Podcast

Episode 41 – Jessica Turner, Author of “The Fringe Hours”

When we think about starting something new, our first objection is usually, “But when?!” In a life filled with never ending to-do’s and very little margin, Jessica Turner challenges women to push beyond the limitations of time and make bold decisions to pursue their dream. This week, Jessica sits down with her friend Jessica Turner to discuss all things motherhood, entrepreneurship, and creating space for the things that matter.

Jessica Turner





Untitled Document

TRANSCRIPT

Jessica Honegger: Hey there, it’s Jessica Honegger, founder of the socially conscious fashion brand, Noonday Collection. And this is The Going Scared Podcast, where we cover all things social impact, entrepreneurship, and courage.

Today’s guest is my friend, Jessica Turner. If you guys follow me on Instagram—which by the way if you don’t, go on over there, it’s Jessica Honegger—you know I’ve been going through a home remodel, and literally, my kids have been sleeping in the living room and in a closet. We’ve been living on top of each other almost this entire year. My dad got diagnosed with cancer, and then almost died in the hospital from an adverse reaction to his immunotherapy drug. I launched a book. It’s been a full year.

So, when Jessica sent me her newest book, Stretched Too Thin, it hit close to home. So, I know this conversation is going to really enrich you, because I needed it. I needed it at a time when I have definitely felt stretched thin. Jessica is also author of the 2015 best-selling book, The Fringe Hours, which empowers women to take back pockets of time they already have in their day in order to practice self-care and do the things that they love. She’s the founder of the popular lifestyle blog, The Mom Creative and she is giving us some hacks today.

So, get our your pens, get out your pad of paper, and enjoy today’s conversation with Jessica Turner.

Jessica Honegger: Thank you so much for writing your book, Stretched Too Thin.

Jessica Turner: Oh, girl, it’s my honor. I’m so glad that I’m not the only one who’s alone in the feeling of being stretched too thin.

Jessica Honegger: No, I’m so serious. And what’s crazy about your book is you cover all the things. I mean, goal setting, reflection, prioritizing, self-care, how to clean your house, how to actively listen in your marriage. It’s research-based, it’s workbook-based so you can actually work through it and do some experiential learning. I mean, honestly, like it’s underlined and I’m super excited about it because, you know, I haven’t had time to dive into it as much as I wanted to. But I’m savoring it for the end of the year because it’s such a great way to kind of start looking into 2019.

Jessica Turner: Totally. You know, I think that Stretched Too Thin, that phrase is something that we universally feel, particularly at this time of year.

Jessica Honegger: We do.

Jessica Turner: And so, I think that if you are feeling that way, know that you’re not alone in that. But I think that…I hope that as women go through Stretched Too Thin, they see themselves in the pages. That was so important to me that the book wasn’t going to be just my story of a mom who has a fulltime job and a side hustle and three kids, but it’s the story of so many other working moms across America. I surveyed 2,000…

Jessica Honegger: Well, it just…yeah.

Jessica Turner: …working moms and I mean, like, it’s just so cool to see how, no matter what you do, I mean, there’s a police officer interviewed. And there’s a woman who has a business similar to Noonday interviewed. You know, like just totally different fields. But we feel all the same.

Jessica Honegger: All the same. And there’s so many of those examples in the book. And I love too—because I think that, OK, we know as working moms that we’re carrying a lot. And we often don’t take that time to stop and reflect and look back and think what’s working, what’s not working, where am I actually going? And this book is such a great tool because I can get intimidated. Like I am putting some time on the calendar at the end of the year to kind of do a little bit of a look-back and start sort of reflecting and getting clarity on the future. And I’m been so overwhelmed and thinking about it. But now I’m like with your book, I’m like, "I’m just gonna take your book into my solitude time." I mean, it’s perfect. So, I just want everyone listening to get this book. And it just really will provide such a great roadmap as you kind of work through 2019.

Jessica Turner: Yeah, thanks. That means so much to me coming from someone like you who I respect so much and you were one of the first early readers of it. So the fact that you’re going back through and like “now I’m going to sit down and actually do this” means the world to me.

Jessica Honegger: I am, I really am. OK, before we dive in to some of my favorite stories in the book, I wanted to ask you, I don’t really know much about how you grew up and how we grew up. Ways a ton on how we actually end up parenting and approaching our roles as parents. So tell me a little bit about your growing up. How were you parented?

Jessica Turner: Yes. So I was raised in Wisconsin. My parents, fun fact, actually met at Target, like the mothership.

Jessica Honegger: That’s amazing.

Jessica Turner: That’s where they met in the ’70s. And so I grew up with two working parents who worked in retail who worked for Target. My mom still works for Target today. My dad worked for Target until I was in college. And so they were hard working people who I saw the value of work, I saw that work was important and that it was necessary. It was just what you did. And I have one sister and we grew up really close, but were very different in personality. I remember one summer where my mom moved us into the same bedroom because we were not getting along. And she was like, "If you’re not gonna get along, then you’re not gonna have the privilege of having your own room."

And now as adults, they have told us how that was just the best summer because they’d hear us talking to each other and that that was really a turning point in our relationship. I think that’s really special that they saw that and invested in that. I was somebody who was very, very active in school, particularly in high school. You know, how your senior year lists like all the activities that you did next to your name? Well, mine they had to use…

Jessica Honegger: Did you win like “Most Involved”?

