Erika London | Another Mother Her Way
The first times I met Erika London we were in busy rooms with lots of babies, hers on her hip, and I was struck by her total ease and comfort in any situation. While mother to daughter Jada and 8-months-pregnant with her second, Erika owns that her days are busy and focused on family. But she is equally clear on keeping space for growing personally and within her career and community.
I personally love that that clarity preceded this stage - she built her company FB Hospitality Group with a mindset of setting her future self up for a flexible career path, even before becoming a mother. Read on for how (and why) she made that decision and how the actual day to day allows for her work in hospitality while still attending doctor’s appointments and play dates with her daughter.
HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
Having Jada gave me a new breath and perspective on life. After the initial adjustment and realization that I suddenly had a tiny human that I was responsible for day in and day out, I recalibrated. Prioritizing my time suddenly seemed a lot easier, not stressing over nonsense suddenly wasn’t as big of a challenge, and it made it significantly easier to see the big picture and what it’s all for in the first place.
Of course, becoming a mother created a whole new set of challenges that I’m still figuring out every day but being 8 months pregnant now, I can’t wait to see what happens after the birth of my second one!
WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
Motherhood was always something I knew would take a priority in my life, so I feel like I’ve been making choices to accommodate it before actually entering motherhood. I chose to follow a career that I knew would allow me the flexibility I wanted if I worked incredibly hard and put in the extra time long before even getting pregnant. At the end of the day, flexibility in a career you are passionate about means shifting and juggling your priorities and schedule to a non-traditional one to make it all fit.
For me, this means I’m able to create and work on my own schedule to accommodate things like different childcare arrangements, playdates, doctor’s appointments, and events . Then I make up for that time late into the night after my daughter goes to bed. It can definitely be exhausting, but for me, totally worth it.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Three words are tough. “Instagram vs. Reality?” I would love to be the mother I portray on Instagram 100% of the time but we’re only human. That being said, I can confidently say that I’m not perfect and never will be, but can accurately describe myself as an energetic, evolving, and strong mother.
I wake up every day (no matter how exhausted I may be) excited for the challenges I’ll be forced to face and strong enough to adapt and evolve with the ever-changing world around us, each of the stages my family is exploring for the first time together, and navigating the mood my toddler is in that very moment.
Understanding that so many things are not in my control and accepting that prepares me mentally to be flexible for any situation, regardless of how untimely or inconvenient it usually is.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I’m constantly talking about taking more ‘me time’ and spending more time relaxing alone. Most of the time that’s just not realistic, although the thought alone can be semi-therapeutic! I find it more valuable doing little things frequently vs. holding off until a 3-hour block magically clears up in my schedule for a spa day.
I generally indulge in activities like binge-watching Netflix shows, long baths after Jada’s bedtime, sneaking in weekly manicures, and not limiting how many Oreos I should eat in one sitting.
EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
My village is incredible and I rely on every part of it to make my life work day-to-day. Besides my incredibly supportive and present husband Matt, I have my amazing mom who comes to the city to watch my daughter a couple days a week, Bright Horizons daycare which sends me pictures all day long for my sanity and entertainment, and my sisters who both live in the city and are always willing to come help out.
Doing it alone is impossible and creating a solid and reliable village is crucial to survival.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
I believe that we should all be constantly working on improving and evolving ourselves. Day-to-day I’m always thinking about ways to improve on things like spending less time on my phone, eating healthier, making more time for myself and my husband, and being more present.
On a higher level, I’m always searching ways to build on and contribute to the community around me. And to continue building a career that inspires me, that I’m proud of, that my kids will respect and look up to one day when they are old enough - all while juggling the day-to-day in a crazy effort to create something I’ve been hearing about called “balance.”