Mother/Hustler Kathlyn Celeste Knows That Boundaries Are An Entrepreneur’s Best Friend
In xoNecole's series Mother/Hustler, we sit down with influential mom bosses who open up about the ups and downs of motherhood, as well as how they kill it in their respective industries, all while keeping their sanity and being intentional about self-care.
Minding your business takes on a whole new meaning when you put healthy personal boundaries in place, and Massachusetts-based content creator Kathlyn Celeste has developed a thriving online business, amassed nearly 200,000 followers, and purchased a house with her husband and two young sons by doing exactly that.
As a mogul-in-the-making, one of the most powerful tools to have in your arsenal is the word "no" which, by the way, is a whole sentence. Kathlyn keeps this two-letter torpedo on deck. In a recent interview with xoNecole, this 28-year-old mother-of-two revealed the secret to staying centered when you're being pulled in every direction and according to her, it starts with knowing that boundaries are a business owner's best friend.
View this post on InstagramA post shared by Kathlyn Celeste 🇨🇻 (@kathlynceleste) on Nov 23, 2019 at 8:18am PST
"This year, I've been learning the power of 'no' and it's been hard, but freeing. I can't be everything for everyone or say 'yes' to every job as much as I love it and want to be a part of it."
Time is money, and this Mother/Hustler isn't here to waste either one on projects (or people) that don't serve her higher purpose. That's exactly why Kathlyn made the conscious decision to create a line between work and home that cannot be violated. She continued, "Sometimes my 'yes' to work is a 'no' to my family time and that's a line I just cannot cross. So, I've learned to be selective with the work I take on so it doesn't take away from what matters most to me."
We sat down with Kathlyn to talk more about the challenges of motherhood, entrepreneurship, and finding the courage to create healthy boundaries. Here's what we learned:
xoNecole: How do you handle moments when you feel overwhelmed?
Kathlyn Celeste: I'd like to say I go to prayer right away, every time… but honestly, sometimes the process is: slightly freak out, text my husband for encouragement, find something sweet (chocolate always works), calm down, walk away from the situation, pray, and worship. Then, I'm good!
What’s the hardest part of your day?
KC: I have the hardest time when it hits 2:35 pm and I'm not done with my work, but my family just walked through the door and I'm being covered with kisses and hugs. There's this tension inside of me because I want my workday to end there and just spend time with my family but it rarely happens that way. I'm currently learning to live in the 1% and be present in those moments, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's hard.
"There's this tension inside of me because I want my workday to end there and just spend time with my family but it rarely happens that way. I'm currently learning to live in the 1% and be present in those moments, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it's hard."
How (and how often) do you practice self-care?
KC: This is horrible, but very rarely. I need to get better at this. Some days self-care looks like Netflix and chill, and other days it's doing something active. But honestly, my favorite form of self-care is laughter. I love spending time just hanging out with my family, cousins, girlfriends, or binge-watching something with hubby and lots of snacks. That's my fave.
When do you feel most productive?
KC: When I'm killin' the game in my roles as a wife, mother, businesswoman, and friend. If there's a day where I sent an encouraging text to a friend, cooked, got the house clean, loved up on hubby, and had lots of big-hug-parties with my boys, all while checking off the 30 things on my to-do list… wow. #GOALS.
What is your favorite way to spend “me time”?
KC: Do trips to Target count? This is something I'm trying to get better at. This [past] year, I made it a priority to have "date days with Jesus" where I schedule out a huge block of time one day a week where I spend time in my word, journaling, and just talking to God all day. Through this, I've learned so much about myself by spending time with the One who created me. It's literally changed me in ways I'm so grateful for.
[This] year, I'm planning to start taking violin lessons as part of my "me time"! I played in elementary school and when I think about doing something for myself that has nothing to do with work or anyone else, I thought that would be cool to try again!
"I made it a priority to have 'date days with Jesus' where I schedule out a huge block of time one day a week where I spend time in my word, journaling, and just talking to God all day. Through this, I've learned so much about myself by spending time with the One who created me. It's literally changed me in ways I'm so grateful for."
What is your advice for dealing with mom guilt?
KC: "Give yourself grace and then make the necessary changes to improve where you feel you lack." I had a huge mom-guilt moment this summer that made me literally change the way we operate as a family. My oldest son opened up to my mom and said, "All Mommy and Dada do is work, they don't like to have fun and go to Chuck-E-Cheese." I was in Maui for a work trip at the time when she sent me the voice recording. I broke DOWN.
From that point, we decided that "Family Fun Days" would be a priority in our family and the first thing we schedule into the week before we even think about work. As much as it hurt, I'm grateful for what I've learned from that and how it brought change to our family for the better.
What is the most important lesson you want your kids to learn from you?
