Meet Karen Miner, Mom to Anabel (9), Madex (7) & Finn (4)
Where do you work and what do you do? Tell us a bit about it. What are some of your goals?
I own the Gainesville franchise of Just Between Friends. JBF is a pop-up community marketplace for absolutely everything “Baby & Kid.” We host two events each year catering to local parents and charities. I discovered JBF in 2012 when a friend in a mom group invited me to shop. I was immediately hooked and looked forward to it each season. While my first two were little, it provided me a place to resell their clothes and make extra money for all the new things to spoil them with. In 2017, while literally in labor and delivery having Finn, I made an offer to purchase the franchise. Fast forward four years, we have grown to the largest children’s event in Florida, rank 18th out of 160 franchises and have donated over $210,000 through cash and in-kind donations to our charity partners. My goal with JBF is to provide a safe, clean, welcoming marketplace where every single person feels valued. Whether they come for a great deal on a $600 stroller or they come because they have $40 and need to clothe their child for the entire year. They are a friend, a part of JBF and feel it as soon as they walk through the doors.
What is your favorite part / most rewarding part of being a mom?
My favorite part of being a parent is getting to watch their personalities develop. Time seems to go so fast; I feel like it was just last year that I had a newborn and zero clue what to do with her. Now I have these three amazing little people with their own thoughts, ideas and style. Seeing the bond between them as siblings, hearing the older two have “big kid” conversations about things that happened at school, it is so fun to watch!
What is the hardest part of being a mom?
The hardest thing for me as a mom is remembering to slow down and be present. Not physically present, but actually stopping to listen when your brain is doing a mental checklist of all the things that you should be doing. Waiting for them to buckle themselves and praising them instead of rushing so we can get from point A to point B, so we can clean up from dinner, make it to sports, get back to work, finish the laundry, answer an email. It’s taking the time to hear a very long recap of a cartoon and actually comprehending, actually caring what color hat the dog was wearing. Taking the time to appreciate the rock collection that got dumped on the clean kitchen table. I struggle with this daily. Slowing down and appreciating the moments, whether I have time to or not.
What gets you up in the morning?
School? Seriously, those tardy letters and the mom walk of shame into the office to sign them in when you’re late stinks!
What makes you laugh?
Finn. This child is a mess! He has zero filter, zero worries, he is 100% honest and it is amazing!
What has been the biggest life lesson that you have learned being a parent?
I have spent the last week with this question on my mind, not sure how to answer it. Should I throw in a canned answer that is easy to read? Or be honest? Do I admit that as a parent my non-filtered self has found a filter? That being a parent has changed literally everything about me? That I have always been selfish and now being a selfless parent can be debilitating sometimes? Do I admit that being a parent has made me lonely even though I am never alone? Do I mention that as a parent I have anxiety for the first time in my life? That my head never turns off? That I work every night at 2 a.m. just so I can actually hear my thoughts, so I can breathe but not loudly because I may wake a kiddo and my “work day” will end. So I work in silence, in a dark house so that I can continue to be present during the day even when my head is a million miles away. Should I mention that every single day I feel like I have failed someone and I know tomorrow will be the same? Not being present enough, kind enough, not caring enough, yelling too much. Do I write that I don’t know how to adult 97% of the time and that when I do I feel 100% guilty? Or do I submit a social media, pinterest pretty answer? Here is my honest answer, the biggest life lesson I have learned is “sometimes it’s ok to not be ok.”
What is your parenting mantra?
Make good choices. We used to laugh at Finn when he would come home from preschool and brag about making a green choice, or telling us about someone making a red choice. It stuck. We all say it to each other daily, and it’s really pretty perfect. Make good choices, simple as that.
How do you balance it all?
Lots of late nights, caffeine and a super supportive husband.
How do you relate to other #bossmoms?
JBF is such a unique business it’s hard to really understand the job unless you have done it. While I only host two events a year, I am working full time year round on the back-end of my franchise. My two best friends also own JBF franchises, they are my go to’s for support and encouragement.
Share a funny parenting story that all moms/parents can relate to.
Oh gosh, we have so many. I guess my current favorite is a Finn one. Every morning he wakes up and goes outside to pee. Weird enough on its own, but not only does he walk past the bathroom to go outside, he howls like a wolf the entire time. It is hysterical! Thankfully we live in the country.
What is some advice you have for other #bossmoms trying to balance it all?
My advice would be to slow down. Delegate what you can and set a timeline for the rest. Your kids’ sports games won’t wait. That fun story about the cartoon dog in the hat, listen to it. Emails and texts can wait until after bed.
If you could have any superpower to help parent your kids, what would it be?
Is there a superpower that does laundry? I pick that one if so!
What is your go-to meal at home that you cook? Can you share the recipe?
We grill out more than anything. I am definitely not one that you come to for recipes.
What are some fun holiday or winter activities you like to do?
We love camping! We always spend Thanksgiving camping, just the 5 of us. It takes the pressure off of trying to please everyone and let us recharge as a family.
What do you do for YOU on a weekly basis?
I guess this goes back to the balance question. I can’t say I do anything just for me weekly, maybe monthly though. We do have a pretty awesome massage chair that I sit in every night and demand silence for at least 15 minutes!
FAVORITE GAINESVILLE RESTAURANT
FAVORITE THING TO EAT
Chips & Salsa
Amazon, literally daily.
Anxiety? Kidding! Acqua Di Gio if I am going somewhere or whatever body spray is in my car if I forget.
SOUNDTRACK PLAYING AT HOME
FAVORITE THING TO DO WITH YOUR KIDS
We love to camp or be on the water. Our weekends are usually spent doing one or the other.