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.
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
Want to discover where you are on your wellness journey? You don't have to look far. In partnership with European Wax Center, we're bringing you a customized wellness quiz to help you up your wellness game. Answer our short series of questions to figure out which type of wellness lover you are, what you need to bring more balance into your life, and then go deeper by shopping products geared towards clearing your mind, healing your body, and soothing your spirit.
Ready to get whole? Take our quiz now!
Not too long ago, while in an interview, someone asked me to define one of the main purposes of sex in a long-term relationship: “Probably the most intimate form of communication that we have is sex because it’s an act that connects one’s physical, mental and emotional state to another human being simultaneously — and communication doesn’t get much more profound than that.”
That’s part of the reason why the term “casual sex” irks me to the billionth degree (check out “We Should Really Rethink The Term 'Casual Sex'”); it’s because, even if you think that sex with someone is next-to-nothing, there is so much going on within you (oxytocin highs, if you’re unprotected, fluid bonding, chemical reactions in your brain, etc.) that doesn’t know if someone is “the one” (in your mind) or not. So, in many ways, it acts like they are (check out this YouTube video from a Catholic woman who studies some unexpected ways that sex affects us physically here; sex goes deep, y’all!).
Yeah, sex is so much more than a notion, and that’s why I’m a firm believer that it is such a barometer for long-term relationships overall — because, as I’ve shared before, I once read that, “Good sex in a relationship is 10 percent of the relationship while bad sex in a relationship is 90 percent of the relationship because sex tends to set the tone for what’s happening in the rest of the house.”
And that’s why I think that there are certain sex-related issues that can not only damage your sex life with your partner but could also end up ruining your relationship if you’re not careful (very careful). Let’s get into seven of them now.
1. Being Unaware of Your “Body Clock”Giphy
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve had who’ve come to me in some serious trouble, in part due to their flailing (or partly nonexistent) sex life. When I ask them if they went to premarital counseling (if you’re engaged, please do; you have a 33 percent greater chance of avoiding divorce when counseling transpires), many say “no” and the ones who say “yes” usually say that it was no more than 3-5 sessions and the topic of sex barely came up (le sigh). Meanwhile, with my premarital meetings, I try and stick with intimacy for three months if I can because there is a lot to unpack, from what you learned as a child, to your first time (or if you are a virgin), to your needs and fantasies, to how you see it from a spiritual perspective — like I said, there is a lot to unpack there.
Take the mere practicality of sex, for example — and more specifically, your body clock. Do you prefer to have sex at night or in the daytime? A lot of couples struggle with intimacy because one prefers the former while the other likes the latter. Do you keep track of when you’re ovulating? It’s pure science why you are probably hornier during that time of the month (because your body is signaling that it’s time to conceive) vs. the fact that you might not be the most interested in sex when you’re PMS’ing. Are you premenopausal? Hormones shift a lot during that time, and here’s the thing — while menopause only lasts a year, the premenopausal stage (which typically starts between 45-55) can last between 7-14 years. Even paying attention to when you have more energy (some do in the day…morning sex, anyone? While others do early in the evening) can play a role.
So yeah, getting to know your body clock (and discussing your partner’s clock with them) can play a role in how much — or how little — sex you have…and that can add life or drain it from the relationship overall.
2. Comparing Your Present with Your PastGiphy
There is a wife of almost 20 years I know who, when I asked her if she thought that her husband was good in bed, she paused for a second, shrugged her shoulders, and simply said, “I was a virgin when I got married, so I have nothing to compare him to. I mean, he’s good to me.” On the flip side, there’s a now divorced couple who I also know (who almost made it to 20 years) who had multiple partners before each other while also having a deep interest in porn who once said to me, “Sometimes, there’s as much as 15 people in our bed because of all of the people from our past and the porn that we’ve seen that’s running through our heads.” Yeah, y’all can act like body counts don’t matter, but there is so much evidence out here that says otherwise — that couple just gave one that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should.
You know, one of my favorite throwback shows is King of Queens (Kevin James, Leah Remini). A few weeks ago, I watched a rerun where Doug and Carrie were talking about the images that come up in their minds, sometimes during sex. Neither was too happy about it, and I can totally see why. I mean, if sex was just about “getting off” (and it’s not), then whatever. However, AGAIN, it’s also about connecting with your partner on a mental and emotional level, and that’s hard to do if you’re there with them in the body while you’re fantasizing about a celebrity, a porn actor (porn is usually acting, don’t let it fool you) or an ex (check out “You Love Him. You Prefer Sex With Your Ex. What Should You Do?”).
