Our guest for this week is a personal inspiration to me. She is the woman behind Mommy Mundo (this is where I got to know her first) and many others. The more I get to know her, the more my admiration grows! I hope that as you read this post, you will be inspired to do more for the things that you are truly passionate about. Let us welcome ms. Janice Villanueva.
Chris: Hi Janice! I am so happy that you agreed to be our guest for today’s Mommy Talks! For those who don’t know you, can you share something about yourself?
Janice: Hello! I’m Janice and I’m a mom of 3 kids! My eldest son is 14, my second son is 12, and my youngest child is my 5 year old daughter. I am an active mom and just as active mompreneur! Together with my husband, Gary, I run several businesses- Creative Juice, an events and communications agency, Mommy Mundo, the go-to portal of resources for moms (we do events for moms, we publish freezines and websites for moms, we run advocacy programs, all for moms!), Mommy Matters, manufacturer and distributor of nursingwear and handy products for moms, and Mercato Centrale, a weekend lifestyle and food market in BGC. 🙂 I have 4 advocacies, which I promote through Mommy Mundo- healthy pregnancy, breastfeeding, active parenting and mompreneurship!
Chris: How did MommyMundo and your other ventures start?
Janice: Together with fellow advocates and like-minded mom friends, I’ve actually been doing mom-focused events, publications, and initiatives since the year 2000. When my cousin Candice and I set up Mommy Matters more than 10 years ago, we realized then that moms were in need of support and information on breastfeeding. So we took on the advocacy of promoting breastfeeding to moms and pregnant moms through intimate talks. Soon we were doing events in malls, seminars for 400 -500 moms, bigger and bigger events for mroe and more moms– well, because there was a need and a yearning for it. As a support to this advocacy to help other moms, I also started publishing free guidebooks for moms- Mommy Pages, a free directory for moms, also available online since 2007 on www.mommypages.com.ph. Now I have 3 more “free reads” for moms- a freezine called Urban Mom, and 2 guidebooks we published with GSK’s support, Infanticipating and First Year of LIfe. In 2006 with pioneer childbirth educator Rome Kanapi, we started organizing what we would call the first lifestyle expo for moms, EXPO MOM, which also later became known as “the mompreneur market”. We also organized unique events like Mommy Milkshake Marathon, Daddy’s Basketball Bootcamp, Moms on the Floor, Expo Kid. It was actually on in 2010 that we launched our “mother brand” (pun intended), MOMMY MUNDO- to give all our projects one name/ one brand. Soon after we did this we also launched our advocacy networks, MomShare our outreach arm, and Mompreneur Manila, the first mompreneur network in the Philippines.
Chris: Wow! I have always been interested in MomShare. Can you share more information about MomShare? How can other moms join?
Janice: We have sooo many things going on throughout the year, but one thing that is really close to my heart is MomShare! I thought of setting this up after Ondoy, when we saw so many moms bringing their kids with them to relief centers, or moms packing relief goods at home and really involving their kids in the campaign and mindset to be of help to those in need. We felt that a lot of moms want to help, and want to involve their children, given the opportunities to do so. So we set up MomShare, and through our events, we raise funds for specific projects, usually choosing mom and child beneficiaries. We pledge 100% of registration fees to almost all our events to go to MomShare thus donations are 100% coming from the Mommy Mundo community. We try to empower Moms to help other moms. MomShare is moms sharing with those in need! We also collect donations of books, pre-loved mom and baby stuff, toys etc, school supplies and handle its turnover to the institutions which need the items the most. MomShare has helped fund life-saving surgeries of babies. When we have outreach events, we call out for mom and kid volunteers to join us, and we have had art classes with orphans with our mom-friends helping facilitate the art workshop with us. So much fun!! All moms can join! Just like our Facebook page or sign up for our mailing list on our website and watch out for our call outs for volunteers:)
Chris: With everything that you do, was there ever a time you wanted to quit or stop?
Janice: Oh Yes i go through these down times too, specially when I am physically tired or if there are difficult challenges or negative circumstances that happen. Thankfully, so far, i’ve always bounced back and regained my energy and determination. I guess I just try to focus on the positive, and being grateful that I am doing what I love doing. Plus what always comes at the right time are emails or texts from moms who really take the time to say “thanks” or tell us how much they enjoy our events or read our website or publications. It is just so inspiring to know that we are actually touching lives and as one mom told me, we are “creating happy memories” for them. At the end of the day this is what gets me going!
Chris: How do you balance your work and different activities with your family life?
Janice: Maintaining balance is something i have to work on constantly. But I have several strategies/reminders for myself this which I try to always keep in mind:
1) Knowing my priorities. When there are schedule conflicts, it is easy to decide which one to attend to first if you know your priorities.
2) Of course sometimes, being a responsible and professional businesswoman, specially that Im in the service industry, it is not always possible to drop everything. Having a supportive husband and an efficient team is essential. My husband and I are partners in raising our kids and partners in business. If i cant avoid attending to the business, then my husband attends to the children. If he cannot, then I take over. IN the same manner, if we are both needed for something by our children, we are blessed with an efficient team to handle our businesses and still keep our clients happy.
3) As much as possible, when with the kids, be PRESENT. Not only physically but mentally and psychologically present. CONNECT with them for even just a few minutes a day, and that usually means turning off the gadgets/ tv/ and talk to them, read stories, do something with them, sit down with them on the floor, get goofy with them, talk in their language, get to know them. 🙂
4) Always make time for things that matter. My husband and i go out of the country once a year, just the two of us, to reconnect and bond. We also take the time to go on trips with our kids whether around the country or abroad because time away from home for us, is the best way to bond with them. When school schedules and client permits, we bring them along to our events and to our work- so that we are together more, but also for future training for them so they can take over the businesses from us and we can retire already. HAHA!:)
Chris: I am sure there are many moms out there who wants to follow your footsteps… do you have a message for them?
Janice: For moms who want to be as crazy busy (and as happy and fulfilled) as me ? Find your passion and pursue it to the hilt! If it’s something you are passionate about, it will never feel like work! That is worth some looking into right? 🙂
Get to read more about Janice from her personal blog, janicevillanueva.com.