Evgeniya Jen Usmanova - CareLuLuAfter a longer-than-I-care-to-admit hiatus from the Working Mom Spotlight, we’re back on track with one of the most popular features on Hip As I Wanna Be – the WORKING MOM SPOTLIGHT! Today’s mother is a fantastic example and a true inspiration. Enjoy!

Evgeniya (Jen) Usmanova is a mother of two and a co-founder of CareLuLu, a free online resource that helps parents find child care specific to their needs. She has a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and a Masters from Georgetown University. After struggling to find the right daycare for her daughters, Jen and her spouse Patrick decided to create CareLuLu to help other parents find safe, affordable, and high quality early childhood education.

Over the years, how have you learned to balance career and motherhood?

I’m the kind of person that tries to never let opportunities go by, whether it’s related to my career or being a parent. Over time, I’ve learned that for me, well-functioning work-life balance comes with the ability to control my own schedule. Since starting my own company CareLuLu, which offers a free online resource to parents searching for day care and preschool options, I’ve been working a lot more than I ever did before. When necessary, I’m able to take time off in the middle of the day to go see my daughters perform in a preschool show or pick them up earlier to go to a friend’s birthday party. Of course I’ll have to make up that lost work time later at night, but at least I’m able to spend important moments of the day with my daughters. I also focus on quality-time rather than the amount of time we spend together.

Is there one particular parenting lesson you’ve learned about raising kids? 

As a parent, you get to experience a new form of “asymmetric warfare.” My parenting lesson is that you must never give up. Stand your ground and maintain consistency, which might become particularly challenging as the number of kids in your family grows and they learn to gang up on you as early as toddlerhood! 🙂CareLuLu Family

Battling stress? Any advice?

One of the most enjoyable parts of my day is singing my kids to sleep. It’s very soothing to sit in the dark or in a dimly lit room singing or humming some of my favorite children’s songs while my little ones admire my voice (even if it’s off key) and slowly doze off to sleep.

Tools or products you can’t live without?

Items I love and use on a daily basis are my Nikon camera, Olay Pro-X Cleansing System, and Netflix.

Do you have an inspirational quote, motto or philosophy you can share with us? 

“Ad astra per aspera” has been my life’s motto. Since I was little, my grandmother has told me that I’ve got to work really hard to get to the top, hence “To the stars through difficulties.”

Favorite resources, books, or website? 

My favorite book is “Alice in Wonderland” and a website/resource I love for inspiration (especially when it comes to fun activities to do with my kids) is Pinterest (of course!)

What are you passionate about? 

Entrepreneurship, photography, international relations, my baby girls and travel! 🙂

What is on the horizon for you? Anything new and exciting?

For now, everything with CareLuLu continues to be super new and exciting! I am learning new things every day and developing new ideas and relationships on a regular basis. Perhaps the most exciting thing on the horizon is a nationwide child care directory that we’ll be unrolling in the upcoming weeks.

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