Working mom of 3 & founder of Poppikit, learn more about Anna Helm Baxter!
Name: Anna Helm Baxter
When did you become a mom? How old are your children?
I became a mom in 2012 when I was 29 years old- my kids are 7, 4 and 15 months
What type of business do you run? Has this type of work always been your calling?
I have somewhat of a multi-hyphenated career. I’m a food editor and left my position as Deputy Food Editor at Hearst magazines a year ago. I now develop recipes and test products for the Woman’s Lifestyle brands at Hearst as well as Parents magazine. I’m also a food stylist, product developer and 6 months ago I launched my own business, Poppikit selling organic cake decorating kits with the plan to launch a whole brand of sustainably sourced part goods.
Where did the foundation of your business stem from?
For my business- I have three kids and have thrown 12 birthday parties as well as attending literally hundreds of them! I’ve witnessed first hand how much of the burden of throwing celebrations falls to moms and I want to help relieve some of that mental load.
What has been your proudest moment since launching your company/career?
Taking the leap of faith to leave my full time position and launch a company has been such a proud moment for me. In the first 4 months we secured a spot in 30 Kings’Balducci supermarkets on the East coast. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get there (and at times I thought we might have to pull the plug on the deal) but we did it. I realized how much I was being held back in my former job and that the only way to move my career forward was to literally jump ship.
What is your biggest concern, as an expecting mother, about balancing kids/family, work, and self-care?
The burden generally falls on me when it comes to keeping everyone, fed, dressed and organized. I mostly manage to keep all the balls in the air but at times that can cause stress on my marriage- and my biggest fear is that if my husband and I stop functioning as a team then it will all fall apart.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a working mom?
Feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day- and that the public school system is set up for families with one parent who stays home. The constant half days, random days off, long summer and celebrations that happen in the middle of the day are a real struggle when both parents work.
Do you have working mom guilt? If so, how do you deal with it?
Yes, and no…I know that I’m a better mom because I work. I read an article recently that said that working moms now spend as much time with their kids as stay-at-home-moms did in the fifties…that certainly helped me put things in perspective. I guess I deal with it by trying to make sure that the time I have with the kids is focused. Even though it can be a struggle to fit all my work into the hours I have childcare- when I’m with them I put my phone away and try to be fully present and engaged.
Do you believe that you can you have it all?
This is such a loaded question…and my answer likely changes from day to day. Mostly, I believe that shutting out the noise and being happy with what you have is sort of like having it all- but it takes commitment and moments of solitude to get there. I started bullet journaling in the last year and I’ve found it so helpful as a way to track my moods, struggles, goals and most importantly what I’m feeling grateful for.
I think having a good partner and supportive mom tribe is priceless.
What was the best work advice you ever received and from who?
The honest truth is that I often think that women don’t do enough to support each other in the work force- and I’ve primarily worked with women. I think I’ve taken on lots of different snippets of advice over the years- primarily through books that have motivated me along the way- mostly it all comes back to: do what makes you happy, don’t be afraid to fail and if you don’t ask for it, you probably won’t get it.
What was the best parenting advice you ever received and from who?
Brene Brown and Laura Vandercam are my two gurus when it comes to parenting and life in general. From Brene, that you can only love your kids as much as you love yourself and that being vulnerable, practicing empathy and gratitude is what helps grow happy, balanced kids. From Laura- that time is our most valuable possession and how we spend it is a choice. For instance, a car ride with my kids doesn’t have to be a chore- there are ways to turn it into a happy memory.
I also, just in general love the idea of “love bombs”- that our kids likely won’t remember/appreciate the little things we do or don’t do on a day-to-day basis but that we can create happy memories for them by giving them bursts of focused one-on-one time.