Jessica Turner: Well, I could have. It was like three points smaller than everybody else to get all of my activities in. So when people ask, you know, "How do you do all of these things?" I think I’ve just been wired to have a high capacity and just to want to have my fingers in a lot of things. And I say to my parents now, "I don’t know how you let me do that and we’re OK with it." Because I am so overwhelmed by my kids’ activities and they each do one thing. Like I don’t know how I was doing Student Council and the school plays and the school musicals and, you know, all the things I was doing them all. And I had parents who are really supportive in that and letting me try different things and live out what I was passionate about, which is something that is really important to me personally and important to me as I raise little humans.

 

Being a Working Mom

Jessica Honegger: Well, this is so interesting to me because, you know, we have talked over the years about just my own struggle and becoming this working mom, especially as the company really grew so quickly and then suddenly CEO with three children. And I didn’t grow up with a working mom and I feel like that heavily influenced my story to where I didn’t…you know, they say, you can’t become what you don’t see. And because I didn’t have a model of a good mom that could also be a CEO, I really saw those things as diametrically opposed for so long.

And it really took me—really coming to terms and realizing that I could be both. I could be a good mom and a good CEO, which is what brought me a lot of freedom. But do you think having that role model in your life that like this is what you do that that…like was it ever on the table, "I’m gonna be a stay at home mom" or did you grapple with, "Can you be a good mom and a good working mom?" Tell me a little bit about that.

Jessica Turner: I think I always knew that I was going to be a working mom. Certainly, I had a mom who was a working mom. And so that was modeled for me. But honestly, we couldn’t afford for me not to work. So that was just the reality of our situation. Plus, I really liked my work. I carried the health care benefits for my work and I always have been the one who have carried the health care benefits for my family. And so those types of things that really matter.

But also, I really love my work and I think I’m a better mom because I work, because I’m leaning into those talents that I can only use in my work, then I come home and I’m able to be fully present as mom. So it’s just always been something that we knew would be the case. I’m not wired to be just mom 24/7. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but for me, I needed to have something else. And work is where I really get filled up.

“I really love my work and I think I’m a better mom because I work, because I’m leaning into those talents that I can only use in my work, then I come home and I’m able to be fully present as mom.” Jessica Turner

Jessica Honegger: Well, tell me a little bit more about that. Because I think that…I mean, that’s a rarity in and of itself. I mean, so many people actually don’t like their jobs. So how did you come to like your work? I mean, I know that you’re currently at Vanderbilt in marketing, which, by the way, I loved getting to go to your workplace a couple of months ago when I was in Nashville. That was so cool.

Jessica Turner: It’s such as special place. It really is.

Jessica Honegger: It is. It is. So I can fully understand why you’re super on board with your current job. But tell me a little bit about your background on how you kind of discovered that you love marketing and you’re really good at that.

Jessica Turner: So I went to school for Strategic Communications. I have a journalism degree with an emphasis in Stratcom. And I started my career working for a boutique PR firm here in Nashville that’s really respected in regulated industries, like healthcare, higher education, banking. And because it was a small firm, I got to really climb the ranks quickly and get a lot of responsibility quickly. And so, that allowed me to really flourish. And when I was pregnant with my daughter, who’s my second, I recognized that I couldn’t continue at the pace that agency life really requires.

And I wasn’t able to put clear boundaries in place of my work and needed something that was a bit more manageable when it came to my time. And so I thought I would start looking for a different job when I had my daughter. And then the opportunity came for me to work at Vanderbilt, and I couldn’t say "no." And so I started the job here when I was six months pregnant. And…

Jessica Honegger: With your second or your first?

Jessica Turner: With my second, with my daughter.

Jessica Honegger: Your second, OK. Right, right, right.

Jessica Turner: My second. And so I’ve been here over seven years now and just love the environment. I work in a big department. There’s about 50 of us in our department. The people have become some of my closest friends in Nashville. There’s a lot of working moms on my team and so there’s a lot of support there. They offer a good bit of flexibility, you know, if a child is sick, or something’s happening, you know, being able to work from remotely one day a week. So all of that has just been phenomenal. I couldn’t ask for a better work experience. And I get to do what I love, which is marketing and strategy and social media. So it is just a perfect fit for me.

 

Turning a Career into a Life of Purpose

Jessica Honegger: OK, so you’re super fulfilled at your actual J-O-B. Tell me about your journey into blogging, writing, and speaking. Because, I mean, obviously, you told us about your high school experience. So it doesn’t surprise me now knowing more about your background. But oftentimes, if you’re pretty fulfilled, you know, doing your career, your J-O-B, you don’t often start a side hustle. So tell me a little bit about that process.

Jessica Turner: So I started blogging in 2006. So I am a dinosaur when it comes to the online working experience.

Jessica Honegger: You just have really good SEO, girl. That’s what all that that means.

Jessica Turner: Well, it’s kind of a joke because my name, Jessica Turner, is also the name of a porn star. And…

Jessica Honegger: Oh my God.

