Beauty Content Creator, Blogger and Entrepreneur, Felicia Walker Benson, is mom to 4-year-old daughter Phoebe Clarke Benson. Check out why she's a 'Mom We Love' below.
Felicia Walker Benson
Social Media Handles: @ThisThatBeauty
I am from and currently live in Newark, New Jersey.
PR Mommy: How do you balance work with parenting?
Felicia Walker Benson (FWB): I don’t. Every third day I’m losing [lol]...Seriously, it’s a really hard balance and it’s not the same every day of the week, it varies. Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to work in a lot of wellness opportunities for myself because I feel like a lot of days I’m burning the candle at both ends with work, being a parent, and running my own business. It's one thing to work for somebody else, show up 9 to 5, and it’s another thing owning every piece of your business and having every piece of it on your back. So I definitely try to create more wellness opportunities for myself.
I’m even working the wellness factor into the content on my blog and across my social media channels. I find that trying to create moments for myself is the best way to keep me balanced. With Phoebe, it helps that I create structure around certain things in her routine, (not everything) but from the time she gets home from school to when she goes to bed, that time is regimented, as controlling that part helps everything else to fall into place. My mornings start very early, usually 6am, so keeping certain parts of my day regimented helps me to keep everything else in order. My work day can change as well due to meetings or priorities shifting, but I find that putting a block of structure in my day from about 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. helps.
PRM: As moms, we struggle with leaving our kids for the first time to get back to work, what was your first experience like leaving Phoebe to resume work?
FWB: To be honest, it wasn’t a big struggle for me because I always knew I wanted to be a working mother. I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. I like the balance, I’ve been working since I was 14 years old. So when it was time to go back to work I was ready to embrace that. It was a lot of balancing.
At that time I was still running my blog and brand but I was also working for another brand part-time so I was splitting my time between the two. I almost felt like I had the best of both worlds, where I was doing my own thing plus working for someone else a few days a week.
After a while, once she got a bit older, I decided to go back to doing my own blog and brand 100%. I honestly was ready to go back to work and have that level of stimulation and engagement. I feel like because I had my own brand and business that probably gave me a bit more security and I felt more in control versus being at the mercy of other people's priorities.
PRM: What are your top 3 self-care experiences? (i.e. massage, manicure, new shoes etc.)
FWB: I recently had a foot massage experience [I posted it on my Instagram story]...it’s about to be my weekly jam. So without a doubt they are one of my top self-care experiences that I'm living by right now. These Chinese, reflexology massages get down and dirty, quick and easy, you walk in and get a 1-hour foot massage. My first was incredible. I had the best nap of my life after my massage so I’m totally working that in once a week.
I'd also say lots of wine; I like a glass after I put Phoebe to bed and make her lunch for the next day. I also like getting manicures once a month. My manicurist, Tracy Lee is also a mom so we talk about business, bounce ideas off each other, encourage each other and network for events together each time I get a manicure.
PRM: Were you into makeup and fashion as a child? How would you describe your personal style today?
FWB: Yes, as a kid I always loved beauty. I would spend my allowance at the beauty supply store, so it was always something I’ve been into from a young age, since as far back as I can remember. In terms of fashion, I do think I have a strong sense of style but I think a good deal of it is very effortless. I know the shapes that work for my body type so I tend to stay within certain shapes but I am adventurous when it comes to colors, textures and fabrics. My outfits really just come to me, it is very effortless. It’s never going to be things I have to adjust all day long or worry about.
PRM: What is an absolute beauty no-no in your book?
FWB: I honestly don’t feel like there are any big “No’s” out there. I think it’s a matter of what you feel works for you because for me fashion is really about confidence. It’s really hard to say that there’s certain things that people shouldn’t do because I feel like I’m no authority on fashion to tell people what not to wear. If it makes you feel confident and you feel great about it good. And the same thing with beauty, a lot of times with skincare people ask me “okay what do I need or what should I do?” If you’re happy with your results, keep doing what you’re doing, if it’s not broke don’t fix it. But if you’re saying "I want to see a certain result, or like my skin seems dull", then I’m gonna tell you what you can do.
PRM: Who’s your mom crush? and why?
FWB: I would say that Neffi Walker is my mom crush; she has changed my life. She’s the one who introduced me to the structured routine and getting Phoebe to sleep at 7 p.m., which gave me so much more time. Neffi also taught me how to tie an African headwrap and I'm forever grateful for the stylish lesson. I crush on Neffi because she has so much energy but is still laid back.
