What I’ve Learned: Jill Salzman, Entrepreneur

If you live in Chicago and you know what a ‘Mompreneur’ is, you’ve probably heard of Jill Salzman.  She runs a networking group for mom entrepreneurs that now is now in 46 cities. She’s passionate about her family and helping women run better businesses.

Tell us about your kids!

I have two girls who are 5 and 7 going on 25 and 36. I’m ridiculously private about them — there are no pix of them on the Internet yet — but I can tell you that they both love a good dance party and think that mac & cheese is a delicacy.

What are some of your favorite things about your kids?

Although I could say all of the vague things we parents often relay about our kids — pride in their curiosity about the world, happy that they have good table manners, etc — my favorite thing about them in this stage is how much they take pride in the fact that Mom works. I feared for years that they would hold a grudge, as we all fear with parental guilt about working. But it turns out, what they see is what they love, and a happy working mom has made them very happy and very understanding of all the busy-ness about the business.Jill Salzman - SmartMom

Who do you look up to for parenting advice?
The collective of mom members of The Founding Moms. Everyone does it differently and to pull from the group over 1 person really helps shape how I parent. If the majority of parents don’t introduce their kids to cell phones until they are 8 or 10 or 12, I’ll take that into an account and more likely than not, go with the majority on a lot of guidance.

How would you describe what you do? What is Founding Moms?

I am a community leader and champion of mom entrepreneurs. The Founding Moms is a collective of offline meetups and online resources for mom entrepreneurs around the globe. We help these women build better businesses. We’re now in 46 cities around the world and just about to launch our new online platform, The Founding Moms Community which could not be more exciting!Jill Salzman - SmartMom

How do you balance work and family?

I don’t. I’m not looking to balance it. Some days are more full of family stuff. Some days are more work-filled. I don’t mind the lopsided weeks that I have and the challenge of attending to it all is actually what I love about being a working parent.

Where do you live and what do you like about it? Would you ever want to live anywhere else?

I’m in Oak Park, IL, and I love it. It’s a little utopia for families in that the community is wildly supportive of working parents, people watch each other’s kids all the time, and it’s a beautiful place to be. The only place that I’d live is the city of Chicago itself, a mere 5 miles away.

Jill Salzman - SmartMom
What does an ideal day look like for you?

Ha! An ideal day? Sleeping all day. But beyond that fantasy, it would be ideal every day if I could spend some time with the kids, some time in face-to-face meetings, some time writing, and the rest of it eating delicious food in fancy restaurants while receiving massages on an airplane taking me to Tahiti.

What were some of the biggest questions you had or challenges you faced as a first time mom?

The biggest one of all: How is a woman supposed to get any work done with a baby around? Won’t people judge me? Won’t it be too demanding (the baby, that is) to focus on work stuff? What about even trying to make a phone call with a screaming baby in the background? There were so many questions at the beginning. Trial and error became my best friend.Jill Salzman - SmartMom

How did becoming a mom change who you are?

In a million ways. I’m more organized now. My priorities in the right order. I value my time working more, and my time with family more. It also gave me the right tools for running a small business — turns out it’s very much like raising a baby.

What are you favorite baby products you’ve discovered since becoming a parent?

My favorite product of all time has been the Hooter Hider. Best invention for nursing mamas! As they’ve grown older I love the array of online tools that are available to moms to introduce their kids to anything and everything — if you want a subscription box of any kind, it will arrive to your door with the stuff you need. Brilliant.

What was the most surprising or unexpected thing about becoming a mom?

That someone would call me “Mom.” That’s what my Mom’s name is, right?

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About Mary @ SmartMom

Mary is the Community Manager of SmartMom. She is a new mom to a bubbly little boy who has fire red hair and loves to smile. She loves to walk her dog, Bob, and watch Chicago sports with her husband. Go Cubs Go!