Her Story Spotlight with Katie Hilbert: Having Less to Get More (Happiness)

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Katie Somers-Hilbert, co-founder of The Home Sanctuary, was one of my first mom friends when I moved back to Louisville and has always been one of the nicest, positive and put together people I know, which makes total sense now with the business her and her friend Kari Burke George started last year (check out Kari's Spotlight here!).

I just got back from a great trip, but have been stressed a bit since being back just trying to get back in the groove and catch up from being gone. Originally this seemed like just another item on the to-do list, but I'm so so glad I had it on there tonight because Katie's feedback is exactly what I needed to hear tonight, leaving me feeling both motivated and calm.

I hope you'll have a chance to read thru her whole interview below, but here are a few of the things that she talks about that really hit home.

No one has it all together. We might feel pressure from pictures, blogs, or posts that we are failing as parents because we don't follow the steps that another mom might. However, I guarantee if you sat with that mom she would have a laundry list of things she feels she is failing at as a parent. We are all doing our best to survive and love our kids the best way we know how.

There is ALWAYS going to be 100 items on our to-do list. This can be stressful. Therefore, we often stop ourselves when we start to feel overwhelmed to celebrate and congratulate ourselves on what we have already accomplished.

And remember no matter what- your kids think you are AMAZING. Know that they see you and are watching whatever it is you are creating. You are teaching them how to be leaders and dreamers.

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Her Story Spotlight: Katie Hilbert
Where You Can Find Her: Louisville, KY
# of Kiddos: Charlotte (7), Mac (4), Jude (1)

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Best part of being a mom:

The small victories. I have a tendency to question if I am making the right parenting choices about 100 times a day. A frequent thought that goes through my head is “Is this what Charlotte/Mac/Jude will be in therapy for one day?” LOL! So, when my daughter tells me a worry that is on her mind, or when my four-year-old son, who can be shy, follows my encouragement to play with another child at the playground, or when my one-year-old runs to me for a hug after I haven't seen him all day, my heart soars.

Most challenging part of being a working mom:

The days where you feel like you are failing as a parent and at work. I call it the 50/50 problem. You are giving 50% to your kids and 50% to your job, and no one is happy because they all want 100% of you. There are a lot of days I feel like the queen of the world, and I am able to do all the “things.” School drop-off/pick-up, volunteer at the kids' school, etc. all while managing to make all my work meetings and deadlines. However, there have been days where I can't do all the “things” and I feel like I am disappointing my kids, my clients, my husband and myself. The most challenging part is giving myself grace during the rough days. I can be understanding and gracious with others, but find I am not so forgiving to myself. It is my goal to work on this tendency to feel guilty because I do not want to teach my kids that you need to be over-worked, stressed, and burned out to be successful. I made significant progress towards this goal in 2017 when I left my corporate job to start The Home Sanctuary. However, I am still a work in progress.

Biggest lesson learned so far:

Time flies (or crawls) depending on how you look at it. I've quickly realized that each phase goes by way too quickly, and I have started trying to embrace all the good, bad, and ugly with all phases of my kids' development. There have been points throughout my parenting journey when I was wishing time away so that I could get back to having more time to myself. I have tried to stop doing this because with the more “me” time I gain, I know I am also moving onto another phase where my kids won't be begging me to snuggle with them while they drink their milk or read them another story. I see how quickly time passes, and I realize that I'll never get some moments back. I am close to finally putting away my baby bottles for the last time, and it has become a sobering realization for me.

Other lessons learned: no one has it all together. We might feel pressure from pictures, blogs, or posts that we are failing as parents because we don't follow the steps that another mom might. However, I guarantee if you sat with that mom she would have a laundry list of things she feels she is failing at as a parent. So, I try to stop myself now whenever I feel like I want to start to comparing myself to “others.” We are all doing our best to survive and love our kids the best way we know how.

What do you do for fun or to relax outside of mom duties?:

I feel very cliché when I say this, but I love to do yoga, take walks, drink wine, and visit with friends and family. I really love going out to dinner and my husband and I try to eat at a new restaurant when we have our date nights. Louisville always has a new and fun place we want to visit. I also like to read. Since I always feel so “on” with other tasks/duties, my reading is usually pretty low-key and definitely not “educational” material! I like to keep it light and entertaining. I do have a problem that if I really like a book I will stay up all night reading; it's a long night, but without the hangover!

