Role Mommy: What did you do before you became a mom?
Elina: Before becoming a mom, I was working as an author/web consultant/travel writer. As you can imagine, I had a great time travelling the world and had a lot of built in variety in my life that I thrived on. I wrote for many different magazines and traveled to amazing places. My beat was luxury travel, so I visited incredible hotels all over Italy, France, the Caribbean and Mexico and really got used to being on the go.
I am also the author of over 20 books. In fact, right before having my son Julian (19 months old now), I had written a book called “Kiss and Run: The Single Girl’s Guide to Overcoming Her Fear of Commitment” so I was very nervous about how marriage and having children would impact my lifestyle. Looking back, I’m glad I waited until my 30s for marriage/baby since I really appreciated travelling and got a lot out of my system by savoring my independence and really thinking seriously about what commitment means to me.
Role Mommy: When did you decide to reinvent your life?
Elina: I guess it all happened organically after the completion of my book. I got married to my husband and got pregnant soon after. During that time, I was able to maintain my role as an editor-in-chief of a lifestyle magazine by working at home, but it was getting harder and harder to work after Julian was born. I put out several issues of the magazine through the first 6 colicky months of his life, but soon found myself running on empty and had to leave my position. I had always worked all of my life, so it was very hard to think about not having a creative outlet, not writing and always being at home. The first year of my son’s life was very hard emotionally and psychologically, but I realize now I was gradually shifting into a new identity as a mother and was about to embark on a new, exciting and very challenging path as an entrepreneur.
Role Mommy: How have your children influenced your career path? How many do you have?
Elina: My son Julian is my only child and has influenced me a great deal. During the time I wasn’t working and taking care of him, I spent a significant portion of my time online looking for baby products, toys and all kids of gear for him and was finding myself very overwhelmed by the amount of information. With the recession looming, money was an issue and I wanted to make sure that what I bought would last a long time or could be repurposed in some way. I literally spent about 3 hours deciding which sleep sack to purchase. So after all the research, I realized I really had a unique skill picking out unique and value-minded products. And that’s when I came up with the idea for my business. So you can say my son is the entire inspiration behind it.
Role Mommy: What’s your favorite “Time Out” tip for moms (taking time for yourself)
Elina: I don’t have childcare outside my mom who is very involved and is an amazing help to me while I run my business, but I really try to find some “me” time whenever I can. Unfortunately, “me time” has become “grow the business” time and I find myself split between wanting to spend time with my son and growing anxious when I can’t work on the business. Sometimes it feels like I am only 50 percent anywhere and it’s very hard since you feel like you’re not functioning well in any area of life because of all the demands.
Recently, I am trying something new. Instead of being at home while my mom watches my son and not getting much done since he always finds me even when I hide in the basement to work, I have been popping out to the coffee shop to get work done and something even more radical is taking a day where I stay over at my mom’s place in the city just to plow through work while my mom stays at my place at my home in Westchester. I know most moms don’t have this opportunity and I sometimes feel guilty to be away for a night, but I’m hoping that this uninterrupted alone time will give me the focus to stay on track and be a better mom and an entrepreneur. Other than that, my only indulgences are a warm bath after he falls asleep and reality TV shows that I DVR’d the night before.
Role Mommy: What does your website offer moms or kids?
Elina: My website, Mamaista.com, offers moms a clutter-free and stylish space to receive information without getting overwhelmed. I co-founded the business with my sister, Leah Furman, and we offer a short daily email with one amazing product that is usually innovative, stylish and make mom’s life easier in some way. I used my experience as the former editorial director of sites like WomansDay.com and Seventeen.com and all my years launching websites to create a stylish, breezy and chaos-free web space for moms.
Since we are not a blog or a traditional website, we stand apart since we deliver funny, pithy and important product information straight to mom’s inboxes Monday through Friday. All of our subscribers are extremely loyal and take our product recommendations very seriously. Our open rate and click through rate is amazing, since moms have all chosen to be on the list and actually look forward to getting their daily Mamaista newsletter. We have gotten incredible responses for our product choices and our writing, and it is this dedication to delivering the best writing and products that I hope sets us apart.
Role Mommy: What do you hope for your own kids?
Elina: I hope my son learns to follow his own path in life, and only conforms to a moderate degree to be able to actualize his unique goals. I hope he is a kind person who understands how to balance duty to himself and others without falling into the trap of extreme self-sacrifice, since I strongly believe one has to be happy and fulfilled before they could truly help others. I hope he has curiosity and a strong constitution and understands that hard work breeds its own luck and that he has plenty of the latter in his life. I hope what all Moms hope — that he is safe, healthy and happy.
Role Mommy: Who is your Role Mommy?
Elina: My role mommies are vast. A combination of my own Mom, my grandmother and all the moms I see today working so hard to launch their own businesses and still raise a family. All the moms I admire have had to balance hard work outside or inside the home with raising children. I thought I knew what hard work was, but I think it took having a child to really understand its true meaning.
Role Mommy: What did you do before you became a mom?