BE THE CEO OF YOUR LIFE
Kinia Romanowska, the founder and CEO of Pros&Babes, transforms successful, leadership-minded women who are temporarily overwhelmed by new motherhood into confident parents, skilled leaders, and thriving moms, without them compromising family happiness or health. She helps mothers contribute their talents fully to our world, as professionals and parents and wants to eliminate the “motherhood penalty” and the million-dollar wealth gap. As a business owner, wife, and mother of two, Kinia has helped hundreds of women pursue leadership, develop stronger, more intimate relationships with their partners, bond more closely with their children, and take the right actions to consistently crush their goals.
In this episode:
- Get clear on your core values to guide your decision making and actions and to allow yourself to be the mom that you want to be.
- Be the CEO of your life by being focused on your vision, core values, and goals, and by designing the life that you want.
- In motherhood, you can find so much joy and happiness in even the simplest of things when you live in a way that is true to your values and you take leaps of faith.
Connect with Kinia:
- Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/prosandbabes
- Connect with other moms
- Resources, worksheets, & weekly Facebook Lives
Article mentioned by Kinia:
On this episode of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast, I had a great conversation with Kinia about the importance of getting clear on your core values, being the CEO of your life, the “motherhood penalty” and the million dollar wealth gap, and so much more!
If you prefer to listen, check out Episode 22 of The Part-Time Jungle Podcast.
Kinia is incredibly committed and driven to support moms with their motherhood and work journey. I was incredibly inspired by our conversation and the passion that Kinia has for the work that she does and the community that she has created.
HOW PROS & BABES GOT STARTED
Pros&Babes started as a figment of Kinia’s imagination a couple of years ago. She had been involved in many leadership organizations for women but she was concerned that there were no child-friendly opportunities. When she was thinking about venues or even about making them accessible, she realized that it was really tough. This inspired her to come up with the idea of Pros&Babes and she decided to get the domain. She had a feeling that it would become something!
HER FIRST COHORT
When Kinia was pregnant with her first son, she created a curriculum with themes revolving around career and motherhood. She put it on Eventbrite, submitted it on some mailing lists, and the first cohort was born. She had about six participants who came and they spent eight weeks together discussing both career and motherhood challenges with a loose structure and a couple of ground rules.
CONNECT, LEARN, & GROW
Kinia really wanted this to be a meaningful networking opportunity and not a one off where moms would exchange business cards. She wanted this to be a time where moms could come together and forge relationships and grow. At the time, Kinia called it “Connect, Learn, Grow” and this really marked the beginning of Pros&Babes.
Kinia continued adding programming, working with local organizations and incubators, and exploring how this could be her main occupation eventually, which it is now! During this time, Kinia went back to her job in corporate communications. She got pregnant again and was hiring people here and there to help her keep what she had started alive. Kinia had a lot on her plate with growing her family and adjusting to the working motherhood thing! During her second maternity leave, things culminated with a successful crowdfunding campaign. This ultimately led Kinia to create her current program called the MOMBA. This is a 12 month program for ambitious moms who really want to design a life that they’re proud of.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Kinia believes that anything is possible if you actually just envision it. Ninety percent of people look back at their mistakes and the past, and they relive those patterns. There is only a small percentage of people who actually look forward and design the life they want to build and live and commit wholeheartedly to it.
KINIA’S MOTHERHOOD/WORK JUGGLE
Kinia has some great strategies that help her with her motherhood/work juggle and they are woven through the 12 pillars of her MOMBA program which are:
- Pillar 1: Mindset
- Pillar 2: Relationships
- Pillar 3: Money
- Pillar 4: Career Skills
- Pillar 5: Parenting
- Pillar 6: Career Planning
- Pillar 7: Support Systems
- Pillar 8: Career & Life Integration
- Pillar 9: Health & Nutrition
- Pillar 10: Family Life
- Pillar 11: Personal Branding
- Pillart 12: Diversity & Inclusion
- SELF-REFLECTION: Kinia says that taking the time for self reflection is key to her motherhood/work juggle. This helps her to articulate what her next steps will be and to take enormous leaps of faith at every step along the way. She is never ready to make the next step, but she always does. Kinia journals, creates vision boards, and sets goals. She also takes time to get really clear on her and her family’s core values.