Jessica Turner: …you know, that’s sort of unfortunate. But I’m very proud that now my SEO is such that I’ve rank above that. But there is a small percentage of people who, you know, come to The Mom Creative and they’re, I think, sorely disappointed because they like find great parties and craft projects instead of other things that they’re perhaps looking for. So, yes, good, SEO definitely helps. But I started blogging in 2006 because I was looking to share the scrapbooking projects that I was doing. I was really big into scrapbooking at the time and invested in that community.

And some scrapbookers that I really respected were bloggers. And so I started a blog and also thought that it’d be great to keep up with family who is based in Wisconsin and my husband’s family is in Maryland. And then I got pregnant in 2007 and that was really kind of the start of the big mommy blogging movement. And by 2008, when I had my son, I was having brands reaching out to me and, you know, looking for opportunities to do collaborations and that sort of thing and I love it. You know, working in highly regulated industries, it isn’t sexy and I’ve gotten to do some really sexy stuff with the blog. You know, I’ve worked with Disney. I’ve been to red carpet premieres. I’ve done great stuff with Southwest Airlines.

Jessica Honegger: And you got to meet Oprah.

Jessica Turner: I sure did meet Miss Oprah, which was absolutely incredible. And so, that type of thing, I was never going to get, you know, in my career. And so, that has been just really rewarding for me. But you know, it isn’t even all of that fun stuff that is so meaningful to me, it is the community that has come alongside The Mom Creative. I mean, I have had readers for 5, 7, 10, 12 years. And…

Jessica Honegger: That’s amazing.

Jessica Turner: …that community of women makes me wanna keep writing, makes me wanna keep showing up. And it’s been fun, I think, because their families have grown alongside my family and they’ve seen my kids grow up and that sort of thing. So that community just really energizes me.

“[The] community of women makes me wanna keep writing, makes me wanna keep showing up. And it’s been fun, I think, because their families have grown alongside my family and they’ve seen my kids grow up and that sort of thing. So that community just really energizes me.” Jessica Turner

And so, you know, when you’ve been blogging as long as I have, other fun opportunities come and one of those opportunities has been to write books. And so, I never wanted to write a book. My husband, Matthew Paul Turner, has had a huge career. Has written more than 20 books. Has been publishing since 2003. And so I always thought, "Matthew is the writer, not me. And that’s not something I really have an appetite for." And then I had an idea to write a book called The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You, which was a book that answered the question of how I was doing all these things. And it was those pockets of time that often…

Jessica Honegger: Because I’m sure people are asking that all the time.

Jessica Turner: All the time. And they didn’t wanna know how I was working. They didn’t really wanna know how I was parenting. They wanted to know how was finding time to do the fun things like blogging and traveling and crafting. And the answer was the fringe hours. Those pockets of time that often go underused or wasted all together. I was doing those things in those pockets of time that I was really harnessing. And so, I honestly felt just not to over spiritualize it, but it was like an act of obedience to write a book because I did not want to write a book. It is not fun to me to write that many words. I am somebody who…it requires a lot.

“It was like an act of obedience to write a book because I did not want to write a book. It is not fun to me to write that many words. I am somebody who…it requires a lot.” Jessica Turner on writing The Fringe Hours

And I love blog writing. I love telling people about deals that I find and how to do fun craft projects, but 50,000 words was very daunting. And so, I set out and got with an agent and had a bunch of publishers interested in me as an author and in the concept. And so I ended up signing a two-book deal, which the reason why I did that wasn’t because I wanted to write two books. But it was because when you sign a multi-book deal, your publisher is often more invested in you because they’re gonna be with you for a long time. And so I didn’t even know what the next book would be. And after much back and forth and prayer and just trying to figure out what the heck do I know, I landed on writing something for working moms, which ended up being Stretched Too Thin. And I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it came out, and how the message was set in.

Jessica Honegger: It was the perfect book for you.

Jessica Turner: Yeah, thanks.

Jessica Honegger: It’s the perfect book for you to write. Now, tell me this because I’ve…oh, this is just my strategy brain coming through. Were you…and I know that success matters to you and you don’t just…I mean, you do things well. Like, when you do them, it’s like not just for the fun of it, it’s also for the outcome, right? So when you wrote this, were you a little concerned that it was gonna be too narrow? I mean, I know you’ve done all the research to see how many women are actually working moms, but I’m imagining that a lot of your blog or audience is a little bit more crafting, staying at home, or maybe I’m being completely presumptuous. But tell me a little bit about that process from a strategic standpoint.

Jessica Turner: Certainly, there is a percentage of my audience who is a stay-at-home mom. But after 10 years of writing from the perspective of being a working mom, I think that’s something that my audience really appreciates and understands. And so, you know, they say that the riches are in the niches and what that means really is that the more you drill down, the actually better it is. And so, rather than being really broad with the idea of Stretched Too Thin, I decided to lean into that because what I really know is my experience of being a mother from the vantage point of working.

And so, I just surveyed 2000 working moms. I interviewed dozens of working moms. And just said, "You know what? We’re gonna own this all the way. We’re gonna put "working mom" in the title and this is going to be something for that particular group of audience," which with 70% of moms being working moms in some capacity, I felt like it was pretty safe. It’s not like I was going for 10% of the moms in the world.

