Danie's childhood was tough. Things can be tough sometimes but Des Moines, Eatery A and blogging all have something to do with things being okay.
Tell us about your childhood. My childhood was similar to so many out there and nothing like the Leave it To Beaver Family. My parents were divorced when I was 5. We moved quite a few times after that and never really had a strong family support system.
My Dad wasn't in the picture too often and all I knew was my Mom. I didn't have Mom home after school to make an afternoon snack and help with homework because she was working to provide for the family. I didn't have an overnight on the weekends at Grandma's house. I didn't see anything that resembled a father figure or stable man in my Mom's life, ever.
I think the saddest part is that this kind of childhood isn't out of the norm in today's world. I would say that I faced adversity often as a child without even knowing it. It wasn't until I was an adult that I was able to work through this and see that by not having a father around, or a strong family support system, it really did affect me. However, I never really felt like my life was less than or that I wasn't able to do things that other kids did. I didn't use any of those things as a crutch. I was in every sport and extra curricular activity and rarely saw a B on a report card.
My Mother did the best she could in raising three kids on her own. She was hard working, personable, and every person she met became an instant best friend to our home. I think these qualities are the ones I held onto and felt privileged to have around. I think I was able to see the mistakes of my older siblings and parents and learn quickly that that was not how I should go about life. So, while I could say that all those times of adversity were tough, they ultimately shaped me to be the mother hustler that I am today.
"Life is tough sometimes and that is okay."
Fast forward 20 years from now. What do you hope your kids say about you? I hope my kids can see that life is tough sometimes and that is okay! Mom went through some tough stuff but came out on the other side. She designed a life and followed her dream of being able stay home with the kids more and still have a fulfilling career that helped a ton of people! She didn't stick to the 9-5 cubicle that was sucking the life out of her. She settled for more.
What was your first job? My first job was as a courtesy clerk at Hy-Vee. It was such a great experience. They truly know how to teach kids what good customer service and hard work is made of. It was flexible with all my sports and allowed me to get some spending cash.
Why do you call Des Moines home? My husband and I have been together for 10 years and in that amount of time we've moved 6 times. We've been here for a little over 4 years and we call Des Moines home because this is where our family has established roots. We've been able to explore Des Moines, build a house and have 3 kids in that short amount of time.
This is home to us because it is the longest we've ever lived somewhere and we have no intention of ever leaving! Des Moines is a nice sized city where everyone knows your name. I always thought I'd have to live in a small town to be able to go to the grocery store and run into someone you know. But, it happens all the time here. I love that about Des Moines. When you need a new job or help finding a new daycare, you can count on your Des Moines family to come to the rescue.
"Des Moines is a nice sized city where everyone knows your name."
For a new family in the Des Moines area, who should they meet and why? There are so many great people in Des Moines it is impossible to pick one person. But, I would say that when you get to Des Moines there are a million ways to network and get involved. There are very welcoming business groups, breakfast groups, church groups and mom groups. Through getting into these groups I've been able to surround myself with people that care about your well being and want you to succeed
If you could write the Des Moines area a mission statement what would it be? Des Moines is continuously working to be the best place to live in the United States. They are doing this by obsessively cultivating relationships, diversity and business growth. Des Moines wants to know your name and what you stand for and then provide a platform for you to succeed.
"Des Moines wants to know your name and what you stand for and then provide a platform for you to succeed."
Convince us to visit one of your favorite places in the Des Moines area. How can I choose just one? I love food so I'm going to have to say that Eatery A during happy hour is one of my favorite spots. I love their 1/2 price wine and pizzas. As a Mama, there is nothing better than wine and a good deal!
What are you most proud of and why? I am definitely most proud of the fact that I have three children who motivate me to be the best version of myself. There's a good quote by Michael Levine that says "Having children makes you no more of a parent than a having a piano a pianist". And that is so true.