- VALUES ASSESSMENT: Kinia talks about how with motherhood, your relationship with your spouse changes fundamentally and your relationships in the world change too. She recommends doing a values assessment with your spouse and getting really clear on your and your family’s core values. Because our values guide our behaviour, Kinia stresses that it is important that we choose to live up to our values.
- GETTING CLEAR ON YOUR “WHY”: Kinia encourages us to think about the question “What’s your why?” Why are you working? What does it bring you beyond the paycheck? What will your kids say about you in 25 years? What will you say about yourself? What is the life that you and your family are looking to create?
Kinia encourages us to examine our relationship to money, how our financial situations evolve, and to move away from a scarcity mindset. She reminds us of the incredible privilege we have in getting EI payments while on maternity leave as most women in the world don’t have access to that. We have the amazing opportunity to bond with our baby for 12 months or 18 months, if we want to, and have our job protected. Kinia also encourages us to rethink our perspective around managing money, wealth building, what we want to teach our kids, and our lifetime earning perspective.
MONEY AS ENERGY
Kinia describes money as energy. It’s resources coming in and out of our lives. Money is a tool. How much money you make is energy in and how much money you spend is energy out. We can think about rechanneling that energy (or money) into our values and life goals.
Kinia describes this as your support system. She encourages moms to reflect on who is in their village and what support systems look like for them.
Kinia says sometimes women think that becoming a mom makes them less professional or less interesting. Research shows that there is a maternal bias and the motherhood penalty. However, Kinia says that it is in our power to articulate how motherhood gives us superpowers, more compassion, more efficiency, and more focus.
INTENTIONAL FAMILY TIME
Kinia and her husband are very intentional with building a life that can also honor their children along with both of them working full-time hours. For example, they ensure that their kids are out in nature everyday. As well, Kinia is intentional about modeling a strong work ethic, finding teachable moments, reflecting on her values and her actions, and recalibrating when needed.
A CLEAR VISION
Kinia is clear in her vision with eliminating the motherhood penalty and touching tens of thousands of lives and less privileged women. Her vision also includes the idea that wealth is easy and giving is easy. She believes that working moms have a strong voice and a pathway for career and family. Kinia believes that working moms can be living their full potential and sharing their gifts joyfully. She is constantly looking back at that vision and asking herself what she is doing today to help that vision come to life in 25 years.
For her boys, Kinia’s vision is to raise resilient, loving and compassionate men devoted to faith, upholding their family’s legacy and traditions, and being in service to others. She thinks about what she is doing each day to help them to become those men. Kinia wants to teach them to develop resilience and she wants to practice this and model it herself.
Kinia says no to things that don’t fit her vision. As moms, we can feel like we have to say “yes” to everything but we don’t. Kinia shared an example of baking homemade cupcakes and how she will never be the mom that takes this on. This is something that she says “no” too. She recognizes that this isn’t something that serves her mission and vision of what she is trying to achieve.
CAREER & LIFE INTEGRATION
In her MOMBA program, Kinia asks participants to choose a word that represents career and life integration to them. She finds the concept of “balance” as an unattainable myth that brings up an image of someone meditating in a zen pose with as much time to put into their work life as they do their family life. Kinia prefers words such as harmony, effectiveness, and integration. She believes that work life and family life cross-pollinate and nourish each other and this becomes a positive reinforcing loop.
WHAT IS YOUR PERFECT DAY?
Kinia used to teach piano and she is a pianist as well. She talks about how there’s tension and resolution in music and that when it gets put together it creates harmony. We can each choose our own style. There are different composers and different types of music. Are you looking for a Bach type or a Rock type of life? After participants have chosen their words, Kinia has them take a deep dive to imagine a perfect day when their lives feel integrated. She asks them to think about the details of that day in order to create that clear picture:
- What are you wearing?
