Meet A Mom: Lauren Golden, The Free Mama
It’s always been Lauren Golden’s mantra that you truly can have it all. You can be home with your kids, not miss a thing, but also make money. Sounds impossible, right? Well, that’s exactly what Lauren set out to do when she started The Free Mama.
The Free Mama started as a personal blog in 2015 as a way for Lauren to document her transition from working mom to successful freelancing mom. Before long, friends started asking her how she was able to make money while staying at home with her kiddos and she soon realized that her little blog wasn’t about her at all, it was simply the beginning of something much bigger.
The Free Mama Movement launched in 2017 and supports over 8 thousand mamas who never want to have to choose between family and finances. Lauren successfully leads a free online community, and offer various coaching programs and courses that teach mamas how to become a highly paid, highly sought after virtual administrative consultant – even if they’ve never even heard the word “freelancer” before.
Lauren created a program for moms who want to come home and start a career there, with their kids in tow. It’s a community where moms can learn, feel supported, and head towards a life where they feel they have some balance in career and home life.
We got to sit down with this inspiring, empowering mama of three to learn more about The Free Mama Movement, her new book coming out this week, and her favorite things about being a mama in Katy.
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Houston area?
I’m originally from a suburb of Kansas City. I went to college in San Diego, met my husband in NYC and lived in Scottsdale all before settling back down in KC for 7 years. My husband was recruited for a job in Houston the spring of 2016 and we’ve been in Katy ever since. We absolutely love how family-oriented this town is and it quickly felt like home. I’m still a Royals and Chiefs fan though!
How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have 3 kiddos – Daphne is 6, Henry is 4 and Audrey will be 2 in January. Needless to say, I rarely sit down.
What’s the biggest gift about having a big family and did you always know you wanted 3?
Honestly? I thought I wanted 4-5! I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but after my first pregnancy (throwing up multiple times a day the entire 9 months) and a 23 hour labor and delivery, that dream shifted a little. After my son was born, I felt really torn about whether or not we were “done” having children. Does a mother ever really feel done?! We suffered a miscarriage after Henry, and I can tell you that after rainbow baby Audrey came along I knew our family was complete. Plus, my body couldn’t survive another pregnancy!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
When I was 20 years old I backpacked through Europe for two weeks. The first week I was with a friend, but his study abroad program began before mine, so for the second week I traveled to Venice (Italy), Salzburg (Austria) and Lucerne (Switzerland) all by myself. The highlight of the trip was The Sound of Music Tour in Austria, during which I cried and sang on the bus all by my lonesome. #noregrets
Favorite local things to do in Houston?
You are going to laugh, but if we ever left Houston, the thing I’d miss the most is HEB. I love that grocery store! I typically do curbside, but a trip to HEB all by myself is like a day at Disneyland for me!
What’s your favorite thing about raising a family in Houston?
The weather! We are very active and love to be outdoors playing or swimming. One of the reasons we bought our house when we moved here was because of its proximity to the elementary school. I walk or bike my oldest daughter to school everyday and we stop and play at the park on the way home in the afternoons. I love the sense of community in our neighborhood.
Do you have a favorite family friendly restaurant in the area?
Yes! We don’t eat out a ton, but when we do we usually go to Jimmy Changas. Playground, margaritas, ice cream. What’s not to love?
What is your go-to activity for yourself for pampering or for fun?
Unless I’m traveling for work or for fun, you’ll find me generating all the endorphins during the Saturday morning Step class at Lifetime. It’s so much fun, and I usually sport a side pony because #childofthe80s.
Funniest shortcut/routine for helping you through parenthood?
Make the kids do it! Just kidding…but seriously. I see too many mamas wear the burden of the entire household. It’s crazy to me! My 4 and 6 year old have daily chores – feed our pets, take out the recycling, unload the dishwasher. Every. Single. Morning. Even my 1 year old does a decent job of picking up her things. Children are very capable if we give them the tools and routines to be successful, and then mom isn’t stuck with all of the chores. Bonus: your kids will grow up to be super responsible.
Best mom hack that makes life easier?
Cleaning lady! I always had the mentality that if I could do it, I should do it. We just made the investment this spring to have someone come in and clean once a week and I’m not being at all dramatic when I say it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Tell us about The Free Mama Movement, how you got started, and what inspires you to reach out to mamas with this program?
The Free Mama started as a personal blog in 2015. I documented my transition from working mom to successful freelancing mom. Before long, friends started asking me how I was able to make money while staying at home with my kiddos. I realized that this little blog wasn’t about me at all, it was simply the beginning of something much bigger.
