Featured Mama ~ Angela Whitford-Downing Founder, Lovin’ the Oven

AngelaChefMy Story…After I had my daughter, I just never thought there was another option. Be a stay at home mom or working mom. Sure, I would hear stories about job shares and spouses with jobs that allowed them to work from home but that seemed as unattainable as getting into my pre-pregnancy clothes right after I gave birth! My gut told me I needed to work and, after maternity leave, I did. The initial, extreme guilt was almost too much to take. Never mind the hassle of feeding myself, my family, pumping, commuting, etc. The chaos settled into a routine but why was I commuting an hour each way for a full time job that wasn’t fulfilling?

Going part time where I worked wasn’t an option. I looked for part time “mom jobs” but since selling shakes, telemarketing and bartending weren’t for me I was stuck. Then a friend said, “Why don’t you start your own company? You’re a great cook and a great teacher. Try something with that!” A few months and a lot of evening hours later, Lovin’ the Oven was born. I left my good salary and nice office behind to become a personal chef and never looked back.

The best part… of my job is helping other working moms. I remember my friends and I talking about our nutrition when discussing nursing and our milk supply. I would always ask, what are you eating? I was amazed at what my friends were eating and it usually wasn’t enough food or unhealthy. Nursing or not, Moms need to eat healthy meals! I dreamed of having someone come to my house and make good meals for my family and now I can do that for other moms!

My schedule…Now, my daughter is three and I’m working a schedule that will allow me to bring her to and from kindergarten just as I do now for day care.  The hardest part for me is trying not to think about work when I’m with my daughter. Owning your own company requires long hours!

How do I balance it all?… I can’t “do it all” and still be sane… as a result, my house is a mess most of the time! I also try to stick to a cooking schedule (that I also teach other moms). Cook two meals on Sunday, which will provide dinners for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Cook another meal on Wednesday after you’ve eaten which gives you dinner Thursday and one weekend night. I’m also a firm believer in take out or going out once a week to give the cook a rest! Better yet, go out with your friends!

The essentials…For all women, girls’ dinners are essential. I think it’s even more important for working moms because they may not be able to set up a playground meet up or play dates. It’s something I can’t live without. I need to step away from my messy house, work emails and family demands to see my friends. I find them more relaxing than date nights because I know my baby is with my husband not a sitter.

For years to come…I’m blessed in many ways and I hope I get to continue my work helping other families for years to come! If you need a recipe or if you ever have a cooking question, feel free to contact me at Lovin’ the Oven! www.lovintheovenchef.com

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