And what if that is what’s going on? I once spoke with a sex therapist about this very thing. What she said is people should be less concerned about celebs (if it’s on occasion) and more concerned about that ex because rarely is sex with an ex…just about the sex.
And that’s why this point made the list. If you’re physically with your partner and mentally or emotionally with your ex at the same time, please don’t ignore that. There are definitely some unresolved issues there that you need to work through, whether it’s with a therapist, counselor, or coach, a trusted friend (who won’t add fuel to the literal fire), or even with your ex — although you might want to run that by your partner first because…I’m pretty sure you’d want him to do that with/for you. RIGHT?
3. Not Being Clear About Your Sexual NeedsGiphy
Question — if someone were to walk up to you right now and ask you what your top seven sexual needs are, along with what your top five sexual dealbreakers are, would you be able to answer? It really is kind of wild how many people get upset with their partner for not being able to sexually satisfy them when even they can’t articulate what they need/require in order for that to happen. Yeah, it’s another article for another time about how many people UNREALISTICALLY (and yes, I am yelling it) think that someone loving them well means that they should be able to read their mind. Nope.
It truly can’t be said enough that sex — especially good sex — is about communication. Hmph. It makes me think about a clip that I saw from Tonight’s Conversation podcast (can’t find it at the moment; sorry) where a woman asked how she should tell her partner that he hasn’t been pleasing her, I believe she said for years. My first thought was if he doesn’t know that, she must be faking orgasms (more on that in a bit) which is not only lying — well, it is —, but it’s also pretty counterproductive because while he thinks that he’s “getting the job done,” she’s not fulfilled and resentment is setting in.
Please don’t let rom-coms (fiction) and social media (which is oftentimes fictitious) have you out here thinking that a good lover is someone you automatically gel with who knows exactly what to do; sometimes that is the case, and oftentimes it isn’t.
So, if the sex-related issue that you’re having in your relationship is that your sexual needs aren’t being met, first do you (and your partner) a favor by doing some sex journaling (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”) so that you can tangibly see what those needs are and then plan time within the next week or so to pour a couple of glasses of wine, put on some 90s R&B and discuss with your partner what you need. Because actually, what a good lover is, is someone who listens and retains. This brings me to the next point.
4. Minimizing Your Partner’s Sexual NeedsGiphy
A husband once told that when he and his wife were in premarital counseling, something that he mentioned was a bona fide need was fellatio. According to him, his wife told both him and their counselor that she loved giving head. Fast forward to eight years of being in their union, and guess how many times that act went down? A measly four. FOUR TIMES (check out “Sooo...What If You HATE Oral?”).
It’s another message for another time, the amount of people who will “false advertise” during the dating stage in order to get to their goal of marriage. It’s also another message for another time how much that is a form of manipulation that tends to backfire in ways that the manipulator is oftentimes not prepared for.
For now, what I will say, is never think that just because something may not be a need for you that it isn’t a legitimate one for someone else. I mean, how would you feel if that’s how someone treated you? Yeah…exactly.
Yet that is just what happens in a lot of relationships, including when it comes to their bedroom. They will think that their needs should be met, hands down, yet when their partner comes with what’s important to them, all of a sudden, there is dismissiveness, nonchalance, and/or excuses — and how could that not rear its ugly head on so many levels?
Your partner’s sexual needs are essential, even if they are not your own. Never assume that you automatically know everything about them. Also, never assume that what worked two years ago is what will “scratch the itch” now. Hmph. Come to think of it, while you’re sipping on that wine and clearly articulating to him what turns you on, use that as an opportunity to ask him to return the favor. Listen with humility, receptiveness, and intent — the best kind of relationships process their partner’s needs with this kind of vibe…across the board.
5. Taking the “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” ApproachGiphy
Lazy lovers. When you hear that phrase, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? If it’s someone who is just lying there during sex, that would certainly qualify; however, I’m actually speaking of a different kind of laziness here. Believe it or not, some synonyms for lazy include words like apathetic, inattentive, tired, passive (cough, cough), procrastinating, neglectful, and slacking. So yeah, if you and/or your partner can use any of these words to define what sex is consistently like between the two of you — red flag, red flag…RED FREAKIN’ FLAG.