 

Managing Mom Guilt

Jessica Honegger: Well, and I just love that you did lean into it because it makes the message so hearty and strong and just…I don’t know why I’m talking in food terms. I’m like delicious and I just wanna metabolize the entire message, but that’s like how I’m thinking about it. Like, it really is and it’s just got such great legs. OK, let’s talk…I wanted you to share this story from your book because it really did move me. Tell me about the time when…is it Adeline or Adeline?

Jessica Turner: Adeline.

Jessica Honegger: Adeline, when she drew her picture from my four memories from the year. Just take us back to that moment.

Jessica Turner: Sure. So Adeline is in second grade now. And this happened at the end of her kindergarten year. She brought home one of those packets that are super common in kindergarten where, you know, she drew her school and she drew her teacher and she drew her friends. And on one of the pages it said, "What are my four favorite memories from the year?" And she drew her teacher and she drew a field trip and she drew some friends. And then the fourth box was a picture of her and somebody else. And across the top it said "Daddy." And when I was looking at that packet, I immediately started bawling. Right there, sitting on the couch, right when she gave it to me like I couldn’t even hold it in.

And my husband said, "Why are you crying?" And I said, "Because she is gonna remember you at school and me in an office." My husband works from home and so he has a lot of flexibility. And in that moment, I just felt resentful and guilty that I wasn’t doing it right, that she wasn’t gonna remember me, which could not be further from the truth. But in that moment, I needed Matthew to speak into my life and say, "You are a great mom. Our kids are not gonna grow up and think that you weren’t present. Yes, they will remember you in an office, but they will also remember you there. And one drawing doesn’t encapsulate a childhood. It doesn’t say anything about who you are as a mom."

And my little girl was there and she was like, "I’m so sorry. I forgot when you were there for Valentine’s," you know, like she’s racking her brain when, you know, you had just been at school more recently and she’s 5 and so she drew what she knew in that moment. Those four things were really great to her. But that, to me, felt like such a great story that every mom can relate to, of a moment when you wonder, "Am I doing this right?" And so, for me, it really hit home with being a mom who works far from my kids’ school and not being able to be present for a lot of those school events.

Jessica Honegger: Well, I know you’ve had a million moments since then where you are caught in your feelings. And you even talk about that in your book, just like becoming aware as sort of that first step. So what do you tell us to do? I mean, I imagine you’ve might have had that moment even in the last couple months because you just launched a book, which is a really crazy time to have launched a book and then you still have your fulltime gig and parenting. So, in those moments where you kind of feel, I don’t know, if it’s the shame gremlin or it’s more just if it’s the actual guilt.

You know, I think that, that’s sort of this nuance that I’ve had to work through because, to me, guilt can actually be constructive. It’s like, "Jessica, get off your phone. Like, you’re at home, you don’t actually need to be working anymore." Or like, "Jessica, you do need to make that conference. Like that’s something important." You know what I mean? But then the shame is more of like, "I’m a terrible person," which is kind of you were going in that moment where you’re just like, "I’m a terrible mom," you know, because she didn’t draw this picture. So what do you do in that situation to identify and then, you know, dispel that?

Jessica Turner: So I think in a moment like that, it really is acknowledging the feeling that you’re having and then speaking truth to yourself or having someone speak into your life. I think you’re right. I think there are two types of guilt. I think there’s the guilt that has no merit and it’s just frankly untrue and is a lie that we are telling ourselves. And then I think there is the guilt that can point us to making a change in our life, you know? So, for me, since that time, I have worked out an agreement with my office that I work from home one day a week. And working from home one day a week allows me to be more present with my kids because I start working the second they walk out the door and then my day is done the second day walk in the door.

“I think you’re right. I think there are two types of guilt. I think there’s the guilt that has no merit and it’s just frankly untrue and is a lie that we are telling ourselves. And then I think there is the guilt that can point us to making a change in our life.” Jessica Turner

There’s no travel time for me. I’m able to be really productive during that time. But I’m also able to take a lunch break at their school and I’m able to, you know, have lunch with them and have more of those moments on a regular basis. So guilt can sometimes be a motivator for a change. And so I think that we need to pay attention when we’re feeling guilty. "What is this saying to me? Where’s it coming from? And is this something that I need to listen to? Or is this something that is an untruth and I need to stop and tell myself what is actually true and see myself for who I actually am?"

Jessica Honegger: So I wanted to talk a little bit…it sounds like your husband is obviously a true speaker to you, which is amazing and awesome. But y’all are obviously living kind of nontraditional roles. My husband actually quit his job a little over a year ago. He, you know, Noonday couldn’t pay me a salary for the first few years, but then it was able to pay me a salary. And then we’re in this double-income family, but Joe’s working a job that he didn’t really just love. And we’re not trying to like store up the masses. I mean, I travel so much internationally. And then the kids were at a place where they were like older elementary school and then middle school. And our nanny of years went off and had a baby.

So we were kind of at this place, we’re like, "Do we get another nanny? I mean, we don’t need what we needed when they were super little." And then my husband didn’t like his job. So it was this moment of like, "Babe, just quit, just quit." So he’s actually remodeling our house because that’s his background is construction and that’s what he loves. So he’s not just full-time daddying it up, but he really is…he’s taken on grocery shopping, cooking, running the schedules, keeping up with the birthday parties. Like, we really have kind of exchanged or become a lot more…it’s definitely more of a partnership in our parenting. How have you guys kind of worked that out?

