Tuesday, April 29, 2014

mom crush ~ kathy ryan

Name: Kathy Ryan


Stats: Wife, mother of two and owner of Goldfish Swim School in Chicago.  

Why she's crush worthy:  Any person that admits to having one too many glasses of wine and references Tim Riggins in the first 4 questions wins extra gold stars in any book.  But really, aside from being someone who you kinda secretly (but not so secretly) wish was your best friend for pop-culture reasons, Kathy is an inspiration to moms who have something they're passionate about and want to turn it into a business.  She has a very realistic and open view on everything that comes along with being a mom, wife and business owner, but is still determined to make time for the all the things that matter to her.

Meet Kathy and hear her story on being a successful mother, wife and business owner.  Here are Kathy's thoughts on....
  • The difference between marriage pre and post baby is…how much sleep we get!
  • My husband and I always appreciate….our time alone hanging out.  We always joke that in the summer we spend way too much time alone talking on the back porch.  We also consume way too much wine, beer, etc. on those nights.  This is where we hatched our plan for Goldfish after a particularly long night!  If the deck could talk!
  • We always laugh about…Friday Night Lights, what would Tim Riggins do in any given situation?
  • Even though we’re parents, we make time to...workout.
  • My husband has taught me to...think before I speak.

Being a mom…
  • I always encourage my son and daughter to…be mindful of themselves when crossing the street and remember “no one is watching you as well as you are watching yourself!”  
  • I deal with tantrums…not super well!  My son never really had them, but with my daughter we tend to take her out of the situation and try to defuse the situation.  She usually calms down, but this is a work in progress for us. I am always reading the latest child development book to improve our tactics.  I just finished reading Positive Parenting, which has helped a lot.
  • I have a hard time saying no to my daughter when she…wants to buy a craft project or a new outfit!  She is so creative in her wardrobe choices and loves making new art. I hate to put constraints on her as I love this aspect of her personality.  However, I finally cancelled a few higher-end catalogues because no 6-year-old girl gets a $100 dress, and rather than having to explain that to her, I figured she won’t want what she can’t see.
  • My favorite rainy day activity with my son is…swimming of course!  We absolutely love to swim together.  I love watching him in the water as he glides.
  • My favorite family moment is...vacation!  We are always best on vacation.  We just got back from a week-long trip to Mexico, and we all enjoyed each other so much.  It’s honestly when we are all at our best.  I would rather save all my money for vacations than anything else.

On Being a Full-Time Working Mom
  • The biggest sacrifice I make by being a full-time working mom is…always being “on.” My kids are both in school full time, so I do feel like I have a balance. However with owning my own business, there is never a break from emails, phone calls, etc., and sometimes my kids feel this and get frustrated!  Maybe this is why we love vacation so much!
  • People always assume that working moms….can’t go on field trips!  I have been to 4 of my sons field trips this year!  I love the last-minute opportunity to spend time with him.
  • My work understands that...when I leave I’m spending time with my family and might not get to everything right away.
  • It is possible to be a great mom and progress in your career by…spending quality time with my kids. I was a stay at home mom before and now work, and honestly our relationship is the same. I make sure to spend the same quality time with my kids now as I did before.
  • One of the biggest challenges with balancing work and life is…not worrying about my employees!  We have 40 18 - 24 year olds on our staff.  Most of these young adults impress me beyond belief; their work ethic is amazing, and they are so motivated!  However, I sometimes get bogged down in their personal issues and take their mistakes (missing a shift, not giving two weeks notice, etc.) personally.  
  • My advice for new moms going back to work is…take your time and do what is right for you.  I never thought I would be a stay at home mom, but I had a preemie with a lot of health issues.  I will never forget trying to balance work and Stephen’s health; it was nearly impossible.  He had been hospitalized for aspirating fluid into his lungs, and I was also pregnant with my daughter.  I had been working 20 to 30 hours a week as a realtor and had a nanny at the time.  She seemed to rule the roost in our house, and I catered to her needs. Whatever she said we needed to do for Stephen, we did without question. When Stephen was hospitalized, I asked her to sit with him for a few hours at the hospital, so I could get some work done down the hall.  She said that she could not possibly do that as it was my place to be with him in his room.  After that, I decided was done with my nanny and working, and I took 4 years off work.  It was a super personal choice and one I did not think I would make easily, but in the end it worked for us.  Going back to work was as easy as quitting; it just hit me like a ton of bricks one day that I needed to go back to work!  I have a lot of moms ask me about the transition, and they both seemed fairly natural.  I can honestly say I was not closer to my children when I was with them all the time; my relationship is the same as a working mom and as a stay at home mom.

On Friendship
  • The best friendships are the ones that…easy and don’t take a lot of work. No matter how much time we spend apart, we instantly click when we get back together.
  • I love that my friends know…that I work out regularly, I love Roy’s Ahi tuna, and I’m a Packer fan
  • My friends understand that… we all get busy.
  • I’ve met other mom friends through….NICU at Prentice and my children’s school
  • Going out with friends is….always the best, I love easy nights out but truly only go out once a week these days!


  • In this moment, my life feels...pretty happy.
  • In 2014 the biggest goal I would like to accomplish is…successfully transitioning my staff to be more independent leaders.  I am working with a career coach to help as well. I am working to pass the day-to-day responsibilities of being the GM to one of my amazing managers.
  • I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to… french fries
  • My favorite guilty pleasure is…pizza!  
  • If I had an extra hour in the day, I would...love to work out more.

What did I tell you - BFF material right?! I especially love that she has a very realistic take on being a SAHM and working mom since she's done both - even more I appreciate when she says that regardless of which status, the relationship with her kids never changed. Realistically that's probably the one thing that all us moms wonder about being on the other side, but now I can rest a little easier knowing that my son won't hate me tomorrow for not being the one to pick him up everyday from school.

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