- What are you drinking?
- How are you talking to your husband?
- How are you talking to your kids? How are you dressed?
- Who are you hanging out with?
Kinia rarely struggles with mom guilt. She believes that this is largely because she really focuses on her core values. Kinia talks about how Brene Brown differentiates between guilt and shame and how guilt is information that can be processed. If Kinia is feeling guilty, she looks at this as an opportunity to journal and to reflect on how she is not living in alignment with her values. If one of our core values is violated, we can have strong emotions. We can feel angry, sad, and confused. This is something that Kinia encourages us to disentangle. Guilt can be a reflection of one of those core values being violated. Kinia posts her family’s core values on the wall as a visual compass so that she is reminded to reflect on them and intentionally live them. What kind of person we want to be and what kind of working mom we want to be starts with our core values.
WE CAN’T OUTSOURCE OUR VALUES
Kinia talks about how there are lots of things that we as moms can ask for help with and can outsource, but we can’t outsource our values. You can outsource your house cleaning, meal prep, and you can even get a virtual assistant but never outsource your values. Getting clear on those core values, especially when your children are young, is a wonderful opportunity. As children get older, they are more open to external influences but when they are little you are your children’s superhero.
When Kinia was young she went to childcare and summer camp with nuns and fondly remembers the songs they would sing. Now, she teaches them to her kids. This is an example of a wonderful opportunity to plant seeds in her sons’ hearts in terms of the legacy that Kinia would like to build. As her kids grow up, she knows that she won’t be able to control everything and that she shouldn’t because her boys’ have their own paths to follow. However, today she has the chance to plant those seeds – those core values. What is your opportunity to teach your child about your values and your principles?
The most challenging moments are when you need your core values the most because that’s when you’re teaching character. Kinia talks about the example of her son having a tantrum. She can either think about how annoying it is and that she doesn’t want to deal with it right now or she can see the gifts of his persistence. His strong will, once it is channeled properly and in a socially acceptable manner, is a gift of persistence. Kinia tries to choose to thank her son for his energy and to ask him to channel it in a more positive way. The result of her efforts is seeing that her son does have the capacity to walk himself through his emotions. She sees that her consistent efforts in focusing on her family’s core values of love, faith, and accountability are really paying off.
BE THE CEO OF YOUR LIFE
CEOs have a vision, have values, have goals, and implement time blocking. Knowing the uncertainty of this fall, with the COVID pandemic, Kinia and her husband, a high school teacher, developed a clear plan so that they could thrive. They chose two key concepts to guide this plan which are “gratitude” and “divide and conquer”. For example, Kinia and her husband don’t want to compromise on health and energy. So going into the fall, they had to figure out how they were each going to fit in physical activity. Her husband now does a 30 minute workout before coming home from work. Kinia brings her boys a healthy snack when she picks them up from their dayhome and then, they go for a walk. She gets her steps in and her kids are able to decompress and unwind physically and psychologically from the stress of the structure of their day. While Kinia and her kids are out walking, her husband comes home and makes dinner.
Kinia says that when you are clear on what you want to create, you can go about it in a really tactical way. Life can really slip away from you. Every single moment and every single day is an opportunity to create your life’s mission and your life’s legacy. For that to happen, you need to reflect and honor your values in a meaningful way.
We each have 168 hours in a week. The most successful people in the world also have that time. What are they doing differently? Successful people have a very solid mindset. They run their calendars and they don’t let their calendars run them. Successful people outsource below their pay grade. Don’t think about this in terms of money, but think about it in terms of your energy. Where do you want to be spending your energy? What are some tasks that really don’t nourish you? Where are you at your best? If you work from that space of being your best and honoring your values, then the tactical stuff over time falls into place. Give yourself space to experiment and find things that work for you and flex your no muscle!