Jessica Turner: Yeah, so Matthew works from home. And he does all the drop off and pick up because our kids’ school is just up the road from our house and my commute is anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes. So, like your family, he’s the one doing the majority of the sports, the cooking every night, he does during the week, he’ll do the grocery shopping or, you know, get that shipped, delivered, that sort of thing in addition to his writing. And then honestly, when he travels, because he works with World Vision doing some consulting and influencer work. And so he’ll travel out of the country once or twice a year. And when that happens, I literally cannot survive.

And I have to fly my mom and/or, you know, call in reinforcements because I can’t do everything that I do without him. Whereas when I go out of town, they’re just fine. So I definitely can see that. But that is something that he has always had that flexibility. And so he’s arranged his writing career around, you know, summers, when the kids were gonna be home more and done those types of things so that he could be the more flexible one, since I’m the one with the traditional job and having to leave the house every day.

Jessica Honegger: But you’ve also taken on traveling as a speaker too. I mean, do you plan your whole year out pretty far in advance?

Jessica Turner: We really don’t. You know, the speaking is my favorite thing that I do, Jess. Like, if I could do one thing, if I had to pick the one thing I would do, it would be go and speak at events around the country.

Jessica Honegger: That’s amazing.

Jessica Turner: I absolutely love it.

Jessica Honegger: What do you think it is? Like what is it that you love about it?

Jessica Turner: Well, you know, I started doing theatre when I was 9 and I was actually a double major in college. So I majored in journalism and theater. And then I left that degree kind of when I had just a few credit hours left. I didn’t wanna do lighting and those types of things. I wanted to take more strategy classes. And so I’ve just always been somebody who loved being on stage. I think it’s a place where I feel really comfortable. And I love seeing the light bulbs happen all over the room when people hear a story and they can apply it to their own lives, and then get to have that face time.

I’m sure you’ve experienced that as well with that face time with people after a moment of getting to talk to them. It was just so rewarding. So, you know, the speaking engagements that we just work it out where I take days off of work and I’ve been fortunate that a lot of them have fallen on weekends. And so, then I’m just gone, you know, one or two weekends a month, but it is just my greatest joy and fills me up unlike anything else. And so, that’s something that anytime that opportunity comes, we always do our best to say "yes" because it is so, so fulfilling. Yeah.

 

Getting Started and Keeping Going

Jessica Honegger: It’s so cool. OK, tell me a little bit about…do you call this a side gig? I mean, it’s just crazy because you’re not… I mean, well, you’ve written two books, you’ve got your blog, you’re speaking, I mean that…it feels almost like a fulltime gig. And so I wanna hear a little bit. I feel like, you know, we’re doing a series on starting. And a lot of the reasons that some woman gave me that they haven’t started to do that thing is because they feel like, "Well, I have young kids and I can’t." And you’ve obviously overcome that. So walk us through a little bit of that obstacle? Or what would you tell a woman who would say that to you?

Jessica Turner: I think you can, right? Like I think that anything that matters to you, you can do. If something is important to you, you’re gonna make time to do it. So in my case, absolutely, it is a side gig because I am not putting 40 hours into it, right? Like, on an average week, I’m putting somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 hours into these other things. Now, that certainly changes if I’m traveling, right? Obviously, that’s a lot more hours. But generally speaking, I’m putting 10 to 15 hours into these different projects. And so, it is a side gig. And so I’ve had to become really comfortable with the fact that that is what it is. I cannot compare myself to a lifestyle blogger even if she has the same size platform is me because she is doing it 40, 50 hours, right? So I can’t look at the opportunities she’s doing. I can’t look at how many emails she’s sending.

Or how many times she’s Instagraming or Tweeting, or Pinning or whatever because I don’t have that same kind of capacity. So I think it’s really important to stay in your lane and not get caught in the trap of comparison, which only steals joy. Look at what you can do, what you’re passionate about, what you have the time and capacity to do and focus on doing that. Like, I wrote my book at 5:00 in the morning and on mornings on the weekends. That’s it. That is how I got that book done at 500 and 1,000 and 2,000 words at a time, and eventually I have 50,000 words. And so, I think if you really want something, you can do it. You just need to maybe block the time. If that is something that’s a struggle for you and say, "This is time that I’m giving to this project, or this opportunity. And I’m going to steward it well." And that is what I’ve done and that’s how I’ve built this entire second career.

“It’s really important to stay in your lane and not get caught in the trap of comparison, which only steals joy. Look at what you can do, what you’re passionate about, what you have the time and capacity to do and focus on doing that.” Jessica Turner

Jessica Honegger: Just I love that. It’s such a beautiful example. I mean, I just see your life not just as being, you know, living the working mom life so well. But also saying, "You know what? I’m gonna go after this desire of my heart. Like, I’m not just going to be fulfilled in my J-O-B. But I’m also going to give myself permission to lean into this other talents and gifts that I have and grow this community that I have." And I think that gives women a lot of permission. It makes me want to do a little like, "and, you can become a Noonday Ambassador too if you also have a fulltime job."

Jessica Turner: Totally.

Jessica Honegger: Because I think a lot of women are like, "Oh, my gosh, I have this full-time job. And I’m working and I’ve got kids,” but like the whole Noonday Ambassador part is such a fulfilling place in a lot of women’s lives," which is I think why we do have quite a few moms who do work full time and also are Noonday ambassadors. So, as you’ve honestly leaned into sort of the peaks and the valleys of being a working mom, tell me how has your audience responded?