KC: There's so many and, as I grow as a mother, so many more get added to my prayers over the men they're becoming. I want them to be known as faith-filled men who have humble hearts--men after God's own heart--are outrageously generous and love all people well. [I want them to be] men who operate in excellence in all they do, that have a servant's heart, and like to have FUN in life while being present and enjoying each moment and season of life they're in.
Why was it important to you to be an entrepreneur even though some people may think that a 9-to-5 offers more stability?
KC: My journey through entrepreneurship has become my own ministry. I'm using my platform to encourage and inspire women as I learn and grow from the good and hard things I experience. Yes, you can in some ways have that in a 9-to-5 but because I can reach hundreds of thousands of women all over the world and bring them hope… there's nothing I'd rather do.
How has being a mother helped you become a better entrepreneur (or vice versa)?
KC: Absolutely. I don't think I would be as successful as I am if I didn't have a family early-on. They were my driving force to start and now the people I serve in my community are a part of that driving force.
"I don't think I would be as successful as I am if I didn't have a family early-on. They were my driving force to start and now the people I serve in my community are a part of that driving force."
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a mom who runs a business?
KC: I think time management has been the biggest one for me and creating a good "work-life" balance. Because I work from home, most days I'm answering emails and creating content while also cooking and picking up toys. Sometimes, just leaving and going to a coffee shop makes the biggest difference for me.
What advice do you have for moms who are looking to start their business but haven’t taken a step out on faith yet?
KC: If it scares you, do it. If it makes you worried, do it. Nothing worth fighting for comes easy. Don't get caught up in comparison and don't let perfectionism delay you any longer. Your first attempt is going to be "bad" compared to where you'll be a year from now. That's growth and inevitable. So, just do it! The only regret you'll have is not starting sooner.
Do you think it’s important to keep your personal and professional life separate? Why or why not?
KC: In many instances, yes. But I think a level of vulnerability in this industry is so important. It makes you more "normal" to the people on the outside who think for some reason, we're not. I've found that I've helped the most people by sharing my experiences and how I've overcome them. I won't ever go online and complain about something unless I'm coming with a solution as well. If I open up about a difficult moment with my husband or parenting, it's because I'm also sharing what we did to change and better that issue in our marriage or parenting. The heart behind everything I share has to be "How will this help them?"
What advice do you have when it comes to time management as a mogul mommy?
KC: Any tips you can give me?! (Laughs) I'm learning to get better at this and my goal for the new year is to master it! But what I've learned so far:
- Starting my day earlier (and sleeping earlier) really makes a huge difference!
- Set scheduled "work" hours and try your best to stick to them!
- Remove all distractions from your workspace. The 'Do Not Disturb' feature has BLESSED me. Sometimes I don't ever want to turn it off.
- Schedule everything and give yourself time blocks to do each task.
- Anticipate interruptions (Especially with kids. Life happens, it's okay!).
- Delegate! (I recently took on an assistant and it's changed the game for me!)
What tips do you have for financial planning, both professionally and for your family?
KC: Budget, budget, budget! Save, save, save! Take some time to create a spreadsheet and list out all of your income coming in, and every penny going out. Each week, you should update this sheet and it'll give you a better idea of what you can actually afford and where you may have to cut back. I think once you get started, you'll fall in love with managing your money and being in control of it, rather than it controlling you!
For more Kathlyn, follow her on Instagram @KathlynCeleste!
Featured image by Instagram/@kathlynceleste.
Taylor "Pretty" Honore is a spiritually centered and equally provocative rapper from Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a love for people and storytelling. You can probably find me planting herbs in your local community garden, blasting "Back That Thang Up" from my mini speaker. Let's get to know each other: @prettyhonore.
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Here's Why Very Few Relationships Can Actually Be 'Platonic'
Recently, while in an interview, someone asked me if I think that men and women can be just friends. I didn’t even hesitate to answer; my response was immediate, “Absolutely.” What I followed that up with is what intrigued them — “Life has taught me that not a lot of male/female dynamics are ‘platonic,’ though.” When they asked me to expound, the interview ended up taking a whole ‘nother turn.
As a writer who really pays attention to word meanings, something that can be a bit frustrating about our culture is the fact that based on whatever is popular at the time, folks will just up and change the original definitions of words to suit a particular agenda or whim — and the word “platonic” 1000 percent fits into this category. And perhaps that’s why we seem to continue to go in circles about whether or not people of the opposite sex can (and should) be friends and what that even can (and should) look like.
Let’s talk about it for a bit. Because as a word-literal type of individual, while again, I absolutely believe that men and women can be friends, at the same time, I think it’s about as rare as a red diamond to truly find yourself in a friendship that is…platonic.
