Editor’s note: This is the first in a series highlighting working women living life by their own definition. It comes out of a belief that each of our stories can help each other and we can support each other by trading our tips for how to make things work.
Laura founded Jonas Paul Eyewear with her husband Ben in 2013 shortly after her first child, Jonas, was born with a rare-eye condition (Jonas has had a total of 21 eye surgeries). Laura decided to leave her career to launch Jonas Paul Eyewear with the mission of helping children feel beautiful in their glasses while at the same time providing sight to children in need with every purchase.
Since its founding, the company has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and NBC Today Show, and has garnered numerous awards for its social responsibility and design.
Laura is a dedicated wife and mother to Jonas (4 yrs) and Sophie (2 yrs) and lives in Grand Rapids, MI. When she’s not innovating for Jonas Paul Eyewear, she enjoys Netflix bingeing, cooking, and participating in her multiple clubs (book, podcast and dinner)!
Did becoming a mom affect how you look at your career?
Becoming a mother completely changed the entire direction of my life! Every new mom feels like life just threw a curve ball at you when you’ve had your first born child – everything is so new! And for us, when Jonas was born my life was turned upside down, I was rejoicing in my son’s birth while at the same time mourning that he may possibly be blind and the emotions that came with this challenging news. After many doctor meetings regarding Jonas’ eye condition, we did find out that he could possibly still have some sight (after surgeries) so when we knew he would have the potential for sight and need to wear glasses we started looking at the options for children’s glasses and felt like they were just plain ugly and not stylish at all (focused only on function) so we felt like we could change that!
My husband and I have always been entrepreneurs so we actually felt like we had the skill set to pull off this business. So we decided to dive head first into a completely new space and launch Jonas Paul Eyewear. We had no optical background but we are fast learners and we had the vision for what this could possibly be someday. We decided to sell our previous companies to focus fully on Jonas Paul Eyewear and we haven’t looked back since!
Often times the best ideas and businesses are created out of personal hardships or experiences and for us this little idea of helping other kids that wear glasses has grown beyond our wildest dreams and we feel like we are just getting started!
How do you handle childcare while working?
Thankfully, I’m able to work part-time. I work 3 days a week which is just the perfect schedule for me! I love getting to put my work hat on 3 days and then fully focus on getting to be mom the other 2 days! We’ve also been blessed to have the same nanny with us for over 3.5 years and without her life would be a lot crazier! She has become part of our family and we are so thankful to have her!
What tip would you share with working moms trying to figure out how to juggle work and family?
Give yourself grace. So much easier to say than actually do but I think that is one of the biggest lessons I’ve been learning this past few years since becoming a mom. As moms, we try to do it all and doing it all is simply impossible. I’m always reminding myself to be okay with not having it all together – we are our own biggest critic and there are days when we just have to realize we can’t do it all. And allow yourself to ask for help!
What’s your go-to quick meal for busy weeknights?
Anything in the slow cooker! Especially on my working days I go straight to my slow cooker so that I can set the meal to cook all day while I’m at work and when I get home around 5/5:30pm our meal is pretty much ready! I recently got an Instant Pot as well and I need to find some time to play around with it some more but I’m sure once I get my head wrapped around how it works I’ll be pulling out more for future meals!
What’s a non-negotiable part of your weekly schedule?
I have a few non-negotiable’s as I feel like I’m a better mom when I’m able to hold tight to these … one would be meal planning! I feel like if I take 15 minutes and just plan out my meals for the upcoming week that I then have a game plan and I won’t be a hot mess when it comes to dinner time meals! Another would be working out and making sure I set that aside for myself. I feel better about myself and I know I’m a better mom and wife when I set aside time to care for myself!
Do you exercise? If yes, what do you do and when do you fit it in?
Over the course of this last year (after having my 2nd child), I decided to really prioritize exercise and I feel like it has drastically improved not only my physical health but my mental health and confidence in myself (post children!). I wish I was that mom that had a child and was fitting back in my pre-baby jeans but I had to work hard to lose the last of my baby weight and after a lot of early mornings I’m finally feeling good about my health. The days that I work at the office, I have to exercise super early otherwise it just won’t happen so my sweet alarm gets me up at 5:15am! I typically work out at home 3 days a week and then the other 2 or 3 days I get to the gym. I try my best to work out around 5 to 6 days a week!
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