PRM: Who is your style inspiration?
FWB: I like Tracy Ellis Ross and Jenna Lyons. Their clothes always make a strong statement but look effortless as well. I’m also a big fan of tv characters like "Joan" from Girlfriends, "Claire" from the Cosby Show and Dianne Carroll's character on Dynasty. I like clothes that make a statement but are still effortless. I hope that my style embodies that as well.
PRM: What’s your favorite quote?
FWB: I'm not sure who said this but I heard it and it stayed with me:
"You can have it all,
you just can’t have it all at once."
I really think that balance is a myth. In life, you’re going to be winning in some areas and losing in others but those areas can and will change. One day you may excel as a mom but miss the mark at work but that's normal. When we're hyper-focused in one area we're sacrificing in another because you can't excel at doing it all at the same time.
So when you look over the course of a year, things may balance out, but there's really no balance from day to day. I feel like that expresses life as a working mom.
PRM: As a entrepreneur, how have your experiences (good/bad) impacted the way you raise your daughter?
FWB: I feel that one thing I do like about working in fashion and beauty is that I don’t take a lot of it seriously; like luxury and high end things, I’m really un-phased by them. I’m raising her to not be phased by it as well. Because of the access that she has to things and the access I have, it kind of removes the veil that “oh this thing is this…” I want her to understand that it’s all stuff, it’s all some grade of leather. So I feel that her exposure to so much luxury early on really helps me groom her to not overvalue material possessions and things.
PRM: One thing that new moms overlook sometimes is self-care, what are some easy "pick me up" tips you could give moms?
FWB: As moms, we tend to feel guilty for taking time for ourselves even if it's just once a month but, I'm definitely working on this myself and it's worth it. My first suggestion is to get a wine subscription. It is great; you get a variety, it’s something to look forward to and every month they’re sending you a curated selection. My next tip is to get your kid(s) to bed early. I think this is a way to get back more time in your day/life and it has been working for me. I get Phoebe to bed by 6:30pm-7pm, then the house is quiet and I can get a few moments of peace, get a little work done, a quick at home workout and/or sleep. If you ask any mom, that's usually all we want...forget the big fancy piece of jewelry, just give me a day of quiet and peace [lol].
PRM: What is your go-to product right now? Do you have a favorite that you're religiously using currently?
FWB: My go-to right now are these Olay Daily Facial Cleansing Cloths. I used to use them just for travel but now I use them almost daily. They’re dry cloths, you wet them with water and they foam up. It's an all-in-one cleansing product; it cleanses, tones and exfoliates the skin. I love them.
PRM: Since you are in the beauty industry and you have built a brand as an influencer, how has that translated into Phoebe's beauty regimen? Does she have one?
FWB: I definitely educate Phoebe on the importance of skin care. She has a morning and night time routine. She knows we always have to cleanse; she uses a wipe or water. She really likes to use rose water and applies it on her face with three beats. Then we share a moment where I ask her what the rose water is for and she'll say it's "for a rosy day or a rosy night”. It's really cute. I also keep aloe and cortisone cream on hand as well. She knows about the importance of sunscreen too.
PRM: What advice would you give to other mommy bosses?
FWB: I would say it definitely takes a village and to be open to help from others. Mom's shouldn't feel or think that they have to do everything. Don’t think that it makes you a better mom or a stronger mom to do it all yourself. I would also think about where your resources are best spent. I’m a firm believer in you either have time or you have money.
As an entrepreneur, I find that I don’t have a lot of time so I do invest my money in apps like Instacart for grocery delivery, Minibar for my wine delivery and I do drop off laundry service. I automate as many of those things as I can and it costs money so I sacrifice in other places but it gives me time to do other things. For me, it’s not worth my time to do laundry and grocery shopping so those things I outsource.
I also put myself on the clock to get things done. This helps me limit my social media distractions. Like: 30 minutes to pack lunch for Phoebe. Go!
I tell all of my mom friends to outsource as much of the administrative part of your life as possible. Have a community and a village that you can depend on and not everyone has to be a mom...some of my most supportive friends don't have children. Very few of us have that one friend that can be everything so have a community of friends for different aspects of your life, that relates to your needs and the different layers of who you are and you'll be okay.