Like a Girl, Like a Boss: Dara Schwartz’s story

With Like a Girl, Like a Boss” Gooey Chocolate Espresso Hummus, our new seasonal flavor, my goal is to celebrate women makers while also talking about how hard it can be to be a woman and a business owner. I believe in the power of sharing our real-raw stories to spark healthy conversations and to empower more women to follow this path.

Early on in my career, I witnessed a situation that influenced my outlook on the reality of being a woman in the business world. A colleague didn’t want to tell a client she was pregnant—she didn’t want to share her great excitement for fear that they wouldn’t hire her assuming she wouldn’t be able to complete the work to their standards. I just remember, as a woman, being so mad. Why do we women need to withhold who we are at our best? That stuck with me even though I wasn’t a mom yet, and it was definitely on my mind as I launched my own company, Darista Dips.

With Darista, I was empowered to bring a change and try to create a space for not only myself but for other women that I could teach and provide opportunities for them to grow. Why does it have to be this way? Let’s create a new path.

As fate would have it, by the time we made it to the one-year anniversary party for Darista Dips I was several months pregnant with my first child. That October I gave birth to my son, Elias, and suddenly entered a whole new world of navigating life as a new mom while still very much growing my startup business.

Pre-baby, I had this very tangible and tactical, rather than emotional approach to motherhood. I knew I would love being a mom, but did not expect how much it would transform my life. This child became the center of my universe and I realized no one would love him the way I would. I also quickly realized just how much I would sacrifice for this child—even, if it came down to it, giving up what had always been my dream of owning this business. Confession: I was literally waking up every day thinking, ‘should I shut this down?’

I really struggled with this idea of having the new baby, and still having my other baby, which was my business. It felt unfair, like I had to choose. As a startup business owner and a new mom, the new reality was both ‘babies’ were growing. But eventually I realized that with one of them, my business, I could set the pace of growth. With the other, my son, not only can I not control how fast he’s growing but I can’t get that time back.

I remember being in a situation as a new mom with an infant, and one of my grocers called needing a case of dip immediately. I remember packing up the baby, taking him into our production kitchen, and hand-stamping 12 units of dip—all while my infant is in his carrier going crazy and screaming and I’m not able to comfort him. Right then I’m like, ‘What am I doing? One case of dips at the expense of my child and the nurturing he needs?’

It’s not that I expect anyone outside of the business to be able to recognize that balance—I’m the one that needs to find the balance between work and family. It’s moments like that, where you’re doing everything you possibly can to nurture and love both your actual baby and your other baby, your business, where you really feel the strain.

So how do you manage both and do both of them well? You want to be the best at both, and the hard reality is you’re not. And it feels pretty awful. There’s a lot of identity loss and loss of direction, and people who haven’t been through it might not realize the emotional toll that it takes on women while they’re trying to figure it out.  

These days I don’t want to be known as one of those women who ‘does it all.’ I just don’t. I used to be that person—served on multiple boards, volunteered for multiple organizations, launched community events—People around me would applaud my growing resume of accolades. And then one day, as we were watching the news, my husband remarked, ‘How come you never hear this praise about the people who are doing an amazing job as parents and taking the time to play with their kids at the park, or for choosing to live a simple, balanced, happy life?’

His comment struck a chord in me. It made me realize that for every hour of service I poured my soul into, I was doing a disservice to myself, my husband and loved ones. I didn’t have my personal balance tuned right. Right then, I immediately changed my priorities before the baby arrived. Determining what that balance is and what those priorities look like is something every mom has to do for herself. 

Now my goal is constantly to try to simplify my life and make sure the end result is happiness. Am I there for my family? Am I there for my growing child? Am I there for myself? Am I there for my team? That’s enough for now. It’s about finding that balance and rewarding yourself for what’s in front of you.

Eventually you’ll come to know that you’re not going to be able to do it all. You’ll have to let it go, and then you’ll have to forgive yourself for that.

Everyone has their own struggle, but here is what I believe: 10 out of 10 times, at any point in womanhood, you are not alone. Someone is going through the same thing you are. So let’s be real, and let’s share our stories with the world. By pooling our shared resources, guidance and support, maybe we can help make for a brighter future for women in business.

We’d love to hear your own story of tackling motherhood while also running a business! Email your story to info@daristadips.com, and we just may share it with our tribe!

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Comments

  1. Dara – thank you SO much for sharing! I am literally in tears as I read this because I have lived and experienced this too! Being a business owner and a mom (especially to young children) is so difficult and comes with struggles on every level. I love that you’ve come to the conclusion of not being able to (or wanting to) “do it all” – it’s an absurd expectation from society and ourselves that’s just not real or attainable. You are an inspiration!! Thanks again for sharing – YOU ROCK! ❤️

    • Thank you so much, Nicole, and for sharing/validating with a glimpse of your journey. It IS challenging, conflicting and comes with so many emotions to navigate through. I, too, have been following your story with your sweet little one and business and are inspired by, and proud of you. Thank YOU for being real! xo

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