If you’ve ever wondered how to balance two careers and have a pretty amazing life all at once, look no further than Danielle Leeke. This influential juggler of careers owns San Francisco event planning and production company, On The Run Events, and is part-owner of The Brick Yard, an SF-based sports bar. Ink & Well has been lucky to call this lady a client, a friend, sometimes keeper of secrets, and ALWAYS an inspiration. This Q&A will motivate you to go for what you want. Even if what you want is everything.
Job Title(s): Owner, On The Run Events, event planning, and production company, and Operating Owner of The Brick Yard.
Writing is weird. As a recovering English major, I’m still trying to discover how it fits into my life. I graduated college with an iPhone note full of ideas for future screenplays, novels, and short stories, and eagerly told anyone who asked that my post-grad plans consisted of one thing: writing!
And then I got my first job.
I landed a gig as a writer with what I refer to now as a “content sweatshop.” Instead of turning in papers to kind professors, I was writing mindless copy for picky clients. Instead of researching the impact of the industrial revolution on William Blake’s poetry, I was researching—rather frantically—the difference between a Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy so I could write ten blogs for a bankruptcy lawyer by noon. The rigorous demand for content at work quickly left me with zero bandwidth to pursue any of my own writing in my free time, and I quickly became bitter towards the practice in general.
On Friday night at 8PM, I put Maddy down and shuffled into the kitchen. Although bedtime hadn’t been particularly tough, with each passing day my belly grows just slightly, making it harder and harder to put her into her crib. That one, seemingly simple task is my daily reminder of how much is about to change and how soon. And it’s not that I’m scared or even all that anxious, there’s just a massive list of things to get done in a very small amount of time, and watching The Bachelor while snuggling in my bed always sounds better than doing stuff after a long workday. So, on this particular night I decided to buckle down, make a list, and stress eat 15 cookies.
Pen and highlighter in hand, I sat down at the kitchen table and decided to scroll through Facebook, because making lists is boring and #Friday. As I scrolled, a photo of two old friends caught my eye. There they were, miles away at a trendy bar in New York City, all dressed up and laughing hard. I stared at the screen, analyzing their smiles, studying their body language, remembering what it was like to sit between them. After all, they weren’t just two people I was friends with in passing. These were people I once knew as intimately as I knew myself.
When I was pregnant with Maddy, maternity leave was this magical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of pregnancy. No matter how stressful work was or how many meetings I had to sit through while Maddy tried to kick her way out of my body, I knew that I was working toward guaranteed paid time off to bond with my daughter. That knowledge alone was enough to get me through some really rough patches. I knew that if I just put my head down and powered through, I’d get to a place where someone else would be handling all my work and I could just focus on learning to be a mom for months on end.
This time, though, things are different. So different, in fact, that I went through a period of time when I thought my laptop would have to be on my hospital packing list. When you own a company, work freelance, or do some combination of the two, it becomes a real challenge to figure out how you’ll schedule birth and bonding in between all the client calls, meetings, and to-do items. That cozy feeling that everything will be just fine while you’re gone is replaced by a feeling of fear that everything you’ve worked so hard to build will crumble.
Let’s be real, that’s no way to welcome a child into the world.
As everyone in the English-speaking world knows at this point, I’m pregnant. But not like, “Oh look how cute she is!” pregnant. Like, “WHOA, HERE SHE COMES!” pregnant. The kind where I can see people looking at me and recoiling just slightly, making a face that clearly says, “Ouch.” And “ouch” pretty much sums it up. In the last few weeks, I feel like this baby has completely taken over every inch of my body. I swear, he’s got posters on the walls of the womb, he’s installed plush carpet, and he has a disco party every night starting at about 9:30, during which he does this super awesome move where he repeatedly kicks my bladder until dawn. Meanwhile, here I am, tired and puffy, firmly planted in the Over It zone where I’ll remain for the next five weeks.
So, it is from the Over It zone where I do all the things. I work, maintain my household, take care of my family (needy dog included), and parent my young daughter, Maddy. As the mom of a girl it has been a big priority of mine to create a positive space where she can grow to love and respect her body for all the amazing things that it does. But in the last few weeks as I have started to feel more and more like Mrs. Doubtfire, it’s become increasingly hard to be that positive force in her life. I’ve found myself parenting from a space of constant change. A space where one day my wedding ring fits, and the next it doesn’t. One where I can’t wear the clothes that make me feel good, I look in the mirror and see someone who I don’t entirely recognize, and I’m anticipating this big change that I know will be amazing. . .but. . . you know. . .what if he grows up to be a serial killer? Or worse. What if he hates The Walking Dead!?!?!?!
There are just a few days left until Christmas and if you’re anything like us, you’re still scrambling to get your shopping done. If you’re running around trying to find the perfect gift for a working mom, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the great news: there are three days left to hit up Amazon Prime for something to make mom’s life a little bit easier. Here are our top go-to gifts (priced low to high) available on Prime right now, perfect for the working mommas we love.
When I became a mom, I knew that my beauty routine would go on the backburner for a while. I figured that my sense of style might change (hello Spanx, nice to meet you) and that the luxury of manis and pedis would be limited to extra special occasions. But, like many moms, I didn’t quite grasp how having children would shift my self-care world to the extent that a mere shower could feel like a vacation.
We’ve all had to spend time working jobs that are not our dream jobs. Maybe it’s right out of college; maybe it’s after a painful layoff; maybe it’s during a season where you are still trying to discover what you were created to contribute to the world (which is like basically all the time, right?).
Whatever season of life this job falls into, it’s not a coincidence. In my limited professional experience, every single experience you have in the workplace, whether it’s scooping ice cream or filing expense reports, will come full circle at some point. My first big girl job was certainly not my dream job. However, the things I learned throughout my time in that role proved invaluable wisdom down the road when I was ready to transition to a new role.
Born and raised in Southern California, Rachel Clark never thought she’d leave the Best Coast. After her husband was offered a job in Brentwood in August of 2014, they packed up their house, pup, and Rachel’s 8-month pregnant belly, and traded their beloved Long Beach, CA for East Nashville. As if a cross-country move and new baby Holden (born in September 2014) wasn’t enough, Rachel started her dream business, launching leather goods line, H. & Clark, in January of 2015 (a far cry from her background in non-profit development and management). Rachel has also spent several years as a freelance writer, in everything from grant proposals to fashion editorials. She loves to read, eat, write, and eat some more…and does some (though not enough) yoga to counteract all of the eating. We met this lovely lady just a few weeks ago and felt an instant connection! Here are her thoughts on that familiar feeling of wanderlust we all feel, and how it mingles with motherhood.
Wanderlust. It’s never been a word that I would use when describing myself. Homebody, for sure. I lived in the same 30-mile radius for the first 28 years of my life and then upturned everything. I packed up and moved across the country with my husband, dog, and 8-month pregnant belly. I launched a business when my son was 3 months old, bought a house right after he turned one, and work part time while also running the above-mentioned business, and chasing around said son, who is now 2.