Renee Warren Talks About Rewriting Working Parent Norms

by Amanda Abella  - February 22, 2022

Renee Warren is the founder of We Wild Women, is a platform that helps entrepreneurs start and scale their own businesses. She’s also the host of the celebrated podcast, Into the Wild.

Renee and I are hyped to be here and talk about some juicy stuff to dive into today!

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Her First Taste of Entrepreneurship

At 17, Renee and her sister decided to start and run a seasonal restaurant every summer. She hired her friends and hired her parents’ friends to come and work with them. Renee quickly realized how cutthroat the restaurant industry is and how your success isn’t based on the food so much as it is about the service.
Then she started three different PR agencies; the third one ended up being a world-class PR agency. “We worked with funded technology startups. And in that time I met my husband on Twitter when Twitter used to be all the rage.”

Building a Business and a Family

Renee decided to start one of her PR firms when she was pregnant with her first child. Then, when her son was four months old, she found out she was pregnant with her second son. “In that 11 months of starting my business, I had Irish twins.”
She understands that to run a business with a family, you need to have or hire help. “You can’t do it all by yourself.” So when she doesn’t want to do something, she uses her kids as an excuse to shrug off work. “That’s what I love about having kids.”

Breaking Parenting Norms

“I was trying to break the norms of what is acceptable as a parent to get ahead.” Her family said many hurtful things and questioned whether she breastfed long enough and why she put her kids in daycare at such a young age.

“They think it was so repulsive because no one else was doing it. And if they were, they weren’t talking about it because of the backlash. So he called me a rebel. I don’t care. And yes, there are moments in their lives where I missed firsts.”

But she knew that she would miss some firsts going into business. “I spend more time with my kids now than most people who have a 9 to 5. And it’s quality time.”

Because Renee grew up in a family environment where her parents did everything, she was indoctrinated to believe that she also had to do everything. However, when she met her husband, her mindset changed. She realized that getting help from outside of her nuclear family was OK.

She says that everyone who has taken care of her kids and helped raise them is super valuable in their life. “We paid them well, but it was worth every single penny because it was an investment into us getting our time back.”

The moralization of money today leads people to think that it’s good or bad. Renee feels that society still sees paying others money to take care of your children as a bad example of spending your money.

Being a Positive Example for Your Kids

When she competes in physical competitions, Renee says that her kids are the ones cheering her on.

“They’re watching me do this. I’m being an example for them – a woman who’s leading. How beautiful is that?”

She emphasizes the priority of protecting your time because there isn’t a way to get it back once it’s gone.

Accountability for Your Business and Yourself

“Running a business isn’t just about the things you do, it’s also about the things you don’t do.” And while habits are great, says Renee, you need to move the needle for your business and life. “The boundaries thing is about accountability. How can you hold out accountability to yourself?” You can set boundaries such as not working after five pm, putting aside time to make a hot cup of tea, or taking the time to drink water. You can also set the boundary to spend an hour night every night with your kids. “You can say that those boundaries exist, but it’s actually making sure that you put up those boundaries and having accountability to yourself.”

“There’s no gray area of where our work begins and our family life begins.” Renee and her husband love what they do and are passionate about what they do. “It’s not like our kids can’t be involved in our work and vice versa.”

Family Core Values

“We have core values within our family. We have a mission and a vision for a family because we run it like a business.” For example, Renee and her family use Asana and google docs for project management. This keeps their family life running efficiently, and it also keeps everyone in the know, so there isn’t a meeting or a piece of information that is inaccessible to anyone that needs it.

“It’s in our ops manual. Are you going to ask me if Allie, the babysitter is free on Friday night? You can find her phone number in the ops manual.” They keep everything online to quickly look up the last time they went to the dentist. “God forbid anything were happened to me or my husband or us together is like the information they need to access that stuff.” Having their family ops manual gives them the ability to seamlessly run their lives.

The Fear of Change

When one person doesn’t want you to grow, there’s resistance for them because they’re afraid of something. “They’re likely afraid of that fear of change. They’re afraid of what that means for the lifestyle, for the family unit.” And while those feelings are warranted, you also need to respectfully understand and appreciate them by explaining your vision, how you want to do your new idea, how you want to start a business or grow or travel. “Whatever your idea, you need to share with others how you can make it work.”

Seeing the Abundance In Your Life

“Everybody’s going to teach you something,” says Renee. “Your heart’s going to get broken. You’re going to get angry. This is inevitable.” However, you go through these situations more often as you get older. When you mature, hopefully, you can always see the silver lining. “There’s always abundance out there. No matter where you go, there’s abundance. You just have to open your eyes to look for it and see it. It’s right in front of you all the time.”

Resources that are mentioned or add value to this episode:

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