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Jeanine Bobenmoyer had a saying when her children went to daycare: “Mommy always comes back.” At the time, Bobenmoyer was based in Michigan and worked long hours in advertising. After going to collect her then three-year-old son late one night after work, she was surprised when he finished her sentence and said, “Mommy always comes last.”
“He was right,” Bobenmoyer says. “I was always the last parent there. My family wasn’t a priority.”
Together, she and her husband decided their current work-life balance wasn’t working, and they needed to make a change to maintain a healthy marriage and a healthy family. So, they started sending their resumés out. Her husband landed a job in his hometown of Indy, while Bobenmoyer was a stay-at-home mom for six months until she accepted a position with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. This year they’ll celebrate 10 years in the Circle City.
Two years after they moved to Indy, Bobenmoyer found that she still didn’t know a lot of people and there weren’t a lot of kids in their neighborhood. A friend mentioned to her that she should find a mom’s group, but Bobenmoyer discovered that a lot of them weren’t active.
“I just realized that there really wasn’t a support system for moms that existed in Indianapolis outside of a school or church setting,” she says.
So, she took matters into her own hands. In 2013 she launched theCityMoms, a sisterhood for the modern mom that offers community, connections, and relationships. Today, she’s the Chief Mom Officer for theCityMoms full-time, which gives her flexibility with her schedule and her family.
“We grew from what originally started as a moms’ group into this wide, amazing, social network and community for women that has roots beyond Indianapolis,” Bobenmoyer says. “We have a following that stands even outside of the state. It’s even outside the Midwest. I feel very blessed.”
We chatted with this Maven to Know about what it’s like to found your own business, what she learned from being a stay-at-home mom, and the family-friendly activities we should be doing this summer.
Maven Superpower: I am truly able to think of the perfect song for every moment.
So, you founded your own business. What went into that?
I prepared by literally just starting a meet-up page for theCityMoms and reached out to a few women that I had met through the community. Within the first day that we launched, we had over 100 members that were part of the community. Now, we’ve reached over 3,000 members in the past three+ years. Our media reach is about 215,000 monthly and what really went into founding was just wanting to have this community for women that met you where you were.
So many communities are either focused on your role as a working mom or as a stay-at-home mom, I wanted to provide a hybrid of both. I wanted us to be a community that was available to any woman and any mom, no matter where she was in her role as a mother, that provided an outlet to her for support.
How would you describe theCityMoms to a stranger?
theCityMoms is a boutique media company focused solely on the modern mom. For clients, we act as a connector between their brands and the modern mom. For women, we offer a full-service membership supporting her through motherhood. In our eyes, every mom is a CityMom.
Describe your day-to-day role as Chief Mom Officer.
Every day is different. In my role, I lead strategy, oversee all media client work and implementation, manage our Membership+Events teams, and focus on growth planning. But some days I’m focused on little things like hashtag management and bill-paying. As an entrepreneur in a growing company, no task is too small for me to handle and I’m happy to do them — they help me understand this business more and reinforce that although we’re in our 8th year, we’re still in startup mode.
How do you balance everything?
Balance is a really tricky word, and it’s something that in motherhood, you’re expected to achieve. But the fact is, when 70% of the world is going really, really well, there’s another 30% that’s falling. And I think one of the big things and lessons that we’ve tried to teach out of theCityMoms is knowing that’s okay. That’s totally okay. And when that 30% is falling, that’s where community comes in. So, that might be calling another CityMom to ask for help with babysitting or asking to sit and listen. When it comes to balance for myself, I will say, I’m very fortunate to be married. My husband, Brad, is spontaneous and he’s very grounded. And he’s loving and he’s hard on me sometimes, calling me out on things. I am fortunate that the 30% that falls, normally he will help plug in.
What would you tell other moms that are struggling with balance and looking for community?
Balance is a myth. The more women you meet and let into your circle, the more you’ll realize all of us struggle with the mythical belief that balance can be achieved. Sometimes we’re just juggling all the balls better than last week, but there’s never a moment that something won’t be up in the air.
Looking back, do you have any advice you give to your younger self?
It’s going to be okay. I think growing up and looking ahead at each stage of life, I was always like, “Am I going to make this? Am I going into this next stage of life grounded or happy or am I going to be okay?” I think I would say, “It’s going to be okay.” You’re going to go through leaps and bounds above what you expected, you are going to be exactly where you needed to be. And you’re going to be happy.”
Name a MAVEN TO KNOW OR WOMAN YOU ADMIRE.
Michelle Obama. I’ve read Becoming, cover to cover, five to six times at this point. And I’m always so taken with her grounded voice and with her ability to ensure that her family knows how much they are loved and how much she wants them to grow. I’m always taken by her clear-headed thinking, and the grace and poise that she seems to carry at every turn of her life is something that I hope one day I can emulate myself.
Tell us about some fun, family-friendly activities we can do this summer.
Get out and explore a neighborhood that you’re not necessarily familiar with, something like Fountain Square. You can go DuckPin bowling and you can watch the freeway go by. Another thing would definitely be to hit The Garage for lunch or dinner. The beautiful thing about The Garage at Bottleworks, especially as a mom and family, you always know inevitably that every kid wants something different. While I don’t like being a short-order cook at home, The Garage allows you to do that in one setting. And it also allows you to explore some different types of cuisine. The other thing is to visit the Eskenazi Health Sky Farm. There’s a farm that’s on the top floor of the Eskenazi Hospital downtown. It’s probably one of my favorite places in the city and has one of the best views in Indy.
On a busy morning, what’s your go-to coffee order?
A golden milk latte from Provider Coffee.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“If not you, then who?” is something my business coach, Erinn Bridgeman, said to me once and it’s stuck with me. We were trying to problem-solve an issue and I was wondering aloud who would step up to handle a trouble piece — this little phrase reminded me that in entrepreneurship, I’m the one who needs to step in/speak up/act because if I don’t, who will? I’ve since applied that phrase to a multitude of things across my life.
Tell us something people might not know about you.
I secretly love show tunes.
Samantha Kupiainen is a regular Indy Maven contributor.
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