Be Brave – Reimagining Hustle with Gillian Astarita

My big takeaway:

Be brave, and ignore the expectations of others.

Gillian Astarita is a life coach for moms. Her main focus is helping moms overcome mom guilt (a favorite topic on the podcast!)

In this episode, Gillian helps us unpack where guilt comes from (hint: expectations), we chat about how success = peace, and she gives us one of the best pep talks yet!

Links from the show:

Show Notes:

[00:00:00] Roxanne: Podcasting from my closet in Northern Japan. This is re-imagining hustle, a podcast for entrepreneurial parents, creating a life where business and parenthood live peacefully in the same space. I’m your host Roxanne market, a mom of two micro-business coach and serial entrepreneur on a journey to prove that it is possible to do what you love without sacrificing all your precious time.

Let’s do this.

Welcome back to Reimagining Hustle. I am thrilled to chat with my guest today. I can’t wait for us all to meet you, Gillian Astarita. Welcome so much to the podcast.

[00:00:45] Gillian: Hi. Thank you so much for having me.

[00:00:47] Roxanne: Yeah. Gillian, this is gonna be so fun. I, I told you before we started recording, but I definitely have been like reading through your website, looking through all your stuff, and I can’t wait to dive in and just like learn what is inside your brain. I just can’t wait. So will you tell us about you and the work that you do and also a little bit of your journey to get there?

[00:01:07] Gillian tells us about her journey

[00:01:07] Gillian: Sure. So, um, I’m a life coach for moms and what my main focus is on is, um, helping moms to overcome mom guilt, all of like that horrible mom guilt that holds moms back from doing anything for themselves. Um, I believe so strongly that, you know, moms were the these amazing people before they became moms. So you’re an incredible mom.

Sure. But there’s still that, that person in there that deserves your time and attention. Um, and so that’s, that’s the, the crux of my work, um, and how I got. So I became a stay at home mom by choice when my first daughter was, um, four months old. And, you know, I went through that typical stage of this is great, I’m home with my kid.

And then the next stage of this is so lonely. Uh, the next stage of like, okay, what do I do now? I gotta find something. Um, and so I went back into my roots. Um, I was an entrepreneur before I had her. And um, and yeah, it just kind of came naturally after that where I started a blog, started connecting with other moms, hearing some of the issues that we were all experiencing together.

And, you know, I kind of broke through mom guilt after a couple years of being home. And once I was hearing this phrase being thrown around so much, I had never used the phrase itself before. Um, but once I heard it, once I heard how it was described, I said, ah, that’s, I know that. Um, and so here I am.

[00:02:31] Roxanne: wow. Wow. Wow So if you’ve listened to the podcast before, you know that this is one of the questions that I ask every single guest that I have on the show , do you experience guilt around entrepreneurship and motherhood? So you were an entrepreneur before, uh, what did you do before?

[00:02:46] Gillian: I was an event planner.

[00:02:47] Roxanne: Oh, very cool. Okay, so you’ve got all sort. Oh, that’s, that adds a whole fun new layer to it. Um, so, okay, so you hadn’t used this phrase mom guilt before.

[00:02:59] Gillian: Right.

[00:03:00] Roxanne: What did you call it Instead? What, Like what, what was it in your mind?

[00:03:05] Gillian: You know, it was like this, this feeling of, of what, of expectation, what I should be doing, what this should look like, what I. Feel, you know,

[00:03:16] Roxanne: yeah.

[00:03:16] Gillian: should have felt this overwhelming joy and I should have been so happy cuz I was so fortunate to be home with my kid. Like that was a choice I could make. But there was this kind of like gaping hole and um, and I couldn’t put.

Like a real feeling to it. I couldn’t put words to it, um, but it just was this overwhelming feeling. And, and that’s what made me start, um, blogging cuz I always found journaling to really like expose some of these things. Like I couldn’t put words to in the moment, but when I would go back and look through these journal, these, um, yeah, the journal entries, I saw these consistent feeling.

So the guilt was really just this expectation and then what reality hit me with.

