
3. You run a feature called “I Don’t Know How She Does It” that features working moms. What are some of your favorite takeaways from that column?
This column has become one of my favorites to work on. I profile working mothers that I admire and respect and give an inside look at their lives and day-to-day.
My favorite takeaways from the column are: a) It takes a village and luckily, many of us have one to help us and for that we are eternally grateful; b) Most working moms, despite how hectic life can be, are really happy with their decision to juggle it all and don’t see the grass as greener. It’s refreshing to hear women saying “I am happy doing this, I wouldn’t want to do it any other way;” c) Most working moms have to wake up at an ungodly hour to get in some alone time, a workout, or some quiet in their day. And apparently, it’s worth it. I am not one of them 😉
4. What’s the media — or society — missing about working moms, in your opinion?
Here’s the thing, in my opinion: It’s tough, it’s demanding, it’s draining at times… but it’s also empowering and inspiring and fun! And the media needs to show that a little more. It’s always about time management, and leaning in and balance and while all of that is important, so is networking and Fall fashion and new recipe ideas for your kids. I think we need to inject a little more fun into the working mother story, instead of only focusing on the “overwhelming” parts of it. Most working moms I have encountered want to be doing what they are doing (or a variation of it) so let’s not analyze it to death, let’s celebrate it!
5. What advice do you live by as a working mom?
Put yourself on your to-do list every day. I think it’s far too easy for busy moms (working and non) to forget about themselves and it has such an impact on you, your family and your career. Find a way to do something you love, take care of yourself, sneak in some quiet time, chat with a girlfriend. Whatever it takes to help you recharge while you are busy keeping everything and everybody else afloat.