It’s Time (More) Folks Knew What ‘Platonic’ LITERALLY MeansGiphy
So, let's do first things first — let's define what it literally means for something to be platonic. If you go to your favorite search engine and put something along the lines of "What does platonic mean?", the first thing that you're (probably) going to see is a ton of dictionary definitions that say something along the lines of "of, relating to, or being a relationship marked by the absence of romance or sex" (Merriam-Webster), "designating or of a relationship, or love, between a man and a woman that is purely spiritual or intellectual and without sexual activity" (Your Dictionary) and, my personal favorite, "purely spiritual; free from sensual desire, especially in a relationship between two persons of different sexes" (Dictionary). Yeah, bookmark that last one; I'll be circling back.
Keeping this in mind (and please do), where does the word "platonic" actually come from? From what I've researched, the philosopher Plato once penned something entitled "Symposium." In it, he addressed the topic of two people sharing the kind of love that is free of any type of sensual desire, one that is based on divine love alone. An author from the 1800s broke it down this way: "Platonic love meant ideal sympathy; it now means the love of a sentimental young gentleman for a woman he cannot or will not marry." A write-up on Merriam-Webster's site stated that "The term platonic was initially used to mock non-sexual relationships, as it was considered ridiculous to separate love and sex, but eventually this connotation faded away leaving us with today's notion of close friendships." Yeah, we used to live in a culture where love and sex were not separated. Hmph, that's another article for another time, though (check out "We Should Really Rethink The Term' Casual Sex'").
Anyway, as with many things (especially in our culture), the word "platonic" is kind of used in "broad strokes" these days (bromances, female friendships, etc.). However, because there continues to be this forever discussion — and oftentimes debate — about whether or not men and women can be "just friends," I'm going to tackle this topic strictly from that angle — from the place where platonic actually originated.
Yes, Men and Women Can Be Just Friends. But…Giphy
At this stage in my life, I'm pretty sure that I have more male friends than female ones. There are layers of reasons why, yet I think a huge one is because I like the balance that masculinity brings to my femininity (especially as I'm learning to embrace different aspects of my femininity, intentionally even more). And while every single one of my male friends is respectful and is a super safe space in my world on every single level that I can imagine (and have been for years now), there are probably only a couple who I would say 100 percent qualify as being…trulyplatonic.
Why would I say that? Well, I'll illustrate this point with something that one of my male friends once said to me. He's super cute. He can sing his ass off (and definitely has one of my favorite speaking voices). People see us out together often, and some have told us that they assume that we've had something going on at some point. Anyway, after hearing someone share their theory about us, I told it to him.
Me: "I told him, 'He's my brother. We would never mess around.'"
My Friend: "Correction, you are like a sister. You are not my sister, though. Under the right conditions, you could still get it."
When I shared that exchange with another male friend of mine, he basically cosigned on the sentiment: "Shellie, I have never approached you like that because I really respect you. I want to be good for you for the rest of our lives." (That reminds me: check out "Question: Is The Man In Your Life Good 'TO' You? Good 'FOR' You? Or...Both?" when you get a chance.)
Then I went to one more guy homie and ran both statements by him: "Girl, yeah. If I didn't want to keep you in my life long-term, I would've tried to holla a long time ago!" And he and I have been friends for almost 20 years at this point. When did he get around to telling me this? Eh, maybe two years ago. LOL.
So, my takeaway from all of these "for real?!" exchanges is even though men and women can be just friends, there is a certain level of intention, self-control, and ability to see into the future (on some level) that must go into account — because, just because something more-than-friends-like may not have gone down, that doesn't mean there isn't a "dormant seed" lying around somewhere…whether it's one-sided or on both sides of the friendship dynamic.
As you can see, I just provided you with three instances where the male friends in my life; we've had nothing sexual or even physically intimate beyond a hug when we greet each other in nature — although things aren't exactly platonic if there is some sort of attraction or sexual/romantic curiosity that simply never got explored. Because again, according to Plato, a platonic relationship is free from all of that kind of…tension — or possibilities. Zero. Nada. Zilch.
And now you probably get why I entitled this article in the way that I did…right? I mean, just think about it — out of your male friendships, where is there NO sensual desire or dormant romantic interest…on your side and/or on his? If you're not sure about "his"…have you ever asked him? Or them? Because again, once I really let the definition of platonic sink in, I think maybe two guys in my life totally fit the bill.
This brings me to my next point.
Are You Platonic? Or Are You Friend-Zoning?Giphy
Now that you know that probably 70 percent of the people you know (both online and off) have been using the true meaning of platonic all the way wrong, let’s go about deeper: when it comes to your friendships with men, are they genuinely platonic or…is it more like you’re friend-zoning them?
A few years ago, I penned an article on the topic entitled, “Before You 'Friend Zone' Someone, Read This.” If you’re skimming this on your lunch break, I’ll summarize friend-zoning as knowing that a guy has so-much-more-than-platonic feelings for you, yet because you basically want to keep the benefits of the friendship or even his emotions around, you will string him along on some level.