Jessica Turner: They have been tremendous. It has been overwhelming how many emails and DMs I have received from women who have said, "Thank you. For the first time, I feel not alone." And what a gift that is. Because I think it is challenging because we don’t see other women talking about the mess. You know, there’s so many books out there that lead with, you know, "You can have this," right? Like my publisher would have probably loved if I had some sort of title that involved the word "thrive," which is in the subtitle, "How working moms can lose the guilt, work smarter, and thrive," right? Like, it goes against the grain to have a book title, Stretched Too Thin, which is the problem. But I think women have felt really seen in that title. You know, and that they’ve…

Jessica Honegger: Oh, my gosh, so relatable.

Jessica Turner: Totally relatable, right? And then every single chapter deals with a pain point that we have as working moms. From feeling like we’re stretched too thin in our marriages, to feeling like we’re not good moms, to feeling like we have no boundaries at work, or don’t know how to put those in place, to never making time for ourselves, right? So they can just see themselves in all the pages and of practical takeaway. And so, it’s been just an incredibly humbling experience for women to say, "Thank you so much. Not only did I see myself in these pages, but I had some practical takeaway that I’ve actually used and applied and it’s made a difference in my own life and in the lives of my kids and at work and in my marriage." It’s been unbelievable.

Jessica Honegger: I love that. That’s awesome. So, speaking to, you know, every chapter does identify a problem. I think we often teach what we need to learn. Out of all, everything that you wrote in the book, what was sort of that most painful, like, "OK, I’m writing this not because I’m perfect at it, but because I actually need to be able to go back and read this myself?"

 

Adapting and Collaborating to Make It Work

Jessica Turner: Oh, goodness. And without question, the home management chapter is the chapter that is…I am not the expert there. Four to five working moms said that that was an area that they struggled with. I’m really good at systems. You know, my house runs on Amazon Prime and Growth Collaborative and target.com, but everything else is a hot mess all of the time. My house is never clean. It is the exact opposite of a home blogger. Like, it is chaos I feel like all the time. So…

Jessica Honegger: And Matthew is obviously not like a nice and tidy guy…

Jessica Turner: No.

Jessica Honegger: …because my husband is super tidy.

Jessica Turner: Oh my goodness.

Jessica Honegger: Like, he is so tidy and he doesn’t put that on me. He just keeps things tidy.

Jessica Turner: Yeah, I wish. No, we both are creatives who just don’t care. I mean, we care. Like we don’t wanna live in squalor, but, you know, like if there’s piles and boxes, like oh my gosh.

Jessica Honegger: But a little bit of mouse poop every now and then… Tell that story.

Jessica Turner: Yes, there’s this cool…totally. We have a bonus room that, at the time, was a craft room for me over our garage. And so there was a door leading to the garage. And I had not been up there in months because I was writing the book and doing all the things and I went up there and I found mouse poop. And I about lost it. I was like, "OK, we have taken this to another level. Like, not only is it a hot mess up here, but there’s apparently a mouse or two living up here." And I promptly shut the door, called Matthew probably crying about there being mouse poop.

And, you know, he grew up on a lot of acreage and was very like comfortable with, "Oh, goodness, it’s just a mouse, no big deal," whereas I was like losing my ever-loving mind. Like this was unacceptable. And so that to me was, "OK, it is time to really, you know, get things in order here." And honestly, what we needed to do was the garage door. It was…the handle was loose. And so when you would shut the door going into the main part of the house, the door would pop open. And we didn’t realize that. And that’s how the mice were getting in. So we’ve also fixed our garage door handle, so no more mice. And it’s a lot neater up there.

Jessica Honegger: That’s amazing. So tell us about some of your home care tips being that that’s like kind of weak point for you because do you have a housekeeper?

Jessica Turner: So we have someone who comes in twice a month, which honestly, is just enough to bring us up to normal. You know, we’ve gotta clean for the cleaning ladies. It’s a crew of four ladies who come in and in like two hours, the house is sparkling. They, you know, scrub the toilets and the tubs and change the sheets and do all the vacuuming and dusting and that sort of thing. And so that kind of helps us not get things too bad, right? So that’s helpful. I would love to have somebody come in to help me with laundry on a weekly basis and just some general maintenance. And I’ve tried hiring that person, but I’ve not been able to find the perfect person for us.

You know, with Matthew working from home, that’s a little tricky and, yeah, just haven’t found the right person. But I think that is kind of like the next step where I feel like, again, how can I use the resources that I have in sort of the time that I have well? And I feel like I spent a lot of time doing laundry. But I do have other systems in place. Like we never run out of food because we use Shipt, which is a grocery delivery service. We use like Amazon Prime Pantry for things like juice boxes and Cheerios. And we use Growth Collaborative for like soaps and paper products and that type of thing.

And so, that really helps because mental load, which is something I talked about in the book, which is that invisible job of noticing and remembering, I’m not having to do that for a lot of the basics. You know, I’m still noticing like, "Oh, we need light bulbs." "Oh, we need to get flu shots." "Oh, we need to, you know, get new snow pants for the kids," or whatever it is. But a lot of that regular stuff, we don’t ever run out so I’m not having to worry about that. So that is just helpful.