[00:04:00] Roxanne: That makes so much sense. So I’m curious. Uh, because like I said, we talk, we talk about guilt, right? Like we talk about guilt on the podcast, but a lot of times we talk about it in relation to being an entrepreneur and a mom at the same time, right? Like that, that’s kind of the, the juxtaposition of worlds, right?

That we talk about and, and the guilt that lies at that intersection. But there’s also just this mom guilt that kind of creeps in and exists with motherhood, even entrepreneurship aside with motherhood alone. And, and so I’m curious, with your clientele, are you working with mothers who are stay at home moms? Are you working with mothers who are working, whether it be for somebody else or for themselves? Like what is, do you find guilt coming up more frequently, I think is what I’m trying to ask with, with one particular group of mothers.

[00:04:54] Does one group of mother experience more guilt than others?

[00:04:54] Gillian: So I actually don’t like, I work with all moms because it comes in, in so many different forms. Um, as a stay-at-home mom, at first I was, uh, connecting with other stay-at-home moms and there’s this guilt of, Oh, I’m not bringing in an income. I’m not pulling my. Weight, you know, and it, it kind of comes in that form.

But then there are working moms who are feeling guilty cuz, Oh, I’m not home with my kids enough. I’m not doing enough for them. Like, I’m not seeing them. Somebody else is raising them. It just, it comes from everywhere. And I think there are so many expectations placed on moms just from everywhere, that no matter what situation you’re in, you may have pictured it differently.

You might wanna see it differently and it’s not shaping up the way you maybe had envisioned. But it really seems to be hitting like almost every mom. I will say there are some moms that I’ve spoken to and they kind of have moved past it, and that’s, you know, that’s a wonderful thing. Like that’s kind of what I’m pushing for is that let’s, let’s all get to that point.

Like, none of us deserve this, this horrible feeling when there are plenty of other like, actual horrible things or like difficult things or, you know what I mean?

[00:05:59] Roxanne: Right. Like let’s not spend the energy on guilt.

[00:06:02] Gillian: Yes. Yeah. So it’s everywhere.

[00:06:07] Roxanne: Do you think that expectations, Cause I, I’m hearing this pattern as you’re speaking of this. Do you think that expectations is almost the, like the culprit when it comes to mom?

[00:06:16] Gillian: That’s what I’m finding when I have these conversations. You know, is it personal expectations sometimes, but when you dig a little bit deeper, it’s expectations of. My parents, you know, my parents did it this way and I, I expected to do it that way, but I don’t wanna do it that way. Or they expect me to do it that way.

And now I’m hearing, um, you know, oh, you’re not doing it the way that we did it. And that’s how it should be done. Like, there is the generational expectation, there’s also societal expectations, um, which I think like that’s kind of harder to break through just because that is coming from everywhere, but.

You know, like we kind of have to, we have to be brave, you know, we have to be brave about it because these expectations, like they’re everywhere, but they’re also not said, Hey, this, this is the my expectation of you. It’s more it, it comes in more like this is how it’s done, this is how we need to do it.

This is what we suggest, but strongly suggest, you know? And, um, it. Nobody is saying, This is my expectation of you, or you’re not reaching my expectations. It’s more, um, it’s subtle. It’s more subtle.

[00:07:27] Roxanne: Almost like how we’ve internalized those expectations, I feel like is Yeah, that, that makes a lot of sense. So, okay. So can I ask you a really hard question then?

[00:07:37] Gillian: Oh, okay.

[00:07:38] Do you still experience guilt?

[00:07:38] Roxanne: Do you still experience guilt?

[00:07:41] Gillian: I do subtle experience guilt, um,

[00:07:44] Roxanne: It’s refreshing. It’s honestly like so refreshing and validating to hear you say that.

[00:07:49] Gillian: Um, yeah, I absolutely do. And you know, I think I, I, I know how to recognize it so I know how to kind of like work through it, but like it’s there. Um, for example, I am an entrepreneur. Um, and I’m a stay-at-home mom and so the way that I structure my days, my kids are still young. Um, they’re both toddlers, so they still get their either nap or upstairs quiet time cuz I’m not ready to let my older toddler have the run of the house, yet

[00:08:19] Roxanne: Oh, yes.

