WE adore what she loves, Dana Harf's (@danaivy) interview on the CC

Name: Dana Harf        

Kid(s): Brody is 4 and Levi is 2

Official work title and company: I Adore What I Love is my blog and you can find me on Instagram at @danaivy

Location: Chicago, IL {but really – the burbs! I live in Highland Park J}

Tell us more about your company. (How you got started, where did the idea come from, how it has grown to the success it is today, etc.)

My blog, I Adore What I Love, started as a passion project and is now a full-fledged business! It’s wild to me that I get to do what I love and make a little income from it as well, and stay at home with my kids all at the same time! I Adore What I Love started because my friends kept asking me about all the things {where I got my top, my fave beauty products, the easy recipes I make, etc.} and I was sharing this info with them on the daily! Whether it was via text, or a phone call, or in person, I was sharing and I enjoyed it!! My whole life I had always been obsessed with reading magazines and I decided that if I’m sharing these things with my friends, I might as well share with the rest of the world! Via the internet but in my eyes I looked at my blog as my own little magazine!

Later, when I had kids, I stopped working at my day job {I was an elementary school teacher for 9 years!} and started blogging about mom life, too! Now, my blog, combined with my Instagram account, is a place where in the midst of sharing about my own life, and trying to get by as a mom of 2 boys, I also share easy recipes, fun style ideas, life hacks and mom tips + tricks! I absolutely love doing what I do!!!

With that, I also run the social media accounts for an awesome local restaurant. That’s fun too! And on Sundays, I teach Jewish Sunday School because I still love teaching and it makes me happy! 

What has been your biggest challenge as a working mom? Your biggest reward?

Because I am, first and foremost, a stay-at-home mom, my biggest challenge when working is actually doing the work!!! {insert laugh-cry emoji here!!!} I am not a morning person – AT ALL – so waking up early is never on my agenda. I LIVE FOR sleep and during the day I love to nap if I can sneak it in but I usually end up cleaning the house like a crazy person. I typically do all my work at night but that’s challenging too because that’s when I want to hang with my husband! I do have a babysitter once a week and always carve out a chunk of time to do work then, take blog meetings, take photos for the restaurant that I do social media for, etc. It’s helpful to have that day!!!

Where do you think working mom guilt comes from and how can women overcome it?

Mom guilt is REAL. And some people would think that when you stay home with your kids 24/7, you don’t feel it during the few times when you do leave but guess what – that is 100% FALSE!!!!!! Even though I stay home with them, I STILL have mom guilt literally every time I step out of the door without them! As I am writing this, I actually already feel it about tonight because I am hosting an event at a local boutique and won’t be home for bedtime! Ugh!!!! But with that said, I do believe women can overcome it if they think about how doing what they’re doing makes them happy and in turn a better mama!!! Right?? Right! 

What have you found to be the motivations and benefits for women that take on the extra stress and time crunch of combining work and family?

This is a hard question!! I actually believe that for everyone it’s different. You can ask 1000 working moms this question and everyone would give you a different answer.

For me, I would say my motivation is that I love helping and sharing with others and when I do that, I feel in my element. So, when I’m blogging and instagramming and insta-storying and helping other moms GET BY, I’m literally in my element!! I also love that I have something that I’m passionate about where I’m also generating an income to help my family in the long run! That’s a huge benefit of doing what I do! 

What would be your time-saving tip for your fellow working moms?

Here’s a tip I’ve recently truly gotten on board with – if you keep your home as organized as possible, you will not only save time on finding things, but also money on rebuying things!! I have been super conscious of this lately and have gone out of my way to organize the shit out of my house! Like, every room! BEST FEELING EVER + it’s already turned into a time saver! Like when Brody wanted me to blow up this giant punching bag for him the other day, I knew exactly where the pump was!!! Because there was no way I was doing it myself {I would have died lol} But previously, I would have never known where it was!!! Also, now I’m not rebuying the same medicine boxes over and over, either. You get the point! Keeping an organized home is life!

Who or what gives you your daily dose of inspiration?

My daily dose of inspiration comes from a million different areas of my life! My husband is the hardest worker I know and he inspires me in that way, my kids inspire me to be the best mama and remind me that being playful and silly is a GOOD thing, my friends inspire me in ways they could never even imagine, and I love to listen to podcasts and read other blogs too which all inspire me! Also – so much of my content inspiration comes from just living and doing and putting myself out there!

What advice would you give to other working moms when it comes to balancing a career, family, and self-care?

I actually did work as a teacher after Brods was born for a few months before summer came and I made the decision to stop all together. Which makes me think I can answer this question confidently! My advice would be to do the best you can in all areas and while you’re working, be fully present there. While you’re mom-ing, be fully present there, etc. You can’t do it all at once and nobody expects you to! Working a 7am-5pm job was hard for me but it did become my new normal. I just didn’t want it to be and that’s why I stopped. But some women need that!!! I say do whatever makes you happiest in the end! 

Bonus: Do you have a favorite quote? Share with us if so! 

Sounds corny but I fully believe the quote “Everything happens for a reason!” I try to think positive in most situations and when something shitty happens, I remind myself that it’s most likely for a really great reason that I just am not aware of at the time. It’s all about shifting your brain to think in that way!