Julie Kilcur | Another Mother Her Way

There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not positively affected by powerful women like Julie Kilcur. Ones who are changing the world and dropping compassion wherever they go, especially as they journey into motherhood. Julie shares her path from dream job to motherhood to fulfilling another career goal, and how she worked with her families schedule to get there. Julie’s commitment to good is inspiring and I especially love her goals of raising an equally as giving daughter. Plus, her writing is a gift to this community.

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HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?

At first, I was honestly quite overwhelmed by this new role, this new little bundle that relied on me for absolutely everything. It’s true how terrifying and wonderful it is all at the same time, to suddenly have your heart existing outside of your body in the form of a little person. But as she grew and I adjusted, she became my greatest inspiration. As a result, I became fiercely dedicated to being the very best version of myself, because she deserves it. I like who I am now much better than before I was a mom. I’m still learning and getting used to this new norm, sure, but I’ve found motherhood as an exercise in self-refinement. If we let it, it will nudge us towards who we are truly supposed to be.

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WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD?  WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?

Being a stay-at-home mom was never something I had considered until I was pregnant, and even then, I wasn’t sure which direction we’d go as a family once the baby came. But about halfway through my maternity leave, it became very clear that leaving my (dream) job as the Global Media Director for the world’s largest international anti-slavery organization was the next best step for our family.  

I stayed home with our daughter for six months and then we made the decision to bring on a part-time nanny so that I could pursue PR consulting for a few select clients. As well as pursue a dream I’d had for years of starting a print magazine focused on highlighting stories of inspirational people, impactful organizations and purpose-driven brands.

Making the choice to leave my job was harder than I thought it would be. I cried when I pulled into the parking lot on my last day because I really did love it so much - the work itself, the mission of the organization, my coworkers and friends. It wasn’t one of those places that was easy to leave, and the decision ripped me apart. But, in hindsight, I know that this is what I’m called to do in this season - to be home with my daughter for a good chunk of the day while working on my client work and magazine in the mornings. My days aren’t as cut and dry as they used to be, and everything is much more fluid and flexible, but I’m actually at my most creative without rigidity. I find a lot of joy, purpose, and inspiration in getting to spend the better part of my day with my favorite little human!

DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS.  WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?

Brave.  I feel like I’m working on this one every day, but it is important to me to set an example for my daughter of what a brave, courageous mama and woman looks like: someone who pursues their dreams, takes chances, and doesn’t live in fear, even when it comes to parenting littles.

Compassionate.  Our world can seem like a really scary place, especially if we’re relying on most mainstream media for our information. And while there’s definite truth to what we see, it isn’t the whole truth. There is also a lot of good in the world, many “hidden heroes.” I’m building a whole magazine and media company off this very premise. And one of my main focuses as a mother is to raise compassionate children who live a life in service to others, who realize that their individual happiness is not actually the point, and who consistently choose to befriend and support the person who is different, struggling, hurting, lonely, or in need in any way. By first showing compassion to my daughter, I hope I’m modeling for her what it looks like to have empathy, desire to see change, and to act accordingly.

Faithful.   This word means so many things to me. I strive to be faithful in my role as a mother, to my family and friends, to my passions and purpose, and to God. It also means being faithful in the little things, the seemingly trivial and monotonous tasks that make up the day of a mother with a young child. It means doing these things well and with love, even when they aren’t glamorous or exciting. I believe that a faithful home creates a strong foundation for children who will take from it the security, love and encouragement they need to go live the big lives they were meant to live.

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HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?

“Self-care” is such a buzzword these days when it comes to pregnancy and motherhood, and honestly, when I first had my daughter, I practiced it very little. But then my sister-in-law, who is a mother of seven, gave me some wise advice, “you can’t sacrifice yourself on the altar of motherhood.” Whoa, those words really hit hard. Motherhood, by its very nature, requires seemingly endless amounts of sacrifice, but I’m learning that without taking time to care for myself, I’m way too empty to pour into anyone else.

These days, I try to wake up an hour before my daughter gets up so I can take time to read, pray, journal and sit in silence with a cup of coffee. But if on certain mornings I feel like I need more sleep, that’s exactly what I do. I love going out to dinner or drinks with girlfriends, taking the baby out in the jogging stroller, and having movie and take-out nights in with my husband. Writing is the most cathartic thing for me, though. I notice a decided shift in my outlook on everything when I’m able to process through written words.

EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE? 

At first, I really did try to do everything myself. I literally thought I could start a small business while staying home with a baby. Really! Sigh.

But obviously, that’s impossible (and kudos to you if you’ve figured it out!). Now, our village includes our amazing part-time nanny who comes to our home four mornings a week. This is the time I’ll spend working upstairs in our loft that we’ve converted into my office. This gives me 16 hours every week set aside for my client work and creative endeavors. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is amazing what can be accomplished in four hours a day of concentrated, distraction-free work. When my work time is up, I’m pretty much tapped out anyway, so it’s working out perfectly.

My husband is a tremendous support, and even with a super demanding job, he’s a constant partner in raising our daughter. Our church definitely played a big role in meeting so many needs as new parents, from meals to moms groups, to encouragement for the journey. My close girlfriends, whether physically nearby or a text away, have been such a critical part to getting through this first year. And last, but definitely not least, we’re grateful to have all of our daughter’s grandparents and family within three or four hours driving distance and they’ve been hugely supportive, as well.

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WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER? 

Letting go of control, for sure. Trusting myself, as a mom and as a creative entrepreneur, and trusting the people around me who are supporting me in both of those roles. Also- though this isn’t a struggle that is new with motherhood - I’m always working on being more present. I’m a future-minded idealist, usually living several steps ahead in my mind of where I am in reality. This worked out fine when I was working and constantly mapping out my next steps in life with a certain assured confidence, but now that I’m a mom, I’m realizing that living in the present is a very precious thing, and so critical if we don’t want to wake up one day realizing we’ve missed our baby’s childhood.

Where I am right now is exactly where I’m supposed to be and, I’m learning, exactly where I want to be.  In fact, I began writing a blog of essays on motherhood, creative entrepreneurship and building home and named it “A Thing of the Present” for that exact reason. Because life, it seems, is a thing of the present.