[00:08:21] Gillian: Um, and this is my work time, so it’s, it’s. There’s a time crunch for me to get things done. And so I find myself thinking about work things while I’m with my kids. You know, like my mind’s just wandering there and then, and then I feel guilty about it cuz I keep saying I’m gonna be present for my kids and then present for my business.

Like there’s gonna be this divide, but it seeps in and then I feel really guilty about it.

[00:08:47] Roxanne: Yeah, it’s such a great ideal, right? Like yes, be present, be where your feet are. But I swear like there’s something about being a mother that just like we can’t compartmentalize things anymore. Those boxes just break down and everything seeps in between the two

[00:09:01] Gillian: Yep.

[00:09:01] Roxanne: does. Yeah. So, So when you are in that moment, what is the first step that you.

[00:09:09] Gillian: I always need to take a breath because if I take a breath, I can take a pause. Like it just allows me a second to recognize what I’m feeling, you know, and, and then I do tell myself I can do this later. Um, but I usually also have a notepad on me, . Um, because if the idea’s coming, like it could be that, um, that like golden nugget idea and I don’t wanna lose that.

Um, so I do write that down and say I will do this later, but it is here for me.

[00:09:41] Roxanne: Mm mm That’s a great suggestion. Gillian, through all of this, you’ve gone through a lot of change over the last many years, right? Like going from being an event planner, having kids choosing to be a stay at home mom, shifting into this coaching, like that’s a lot of change. What does success look like to you these days?

[00:10:00] What does success look like?

[00:10:00] Gillian: Success to me really just feels peace. If I can feel peace in the decisions that I’ve made, regardless of what other people think, to me that’s successful. Um, and there is a process to it. It’s not like immediate peace, but there’s that feeling of, okay, this is going in a good direction and I am the one in control, like I am able to make this decision.

Like if something, say something doesn’t work out in the business or personally, whatever it is, if I’m able to say, Okay, that was not meant to be right now, I’m at peace with this. I can let it go or I can, you know, shift into something that will feel more aligned with what I’m going for right now.

[00:10:47] Roxanne: That’s a great answer. I love asking this question because in, I’ve done dozens of interviews at this point. Nobody has ever given me the same answer, and so even though there’s some similarities and some crossover, it’s so interesting. So peace. What a great, what a great answer. So, okay, so you were an entrepreneur before, then you have kids and now you are in this, like.

New version of this entrepreneur world, How has this changed you as a person being a parent and an entrepreneur?

[00:11:23] Gillian: Let’s see. That’s such a good question, especially because I was an entrepreneur before I was a parent, and now I am again, it, it does give me the ability to, to see the difference. Um, before, as an event planner, everything was planned to the minute it had to be. Um, now I do find I have to be a little more flexible. With my time, with my patience, like when my kids are, you know, trying to talk to me and I’m like, Let me just get my idea on paper.

I don’t wanna forget this. Um, so I actually am a lot more flexible now. Um, and I am also a little more focused now because I have these time constraints. If I wanna remain present with my kids, I really have to be focused during that like hour and a half or so that I am getting to really devote fully to business.

[00:12:16] Roxanne: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I feel like becoming a parent kind of, it makes you almost like a superpower at time management, even though we feel like we never have it together, we get so much done. Do you find the same?

[00:12:31] Gillian: I do, I do, and like I said, even though I was an event planner, I am way better at time management now.

[00:12:38] Roxanne: Yeah, but I, But like you said, with that flexibility, that’s so interesting. Oh, Gillian, this is so fun. What do you wish that people knew about being a parent and an entrepreneur at the same time?

[00:12:51] Parent/Entrepreneur?

[00:12:51] Gillian: I wish they knew that it was possible. I think some people avoid it, just thinking this isn’t my time for it. Um, it is your time for it if you want it to be. It is possible, but it is hard. Um, there, there will probably be some sacrifices that are necessary and like where you sacrifices your choice. Um, personally, you know, I probably could spend more time on my business and less time with my kids.

