Between all the nitty-gritty, beautiful and downright challenging moments of parenting our kids, doesn’t it feel like you could write a book? Well, that’s exactly what our NJMOMpreneur of the week Amy Collins did: Realizing that moms often feel alone during that first year, she wrote Infant Inspiration—based on notes she had jotted down when her now teenage girls were infants—to help new moms find life lessons in the newborn experience. That book also sparked a recent venture that is helping moms to redefine their roles—her online course, Moms: Courageous Women Raising the Next Generation. We couldn’t wait to pick Amy’s brain on how moms need a different parenting perspective, why humor is essential for surviving motherhood and her favorite shore town for bike-riding and ice cream.
Author, Course Facilitator & NJMOMpreneur Amy Collins
NJMOM: Where do you live in New Jersey?
Amy: I live in Bergen County.
NJMOM: What do you offer to your clients and how is it different than other professionals in your field?
Amy: Women are owning their place in society, now more than ever, and I’ve come to believe that owning our role as “mom” is critical if we are going to create the results we want. I offer my clients an insightful perspective on motherhood that helps them more genuinely enjoy their journey. After all, it’s a journey about growth and development, not perfection. When I share my experience, it creates an accepting environment for everyone. I let moms be who they are and meet them where they are, so they have a sense of camaraderie as they use my easy-to implement tools.
Motherhood is a journey and we’re learning every day. We won’t always have all the answers and that’s OK.”— Amy Collins
NJMOM: Was it difficult to write an entire book while being a mom and having other responsibilities as well?
Amy: Yes, it was challenging, but when you focus on one thing and it’s the thing that you are meant to do—or have a strong desire to do—then you have to just make time every day to do it. It’s kind of funny, because when I went back to read through and edit the book, I chopped a lot of it out so that I wouldn’t repeat myself as much. I just made time for it every day and focused on what I really wanted to get done.
NJMOM: Do you have any tips that make achieving a work-life balance for other NJMOMpreneurs a little easier?
Amy: So since I’ve had kids who are now 13 and 16, I’ve only ever worked from home and I love it, because you can’t beat the flexibility. As far as work-life balance, I think it’s important to be able to ask for help when you need it, like delegate tasks to family members and work as a team with your family. If you focus on what you want to do and try to do less, you’ll just dive deeper into what you want to be doing. My last piece of advice is to be kind to yourself and just roll with what comes your way.
NJMOM: What inspired you to get into your line of work?
Amy: Because my transition into motherhood was definitely an adjustment, I looked around and realized that other moms had been struggling as well and I wanted to share what I’ve learned. I have a background in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mindfulness, and over the years, I continue to see women run around nonstop and even devalue their work as “mom.” It’s too easy for us to get caught up in the minutiae of the to-do lists: household upkeep, driving, cleaning, cooking—all what I refer to as life maintenance. When this happens, we take our eyes off the big picture, which is the fact that we’re raising the next generation. It’s time to elevate our role as “mom” and take on the job of defining what it means for each of us and our individual families.
NJMOM: What is your favorite part about your business?
Amy: I love hearing about the positive results women see in themselves and in their families. I’ve worked with women who’ve simply become “mom” without thinking about how they want to actually be as “mom” or what realistically works for them. When I work with my clients, I’m able to help them step back and think about how they want to lead their families. Because whether a mom thinks of herself as a leader or not, she is, and with that leadership comes lots of learning.
NJMOM: What are you most proud of in your career?
Amy: Writing Infant Inspiration and getting it published! Unbeknownst to me, I started writing it years ago: When both my daughters were still infants, I’d jot down notes. After reviewing them last year, I really wanted to share them. All those thoughts had been in my head for a while and it’s wonderful to have them out of my head and into the hearts and hands of moms. It’s designed to offset the angst that many new mothers experience while adjusting to motherhood. We’re inundated with tons of conflicting information and hundreds of social media images that depict the perfect mother. Infant Inspiration is the exact opposite—instead of pressure and perfection, it offers a deep, cleansing breath for mom and the gift of reassurance.
NJMOM: What can we expect from you next year?
Amy: I’m launching an online course called MOMS: Courageous Women Raising the Next Generation ™ in the spring of 2020. It’s going to be an incredible resource for moms, and I created it as on online course so women can access the course from wherever they are, at any time. We’ll have face-to-face group sessions to discuss each of the seven lessons. Each lesson offers insight and specific easy-to implement tools for my busy, overwhelmed, loving moms. We’ll reflect on how moms are being seen, heard and understood from your own perspective, but also from the perspective of your family.
NJMOM: What is the best piece of advice your mom ever gave to you?
Amy: My mom has always been a strong role model for me. She’s comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t waste time comparing herself to others. She uses the many talents she’s been given to help people daily. The best advice she’s given me is that she’s always encouraged me to do what I love. Regarding motherhood, she said to me from the moment our girls were born: “At times the days may seem long, but the years fly by, so enjoy them.”
NJMOM: What is the best part about being a mom for you?
Amy: Witnessing our girls growing up and making a positive difference in their world by being kind to others, learning, staying curious and shaping the future. I love when my family and I are JUST together and we laugh, exchange thoughts and laugh some more. One of my all-time favorite things to do as a family is when the four of us are in the pool and we play ‘keep-away’—we each laugh so hard and it’s great because we’re all totally in the moment.
NJMOM: Where are your favorite places to go in New Jersey?
Amy: Country Cafe in Franklin Lakes—it’s an easy local place to meet for breakfast or lunch. We also like Sakura Japanese Restaurant in Wyckoff, because they have the most delicious sushi. My husband and I love going there on a spontaneous date night and marvel that each dish is a work of art. I love Abma’s Farm in Wyckoff every season of the year, because their greenhouse is always beautiful and they have delicious donuts. When I need to re-energize, I go to Spinsanity in Franklin Lakes—Lexi, the owner, always greets everyone with a genuine smile and the instructors and music really get me revved up for the day!
NJMOM: Where do you vacation in New Jersey?
Amy: We love the Jersey Shore. I grew up going to Long Beach Island every summer for our family vacation. My grandparents had a home there, so it was very special to us. Nowadays, we enjoy Bay Head and Spring Lake. We feel like kids riding bikes all around down there and spend hours in the ocean and look for sand crabs and shells. My favorite time of day on the beach is early evening, when it’s quiet, yet still a bit warm. Oh, and I have to mention Hoffman’s Ice Cream in Point Pleasant, Spring Lake Heights, Little Silver and Long Branch. We always get ice cream there when we go to the beach—it’s just so good.
NJMOM: Anything else you’d like to tell moms?
Amy: Motherhood is a journey and we’re learning every day. We won’t always have all the answers and that’s OK. Thankfully, we can connect with the right resources to figure things out. Above all, we need to love our kids for who they are in each moment and spend time with them. We’re raising the next generation and our role is essential for society as we nurture our children to become capable, compassionate, ever-evolving adults.
Featured Image via Mallika Malhotra of MikiFoto + Co