This single mom works hard to run three successful restaurants and everybody loves her – especially her daughter! How does she do it?
In this episode, we are visited by the Martha Stewart of the Midwest, Jo Marie Scaglia, whose fast-fresh concept makes Kansas City a better place. Some people call her the “Salad Lady,” because her two locations of The Mixx and their sister restaurant, Caffetteria, focus on fresh, healthy foods. She’s crazy inventive, and she’s really good at what she does. She’s also a solo mom to a super smart, totally adorbs daughter. Jo Marie talks about how she makes it all work.
In this episode, we talk about…
[1:19] Jo Marie’s background and how she started her business
Jo Marie’s life has been different than the one she pictured, but she has embraced all the twists and turns. She grew up in a conservative, Catholic family with an older brother and a younger sister. Since childhood, Jo Marie has been nomadic, a dreamer, and a bit of a perfectionist. She marches to the beat of her own drum.
In 2005, Jo Marie started her business and worked 120 hours a week. She was up at 6 AM and in bed at 1 AM. When she was 39, she got pregnant unexpectedly and her daughter Star was born. As you have a young child, it seems like the hardest thing you have ever done. Now a decade later, she thinks having a preteen is the hardest thing she has ever done.
[4:03] Solo parenting as an entrepreneur
When you own your own business, it doesn’t stop when you have a baby. You have to put out fires constantly. In addition to running two businesses, Jo Marie was redoing her house and taking care of her daughter. She recalls taking around a month off, and then going back to working as much as she could with her daughter in her lap.
Even now, business is constant. You can be in touch with people in so many different ways, so you have to juggle your texts, social media, and emails. People can always get a hold of you and you feel obligated to get back to them. Jo Marie shares that she does her best to find balance between all of her responsibilities.
[8:27] Leading by example and being a good role model
Jo Marie was raised in restaurants, and she has certainly involved her daughter in her business as well. Star has absorbed these experiences and the work ethic she sees from Jo Marie. She is watching and listening, and if you as a parent set and lead by a good example, your children will pick up qualities from you.
[10:15] Involving your parents as a solo parent
Over the years, Jo Marie has been thankful that her parents have been involved grandparents for her daughter. Star has a special bond with her grandmother, and that relationship is valuable for everyone involved. Of course sometimes you will disagree with your parents, but picking your battles is important. There is no need to sweat the small stuff.
[11:30] Handling things that don’t go as planned
Jo Marie believes that everything has its time and place and everything has a start and an end. She describes herself as “an all or nothing person”. Making the decision to close a business that wasn’t working out isn’t something she has ever backed down from.
As she gets older, Jo Marie continues to learn more about herself. It also helps to see herself reflected in her daughter.
[14:27] Finding support and caregivers outside the family
As a solo parent, you need a caregiver to help with your child. There are people that you bring into your life and they become like family. Jo Marie has had to learn to let people into her life a bit more over the years, and she has had great luck with caregivers.
Jo Marie tends to find caregivers through word of mouth. She uses her intuition and goes with her gut feeling. She did have one experience with a caregiver that wasn’t a good fit, and she recognized that quickly and made the change. It’s okay to tell someone that you respect them, but the situation isn’t working out.
[19:13] Family meals for solo parents
Jo Marie and her daughter have a garden, and they both choose what they want to grow. Then they can pull things from the garden and cook together. As life gets busier and Star gets older, however, it gets harder to set aside that time. The passion of cooking a meal is translated into the marketplace concept of Jo Marie’s restaurant.
You don’t have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen to have access to good, flavorful, healthy meals. There are alternatives, and Jo Marie’s business is one of them. She still believes in cooking in the kitchen with your children, but she also recognizes that families may not have time for it on a regular basis.
[23:30] Spending quality time with your children
Parents and children can connect over activities such as cooking. You can create rituals that allow for even small amounts of quality time. While some people might think that 15 minutes is not enough time, being present is more important than the length of time spent.
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