Personally, I can’t stand friend-zoning. I think it’s selfish, with some sprinkles of manipulation and wasting someone’s time. Don’t agree? How would you feel if a guy was friend-zoning you? (Yeah…exactly.)
This all needs to go on record because, knowing that a guy wants to “take it there” with you (whether sexually or romantically), you not full-on addressing it and/or giving him just enough hope to take you out, listen to all of your stories about other men and give you the attention that you need knowing that he doesn’t have a shot in hell — that is NOT a platonic friendship and honestly, you’re not being a good friend at all. Friends protect each other’s hearts, not abuse them.
A platonic friendship means that you both have no interest in each other, and, as Plato put it, while you may have a strong and solid bond, it’s spiritual love that connects you. And what exactly does that mean? Spiritual love also deserves its own article, yet the gist would be that you recognize there is a purpose in your friendship, yet it’s about wanting what’s best for one another and even helping each other to get there.
For instance, a platonic friend of yours may know that you desire to be married one day, so he has no problem setting you up with a good guy in his life. And if things go well, he would have no problem standing up as your own best man (without feeling like he’s dying inside) because he never saw you beyond anything but a friend. A guy in the friend zone doesn’t move like this; he likes you too much to help you move on with someone else. See the difference?
Why Relationships Should Start Off As NON-PLATONIC FriendshipsGiphy
Before I end this with some tips on how to properly care for the few platonic friendships you may actually have, since the use of the word may require a bit of mental reprogramming, I do think we should also address that if you've got a good guy in your life, who right now is a friend and either you've never thought of him in that way or the topic has never come up — he's someone that you may not want to brush off.
What I mean by that is, it's one thing for there to be absolutely no interest in someone vs. never considering it before — and the reason why you might want to give it some thought is because, ask any healthy married couple who's been together for more than five years and I'll bet you my next rent check that they will say that the best relationships are birthed out of friendship (check out "Are You Sure You're Actually FRIENDS With Your Spouse?").
Yeah, just because you've filed someone in the "I see him as a good guy" category, that doesn't automatically mean that y'all's friendship is platonic. For instance, I have a male friend who is fine and I adore on many levels, yet the reason why it would never work on my end is because there are certain relational standards that I have that he does not meet. However, don't get it twisted — I've considered him because, on so many levels, we "fit." So, the mere fact that I ever seriously thought about him on that level means that we are "good friends," yet it's not exactly platonic.
I'm not free of potential sensual desire…I just choose not to act on it. Yet because I get the value of having friendship as the foundation for my own future marriage (should life play out that way), I am wise enough to know that I would've been a fool to not at least…ponder him and the possibilities.
So yeah, if there is a male friend in your life that the thought of dating or having sex with him doesn't make you want to throw up in your mouth, there's a pretty good chance that it's not a classic platonic dynamic — and you might want to consider if it could/should go to the next level — if not immediately, eventually. Because there's a pretty good chance that if you are thinking that way, he probably is as well.
Protect Your Genuine Platonic Friendship(s) At All CostsGiphy
Let me end this with how one of my platonic friendships rolls. We both think that the other is attractive, yet neither of us is attracted. We both give each other opposite-sex insights. We both have said that the mere thought of dating each other makes our noses turn up like there’s an odor in the air. And even when I try to imagine us together, my mind goes blank. I love, love, LOVE this man — oh, but it is absolutely nothing more than platonic — and he feels the same way. It’s as close to familial love without being blood relationships. It’s a rare dynamic, and that is what makes it so special. There is definitely a spiritual type of love there; no more, no less.
If you’ve got someone in your life who you feel the same way about (again, it’s got to be mutual; he must feel that way, too), you’ve got a gem of a situation going on because there is nothing like having the kind of friendship where you and a guy can hang out, exchange perspectives and thoroughly enjoy each other’s company, knowing that’s all it is and will ever be. Things will never get weird. No one’s feelings are gonna get hurt (from the whole friend-zoning thing). You don’t have to walk on eggshells. You can just be.
And that’s why I’m all for platonic friendships. And listen, if you’re blessed enough to have even one in your lifetime, be fiercely protective of it. Don’t take it for granted. Nurture it in a way that your male friend needs (because it probably won’t be the exact same as your female friendships). Y’all, platonic friendships are so bomb because, if it’s honored and protected correctly, it’s the one male friend that you can probably keep for life because even your romantic partner will not find it to be a (true) threat — hell, they honestly could probably end up becoming (some level of) friends with your platonic homie as well.
I hope that I broke this all down enough to where, when you decide to use a word to describe your opposite-sex friendships, perhaps you will pause and ask yourself, “Wait, is this a platonic friend or a good or close friend?” Because the clearer you are on the differences, the easier it will be to know how to maintain your friendship — and feel about your friend. Feel me? Cool.
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Featured image by Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images