Smart + Stylish Mom Spotlight: Pursuing Your Passions in the Midst of Motherhood
Today’s smart + stylish mom spotlight is on Phnesha Marchette, a 37-year old Southern California lawyer-turned-artist, who’s mom to daughters, Gabby (6) and Gigi (4).
I met Phnesha in high school, when we were one grade apart in the Science & Tech magnet program at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George’s County, MD. There, it was a given that everyone in our program was smart (one of the co-founders of Google is an alum), but not everyone was smart…AND…cool…AND…gorgeous…AND artistically inclined.
Well, not everyone except Phnesha Marchette. Phnesha was the kind of girl who made being smart look cool and being cool look easy. She went from AP classes during the day to pom squad practice at night and made it all seem so effortless in the process. In college, Phnesha continued to add to her “WOW” factor by becoming a cheerleader for the Washington Wizards; AND, later in law school, a cheerleader for the Washington Redskins. Yes, you read that correctly. I still have no idea how she pulled it off, but she did. And, she looked amazing on the court and field, by the way.
These days, Phnesha continues to pull off amazing feats of creative multi-tasking, both at work and at home. She’s been practicing labor/employment law for 13 years AND is currently pursuing a passion-driven career as a visual artist in sunny SoCal. In her interview, we get a behind-the-curtains look at how Phnesha still manages to keep it all together as a mom.
Riche: What’s your favorite part about being a mom?
Phnesha: Watching my children show acts of kindness and compassion
Riche: What’s the smartest decision you’ve made since becoming a mom?
Phnesha: Despite a busy career, I made all of my daughters’ baby food with fresh fruits and vegetables. I never bought baby food. Now I don’t have to battle them to eat healthy food.
Riche: What's a typical day like for you and the girls?
Phnesha: I have a structured schedule during the week. We eat dinner at the table every evening as a family, and I ask, “How was school today, girls?” But I have a little hippy in me too, so our household is very artsy and noisy. We love karaoke and dance parties at home. I do, however, limit music videos. We watch a lot of the “lyrics” videos.
Riche: What’s your favorite thing to do when you have some much-needed alone time?
Phnesha: I have a monthly membership to a spa and always get my massages!
Riche: What's your secret to being a great mom and looking great too?
Phnesha: My closet is color-coordinated. I am a single mother (divorced) and I know that if I do not take care of myself, mind, body and soul, I will not be a great mother. I eat healthy, meditate and exercise. My shoes are well displayed and neat for easy access. My necklaces are hung in the closet displayed and sorted by color. My perfume is on my dresser neatly lined up in rows (I have an extensive collection). I also have a family “master” calendar in the kitchen to stay on track.
Riche: How would you describe your mommy style?
Phnesha: My style is all over the map! I have tailored business suits that I wear with designer four inch heels; long flowy sundresses with flip flops; converse sneakers with ripped jeans...I have not committed to any specific style.
Phnesha: I used to doodle a lot! In fact, I doodled most of the time during lectures in law school. I had never taken an art class--still have not--but, one day I decided to try my hand at it. I bought an easel, canvass and paint and just started doing it. I never set out to make money off it. I just loved doing it and despite long hours, it was relaxing and rewarding to create something beautiful and actually see the fruits of my labor. Law is not always tangible unless there is a settlement or contract. With creating works of art, I always feel a huge sense of accomplishment. Especially, when I walk into my home and my work is on the walls. Most important, my little girls tell people that mommy is an artist if they ask what I do. I just love that!
Riche: What's your best advice for moms who are considering making a non-traditional career move to pursue a passion?
Phnesha: Baby steps…I think when people have an idea, they can become very overwhelmed with trying to jump in all at once. To transition in your career, particularly if you are making a significant amount of money and still need a good income, my best advice is to start small. If you work hard, start small, you will eventually flourish! I am more towards the end of my transition, but I took baby steps and little by little, I started making contacts, gaining credibility and have been able to be successful.
You can connect with Phnesha (and check out her beautiful artwork!) here:
Hey Haute Mamas! I'm Riche Holmes Grant, a modern mom + mompreneur who designs smart + stylish products that make your mommy gig easier.
When I'm not busy taking orders from my #miniboss, I'm contributing to MarthaStewart.com or in the kitchen whipping up delicious family-friendly creations in my BambiniWare Apronini.
Get my FREE book on How to Make the Best Food for Your Baby here!
I live in the Washington, DC area with my husband and daughter. Follow our adventures on Instagram via @BambiniWareLife!
- Riche Holmes Grant