Speaking of being passive, another potentially serious sex-related problem is taking on the attitude that if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. What I mean by that is, just because you know that getting on top and riding for exactly six-and-a-half minutes is what will get your partner off, that doesn’t mean that it should be your automatic go-to all of the damn time.
Why? Because. While a part of the fun of having sex is “reaching the peak,” another component that should never be underestimated is discovering new territory: trying new positions, creating a sex bucket list, taking (more) sexcations, playing sex-themed board games (put that phrase in Amazon or on Etsy’s site and go ham!)…you know, doing what will inspire creativity and deter either of you from becoming bored.
That said, a husband of 17 years once told me, “A man can be satisfied with the same woman. We just don’t want the same kind of sex with her.” Words to live by. Yes, indeed.
6. Using Sex as a Deflection or Coping MechanismGiphy
A few years ago, I wrote an article for the platform entitled, “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good” — and with good cause. Words cannot express how many divorced (or soon-to-be divorced) women have told me that a part of what kept them in their marriage, for as long as they stayed in it, was the fact that the sex with their husband was beyond amazing…even though so much other stuff completely and totally sucked. Hey, good sex isn’t a bad thing (c’mon now); however, if it’s the only real thing that’s keeping you with someone, it can turn out to be a toxic deflector.
The reason why I say that is the purpose of sex isn’t to make love; it’s to celebrate it. And if all you’re doing with your partner is f — king and fighting or avoiding issues by stripping down or thinking that sex will “make it all better,” all the while not really knowing what the problem/issue is or what needs to be done to get down to the root of it, that is using sex as a pacifier and again, that’s not what sex is designed to be. Sex doesn’t deserve the pressure of being the end-all to “fixing” ish.
So, if what’s transpiring in your relationship lately is very little talking and a whole lot of sexing, and then once the sex is over, something still feels “off,” that’s a good indication that you’re misusing sex on some level. Get out of the bed, put on a robe, and do some talking (preferably in a room other than the bedroom; leave that space for sex and sleep only as much as possible). Because remember — as much as the wives that I mentioned said that their husbands once had them climbing the walls, those men are still ex-husbands now. Bottom line, sex is good, yet when it comes to keeping a relationship together, it will never be enough. Again, it was never designed to be.
7. Faking ItGiphy
I will never be a fan of faking orgasms. Maybe it’s because I’m a Gemini (we may be a lot of things, but “fake” isn’t really our style). Maybe it’s because I’m a very word-literal individual, and I know that fake means things like “prepare or make (something specious, deceptive, or fraudulent)” and “to conceal the defects of or make appear more attractive, interesting, valuable, etc., usually in order to deceive.” Or perhaps it’s because I don’t get how acting like you’re sexually fulfilled when you actually aren’t is doing anyone any good. Whatever it is, whenever a client (or someone in general because men fakealmost as much as women do) tells me that it’s something they do, I immediately find myself on a mission to shut that mess down (check out “Why You Should Stop Faking Orgasms ASAP”). ALL THE WAY DOWN.
The main reason is that, regardless of if the motive is to hurry things along, not hurt your partner’s feelings, or it’s something more cryptic than that (cough, cough, some form of manipulation tactic), there’s no way around the fact that fakeness is tied to deception and deception is a word that should never be connected to a healthy sexual dynamic.
Besides, one could argue that faking is a form of deflection as well because…wouldn’t it be better to just get it all out in the open WHY you are doing it than to keep pretending when life is too short and great sex is too good to not get the absolute most out of it, as much as possible?
Besides, again, chances are that if you’re faking that you’re sexually pleased, you’re probably faking something else in your relationship (or situation), and how could that possibly be good, right, or beneficial?
Yeah, when it comes to being satisfied across the board, please don’t fake it. State your case in the way that you’d like to hear something said to you, and let the chips fall where they may. If you’ve got a good man, he’s gonna — no pun — rise to the occasion. If his ego can’t handle it, well…that’s something that you should find out sooner than later — when it comes to the bedroom and outside of it? Right? #shoyouright
Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.
Featured image by Giphy