Business name and brief description:

The Home Sanctuary- Home Organizing and Styling

How did it get its start?

My partner, Kari George, and I started The Home Sanctuary in October of 2017. We are both busy mothers of three and are pretty Type A (with a touch of OCD). We realize that what we find to be an innate skill of being organized is not the same for everyone. Professional organizing and styling has become popular in other cities, but we found there wasn't much of a market in Louisville yet.

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Kari and I have created a business model around something that we both are passionate about and that we truly believe in, which is that your home should be your sanctuary. It should be a safe place that is your refuge from our crazy and chaotic lives. We believe that in order to feel like your home is your sanctuary that it should be filled with pieces that you love and that bring you joy- not a bunch of clutter that is overwhelming and brings you stress. We also believe that you need systems and spaces set-up in your house that are functional and flexible.

Every item in your house should have its own place so that tidying up is a quick activity instead of a time-consuming chore. Our client base includes busy moms, professionals who work long hours, and people who are in all phases of transitioning/moving or downsizing/relocating.

Plans for future growth?

We definitely have plans for future growth including selling products through our website, hiring staff so that we can do more projects, and also continuing to grow our social media following.

However, I have to say that we are extremely proud of what we have managed to accomplish in just the few months since we started The Home Sanctuary. As entrepreneurs and business owners, we have quickly come to realize that there is ALWAYS going to be 100 items on our to-do list. This can be stressful. Therefore, we often stop ourselves when we start to feel overwhelmed to celebrate and congratulate ourselves on what we have already accomplished.

We were featured in the January issue of TOPS Louisville magazine, Home Page Realty produced a video for us on how to organize a pantry that had 2,800 views, we taught a very successful class on Master Closet Organization at Level UP Louisville- all within the last three months. So, maybe we aren't being featured on TV shows or a nationally recognized name, BUT I think it is important to stop and celebrate what you have done just as much as you focus on what you still need to do.

Kari and I often say we have to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” Growing a business is hard and has required us both to do a lot of things that we don't necessarily feel 100% comfortable doing. Putting yourself out there on social media, reaching out to potential clients and attending business meetings can all be hard. However, we have gotten great feedback from all the “uncomfortable” things that we have done.

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Favorite business resources that makes your life easier/better?

Stephanie George - She has been so valuable to Kari and I with the development of our website, social media pages, and basically everything media related that we have done. Kari and I are forever grateful to her and all that she has taught us.

Other resources that we use: Google Docs for organizing all of our pictures and business related documents, Pic-tap-go for editing pictures, Square for invoicing clients and payment options, and Telegram for communicating with each other. It is like texting, but so much easier to send documents back and forth.

Book recommendations business/parenting:

A Simplified Life by Emily Ley. She gives tactical tools for intentional living! Also, a great motivational podcast for entrepreneurs is How I Built This on NPR hosted by Guy Raz

What are you looking forward to in 2018?

Continuing on this journey of growing The Home Sanctuary. I really believe in our business and love what we get to do on a daily basis. I feel blessed I have been given the opportunity to use my talents to bring such joy to others. It is amazing to see the effect an organized, clean, and clutter-free space has on a person. I love that there has been such a recent shift in people's thinking that we do not need so many material things to find happiness in life, and I love to support this new way of thinking.

I also look forward to continuing to de-clutter my own life and home. I want 2018 to be about focusing on letting go of stuff- both material and emotional things, not about piling more on.

How can people find more about you and your business?

Website: Thehomesanctuary.com

Facebook: The Home Sanctuary

Instagram: @thehomesanctuary

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Is there anything else you want moms to know?

It is OK to ask for help when life is crazy. You cannot do it all. If you try to do it all, you will eventually burn out. It takes a village. And remember no matter what- your kids think you are AMAZING. Know that they see you and are watching whatever it is you are creating. You are teaching them how to be leaders and dreamers. That is a lot to be proud of. And don't attempt to live in a perfect world. Life should be messy sometimes. It is more fun that way!


Know another amazing lady in your life that would be a great Her Story Spotlight? Drop me a line and let me know about her! Hello@herexchange.net