Getting Real with Rachel Hollis of Chic Media
This week, I'm excited to be talking to Rachel Hollis, mastermind behind one of my favorite (and award-winning!) lifestyle blogs, The Chic Site, where you can find inspiration on style, work, travel and more.
As a mother to four—Jackson (11), Sawyer (9), Ford (5), and Noah (11 months)—Rachel’s all about helping others live a better and happier life by making simple, achievable steps.
She's also a speaker, television personality, host of the DAIS podcast, and an author—her newest book, “Girl, Wash Your Face,” releases tomorrow... and I have THREE copies to give away! Details to enter the giveaway are at the end of the #MomBossMonday article.
a burnt turkey opened the door for opportunity
Over a decade ago, Rachel owned Chic Events, a high-end event planning company based in LA, when her passion project, The Chic Site, started to get noticed.
“The Chic Site started after I caught my Thanksgiving turkey on fire. Seriously. I was a wannabe domestic goddess armed with a printout from MarthaStewart.com. The recipe called for a brine and a cheesecloth . . . I’d never used either. The brine involved white wine, the giant turkey pushed the cheesecloth right up to the top of the flaming hot oven, and the results were tragic.
After I recovered from that disaster, I decided someone else needed to show me how to do things. I wanted to try making things that were cool, but not fancy. I wanted to cook food that was delicious, but achievable. I wanted to figure out what to wear, but I couldn’t afford anything beyond the clearance rack.”
When she couldn’t find the type of content she was looking for, she decided to try and create it herself.
As the content got better, the audience grew, and eventually there were clients who wanted to hire her to talk about their products and market their own… thus, in 2014, Chic Media was born!
“My life as a mom is the inspiration for much of what I do."
Like most moms out there, Rachel has plenty of experience with piling too much on her plate and the resulting fall out.
“I am a recovering workaholic, which means, for a long time, I did not have any balance in my life. After bouts with Bell’s Palsy and vertigo from stress and exhaustion, I knew it was time to slow down and to try and balance the scale.”
She shares that (while she isn’t sure that there’s a such thing as perfect work/life balance) she has found a few ways to slow down, starting with committing to office hours between 9:30 – 4:30.
She took the time to do things just for fun or because they nurtured a healthy balance in her life. Things like volunteering, hip-hop dance classes, and therapy all taught her to hustle for joy.
“I learned to work just as hard for fun moments, vacation moments and pee-your-pants laughing moments as I do for all the other things. Work will be there when I get back, and a little time away can recharge my batteries and give me the energy to battle that ever-growing to-do list.”
If you’re struggling with work/life balance, Rachel encourages you to look at your task list and reorder it in terms of priorities... then take a step back and include yourself on that list. “You cannot take care of others well if you're not taking care of yourself,” she advises.
the journey of becoming a mom
When she first came home from the hospital with her oldest, Rachel admits that she felt “totally inadequate."
“I was both obsessed with him and terrified of him. All of the fears I had during pregnancy were multiplied by a hundred million. Becoming new parents is such a fake out. The first two weeks you’re deep in euphoria. It’s hard, but people are bringing you casseroles and your community is helping you adjust.
And then the next couple of weeks go by and you settle into a zombie routine. Your boobs start to leak and you can’t remember the last time you bathed.”
To Rachel, one of the best ways to ease back into normal life after becoming a mombie was to find a tribe of people who knew what it meant to be a new mother too.
She also mentioned that getting out of the house at least once a day was helpful—even if it was just to go for a walk around the neighborhood.
When I asked Rachel to share one piece of advice to new moms, she championed fully supporting each other as mothers:
“There’s no one right way to parent… the room mom, the working mother, the woman without children, the retired grandma, the mom who co-sleeps, the mama who bottle-fed her baby, the strict mom, the hipster mom, the one who lets her kid go shoeless, or the one who enrolls her baby in music enrichment classes at birth...
Whoever, whatever you are... you’re adding spice and texture and nuance into this big beautiful soup of modern-day parenting. I can look at other mamas and learn from them. I can also leave the things that don’t strike me as authentic or practical for our family. You can do the same for your own.”
These days, Rachel’s self-care takes the form of a competitive game to have the most fun. She keeps a list of "5 definitions of fun" on her phone... things like dinner with my friends, massages at the spa, travel that isn’t work related, and personal growth conferences. Every time she completes one, she adds a checkmark next to that line.
"It’s a reminder that I want to reach for more fun, because as a working mama, you have to plan for that. It doesn’t just show up. I’m also trying to beat last year’s numbers so I can have more fun and feed my competitive nature with myself.”
“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” - Stephen Covey
Rachel’s goal over the next year is to keep the focus on her mission to equip as many women as possible with the tools to change their life for the better.
“The larger my platform gets, the more attention comes our way. Brands and companies want to collaborate or work on projects together, and it’s hard not to jump on those opportunities because of the leverage they provide or the revenue they bring in.
But every time we partner with someone else, it means less time we have to devote to our main thing. This year, the goal is to have tunnel vision around our mission, even if it comes at the loss of revenue.”
With four kids from pre-teen to pre-teeth, I asked Rachel what she loved the most about being a mother:
“My kids. That sounds a little obvious but I couldn’t have imagined how much I’d love them not just as children but as people. They are SO funny and fun –yes, sometimes I want to sell them all to a circus— but I’m so grateful I get to know them!”
I always ask my #MomBossMonday mamas about the one thing they dislike the most about motherhood, and I love how Rachel not only had an answer immediately, but that she’s actively working to change it through Chic Media.
“The constant comparison game between perceptions of other moms is draining and exhausting. It can feel like we’re always trying to keep up and be as great or better than every other mom.
The stress of playing that game can drive you crazy. I think all moms need to stop being so hard on themselves and start focusing on the good work their doing. Let’s all agree that imperfection is okay.”
In Girl, Wash Your Face, Rachel gets real personal and honest about all of these topics and discusses everything from her adoption journey (paved with a lot of heartache through foster-to-adopt, international, domestic, and private adoption) to postpartum depression to the motherhood comparison game.
“I discuss everything from being defined by my weight to needing a drink to not knowing how to be a mom to being bad at sex,” she shares.
Each chapter is titled after a lie she believed in and what follows are the stories of how that particular lie held her back, hurt her, or, in some cases, caused her to hurt others.
Her hope is that women, especially moms, find it encouraging and that it serves as a source to help them let go of the lies they believe about themselves.
I just love Rachel’s open and honest portrayal of REAL life as a mom and business owner.
She’s elevating the conversation around being authentic, asking for help, and shedding the unrealistic expectation to be a supermom.
Girl, Wash Your Face launches tomorrow and you can get your copy here.
Want to win a copy of Girl, Wash Your Face?
I'm so excited to share that I have THREE copies to give away to my awesome Happy Mom tribe. All you need to do to win is:
1. Follow Land of Mom on Instagram
2. Leave a comment on Rachel's #MomBossMonday post on the Land of Mom Instagram AND
3. Click here to sign up to receive my bi-monthly Happy Mail