A Conversation with Steph & Joy | SMB Founders 7 years later


Scottsdale Moms Blog has been encouraging and connecting moms across the Valley of the Sun for 7 full years as of March 2017! We invited SMB founders Steph and Joy back on the blog to talk about the early years of the blog. We also thought you’d enjoy hearing about what they are up to now.

 What motivated you to start Scottsdale Moms Blog?
{Joy} When Scottsdale Moms Blog began Steph and I had a dream of connecting moms in our community with one another and with our city. There are wonderful things to do and see throughout The Valley and I found that I was experiencing it all differently as a mother. I was curious to learn about how other mothers living in Scottsdale handled things like the horrendous Summer heat, or navigated the Phoenix Zoo. Steph, of course, took this dream and ran with it to local businesses and moms she knew! She started making connections! Suddenly, we had readers and writers and Moms Nights Out! In short, we had a business. The adventure was off and running!
Back in 2010 (feels like eons ago, right?!), my firstborn was 6 months old and while I was incredibly happy with the new title of “mom” that this baby brought me, I was also desperate to find my place in this new world of motherhood. While being a mom is one of the most notable titles I carry, becoming a mom left me scrambling to answer the question “Who am I and what do I have to offer to the world?” In my search for the “new me” (aka “Mom Steph”), I knew one thing – I couldn’t do this mom thing alone. They say it takes a village to raise a child; and that is certainly true. Motherhood is a wonderful journey full of love, laughter, happiness and small but cherished moments. Yet, at times, the journey can also be confusing, overwhelming and lonely. It’s with all of these things in mind that Joy and I came together to start Scottsdale Moms Blog – our own little attempt to create a “village” for Scottsdale area moms. Our goal in starting Scottsdale Moms Blog was to connect local moms with each other through helpful, relevant online content and offline events to provide face-to-face connection opportunities. 
You have both taken two very different paths after starting SMB.
Joy, you decided to stop working in the blog and focus fully on your role as a homeschooling mom. It seems unusual for someone with so much success to just walk away. What factors influenced your decision to leave?
{Joy} My husband and I decided early on that we would homeschool our kids when the time came. I spent a lot of time reading about education. I also enjoyed reading business books about how to grow Scottsdale Moms Blog. We were visiting family and I grabbed a great stack of business books (including $100 Startup and Platform) and started reading through them over vacation. That was when I realized that in this season of life, being a working mom was not working for me.
I was enjoying so many challenging aspects of running my own business, but I kept coming up short with my professional and personal relationships. I found that managing my business properly required nurturing dozens if not hundreds of professional relationships and networks. I also needed to pour my heart and time into nurturing my team. I loved doing these things, but when I did, my relationships and work at home suffered.  
Around the same time I had another epiphany. I discovered that managing my home was very similar to managing an entrepreneurial endeavor. I had basic tasks to manage and streamline at home just as I did with the blog. I challenged myself to take the intellect and creative skills I was using on the blog and apply them to my work at home. Did it work?! You bet! Once I found that there were some moms in our community who were excited about SMB’s community and had the band-width to care for it, I was pleased to turn over the reigns to them!
I’m so honored to have played a supporting role in the development of SMB and the CMBN. Was it hard to quit? Do I miss it? No and yes. Closing one season of life can be scary, but I knew that my stepping down was best for the community and my family. I’m right where I need to be. As the wife of an entrepreneur, our adventure cup fills up pretty quickly. I love watching from the sidelines as Steph, Angela, Jessica and their teams continue to be a resource for local moms!  
Steph, you have taken the success of SMB and helped other moms across the country to do the same thing in their cities by creating the City Moms Blog Network. What factors influenced your decision to create the Network? And how has the growing needs of a growing company impacted your work/life balance?
I will be perfectly honest in saying that had someone given me a glimpse into the future of this business and showed me what this little passion project (Scottsdale Moms Blog) would become in just 7 short years, I would have likely fled for the hills.  I believed (and still do believe) in what we were doing but had I known that our passion for connecting local moms in our little village of Scottsdale would quickly become a network effect of 70+ local parenting resources, thousands of writers and millions of moms engaged in our communities, I doubt I would have signed up to lead that charge.  
Nevertheless, that’s where I find myself today and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  The power that I’ve found in doing something that inspires moms and strengthens communities is indescribable and I feel incredibly honored to play a small part in the work that City Moms Blog Network is doing today and into the future. 
Now has the growth of the business and our personal family (we now have 3 daughters ages 7, 5 and 3) been hard?  Heck yes!