The Free Mama Movement launched in 2017 and supports over 8 thousand mamas who never want to have to choose between family and finances. I lead a free online community, and offer various coaching programs and courses that teach you how to become a highly paid, highly sought after virtual administrative consultant – even if you’ve never even heard the word “freelancer” before.
I’m constantly inspired by the women in my program. Watching them achieve their goals – whether it’s to make an extra thousand dollars and contribute to their family’s “fun money” fund or quitting a job with a 6-figure salary – is the most fulfilling thing. I truly cannot describe it. I’m fairly confident I get more excited about my students’ #freemamawins than they do.
What’s one thing that makes your business unique?
The community. I’ve made friends through our Facebook Group. Not just virtual ones! We meet in real life! We send each other birthday gifts and little love notes! There are women from different backgrounds from different places forming genuine friendships with one another and they wouldn’t have met without this safe place to be themselves and pursue their dreams.
I have three rules in my Facebook Group: be kind, be supportive, take action. That’s it! I am in awe that 8 thousand women can hang out with each other and get along. I’ve only had to remove about 5 posts in an entire year. That’s the power of The Free Mama community.
The “business side” of business naturally falls into place because I consistently show up, be of service, and care for my community – without any expectations of having people “buy” from me. I always try to lead by example, and this is the exact same approach I teach in freelancing.
Who is the perfect Mom for your program?
We serve a lot of different mamas. When I originally launched my business, I assumed I would be working with former versions of myself – moms who wanted to ditch the 9-5 for more freedom and flexibility so they could show up as the parent they wanted to be, on their own terms.
I quickly learned that stay at home moms craved something that could be their own, or to ease the financial burden on their spouse, or one million other reasons someone would want to launch their own business. We also have a lot of military mamas in our community, former network marketers, and more.
So to summarize – anyone who wants to be their own boss, make money from home, be an awesome mom and become the best version of themselves. You may say we’re high achievers 😉
We’re big believers that motherhood is better when we do it together. How has your mama community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now, as a mom and in business?
The first thing I did when I moved to Katy was join a mom’s group. I’d never been a part of one before, but I’m very social and so I knew finding a tribe in my new home would be important to me. I also became fast friends with my neighbors – several of whom have older kiddos that make fantastic babysitters!
I honestly don’t talk shop too much in these circles, of course there are a few friends that are aware, because our time together is “me” time. It’s where I go to fill my cup so that I have plenty to give back to my family and business.
Best advice for working moms who experience the inevitable and dreaded MOM GUILT?
Mom guilt is the most insane, twisted kind of torture – because it’s self imposed. We allow ourselves to feel badly, when honestly mama you’re doing great!
Moms work for one of two reasons: because they want to, or because they have to. Both of those are really great reasons. Do you have a lot on your plate? Yup. Are you doing your best? Yup. Hold your heads high, working moms, and if you want to do it on your own terms, I’d love to support you.
And, because I’m a huge nerd who likes data, the sons of working moms grow up to be more helpful around the house and the daughters of working moms grow up to make more money in their own careers. So take that, mom guilt.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
This may sound weird, but both of my parents. I grew up with a stay at home mom and an entrepreneurial dad. I feel like I’ve maneuvered a way to piece together what they both did so well in my own childhood and, together with my husband, created this Free Mama parenting style. We are present, but we don’t think it’s our job to entertain our kids. We value meals together at the dinner table. We make choices about tablets and screen time that our kids don’t exactly love us for. And then we make up for it with dance parties in the living room.
Also, my sister. There is no way I ever would have made baby food or tried cloth diapering if it weren’t for her.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
When I have a parenting fail – maybe I yell a little too much – I remind myself that kids do what we do, not what we say. Tragic, but true. So I try to turn it into a teaching opportunity. After I’ve calmed back down, I will apologize to my kiddo and let them know that mommy is far from perfect. That I made a mistake and wasn’t kind and I’m sorry. My hope is that they learn how to own their mistakes and realize everyone is human. Too early to tell if it’s paying off yet – ha!
Name one thing you hope your kids look back and remember about their childhood and you as their mama?
The little, happy moments – playing Old Maid before bedtime, stopping at the park after school, playing in the swimming pool. We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms to create these big, special, elaborate outings, holidays, birthdays, etc., but these are the ones I’ll remember and I hope they do too.
What would you tell the old “You” before you had kids?
Enjoy your sleep – HA!