Work, Life & Balance-Julie Oswalt

JULIE OSWALTEver wonder how you can balance it all as a mom? This is one interview in a series talking to mums who have found a way to make it work. Meet Julie Oswalt, founder of Mission Based Books and mother of Cole, Chase and London (5 years old, 4 years old and 2 years old respectively).

Julie Oswalt, had spent many of her young summers helping the non-profits of her community by teaching children to read, working with the homeless and trying to help those who had been challenged by handicaps, illness and poverty. So establishing Mission Based Books – which helps non-profit organisations like libraries raise money by selling their books on – was a pretty natural development for her. On any given day, she’s coordinating business details with her employees from home or working in their warehouse with kids in tow.

1. What do you love about being a mom?

I love hearing my kids’ silly stories and their innocence. Last week, while driving by a sculpture, my oldest son asked, “Why is the statue naked?” After my husband offered a highly cultured opinion on the human form, my second child shouted, “I can see their butts!” to which his older brother replied, “Actually, you should say behind. The word butt is not appropriate.”

2. What do you enjoy most about working?

I have a passion for helping children and working in the community. In my job, I’m able to do both. We work with a variety of non-profits including libraries, museums, and schools and by helping them sell their books and other media items online, we are able to help fund summer reading programs, capital projects to rebuild libraries, get books into the hands of children, and simply make an impact. When we started Mission Based Books, the point was to find a viable business model which would ultimately be a vehicle for these initiatives. It is a dream come true that everything is working out so well. When we measure the impact in the community, it makes the sacrifice and hard work really worth it.

3. What’s your biggest challenge in juggling both?

Being a full-time mummy requires me to do a lot of work from home or on-site with my kids. I am constantly battling guilt. Am I giving my kids all the attention they need? Am I doing enough for the business? I’ve been forced to learn delegation, management and how to prioritize – none of which come naturally to me.

4. How do you deal with it?

There are many times that it’s gotten overwhelming for me. It happens, and I just deal with it. When all three kids get sick and I spend all night in an emergency room, then my employees call and say the equipment is down, then my husband is asking me to help match his socks, and the four year old just let the dog out and the dog is running down the street – I just deal with it.

I drink lots of coffee, and I make sure that I’m taking little breaks here and there to enjoy my children. I remind myself that my time horizon with them is short, more like a glimpse, and that they need me now and I am deeply committed to them. I’m also blessed with an amazing staff who I can rely on and who embrace the vision of our organisation. In my personal life, I lean on my family and my faith. 

5. How do you re-charge?

I love to bake. We recently had to drastically change our diet because of food intolerances in our family. Ever since, I have been experimenting with different flours and ingredients. It gives me a way to put my energy into something fun and relaxing.

6. What advice would you give other women considering being a working mom?

You have to make time for yourself. As mums, we feel so torn to be everything to everyone that we don’t take time to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. It is so easy to put yourself last instead of first. But, if you aren’t taken care of, then you can’t take care of others and accomplish what you need to. Also, get your husband a sock organizer.

7. Who inspires you?

People that have a lot of patience and self-discipline and people who are organised. I struggle in these areas, so I’m really inspired and admire those that can do these things well and manage a family.

8. What one thing can you not live without?

Coffee. I’ve tried and I just can’t.

9. If you had an hour of time to yourself, how would you spend it?

Baking or reading recipes. Maybe worrying about how soon the hour would be over.