It’s just a choice I’m making at this point in my life. But, you know, kids change so quickly, they grow so quickly that your availability for your business will change quickly. You know, your priorities will change. So it’s possible. Just be ready to be flexible and, um, and make some compromise.

[00:13:41] Roxanne: Ah. That’s such an encouraging it. It reminds me of something you said earlier of just be brave, right? Like, if this is the the time, this is absolutely the time. So Gillian, I wanna ask you a question about the name of this podcast. So, uh, we called the podcast Reimagining Hustle. And the reason that I named it that is when I started my entrepreneur journey, I also was not a parent and I totally bought into hustle culture, right?

I mean, I loved it. It was the hustle, hustle, hustle. Go, go, go. Work hard, play hard, but there’s never actually time to play. Cause you’re still working hard. But you know that, that almost like a badge of honor of like, Oh, I only got four hours of sleep last night and I’m so, you know what I mean? Like, I bought into it big time, and then I had my first child and my whole world stopped.

I mean, everything stopped and I knew instantly that what I was doing was not sustainable. And so I’ve been on this quest to reimagine hustle since then. And so I would love to know how do you and have you reimagined hustle..

[00:14:39] How do you reimagine hustle?

[00:14:39] Gillian: hustle. So Reimagining hustle for me has meant hustling during specified time. You know, like work as hard as you can. Between this hour and this hour, and like when it’s over, it’s over. And that has encouraged me to find different time management approaches. Um, you know, to try using timers when in the past I wouldn’t have used timers, um, to reprioritize my to-do list.

I, I do love to-do lists. Um, I’m just that kind of person, but I treat them differently now. I definitely. Reorganize them and put order of importance. You know, like, you know that your kid might get up a little early today, so what would you, what are the non-negotiables like? That’s, to me, what re-imagining hustle means is really honing in on the most important things, um, and the time that I have available.

[00:15:36] Roxanne: Mm, What a great way to reimagine, hustle. I love that idea. Um, Gillian, I’ve already, like you have been just full of so much information. Will you give us a 30 second pep talk for other parents and entrepreneurs on this journey?

[00:15:53] Pep Talk!

[00:15:53] Gillian: I would love to, so I would start my pep talk off like this. If not now, when there is no better time than right now to do what you wanna do because your kids are watching you. They are absorbing like sponges. You know that they do, and so when they see you going for your dreams, you’re teaching them it’s okay to go for your dreams.

So get out there and do what you love because you’ll teach your children it’s okay to do what you love and you’ll feel like yourself again. Don’t lose yourself in parenthood. Go for your dreams and your kids will appreciate you for it.

[00:16:26] Roxanne: Mm. I need more microphones to drop because you just keep dropping them. Gillian, thank you. What a great pep talk. Okay, We need more of you. Tell us where we can get you. Where can we find you?

[00:16:38] Gillian: Sure. So, um, I work under, my company name is Guided Parenthood. I’m on Instagram and I’m on Facebook. Um, and you can get in touch with me on either of those. And, um, I also have a workshop coming up. It’s called Eliminating Mom Guilt. It is free and I would love to help any and all moms who are ready to break up with mom guilt. Um, come, we will talk about it. We will get our three step process and, um, and I would love to see you there. It’s, uh, it’s next week, but there will always, it will always be available, um, because I truly believe that all mom moms deserve to eliminate mom guilt.

So this will always be something that you have access to.

[00:17:21] Roxanne: That’s awesome. So we will make sure that we get that information out quickly so that we can have that, that’s what a valuable thing, and to offer that free as well. My goodness. What a gift. What an absolute gift. We’ll make sure to link everything in the show notes. Gillian, this has been absolutely inspiring for me.

So thank you so much for the gift of your time, for your wisdom for sharing. What a fun conversation to have around mom guilt. I’m glad we got to dive into that a little bit too. So thank you for the gift of your time.

[00:17:49] Gillian: Thank you so much for having me. It was such a pleasure.

[00:17:53] Roxanne: Thanks for listening to Reimagining Hustle with Roxanne Merket. If you like the show and want more, check out and please leave a review wherever you get your podcasts. We’ll be back next week with another episode. See you soon.