So excited to be a part of the amazing group of creative mama entrepreneurs that is Fashion Mamas! I was lucky enough to be featured as their Member Spotlight this week, and honored to have been asked to share some of my thoughts on mamahood and what it’s been like transitioning from full-time working mom to work-from-home mom/entrepreneur. See interview below and on the Fashion Mamas blog!
Thanks to her past life as a professional in the ad agency world, Cammeo Murray clearly knows how to stay sane in even the most fast-paced situations. After spending over a decade between Los Angeles and New York, this busy mama decided to slow down and move back to her hometown of Houston — and by “slow down,” we mean running her blog, Cammeo Head to Toe while launching a personal styling service, freelancing as a digital marketing expert, and raising her three-year-old son, Garrett. (She’s also got a daughter on the way, due this summer!)
Read on below for more on how Murray is finding freedom in her second life as a multi-tasking working mom, how she’s adjusting back to Texas life, the maternity brands she’s loving right now, and more.
What do you do, and what has been your career journey thus far?
I am a professional blogger at Cammeo Head to Toe and recently launched Cammeo Head to Toe Styling as a personal styling service. I’m also a digital marketing freelancer and member of The Second Shift, which helps find flexible work for moms in the marketing, financial, and corporate communications arenas. I recently wrote a piece for their #WomInspired campaign that encompasses my most recent career journey at Los Angeles magazine. I’ve spent over the past ten years living the crazy ad agency life in NYC and LA, and have finally settled down back home in Houston where I’m happier now more than ever focusing on my family and my true passion for writing and styling. I’ve also been lucky enough to still hone my digital marketing skills through remote work I’ve found through The Second Shift, and most recently for a company called tracksu.it — a media sales agency who represents a select portfolio of sites and apps in the emerging marketing space.
What is the name and age of your little one?
My son, Garrett Martino Murray, is three-and-a-half — we named him Martino after my late Italian father who Garrett now shares a birthday with. I’m also seven months pregnant with our daughter whom we’ll be welcoming Aug 1st (if not sooner!), and we are keeping the name mum for now.
What is a typical workday like for you, from the moment you wake up?
Being a blogger, I have to stay super engaged with my followers on social media, so that’s typically the first thing I do when I wake up. But what I’m loving about working from home now is not having to wake up to an alarm clock anymore, my son is my alarm, calling “mamaaaaa” from the next room. Then I’ll spend a while snuggling in bed with him before making breakfast and intermittently checking Instagram/Facebook.
I’ve been doing a lot of blogger collabs with clothing brands in the UK and elsewhere internationally, so their emails usually are waiting for me in my inbox in the morning. I like to get back to them quickly due to the time difference, that way I can also plan out my edit calendar for the blog that week and schedule my photography sessions. I use my son’s nap time to get caught up on other freelance work emails or plan any client calls. I try and wrap up by the time he wakes up so that we have the afternoon to hang out outside, go to the park and then get dinner ready. Some nights I’ll stay up late blogging after I get my son down, or I try and also fit that in when he’s in preschool two day a week. Overall, it’s a lot more time management than when I worked in an office full-time, but it’s personally been a whole lot more fulfilling.
What are your best tips for raising a child in your city?
I’m still figuring this one out since we just moved from LA over the summer back to Houston. While I’m from here, we had become so accustomed to our lifestyle in LA where you’re living smack dab in the middle of the city — taking your child to museums, parks, and cafes. We recently moved to the suburb of Clear Lake, which is 30 to 45 minutes outside of downtown Houston (it’s where NASA is), so I’m enjoying the slower pace and casual park dates. My best advice is to make a solid group of mommy friends in your neighborhood, because the support and camaraderie is so key when you first move somewhere. Luckily, my blog keeps me tuned into a lot of what’s going on around the city — we just got invited to an Italian cooking class for children this weekend that reminds me of the fun and unique things we loved about LA.
Favorite organizational tools/apps that help you balance work/mom life?
I wish I was better at this, but I really just rely so heavily on Gmail where I manage my blog inquiries as well as any freelance work that comes through. I will say that I’ve become very familiar with Google Hangouts and Slack, which are both key when working remotely. I definitely recommend both for small teams who need to stay connected and share info — Slack was super easy to get the hang of and is a great way to make you feel like you’re part of a team, even if you can’t physically be there. Now if I had a magical app that helped me prepare for what it’s going to be like working around a toddler and newborn in the house — that would be something I’d pay good money for.
Current favorite kids clothing brands?
I typically fall back on my old faithfuls like H&M and of course Zara (but only the sale stuff online). I must say that the Cat and Jack line at Target is awfully cute and addicting, especially for baby girl clothes now. I really also have loved getting introduced to so many independent labels through the awesome Fashion Mamas, and one of my favorites is Izzy & Ferd‘s new Pecos Bill collection. I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of Texas, or that I’m decorating our baby girl’s nursery in a cactus theme (so I’m slightly obsessed with anything of the sort), but I’m definitely adding this Cactus Romper to my registry though.
photo cred: Marlo Carroll Photography
Current favorite grown-up clothing brands?
Well now that I’m preggo, my style has shifted just a little! I’m also getting introduced to new brands all the time through the blog — like Krisp Clothing in the UK who has the softest maternity tees, on par with Splendid who also has awesome maternity wear. I really am getting into shopping online too, and ASOS Maternity is definitely a go-to. I just don’t want to spend a ton on basics, so I get most of mine from Liz Lange for Target’s line — I swear their jeans, shorts, and leggings feel like they were custom made for my growing bump.
Beauty product you can’t live without?
I have always been a fan of Fresh Beauty’s sugar lip treatments and I’ve gotten a little obsessed with collecting them. If a new shade comes out, I’m the first to track it down. I love Tulip and Coral, since I usually don’t wear heavy eye-makeup and it helps to brighten up your “tired-mom-face.”
Best advice for women who want to succeed in your field?
Well, if we’re talking digital marketing and freelancing, I would say to do your homework and research companies like I did when I found The Second Shift and Power to Fly. There are so many others really trying to help women balance their careers with the demands of also being a mom, and it really is your best chance at landing the type of gig that fits around your life and not the other way around. Blogging on the other hand, is a whole beast in and of itself that I am still trying to navigate its ever-changing landscape. I think you just really have to be willing to put in the time, effort, and professionalism, before you ever make money with it — and that’s not a luxury many people have, especially as a mom.
Again, just doing the initial leg work of learning how to set it up and pick your niche can be daunting, but it’s all a learning process as it has been for me over the past three to four years. I love it though and I learn so much from connecting with other local bloggers, as well as joining blogger organizations and Facebook groups who really help to support each other whether you are already established or just starting out.