Balancing a successful career alongside of the desire to be present and available for my family and my own community is a daily struggle.  It’s like living on a teeter totter at all times. Each day I’m trying to keep my passion for my business and the significant work of what I do as a mom as balanced and stable as possible. There’s nothing easy about it. Standing in the middle of the teeter totter, leaning from one side to the next in an attempt to get everything as balanced as possible is tough work. Naturally one day I’ll be heavily slanted in the “life” department and the next I’ll be leaning more towards “work.” But what I’ve come to embrace in it all is that there is beauty in the instability and there is beauty in the work of taking each day as it comes and being ok with both the ups and the downs. 
Ultimately, I feel so fortunate to get the opportunity to teach entrepreneurs and my three girls how living out your passion is incredibly worthwhile work. And by continuing the balancing work on the teeter totter of life, I’m day by day; month by month and year by year showing my girls (and my business partners) the great work that comes when you dare to dream and embrace the ride. 
Sounds like you both have very different lifestyles these days! Steph, you have one daughter in school and two in Preschool. Joy, you are homeschooling your oldest and have four more at home five and younger. Can you each show us your “typical” morning routine?
6 amish wake up, get dressed, put on my makeup before I come out of my room and get breakfast started.
6:30 drink (decaf) tea, have quiet time and read my Bible
7 am kids start waking up and coming into kitchen -they do chores/get dressed (if I’m on my game)
7:30/8 am last ones up and breakfasted – read a story/nursery rhymes to Preschoolers while they eat
9 am start school with Reagan  (2 YO plays on floor while she does school and older boys (4 YO and 5 YO) play with LEGOS in their room)
9 am Baby goes down for nap
9-10 amish Reagan works on Math, cursive, copy work then I read a poem, and a chapter from two of her school books
10 am-11 am If we finish lessons early enough we will all head outside for about an hour (Nature Study/Science) while baby finishes her nap. 
12 pm Lunch and stories
5 am Wake up, Shower & Brew Coffee (all.the.coffee)
5:30 Quiet time & Reading
6 am Plow through a few emails before the girls wake up
7 am Breakfast & Off to School for our 1st Grader (praise Jesus for the bus!)
7:30 Work here and there while getting the other two girls ready for the day
9 am Preschool Drop Off
9:30 – 12 Work & Preschool Pick Up
Do you have any words of encouragement for moms like you?
{Joy} Being a working mom isn’t for everyone during every season of like and THAT’S OK! I love watching Steph take CMBN to new heights! She flourishes through connecting women in that way. I know it’s easy to feel like you aren’t doing enough if you aren’t building your own empire, blog, business or career. But, I’m glad I get to focus on my small corner of the world. My calling looks pretty dull from the outside right now. But, little by little, day by day, my work bears fruit for my family through remarkably normal ways. There is glory in the ordinary. 
And, even though things are pretty ordinary around here, I’m learning all the time! Just this past year I’ve learned how to cut my husband’s hair like his barber, finger whistle, make a quilt, create a dress pattern and sew it, sew a french knot, make a ladder out of a rope, cut my own hair, gain a deeper understanding of the U.S. Constitution, use the Instant Pot and so much more! I love to learn and have been so grateful for this challenging season of life where I can indulge in learning so many new things!
I’ve spent YEARS thinking the grass was greener on the other side. I envied my stay at home mom friends who seemed to have all of the time in the world for playdates, coffee dates, cleaning their homes, doing allthethings on Pinterest and so on and so forth. But ironically what I’ve come to realize is that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Whether you are a full time working mom, part time working mom, work out of the home mom, work at home mom or stay at home mom, we all carry the unique responsibility of doing YOU as well as you possibly can. It’s when we take our eyes off of what everyone else is doing and start embracing what we have, that we find true contentment.  
We all have unique callings and capacities, not one better than the other. In embracing YOU and celebrating what only you can do, we moms can “beat” the comparison trap and free ourselves up from all of the guilt and fear so many of us carry on a day in and day out basis.  
I love that while Joy and I have chosen drastically different paths for our lives, I truly see beauty in both paths.  I love watching as Joy uses her love of learning to teach her kids to do the same and I love the way she is always stretching herself to try new things and thus teaching her kids to not be fearful of the unknown.  It’s a beautiful thing when we lean into our strengths and teach our kids to do the same – whether it’s as a stay at home mom or a working mom.  
From Steph and Joy:
Thank you so much for inviting us to share our perspectives. We want to encourage moms that “you are doing the work you are called to do” and “it’s hard and wonderful” and “you’ve got this”.
Who can you relate to? How do you find the balance between your role as a mother and the work you (whether in the home or outside the home) do each day?