Since having Lawson, I’ve found a few resources that have helped me navigate this thing we call motherhood. One of the best is Modern Milk, a community wellness center located in Scottsdale whose mission it is to “educate, encourage and empower today’s modern mom.” With breastfeeding support, pre- and post-natal education and fitness classes, Modern Milk has something for every stage no matter where you are on the parenthood journey. Lawson and I have taken their Mommy and Me yoga class (so chaotic and fun!) and we attended their Halloween party this fall. Modern Milk also has an on-site naturopathic pediatrician that has helped Sybil with her reflux and gas pains. Not to mention, they have the cutest boutique of must have items!
Every time I check out their site, I find another class I want to take. I honestly could not rave about Modern Milk more. All of this makes me so excited to welcome Modern Milk’s owner, Stephanie Nguyen, to the next installment of my spotlight on local creatives and businesses here in the Phoenix area. I admire Stephanie’s honesty about all aspects of parenthood. Read on for a Q&A with her!
Me: What is your background? What inspired you to create and open Modern Milk?
Stephanie: My background is as a labor and delivery nurse and women’s health nurse practitioner. I’ve worked in women’s health for over 13 years. After I had my own kids I really became passionate about breast-feeding and realized there wasn’t a lot of help out there for moms who struggled. That’s what inspired me to start Modern Milk.
Me: What is a typical day like for you?
Stephanie: A typical day for me is off and running from the get-go! I try to wake up between 5 and 5:30 to check emails and get some work done before the kids wake up. On a good day I will shower and be ready before they wake up, too. Once the kids wake up it’s get ready for school time – ahhhh!! This involves breakfast, get dressed, brush hair and teeth, shoes and making lunches. And of course the kids usually move at a snail’s pace, so I usually have to wake them up pretty early to make sure we are on time (which usually means right on the dot without a minute to spare!) My husband or I will drop my oldest daughter off at kindergarten at 8 AM and and my youngest goes to preschool two mornings a week. When both the kids are in school, I try to utilize that time to see patients for breastfeeding at Modern Milk. On the days that I have my youngest with me, I either work from home or bring her to Modern Milk with me and put her in our childcare area. Usually when I’m at Modern Milk I’m either seeing patients or teaching classes. The rest of the time I try to work from home as much as I can just because it’s easier with the kids. We don’t have regular childcare, so between my husband and I, we juggle the kids and have to do what we can to make it work! Luckily we have a great staff at Modern Milk who fills in a lot of the gaps for us. They help us keep the store running smoothly even when we aren’t there. In the afternoon I’m lucky if my youngest will nap for me, but usually if she does I have to wake her up to go pick up her sister from school at 3:00. Then we head home, maybe do a homework worksheet, start getting dinner ready so we can hopefully eat an early dinner and do bath and bedtime. I would love to say my kids go to bed at 7:30 but I’m lucky if that ever happens! By the time we do bath, get ready for bed, read books it’s usually between 8 and 8:30 before anyone is actually in bed. The afternoon with the kids always seems super busy to me, I can rarely get much work done! Sometimes I’ll see patients in the afternoon and my husband will do the afternoon with the kids. It all just depends on the day and how many moms we have scheduled for consults. Once everyone is asleep I work a bit, return any remaining emails from the day, read or maybe watch something on Netflix with my hubby. Then we go to sleep and wait for someone to climb in our bed for some middle-of-the-night snuggles :-)
Me: How do you balance your business and family?
Stephanie: Ha! This is the never ending struggle for moms. It’s hard. And I definitely don’t feel like there’s ever a true balance. When I’m with my kids I’m still thinking about work and when I’m at work I’m thinking about my kids. One thing that I have found helpful is getting up early and getting a head start on the day, so then a lot of the busywork and technology aspect of work can be done before the kids are awake. I also find it helpful to write things down. If I get a task or an idea out of my head and onto paper, it helps me relax more and feel more organized. On that note, I definitely am not the most organized person. However, I have noticed when I put more time and effort into organizing my day and my week in advance, things run a lot smoother at home and at work. For example, if I meal plan and grocery shop on the weekends, the weeks are sooo much better and I’m not making a million runs to the grocery store. When you are a business owner and a mom, there’s always going to be a never ending to do list. You’re always going to go to bed thinking that there’s still more work to be done. It’s just part of the deal and I’m ok with that!
Me: What’s the biggest challenge in owning your own business?
Stephanie: The biggest challenge is that you are always working. There’s no clocking in and clocking out and having a day off. Work will always be there and will always need your attention. Luckily, my husband and I run the business together, so between the two of us and our staff, we manage to get most of our tasks accomplished. However, this also means that we are constantly talking about Modern Milk and what needs to be done! At dinner time, at bedtime, at family gatherings… You name it!
Me: Modern Milk has grown quickly and recently underwent an expansion to add new classrooms and a space for childcare. What’s next for Modern Milk?
Stephanie: This is the topic of many conversations between my husband and I. We definitely have our hearts set on opening another store, where and when are yet to be determined. In the meantime, we are always looking to add new classes to our schedule and hope to add more lactation consultants in the future as well.
Me: The products you’ve curated for your retail space seem to be the best of the best. How do you decide what products to carry? Do you have a #1 best seller?
Stephanie: We choose our products very carefully because we want our customers to have access to only the best products. Good products go a long way and can last you through several kids. Most of our products are items that myself, our instructors, and our friends have used and loved. My husband and I also go to baby product conventions yearly and keep an eye out for the latest and greatest products. I would say our number one best seller is the Ollie Swaddle.
Me: I had difficulty breastfeeding both of my children beginning with painful, cracked nipples in the hospital. What advice do you have for mothers getting ready to embark on their breastfeeding journey?
Stephanie: Take a breastfeeding class before baby arrives and don’t wait too long before seeking help. I’ve had moms suffer through cracked nipples for two months before reaching out for help! This is unfortunate because it’s usually something we can fix in one visit. Imagine being able to avoid those two months of painful nursing just by scheduling one consultation. If you are struggling with breast-feeding, it truly is worth it to schedule lactation consult. It is one of the number one predictors for breastfeeding success.
Me: You launched a new series, Happy Mom School, in January. Can you tell us more about it?
Stephanie: Yes! I am so excited about this new project. The Happy Mom School was created to empower and support new moms through this amazing experience we call motherhood! This 8-week group meets once a week and is designed with the new mom in mind. Not only will moms learn current, expert information each week from our panel of amazing experts, but they will also bond with their baby and make new friends along the way. We want to do as much as we can to help moms ROCK this new mom gig!
Me: Last question….what’s the favorite vacation you’ve been on?
Stephanie: Without kids: honeymoon in Italy. Positano was my favorite town. With kids: definitely Disneyland at Christmas time!
Thank you for sharing Stephanie!
All photos courtesy of Modern Milk