The mom of three opens up about being a working parent, co-parenting, and why supporting other mom business owners is so important.

By Anna Halkidis
April 13, 2021
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An image of Kristin Cavallari.
Credit: Getty Images.

The title entrepreneur is one Kristin Cavallari can wear proudly. Starting her career in reality television, Cavallari has gone on to launch her multimillion-dollar business Uncommon James. What started as a jewelry line in 2017 has grown into a lifestyle brand with home goods, apparel, a children's clothing line called Little James, and the soon-to-launch Uncommon Beauty.

The mom of three—Camden Jack, 8, Jaxon Wyatt, 6, and Saylor James, 5—was open about the ups and downs of running a business while being a present parent on her latest reality show, Very Cavallari, which ran from 2018 to 2020.

"Balance is really important, which is different for everybody. And it took me a while to kind of figure out what balance means for me," she says. "But ultimately, I've always had a family bucket and a work bucket and work never spills over into family. Even filming Very Cavallari, I never filmed past 5 p.m.; I never filmed on the weekends because that's my time with my family—and those are just hard lines that I have."

While setting boundaries is critical, Cavallari says it takes a lot more than that. A few other tips for other small business owners: it's OK to ask for help, delegate to avoid burnout, take care of your physical and mental health, and seek out other business owners to get advice from and bounce ideas off of.

The latter is why it was a no-brainer for Cavallari to partner with protein snack brand Lorissa's Kitchen for Lorissa's List, a campaign supporting 40 diverse mom-owned small businesses this Mother's Day. Shoppers can head to the online gift destination to browse clothing, jewelry, beauty, home décor, and more, for that special caregiver in their life.

"Through the pandemic, we all learned how important it is to support small businesses and especially mom-owned businesses," says Cavallari. "As a mompreneur myself, I know how difficult it can be and how challenging it is at times." She's right: Nearly 100,000 small businesses closed permanently due to the pandemic, according to Yelp.com's Local Economic Impact Report released in September 2020, and 9 million fear they won't survive 2021.

During the pandemic, Cavallari says her company had to shift gears and put all the focus into e-commerce. At the same time, Uncommon James opened a third brick-and-mortar store in Dallas in March (there's one in Chicago and the flagship in Nashville). And Uncommon Beauty is launching on May 13 with five clean products—eye cream, foaming face wash cleanser, water gel-cream moisturizer, a vitamin C peptide serum (her favorite), and a mango lip balm. Working through the pandemic has taught her lessons in self-praise. "It's important to recognize your success," she says. "For a few years, I was so set on the future that I never took the time to be excited about something and now I'm realizing...just taking a step back and being like, 'Actually, it's really cool what we've done.' And it's important to celebrate those accomplishments."

She has also been working through another difficult change in her life too—a divorce from the father of her kids, former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler. Cavallari, who lives in the countryside of Nashville, now has her kids half the time and misses them "like crazy" when they are apart. On a positive note, she says she no longer feels "working mom guilt" because she makes sure to pack all her work responsibilities on the weeks she doesn't have her kids. And her co-parenting schedule has also helped her focus more on self-care.

"If we don't take care of ourselves, we can't take care of anybody else. And so, when I do get my kids back, I'm always ready to go; I have a ton of energy; I am so present," she says. "Last night, one of my kids was throwing a temper tantrum for probably two hours, and I was able to remain levelheaded, not lose my cool because I'm like, 'I'm losing them in two days. So, I'm going to power through this.' In a lot of ways, I'm focusing on the positives out of this adjustment."

What self-care looks like for Cavallari? A workout, a bath, face mask, and writing. "I have a five-minute journal—it's a gratitude journal," she says. "I think just starting and ending your day with gratitude is really important. And I've been doing that with my kids every night at dinner, we say what we're grateful for, and we say why we're grateful for it, and also, we say the best part of our day. I think happiness is a choice. And I think that if we really focus on what we do have rather than what we don't have, it seems as though everything becomes more abundant, and it's just a better mental way to be."

Anna Halkidis is the features editor at Parents.com. Keep up with her on Twitter and Instagram.