It’s Time For A Little Momma Swag…

It’s Time For A Little Momma Swag…


(bright classical music) – Hi, I’m Keri Murphy,
and welcome to Spotlight, where we showcase incredible
entrepreneurs and their story. And today’s guest is actually
really special to me, because as a mom, and someone
who’s running a business, I know first hand that
being a mother does not come with a road map. And a lot of times we’re navigating some pretty choppy waters. And at some point, you have to think, how do I take care of my
family, take care of myself, and help everyone feel good, and still wake up everyday
feeling great, yourself. I am so excited to bring you
the amazing maternity maven and founder of Momma
Swag, Lanitra Williams. Lanitra, thanks for joining us. – Thank you for having me. – We’ve had so many great
conversations about motherhood and it’s not easy. – No. – [Keri] (laughs) It’s not
easy, and you’re a mom of a … – 21-year-old. – [Keri] 21-year-old. – Yes. – And so, I’m excited to
talk about this story, too. But what was your inspiration
behind creating Momma Swag? – I actually got the idea when
I was pregnant with my son. And as I went along with my
career, building my career as a social worker, and also as a nurse, I still felt like there were
gaps that were not addressed. And so I decided I wanted
to fill those gaps myself. – I love that about you,
because you’re like, you know what, I’m seeing
something that’s missing, and as a perinatal nurse,
or a maternity nurse, you see first hand what
moms are experiencing. What are some of those
things that you see? – I see isolation, I
see being overwhelmed, I see not knowing what
resources are out there, I see not knowing how to … If they know there are resources they don’t know where to find them. – Right. – And I see a lot of feelings of, ‘Am I doing this right?’ ‘I’m not sure if I’m doing this right.’ – Can any mothers out
there relate to that? (laughter)
Am I doing this right? And I don’t know if there is
a right or wrong, Lanitra, but what I do know is
that we need community. – Yes. – And you are so committed to helping mothers foster this community. – Yes, I am very committed
to that because I feel, again, as a nurse and a social worker, that having community is very important for your overall well-being,
but also for my own experience as a mother, I don’t know
if I would have met some of the goals I had had I not
had community of women with me. – And Momma’s Swag’s a little
bit different because a lot of new moms will go to
like a Mommy and Me class, or they just go find other moms thinking that is a
sufficient enough community. How is Momma’s Swag different? – Momma’s Swag is different
because it is focused on the well-being of
the mother, primarily. It is not focused on the baby. – [Keri] Right. – Because everything
is focused on the baby. – I was going to say, you mean we get to take care of ourselves? (laughs) – Yes, absolutely. It’s about moms taking care of themselves, and moms building community
to take care of each other. – That’s so wonderful. So, you actually have a woman in your life that kind of inspired
you, from an early age. Tell me about her. – So, my grandmother, she
inspired me from a very early age, in many ways I see her as my blueprint. She was very charismatic,
she was very smart, she was brilliant. And she achieved a lot
of firsts as a woman, and as an African-American, where I lived up in the bay area. – And what were some of those firsts? – Well, she was the first black, first female elected official
in West Contra Costa County. She was the first board member on the Association of
California Hospital Districts. – Wow. – She was the first board member
of the hospital in my town, which I was born at, also. – That’s amazing. I mean that’s definitely
someone to aspire to, and so is that kind of what
has given you the gumption to just build out this
vision for yourself? – It’s definitely have … She was a role model, and is. She’s passed on now, but she
still is a role model for me. – [Keri] Sure. – Yes. – And so you actually went
to school for social work? – I did. – Okay, and tell me why
you made the transition into nursing. – Well, I like to say that,
I’ve been asked before, “Well, why did you leave social work?” And I never feel like I left social work, I feel that I am adding
more tools to my belt as a holistic caregiver. – Right. – So the reason why I went
into nursing was I wanted to work with moms, I wanted
to work and support them during their pregnancy and afterwards. But I only saw nurses doing
that work once I graduated. And I was so passionate
about working with moms, that I decided that I was
going to go back to school. – I love that, you’re like, you know what, I just want to get focused on something that I’m really passionate about, ’cause we talk about this so
much on Inspired Living TV is that you’ve gotta build a
business around doing something that you’re really passionate about. Because that’s where the joy comes, that’s where the wealth comes, that’s where the change comes. – Absolutely, absolutely. And I also feel moms
have this same feeling about their children. That whatever it takes to
be able to birth that baby, or whatever it takes to
be able to have something to come to fruition or whatever it takes to meet those needs, that’s what we do. – Yeah, and talk about whatever it takes, you were pregnant, in college. – Yes.
– Single mom. – Yes. – Do you also feel like
that is part of why … Well, you said it is why you
actually wanted to start this. – Absolutely. I got pregnant my third
year at UC Berkeley, and I literally (laughs)
I had my son on my back and my backpack in the front,
how’s that as a visual? – (laughs) Wow, that’s a
whole lot to carry sister. – I did, I did. I did, and I was walking around like that. And there was a group that
I was a part of on campus, it was called the Student-Parent Project. And there were women there that I went through this process with,
and had it not been for them, I would not have made those goals. I would not have made
those goals if it weren’t for my friend Deedee, my friend Janette, my friend Ruby, my friend Marisa. We watched each other’s babies, we cried on each other’s shoulder’s, we babysat when papers were due, when midterms needed to be studied for. We did all of those