In the past year and a half I've done a lot of self reflection and am at a point where I am fully embracing all of my imperfections as a Mama. I'm owning my mom life for everything it is and isn't. I think that parenting can be so overwhelming and often times you feel like you are screwing it all up. So, being able to embrace motherhood with open arms and say to myself that whether I do it right or wrong I'm going to be the mom that gives it her all, is a huge deal. My life as a Mom is imperfectly perfect.
Who is someone you admire that others may know in the Des Moines area and why do admire them? My husband, Chuck Gohr. This may sound cheesy but where is a better place to focus than at home. He is humble, and honest and knows exactly who he is. He is gracious and nothing matters more to him than what's inside our four walls.
I firmly believe that if you want to change the world then you need to go home and love your family. He does just that. I want to be like him when I grow up! You just don't find that in many people these days. He may not be the CEO of a fortune 500 company but he does a damn good job of keeping our house together and I admire him deeply for that.
"If you want to change the world then you need to go home and love your family."
Walk us through your daily rituals and habits. Daily life for me is totally unpredictable when you have tiny humans in the picture. We all do the typical items like shower, run the rat race of getting kids to daycare, getting to work on time, etc. but some key things that I make sure happen to avoid overwhelm and establish contentment for where I am in life include the following in no particular order...
Wake up for the kids not to them - I wake up before them so that I can have a few minutes to find my center. Whether that is a hot cup of coffee, a little journaling, answering emails, or having the bathroom to myself (because you rarely get that luxury as a mom)
Make it homemade. I am a bit crunchy but really love the feeling of creating something myself. I make my own detergent and soaps. We eat homemade meals. We try DIY projects if possible. I think there is so much more gratitude and feeling of accomplishment when you don't just pay for it to get done. Although, in times of need we may spend an extra few bucks for pre-made health food if we know we don't have time.
Clean sweep. I can't go to bed knowing the house is messy. It may be messy all day but we rarely if ever go to bed without it being cleaned up! Everything has a place and belongs in it's place. If only my toddler's grasped that concept!
Work on my passion project. I take time to work on my blog/podcast in some way shape or form every single day. It might be for 5 minutes or 2 hours but I show up every day so that one day it won't just be a side hustle.
Have a dance party. We have a family dance party on the daily at our house. It keeps out the negativity and gets my non-dancing hubby shaking it out in the living room.
Read something beneficial. I want my kids to love to learn. I am their role-model. So, If I want them to always be learning, I need to always be learning myself.
What’s currently keeping you busy? Currently, I have 3 girls ages 4, 2, and 1 month. My day job is doing Human Resources at a local Beer Distributor and my passion project is a blog and podcast called Catch This Mama - which is a site geared specifically for Moms to overcome adversity and reach their view of success and happiness. Through sharing other Mama's stories and providing tips and tricks to get off the daily struggle bus it provides solutions to the every day Mama.
"Make sure you show up every day for a year."
Someone is starting a project or blog like you for the first time, what would you want to say to them? Starting a blog can be so simple! You can do it in 10 minutes if you are just looking for a place to drop your thoughts. If you are creating a business through the blog, that will take time, research and a lot of dedication. The internet is flooded with ways to market and make a business out of your blog. It can sometimes be overwhelming. There were many times early on where I had self doubt and wanted to throw in the towel. But, if I could give any advice it would be to make sure you show up every day for a year. Whether you invest 10 minutes or 3 hours, show up and do something to better the blog!
If you could grant the Des Moines area one wish what would it be? To get an IKEA! And... as we continue to grow I hope that we can keep it a "small" community. It's easy to add people and make a city big. It's difficult to keep the culture and moral structure and I hope we can do that.
What’s next for you and the blog? I have big goals for 2017. We plan to launch a podcast with two podcast episodes each week. We will feature Mamas who've overcome adversity in one episode and discuss everything Mom in another episode. Nothing is off limits and we are going to touch on things that may be taboo on other podcasts.
Later this year we will be launching our first online course to help Mom's be the best version of themselves. It won't be fluffy. It will be practical and useful to the every day Mom. I think Mom's will love it and it gets me so excited I almost pee my pants every time I think about it!