Every so often I meet someone that really impacts me. Erica Ehm, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Yummy Mummy Club, is one of those people. I had the good fortune of interviewing her a few weeks ago. Mid-chat, Erica and I had that moment of connection—we’re both moms, entrepreneurs, and have dedicated our careers to helping other moms.
In addition to all of that, Erica’s work is around something that every mother deals with on a daily basis … staying sane. Her messages resonate in a big, life-changing way.
What inspired you to start The Yummy Mummy Club?
I had a difficult time transitioning into motherhood from running a successful TV show. I was used to being in control of my life and doing things my way. Having a child was a cataclysmic shift for me. I felt like the ultimate bad mom and was crying all the time. When I started to venture out and speak to other moms, I realized that many were just like me; they felt shamed and too guilty to discuss their real feelings.
The job of being a Mother is hard … too hard.
In response to this realization that I wasn’t alone in my feelings, I launched a TV show called Yummy Mummy addressing the realities of being a modern mother. All the attention was on the children. How about the challenges of being a mother? When I stopped producing the TV show, I decided to provide an online place for moms to commiserate and share, i.e. bitch, about motherhood. I launched the Yummy Mummy Club website in 2007.
When you share your feelings, things get better. Plus, the site provides a forum to get survival tips from other moms. I now have an army of online mom friends around the world with the same mindset as me.
Family trip to Arizona
How old are your kids now?
My son Josh is 9 and my daughter Jessie is 5. They are such good kids. All of the sudden my son has grown up; I look at him and know he will be an incredible person. We are always worrying about who our kids will be when they grow older.
The Yummy Mummy Club is all about balance. What’s your secret to balancing motherhood, your career, and adult time?
You have it all wrong! There is no balance and life is a roller coaster. You will have lousy days, but then have magical moments that make those days bearable. Our lives are totally out of control. They are. You never know what will happen with your children. One minute everything seems organized and then your kid barfs on you and everything changes. It’s impossible to know what each day holds for you.
Those parents that try to control everything are frustrated because they can’t do it. Yummy Mummy helps women recognize and laugh about life that most of us have chosen and some of us have been handed. I think balance is a myth and a lie. People who are constantly searching for balance will be disappointed.
I say shoot low, then you always have great days to celebrate the little achievements.
Is that how you approach things?
Oh yeah, I’m achievement oriented. Although, my definition of what an achievement is has changed. Now, if my son doesn’t have a temper tantrum about homework, I celebrate. If I get to the grocery store before 11 o’clock at night, good job! 3 hours of uninterrupted work, fantastic. It’s all about accepting and acknowledging our new reality.
This all rings true.
I’ve always been obsessed about women’s work and outspoken about the fact that women are equal to and are as powerful as men. I’ve found that when women have kids, they focus on their children’s lives while forgetting about their own.
Yummy Mummy Club reminds women that there is more than identifying yourself as someone’s mom. Your kids will grow up one day and when they are 18 years old, who will you be? If you have your own project, your kids will see you creating and notice that you are proud of what you’re doing. That is what a Yummy Mummy is … the ability to do things for you, guilt free.
There is no reason not to go to your book club. Go, and in doing so show your kids that it is important to go to that book club, have friends, see friends and not cancel on them. We are role models for our kids. We need to walk the talk! If you want your child to be athletic, then do those things without him. Be busy because you want your kids to be like that too.
You—more than your husband—are the role model your kids will emulate. Think about it, your actions determine if your son believes a woman is there to serve and if your daughter believes that she too, will one day be the one that serves. We can’t do everything for our kids—this sends them the wrong message too. Part of teaching kids is having them do things on their own.
Everything we do is an opportunity to teach our kids how to be people. That is our job.
Discipline is not about getting your kids to do what you want them to do, it’s really about disciplining your child to do the right thing when you are not there. This is a challenge for some parents because they need to be needed.
Family trip to San Francisco
I see from Twitter and your blog that you get some time to travel. What is your favorite kind of vacation with your kids? How often do you go? Is travel a big part of your life?
Until this year travel was hellish for me. We had no enjoyment. It was NOT fun. To add to this, my daughter has severe fish and nut allergies, so I’m afraid to go places. I need to travel to places with a hospital where the staff understands English perfectly. This can be very tricky.
This year we graduated to real travel. We went to San Francisco for 10 days at Christmas and we had a superb time. Then, we all went to Arizona for a week and had the trip of a lifetime—hot air balloon rides, desert drives … it was spectacular. To my kids’ credit, during this trip they turned to me and said, “Wow, this is better than Disney!” They were appreciating the wonders of the real world. My daughter was virtually tantrum-free.
We are still learning ways to make travel easier. We have to explain to waiters in restaurants that our daughter will die if she even has even a trace of peanuts in her food. We make it very dramatic so they understand how serious this issue is for us.
One thing I’ll say about travel is that it is the best education for our kids. Ours are 10% smarter since we’ve started traveling with them.They now understand more about the world—all the different plants and animals they’ve read about suddenly have context for them.
If I was rich, I’d travel with them for a year around the world and they’d be the ultimate kids.
Let’s talk about the website. Is it where you thought it would be? What is the most popular part of the site?
The website is bigger and way more influential then I ever thought it would be. It was personal vision and I built it one page at a time.
There is now an army of women blogging for the site across the country—they all have a specific niche and are very passionate about their messaging. These women don’t get paid, but still continue to post blogs once a week. They’ve created a huge network like-minded people commenting on their pieces who are smart, talented, and also struggle with the day-to-day challenges of motherhood. There are all kinds of topics covered on the site. Contributors are mostly moms, but recently even dads are begging us to write.
What stands out on the website is that we are all about things that are authentic and true. I won’t have plastic surgery covered on Yummy Mummy because my personal mandate is to remind women that they are good enough, beautiful enough, skinny enough—they don’t need to succumb to the constant barrage of messages about changing yourself.
Yummy Mummy Club is a place to feel safe and good about you are. It’s a place where woman can go to feel empowered and rejuvenated.
Our numbers are consistently growing. People come back and then bring their friends.
You’ve reinvented yourself continually. What’s next for you?
Oh, I’m here for a long time. I’m on a mission to revolutionize motherhood and to remind women to take care of themselves. This is a big job. I’m really happy to continue what I’m doing and watch it grow. And hopefully the message will spread like wildfire. If I can be sitting next to Oprah in a year or two, I’ll be a happy Mummy. I know she’ll love what we’re doing. She’s not a parent, but she and I have very similar goals for women—be true to who you are.