Jessica Honegger: Which that really helps, though.

Jessica Turner: Absolutely, absolutely.

Jessica Honegger: Yeah, I love when you talk about mental load. Gretchen Rubin talks about habits in her book Better Than Before, and just how when we can put these things on autopilot and get these habits in place, then we aren’t spending that mental load. So I feel like it’s a similar concept. I mean, my little guy this morning is like… It just suddenly dropped like 40 degrees in Austin. I mean, it went from like summer to winter in a day.

Jessica Turner: That’s how it is here too.

Jessica Honegger: And my kids are like, "We don’t have pants to wear to school." Like one of my kids like just grew exponentially over the summer. So I’m literally like, "Oh my gosh, like I’ve gotta like go to Old Navy today to get like the uniform pants and figure that out and add that in." And it’s just crazy. Like, the actual cleaning out of closets and keeping up with the size changes of our kids, that’s like a fulltime job.

Jessica Turner: It is so true. It totally is. And I feel like our husbands do not appreciate it. Like Matthew was like, "Why do you spend so much money at Carter’s?" I’m like, "I spend so much money at Carter’s because our children are constantly growing." Like it is…

 

Encountering and Overcoming Oppositional Norms

Jessica Honegger: They are growing. And they need actual clothes to wear. OK, I wanted to touch a little bit on societal norms. And I asked that. I don’t know, your tone in your voice is a little bit like…I mean, maybe it’s because of how you grew up. But it doesn’t seem like you’ve struggled too much with being in a little bit of a outside of the norm. But then also you’ve done the research and maybe you’re like it’s actually I’m not outside of the norm.

But, you know, I know where you live in Nashville and so I’m assuming that you’re living a little bit of a unique lifestyle. And I’m wondering what’s been your journey as you’ve kind of put voice to doing these nontraditional things, having a fulltime job and a side gig and mommying it, having a husband who’s in a nontraditional role. Has there been sort of a braving the wilderness path for you? Or has it been kind of it’s felt natural and easy to you?

Jessica Turner: I think my community at my day job has really helped that feel like it’s less unusual. Certainly, in my sphere of influence of other blogger friends and author friends, I am an anomaly. And I recognize that and I just say that’s what I am. I feel uniquely qualified for the message that I have because of the place that I’m in, with having a corporate job and a side hustle. So I think that has made me more relatable to the audiences that I speak to, to the readers of my books and so I’m comfortable with that. There certainly have been seasons and days where I have felt lonely and not seen or not remembered because I was not in the same experience as some friends, particularly locally, you know, where it’s really easy for them to meet for a long lunch or, you know, to do brunch or something like that where I don’t have that opportunity. And so, there have been certainly seasons of feeling lonely.

But I think that is probably normal for more of us than we hear about because I think like a lot of the topics in the book, it’s just something we don’t talk about. And I know that friendship is something that is really important to a lot of women. But a lot of women feel like they don’t have time for friends or they don’t know how to cultivate those relationships well because they feel stretched too thin.

“Friendship is something that is really important to a lot of women. But a lot of women feel like they don’t have time for friends or they don’t know how to cultivate those relationships well because they feel stretched too thin.” Jessica Turner

And so that’s something that I’m cognizant of and really fight for is time with friends, whether that’s scheduling lunches on my lunch break where friends will come to my area, you know, so that I can have as much of that full hour, you know, as possible to spend with them. Or it’s being intentional about saying, "Hey, this weekend, I’m open. Could we get together for coffee or, you know, get our families together," that sort of thing. But that’s something that I’ve had to be really proactive in. And I haven’t found a lot of other people to maybe be as proactive in that. And I think it’s a capacity thing for women.

Jessica Honegger: That’s interesting because you and I are very similar in that regard. I just actually recorded another podcast before this where I was being interviewed and someone said, you know, "Pull the curtain back a little bit, what don’t we see about you?" And I said I’m a very intentional friend. I really like friendships matter to me. And so, when I’m home…and that’s been something that’s hard for me because, you know, and I know you talk about this in your book is the summertime. You know, suddenly, it seems like everyone can meet at the pool at summertime, but you. And I do feel like, you know, we talk about the FOMO from missing out because of social media.

But I feel like I actually, you know, I do miss out. I mean, that’s the reality is we are missing out on what our other friends might be doing. You know, and sometimes that can feel lonely. And so, you just counteract that by being vulnerable and honest. Like, do you have like one friend in Nashville that you call up and you’re like, "You know what? I am feeling a little lonely and isolated? Can you come meet me for lunch?" Is that how you address it?

“The reality is we [working moms] are missing out on what our other friends might be doing. You know, and sometimes that can feel lonely. And so, you just counteract that by being vulnerable and honest.” Jessica Honegger

Jessica Turner: You know, usually, because I’m feeling lonely and isolated, often is the result of online friends, honestly. And so…

Jessica Honegger: Really? OK.

Jessica Turner: It is. I think because I’m seeing what others are doing and I’m feeling like the odd man out with the corporate job. So there are a few online friends who have really trust with that, that because they can understand both spaces like they’ve either had traditional jobs or, you know, they know me really well that I can reach out to them and say, "Hey, this is something I’m releasing struggling with," and be able to be really vulnerable with them. And I tell ya, more often than not, they have or are also feeling that same way.

