The Empowered Women series of posts are written for women, by women. We interview some incredible women from all walks of life. They will be sharing their wisdom, experiences, and amazing work to inspire us to live our best lives.
This week we are interviewing Crystie Hawkins who describes herself as a ‘jack of all trades’ and with good reason! Crystie is a work-from-home entrepreneur and mother of 3 young children (with another one on the way!), two of whom she home schools! On top of that, she still finds time for hobbies and self-care. This women is inspiring!
Maple Key Consulting, Oregan
Hey Crystie! Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do?
I’m an entrepreneur who wears many hats. Depending on the time of day, I am a mother, teacher, business owner or homemaker. I guess you can say I am a jack-of-all-trades.
When we moved our family to Oregon, we were so impressed with how conscious consumers were about buying products and goods from their local community. My husband and I were inspired to start a marketing and consulting business. Maple Key Consulting is designed to help small businesses climb to the top of their business potential. We have heard time and time again by business owners, that they just want to make their product, grow a garden, or raise their animals. Many of them don’t want to strategize about growing a wealthy business but the money helps their operations. That is where we come in. We empower business owners to do what they love by taking care of the “boring” business work.
I am also a stay-at-home mom to 3 beautiful kids! In between the loads of laundry, sanitizing the house, and the constant meal prep, I also manage to homeschool my two oldest boys. This will be our 2nd official year of school. My oldest (5 years) will be in Kindergarten and my middle (3 years) will be in his 1st year of Preschool.
It’s easy to say that there is never a dull moment in my house!
What does empowerment mean to you?
For me, empowerment is all about self-reflection and honesty! In today’s society, there is so much pressure to be perfect and to prove that you can do everything on your own. Moms especially find themselves comparing themselves and their kids to others.
It’s so important to be honest with yourself! You are unique, your kids are unique, and it is okay to do things differently.
I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and I am okay with that!
There is no way that I can accomplish what I do without the help from others, especially my husband. I have learned to ask for help, to focus on my strengths and work on my weaknesses. With my self-reflection and honesty, I have been able to build myself a small village that I rely on to accomplish my goals. To me, that is so empowering!
What challenges have you faced in recent years?
From my husband serving in the Marine Corp, to having kids and starting
my own business, my life has always been quite the adventure. Yet, this past year proved to be on
e of my more challenging years. After 2 years of living in a beautiful little town in the Willamette Valley, we decided to buy a new house about 1 ½ hours away. This move was pretty hard because the boys and I had finally built a great network of friends and were involved in a lot of local activities. Yet, we were so excited for our new house: single story, open floor plan, and a room dedicated to toys and the boys’ imagination.
It took a while to get fully moved it. Honestly, I am still parking my car in the driveway because I am still unpacking! We found out we were expecting a new addition to our family shortly after moving in. Super exciting but draining, none the less. We decided to transform a large portion of our backyard into a vegetable garden so at 6 months pregnant, I was flipping grass by hand. I think it is safe to say that our neighbors thought I lost my sanity (pretty sure that happened after the first kid, teehee).
So, all together in the past year, we packed up our belongings, moved everything into a new house, unpacked (ish), put in a thriving garden, and welcomed a baby girl in April. Phew!
How have you overcome them?
I am not opposed to day drinking but since I was pregnant, I found hiding in the closet worked just as well.
All jokes aside, time management is a must. Schedules are the only way I can get all my obligations complete. It is super easy to become distracted with other projects when working from home. So, one of the first things I did in our new house was set up a command center. It is not Pinterest worthy (yet), but it has my kids and my daily schedule, as well as, a chart for my daily chores to complete. We use our weekends to plan out which tasks we are trying to complete for the upcoming week.
Having the schedule posted allows for my kids to learn to tell time and to start practicing time management. It also allows for my husband to jump in and help with the kids when he gets home from work. Most days, we use our schedule to keep us on track. If we slept in or we want to take advantage of the nice weather, we just emprise our schedule. Our morning and bedtime routines are the only part of our schedule that I try not to change. Overall, a schedule has helped everyone in my house and has helped me from feeling overwhelmed.
What does Self-love mean to you?
To me, self-love is learning to be mindful and kind to yourself. It’s forgetting the stereotypes and embracing your uniqueness or as I like to tell phrase it, “Be the unicorn in a herd of horses.” Between the gossip magazines, Pinterest and our friends’ amazing social media life, it is easy to judge oneself.
I try not to judge myself for my bad days, but instead, I remind myself of the accomplishments I have made. Once I do that, I am able to value myself and achieve my goals.
How do you look after yourself day to day?
With my kids being so young, it is hard for me to get away. So, I have adopted a new daily routine that allows me to start and end my day doing something for myself. I wake up before my family, so I can squeeze in a quick workout and enjoy a cup of coffee while it is still hot. After we put the kids to bed, my husband and I like to tend to the garden then relax for a little bit before we head to bed.
I also carry my crochet bag with me everywhere! I am obsessed with yarn. I use any pause in our schedule as an excuse to get a few new stitches into my project. Road trips, hanging out in the driveway because my kids fell asleep 5 minutes before getting home, baby needs to be nursed again, you name it! I will find the time to get in my crochet time.
What do you do if you go off track?
I feel my kids (and maybe Daniel Tiger too) are the ones who have taught me how to handle the good and the bad of the day. Every day as I teach my kids the fundamentals of life, I realize that adults (or maybe just me) tend to over complicate things.
I’ve learned that I need to regroup when I feel like I am getting too overwhelmed. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to put the task down and come back to it with fresh eyes.
If I need a day to regroup and find my grounding again, I tend to resort back to my family. As a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler this usually means taking the kids on a fun field trip. More often than not, my kids need to regain their footing too so separating ourselves from our house and normal routine helps with that. When it is all said and done, I don’t feel like I have wasted my day being frustrated and I have still provided a fun, new learning experience for my kids. It’s a win, win in my books.
What advice would you give to other women to help them feel more empowered?
Stop overthinking it and just do it.
A lot of the time we get into our heads and convince ourselves out of taking the leap. Don’t ever second guess yourself when it comes to what you are capable of accomplishing if you are driven to achieve a goal. We are all individuals that come with unique obstacles in our lives, but you should never be made to believe that you cannot do it because you are a woman as long as you are willing to do what it takes to reach for your goals.
What’s your favourite dessert?
That is a tough one! I love homemade baked goods. My grandmother was am amazing housewife and baker. When I find myself craving something, it tends to be one of her recipes. My top 3 would have to be strawberry rhubarb pie, cream puffs, or pumpkin bread.
Thank you so much to Chrystie Hawkins for the refreshingly authentic interview! Would you link to nominate an amazing women with an interesting story for our empowered women series? Let me know in the comments below or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!