This month’s Urban Mom is Caroline Fernandez, founder of Parent Club, author of two best-selling children’s books and mother of three adorable children.
Current town: Toronto
Taking the bull by the horns and making a career change can be an exciting, terrifying step, in anyone’s life. Add to that a newborn and a toddler, and the transition can seem daunting. No one knows this better than Caroline Fernandez, founder of wildly popular Parent Club, a site aimed at sharing tips and tricks to make life a bit easier for busier parents.
After the arrival of Caroline’s, she was still working a 9-5 job as an Executive Admin Assistant. But for her, a major goal in her life had been reached. “I always saw myself as a mom,” Caroline remembers. “It was a goal, dream and expectation for me.”
Six months into her mat leave, Caroline’s daughter went into daycare and she returned to work. As it is for a lot of moms, the transition was a bit rocky. “I struggled with sick days, snow days and guilt—there’s always guilt isn’t there?”
When Caroline gave birth to baby #2, she made the decision to become a stay-at-home mom and her unexpected writing career began. “I always wanted to be a writer but never really considered it a career,” she says. “I pictured myself doing laundry for the rest of my life. Really. There is that much laundry!”
It was actually a stroke of luck, or maybe fate, that Caroline started writing, which led her to create Parent Club and publish two best-selling children’s books, Boredom Busters and More Boredom Busters.
With a toddler and a newborn at home, Caroline was going stir crazy. She wanted to find something to do for herself that could also fill in the SAHM gap on her resume. “I emailed a kids’ resource directory asking if they needed a volunteer for research. Turns out after meeting the moms who ran the directory, they wanted to hire me as their e-newsletter editor.”
And with that, Caroline’s freelance writing career began. As it turns out, being a work-at-home mom, suited Caroline very well.
“I found that freelancing is the best fit for my work/life juggle—I’m able to set my own schedule, work on diverse projects, do something I love. And at the same time I’m available for kid sick days, PD days, doctor’s appointments and the like. It’s the best of both worlds for me. And I thank my lucky stars my career allows for these opportunities.” Initially, Parent Club was intended to be an online portfolio of sorts, where Caroline could collect her writing samples to send to magazine editors. “But the blog grew into an actual career and it leveraged me for other opportunities like my books.”
She remembers the first time she saw her book on a shelf in a book store as her proudest moment—“I made that book happen. I wrote it while I was pregnant and pitched it while a newborn slept beside me. It was something I did for me. [It was a] total dream come true.”
Fast forward eight years and Parent Club continues to grow. For Caroline, it will always be her secondary career: “I don’t even consider myself a career woman! I’m a mom who works… I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
Would you rather cook or do the dishes? Cook.
If you could master one thing, what would it be? Not worrying.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Eating ice cream after the kids go to bed.
If you could have more time for one thing, what would it be? Reading.
What’s the last book you read? Insurgent by Veronica Roth. I would love to have the gut instinct of the main character Tris.
How do you find balance in your life? I ignore the laundry.