things, and to this day, we are all friends. – That’s amazing. – Yes, and so I want to
recreate something like that for women everywhere. It was an amazing experience. – Yeah, you know I know
that when you are a mom, again, whether you’re a
new mom, or you’re birthing your fifth child, there are
so many things that come up that you weren’t expecting. – Oh yes. – I mean for me, the
lack of sleep (laughs). – Yes. – I knew it was coming,
but there’s just so much that you can prepare for: lactation, breast feeding, all of that. You think, how easy,
they’re gonna get milk, it’s gonna be good (laughs). – Absolutely. – And it is hard.
– It is. – And so you also help moms
on that side of things. Helping them with lactation, and sleep, and all of those things where
whether you have a partner or not, those things are difficult those first few months to the first year. – Yes, they are. They’re very difficult. I am a lactation consultant,
and I do work with moms around lactation, and
often there’s this thought that moms are just supposed
to know what to do. – [Keri] Yeah. – And it’s not true. – I have to tell you a funny story. When I was pregnant, I
did not take any classes, I didn’t read a book. I’m like, you know,
I’m just gonna do this. I’m gonna, you know, figure this out, and a week before I had my daughter, I decided last minute to
take a breast-feeding class just for fun,
(Lanitra laughs) I was, you know, why not. And I’m telling you, I met a woman there, who ended up coming to my house every week for the first few months,
because it was hard. I had breakdowns, like, I had no idea what it would do to my body, my mindset. I’m like, no wonder why
they use sleep deprivation as a torture tool (laughs). – Yes. – It is hard, and if I would have known there was a resource like you. I’m like, I really, I thank
the Lord I went to that class, or else I don’t know what I
would have done as a single mom. – And you know this is something, I’m glad that you brought that up, because oftentimes, us women
who are very career driven, and are used to figuring things out, and we’re used to being
in control and being able to fly on and just … – [Keri] Wear that cape. (laughs) – Yes, when we’re able, and I say ‘we’ – [Keri] Right. – are able to do that, we
think that things are gonna fit in a neat box, and babies do not do that. – They do not fit in a box. (laughs) – I tell all of my clients, all of them, I tell them, “So I need
you to know that the baby is the king or the queen,
and you are the slave,” because you are. You are, you are for
that first time, you are. And the sleep deprivation is real. The difficulty with breast feeding, some women do have trouble with
that, and I’m here for that. – [Keri] Yeah. – And it’s really important
for moms to feel reassured, and for them to feel really confident with what they’re doing, and
know that they are a good mom, and they got this, and
that they’re made for this, and they can do this. – Man, Lanitra, if I
could’ve had you on the phone (Lanitra laughs)
at least once a week when I was going through
those first few months, again, I’m so thankful for
the woman that was there, and the family support. But, again, it doesn’t matter
if you’re with someone or not this is something, as a mom,
that feels very isolating. – Absolutely. And I’m glad you bring that up, of if you’re with someone
or not because the thing is is dad is going through it, too. – [Keri] Right, yeah. (laughs) – He is going through, it too. – He’s like where is my wife. (laughs) – Yes, he is going through it, too. The baby cries, not only the mom’s there, the baby cries out loud. – [Keri] Yes, that is true.
(Lanitra laughs) That is true. – So the dad is up,
too, and dads oftentime do not know how to support their partner. – [Keri] Right. – And I’m here for that, too. – [Keri] That’s so great. – So dads don’t know, well, they feel like they are not a part of the process. – Probably a bit helpless. – They do, they feel helpless and sometimes they also may feel left out, and I can help them, to show them how they can be a part of the process
and be supportive, as well. – Lanitra, what you offer is so needed. So, I’m just excited for you, and for all the women out
there, and dads out there, who get the opportunity to work with you. So, give us a few tips on
what we can do to try to find that balance, it’s like
I hate to say that word, but as a mom, you need
to take care of you, too. So what are a few tips that
you would give a new mom? – One tip I would give a
mom is to have patience with yourself, and to
know that you are learning and growing, and to always
have someone that you trust that has grounded wisdom
that you can talk to. – [Keri] That’s good. – That’s very very very important, because there will be
times that you feel like, I don’t know if I’m doing this right. – [Keri] Yeah. – But having someone
that’s in your corner, that’s very important. Also, ask for help. Ask for help. – Did you hear that ladies? Ask for help. (laughter) – Ask for help. Oftentimes, a lot of professional women that I work with, we feel like we know it, we read it in the book,
we’ll go on Google. Dr. Google is not
(Keri laughs) all encompassing. – [Keri] Right, right. (laughs) – Ask for help, it’s okay. – [Keri] Yeah. – And it’s okay not to know it all. And the other thing is,
know that your baby is there and will be there, and will love you. And you need to love you, too, so that you can love your
baby because, as I say, “If momma is good, baby is good.” – Ah, beautiful. Lanitra, thank you so much. If people want to find out more about the services that you provide, and how to work with you, and if, again, if you’re a new mom, talking
to Lanitra is an absolute must. How do they do that? – They can contact me on my website, it’s www.mommaswag.com, M-O-M-M-A. – Got it. And we’ll have the link right down here for you to check it out. So, thank you, so much, Lanitra. Love what you’re doing in the world. And thank you for watching
this Spotlight interview. If this inspired you, please
share it with someone else, because us mamas need to stay together, and really build a community. I would love to hear from you, so please post your comments below, and as always, remember, to keep dreaming it,
living it, and being it. Until next time. (bright classical music)

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