Eileen Mockus is Coyuchi's CEO and a mother to two, ages 9 and 13. In celebration of Mother's Day, we sat down with a list of questions on how she balances a career and motherhood.
Tell us about your journey becoming a mother.
It took me longer than most to commit to motherhood because I had lots I wanted to do before I was ready to take care of others. My husband and I had many years together before having kids, and when our son was born, we were happy to stay home on a Saturday night because we didn’t have that feeling of missing out on something.
One of the unexpected benefits of being a mother is being connected to a community that I didn’t experience until I had children. Their activities, interests, social lives and schools bring you into a community of friends, neighbors and fellow parents that is not only fun to be part of, it’s a great support system too.
What’s the hardest part of motherhood?
Bedtime! I’ve never quite figured it out and I have huge respect for those who do!
It’s also hard to travel and be away from the kids. I try to make the most of it by doing things I don’t normally get to do at home, like work out every morning. I rarely spend a full day with friends away from my kids, but I remember a day in Hong Kong with three female coworkers: we had relaxing meals, went shopping and just enjoyed a day together. I came home from that trip more relaxed than when I left because time connecting with other adults is re-energizing too. I keep in touch by talking to my family every day on Skype or FaceTime, which make it much easier than it used to be.
What’s the most rewarding part of motherhood?
Watching my children figure something out. It could be playing with blocks, solving a math problem or trying a new sport. When they get it, the joy and accomplishment on their faces is beautiful.
How do you balance work and home life?
I don’t look for balance in a day or even a week; I take a broader approach and hope to feel like I am satisfying the range of parts that make up a whole person and a whole family.
I was given some excellent advice a few years ago: to prioritize what matters most to each person, including my children. That’s made a huge difference in how I approach things because it’s not possible to be at every school activity, every sport or every event, but I can be there at the times that are important to me and to my family. I’ve had the experience of rushing to a game or a classroom party only to arrive and barely be acknowledged by my child.
What tips would you give to entrepreneurial moms for living a balanced lifestyle?
Let your kids see what you’re doing and experience a little bit of your life, be part of their activities, and then have some things you always do together. It’s important to my daughter that I attend her ballet practice once a week, so her class is scheduled at a time when I can take her. I’m frequently working while at the ballet studio, but I’m there watching her and taking part in something she loves. And, to keep a sense of self and a network of friends, other parents and family is equally important, so all dimensions of your self are satisfied.
What word sums up your work week?
Diverse. I cover a lot of ground in a week through people, places and activities, and it brings a richness to my life that I enjoy.
What do you look forward to most on weekends?
Time with my family at home. I may need a little time on the trails too!
Are there any tricks that help your days run smoothly?
My husband is the glue that keeps it all together. He has always been very involved with our children and even more so today with their after-school activities, their homework, and keeping us all fed (he does all the cooking) and on schedule.
If you had a week to do whatever you want—no work strings attached— what would you do?
I’m in a nesting phase and would love to re-arrange some things in every room in our house, take care of some much-needed yard work, and tackle a couple of sewing projects that are brewing in my head.
Tell us about one of your most memorable Mother’s Days.
Coffee and a smoothie delivered bedside with smiles and a bike ride in Half Moon Bay.
Eileen and Jessica Brine in India
More about Coyuchi's CEO
Eileen Mockus brings to Coyuchi her vast practical, technical and entrepreneurial experience in the international textile and sewn products industry. Having grown up in a household where her mother and five sisters all sewed, she has been passionate about textiles for as long as she can remember. Eileen pursued a bachelor of science in textile and clothing from the University of California, Davis, where she graduated with college and department honors. Subsequently, she earned a master of science in business administration, with an emphasis on small business and entrepreneurship, from San Francisco State University.
After completing her studies, Eileen learned about entrepreneurship first-hand while developing new products for the North Face. Later she honed her business development and branding skills at Pottery Barn Kids and PB Teen. At these and other iconic brands, such as Patagonia, she made use of her deep knowledge of the technical side of the textile business, working in fabric development, materials testing, product development and sourcing.
She first became interested in organic cotton and improved processing for textiles while visiting manufacturing facilities in Europe and Asia. The challenge of making high-quality products in a way that is respectful to the people that make them and to the earth drew her to Coyuchi and helps guide her vision for the company as we grow.