Jessica Honegger: Absolutely.

Jessica Turner: And so, you know, misery loves company. So I know those are safe people to go to.

Jessica Honegger: Well, yeah, it’s so important to be vulnerable. And, you know, it frees people up to be vulnerable as well.

Jessica Turner: Absolutely.

Jessica Honegger: So tell me, this is the Going Scare Podcast. So I wanna know, how are you going scared right now?

Jessica Turner: You know, with the New Year on the horizon and having a new book out, I have a lot of big dreams and goals for the book this next year. And for my side hustle, what it’s going to look like in 2019 and the 13th year of blogging, what am I gonna do the same? What am I gonna do different? And so I feel like I’m just going scared a little bit in leaning into some new things. I have really been investing in my speaking and investing in training and a coach and those types of things, and been really excited about all the growth that has already happened, but expectant for what’s to come. And so, I feel a little bit like I’m going scared into this leap of the next phase for this online writing business that I’ve developed.

And so I think the New Year is kind of a good time for evaluating all of that. But I really started with the book coming out of, "OK, what is this gonna look like? How is this changing my message? How am I staying the same and staying true to who I am and what I’m passionate about?" And thinking about the contracts that I, you know, have signed with brands, the things I’ve said no to, and really making sure that I’m serving my community well, but also serving my dreams really well. And so, I’d say that feels a bit scary because it is new and exciting and hopeful. And there’s a lot of hard work that has already gone into it and will continue to go into it. And so that feels a little a little bit like I’m going scared there.

Jessica Honegger: What are some the dreams that you do have for the book in 2019?

Jessica Turner: So, I’m really excited about how many women have told me that they’re reading it together in groups because I think that’s really powerful. I’ve heard women say that they’ve bought the book for their entire team. I’ve heard women say that they’re buying it for baby showers and they’re, you know, getting together with neighbors and friends. And so, I’m really excited to give women resources for reading the book as a group and kind of leaning into hearing what they’re saying collectively and being able to serve them really well in that capacity.

 

Knowing When It’s Time for Self-Care

Jessica Honegger: So I always know when I am at my stretched-too-thin moment, it’s when I go to grab a coffee and I start longingly looking at the barista thinking, "If only I had her job. Like, if I had her job, I could have fun. I could just serve people coffee all day." And then I’m like, "Wait a minute, Jessica, like it’s time to do a timeout. It’s time to do a timeout." So that’s what it looks like when I am feeling stretched too thin. What is your warning sign when you’re like, "OK, time for some self-care?"

Jessica Turner: Two things. One, if I’m being ugly to my family, like if I just have a short tone, if I’m yelling at my kids a lot, that is a sign that I’m working too much and I’m stretched too thin. The other sign is if I’m not reading a lot. So I’m a huge reader. I read a ton of fiction. I actually have an Instagram called Book Snobbery, where I just talk about books on there. And if I am not reading, it is a red flag to me that I have things out of whack. And so, it is time to pick up a book if I am feeling like I have not read very much lately.

“If I am not reading, it is a red flag to me that I have things out of whack. And so, it is time to pick up a book if I am feeling like I have not read very much lately.” Jessica Turner

Jessica Honegger: I think that’s so important to kind of have those red flags that when you see them, you’re like, "OK, it’s time to step back and understand what got me here, what can get me out of this place." And I just…I feel like your book is such an invitation to working moms to say, "We don’t have to be stretched too thin. Like, we can thrive, like there is a way." You know, being a working mom doesn’t equate to frazzled and exhausted and stretched too thin. It can equate to thriving. And I just can’t wait for all of the working moms out there to read your book. So thank you so much for coming on today.

Jessica Turner: Oh, it was my great pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. And I just esteem you and the work that you do, and the encouragement that you’ve been to me personally and professionally. And I think that folks are really lucky to have women like you to look up to who are doing…working motherhood really well. So, I am grateful for you.

Jessica Honegger: I hope that you have walked away with some hacks from today’s conversation. I love when a woman comes up to me and tells me that some sort of conversation I’ve had, whether it’s been on a podcast, or in a talk that I’ve given, or even my book, Imperfect Courage, when a woman says to me, “You have given me permission to take care of myself.” And as you go into 2019, I want you to really be thinking about that. Where is the biggest value of your time, where can you make the most impact, and where are some things that you might need to delegate out? Maybe it’s time to hire a housekeeper. Maybe it’s time to talk with your partner about how you guys can partner together even better and more effectively.

Whatever it might be I think Jessica’s book can really help you with that roadmap leading into 2019. So, go check Jessica Turner out. You can follow her on her blog, themomcreative.com, also on Instagram @jessicaturner. And before we go, don’t forget, go check out Imperfect Courageif you haven’t bought it yet.

And make sure to leave a review for this podcast. Y’all, it helps us curate content, it helps other people find us on iTunes… we love getting to pour this content out for you. We create this podcast just to serve you and to help create a life you are living more courageously, so let me know what you’re learning. Our wonderful music for today’s show is by my good friend, Ellie Holcomb. Going Scared is produced by Eddie Kaufholz. And I’m Jessica Honegger. Until next time, let’s take each other by the hand and keep going scared.