Each one of us knows at least one of those special women -- the woman who may have tucked us in at night as a mother, taught us in a classroom as our teacher, given us pride in our heritage as a member of our family. This Mother's Day, May 10, FOX News wants to honor those women who have shown courage and given inspiration in every facet of their lives.
Roxanne Reed is like so many American mothers in that she struggles everyday to balance running a successful business and raising her two young children. What sets Roxanne apart is that she is also a military wife and a mentor to other military spouses looking to start a business. In 2001, she began making trendy clothing for military wives and their families...founding the companies "Jane Wayne Gear" and "All Fired Up Candle". In an effort to help other military wives achieve the same sort of entrepreneurial success she has, Roxanne launched a mentoring program called "Building A Business Military Spouse Style"!
Define "mom"--what does that word mean to you? What is your main focus/priority as a mother?
I feel very lucky and honored to be a mom. I have to say that being a mother is one of the biggest adventures of my life everyday providing a special moment or a learning curve. I never realized how much you could actually love someone until I held my children, they are the best things I will ever do in my life. My main focus is to make sure they are happy and ready for the world, as they get older. I want them to always know that they can be anything they want in life and to not be scared to try new things. I would have to say that my main focus is to love them, nurture them, be their cheerleader through the good and the bad and to show them through my own example that life is not perfect, but it can be a lot of fun if you just look at it through optimistic eyes.
You are a mother, an entrepreneur, and a military wife. How do you balance and prioritize everything in your life?
I don't sleep…just kidding! Trust me there are days when my “perfect plan” doesn’t work very well and I’ve learned when I start to feel like I’m swimming with concrete blocks – to just step away and take a breather. I have to say years ago I had a pivotal moment that helped me answer this question for myself. My husband had just left for his second deployment to
My mother-in-law Annette came to visit during this difficult time and gave me a good old fashioned heart to heart as an one experienced mom and working woman to another…one that changed me forever. If I could sum up how I keep it all together and what I tell others in my mentoring program is simple, “I finally accepted and felt confident that I could do anything in life I wanted, but I also learned that I couldn’t do it ALL to perfection at the same time – to give myself a break and make sure to not miss out on the most important gift in life – being a mother.”
I’ve learned through experience that there is a time to be a mom, a time to be a military spouse, a time to be a wife and a time to be a pioneering businesswoman. In the end, I want to be recognized for being the best mother, wife and friend I could be…my successes in business are just icing on the cake.
What are the particular challenges associated with raising children in a military family?
I would have to say that I find we face the same challenges as most mothers, but we move a lot more. Having your spouse deployed teaches you the importance of the strength and endurance that mothers need to keep the home front safe and sound. I have to say though, the military lifestyle is a great place for children to grow up. Military children are the toughest cookies I’ve met and they become very well-rounded growing up in our unique environment. The best gift you can give a military child and spouse is to go visit them during deployments. My family has always come to visit during the deployments the most – knowing that those are the hardest times and a fresh face of love is always a treat for the kids.
What are three values/lessons you’ve given to your children that you want them to pass on to their own?
That they have integrity and loyalty in everything they do.
That they learn to trust their “gut” and always strive to be compassionate when making decisions that effect others.
That they have a strong work ethic and an unwavering belief that they can be successful in anything they put their heart into.
Describe the challenges of being an entrepreneur and a military wife/mom. How have you made your businesses a success throughout deployments, etc?
The success of our business is due largely in part to the loyalty and support of the spouses in our community. As deployments come and go, we take the extra time at night and on weekends and put it to good use. I typically work overtime while my husband is gone – it seems seamless to my children – but the extra few hours at night can help build a business quickly. Having a company that supports military wives and is built around our unique needs is critical. I am a lucky girl to be in the CEO shoes that I fill today. The vision for our company is to be generational and one day I will hand reigns over to the next generation. When you believe that a company, especially one owned and operated by military spouses, will be around as long as the market will allow us – you learn to be patient and build it right, brick by brick and relationship by relationship. It takes a village to build a business, and I’m just fortunate that my village is military spouses and families.
Tell us about your mentoring programs for other military spouses. Why is it important to you to nurture and mentor that community of women?
I believe that every entrepreneur should share their experiences with others to help them prevent some of the more painful “learning curves” that comes with the experience. I believe in the power of women and I want to see us all succeed as a family and a team. I have been very lucky to get where I am today in business and I feel it’s an honor and an obligation to help any other women that are striving for their own success – no matter what it is. I work with women and businesses of all genres – but I love the lifestyle coaching the most. You have to have confidence and faith that you will succeed and once that seed is planted and takes root, I find that most women never look back…they build the business of their dreams. There is nothing more precious to me than watching the success of another spouse or woman that I’ve been allowed to help along the journey, build their own success.
Describe the bond shared amongst military wives.
A sisterhood is the best way to describe our life together. We truly are the surrogate family that takes care of each other during deployments, babies, good times and tough times. You can walk into a room and not know a soul. But if there are two military spouses who find each other – you would think they were friends for years. It doesn’t matter which generation of spouse you are, active duty or retired. We all share the same bond and experiences. Military wives are the most compassionate, loyal and honorable women you will ever meet.
Who are the women you looked up to – the women who inspired you to be who you are?
My mother and grandmother are my greatest inspiration. They encouraged my creativity and independence – but they also taught me the lessons of humility and to have compassion for others. They have always been there to pick me up and to keep giving me hugs of support along the journey of life. I lost my grandmother years ago, but I know she is still there giving me my little nudges when I’m not sure of my next step as a mother or business owner. My mother now works side by side with me in building the business and I really don’t know what I would do without her. She is so special to me in every manner – she is my best friend.
My sister is my ultimate cheerleader along with my in-laws. I am a lucky girl to be surrounded by such powerful women in my life.
As a military spouse entrepreneur, my “rock” is my friend Babette. She is a fellow spouse and pioneering entrepreneur (she founded Military Spouse Magazine) as well and we’ve grown up together in business. I don’t know if I would have had the stamina to keep going at times without her amazing support and unwavering belief in me. We made a pact years ago that no matter what, we would brave this pioneering road together – and it’s been an amazing journey. I admire her spirit and it keeps me going on the days when I’m just not sure how to balance being a spouse, a mother and a CEO.
I know that the question is about the women in my life, but I must add that without the love of my life and my best friend – my husband – and the amazing men in my life, including my grandfather, my dad and my father-in-law, I would not be the woman I am today.