DESIGN YOUR LIFESTYLE
Kinia recently saw an article in the news that moms are quitting their jobs and that everything is falling on moms. She reminds us that we are not powerless beings. It is in our control to think about what we want to do and what we don’t want to do. We don’t have to do everything just because it’s a tradition. We can design our lifestyle. We each get 24 hours in a day and it’s up to us to decide how we’re going to manage that. Kinia shares that if you can’t afford to outsource right now, to plant a seed of intention. Set a date, take a leap of faith, and take that one imperfect step to at least give yourself that experience. It doesn’t have to happen right now.
THE MILLION DOLLAR WEALTH GAP
There’s a report published by Merrill Lynch about the million dollar wealth gap. It is the compounded cumulative effect that women face over a lifetime from childhood. Kinia talks about how we tell girls to save and budget and not to invest and take risks. We treat boys differently. A report published by CBC, based on other research, showed that coming straight out of university, across many subjects areas, female graduates are offered $5000 to $6000 less than equally competent male graduates. Women take career breaks for caregiving for children and the eldery. As well, women tend to live longer. Women negotiate less and invest less. An article recently published by Global said that women would prefer to have more work life balance and miss out on the additional money that men receive. So statistically, women seem to value money less than men and seem to be after different things such as managing their energy. However, Kinia feels that women should be aware of and care about the million dollar wealth gap. Financially, there is a very big penalty for becoming a mom when you have a career. You can’t have it all at the same time.
WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT THE MILLION DOLLAR WEALTH GAP
- Awareness: Know your relationship with money.
- Invest: Find a financial advisor and invest and save instead of just spending. This could be, for example, investing in stocks and/or investing in your own business.
- Talk About Money: We often think it’s such a taboo subject but talk about it and get informed. As well, talk to your children about money.
MOTHERHOOD AS YOUR PERSONAL BRAND
Kinia talks about who you are as a mother starts with knowing what kind of values you stand for and what’s important to you. Defining the positive characteristics that come with being a working mom will differ, to a certain extent, for each individual person. This can include, effectiveness, being more focused, and having a deeper sense of your “why”. As moms, we are obviously really invested in our children and their wellbeing is at the forefront. Working, then, takes on a whole new dimension because you want to model something for them and you want to give them a certain quality of life. There are qualities you’ve developed as a mother that are transferable skills that can apply in the workplace.
When you’re talking about personal branding, Kinia reminds us to not use motherhood as an excuse, crutch, or as an entitlement. You need to be accountable and plans should be put in place with your employer. There are lots of things about the “system” that are not set up well for working parents. In being accountable and taking initiative, you can ask yourself, how you can help and how you can play a role in making it better. You should consider the different seasons of your life and where you want to put your energy. How are you going to show up as an accountable professional and communicate your value in a positive, empowering way that allows you to reach both your professional and personal goals?
MISTAKES ARE LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES
Kinia does not really believe in messups. She sees that she is either learning or winning. There are times when she raises her voice and loses her patience but she always takes the time to reflect on this and the fact that this is not the person that she wants to be. Kinia knows that she needs to give herself grace. Motherhood is tough. We lose our patience after repeating something for the 15th time and there are times when we feel sleep deprived. Then, there are the bumps and scrapes that happen to our children. We try to stay calm in all of these situations. It can be hard not to react too fast or too impulsively.
YOU HAVE MORE CONTROL THAN YOU THINK
Kinia’s words of wisdom are that you have more control than you think. Our brains are so adaptable and plastic. We are so lucky today to have access to resources around mental health and emotional resilience. You may be struggling with motherhood or have had a traumatic birth experience. Kinia shared how she got fired from a job and how difficult it was to work through that. Maybe you are sleep deprived or feel lost. Perhaps, you feel like you don’t have a village or you are just really struggling. Wherever you are in your journey, even if it’s really hard right now, remember that it won’t always be that way. Things can get better. You will find your stride with whatever transition you are facing, whether you have older kids or younger kids. Have faith in the fact that if you set an intention to create something different in your life, you can make it better. It’s possible for you to find so much joy and happiness in even the simplest of things when you live in a way that is true to your values and you take leaps of faith.
Thanks so much to Kinia for this incredible conversation and thank YOU for tuning in!