The Challenges of Being an Entrepreneur & Adventurous Mom

I'm so excited to announce that Almost Nomadic has just launched its own podcast, produced by and for women adventurers! In the first episode of the podcast, Shanshan (Shanna) had a fun-filled conversation with Jennifer Tang, a Houston travel mom with two adorable kids, a professional dentist and a fearless entrepreneur. She shared inside stories of the struggles with being first-time mom, the highs and lows of traveling with kids, and how those experiences influenced and shaped relationships with family and friends.


S (Shanshan): First of all, would you tell the listeners how we met for the first time? I want to hear your side of the story.

J (Jennifer): Yes, so our kids go to the same school together, and when I go to the classroom, you will be like looking at me and smiling. You’re very shy. But then one day you finally said something to me: “your daughter looks like an Instagram star!” so instantly I laughed and we started talking and sharing life stories. You’re very sweet. Our kids bonded, and now they become close friends.

S: Now I kinda remember that I was such a creeper I would just stare at you and I didn’t know what to talk about first. In my mind I was like “okay, she’s wearing scrubs. She is a doctor. She must be a doctor. I need to make friends with her.” (laughing) That’s so Asian of me, and now you all know how “creepy” Shanshan makes friends.

So Jennifer, how often do you and your family travel?

J: We travel at least once a year for sure. We try to travel more because the kids love it a lot so we try to book trips whenever we can. I was telling you earlier that we did cancel the trip to New York last year because of the measles outbreak. So for cases like that, we booked the trip but we ended up canceling and actually lost money cuz they were not gonna refund us. But otherwise, we do try to book a lot of trips. I think I told you that we tried to book a trip to Hawaii last December but the tickets are skyrocket, like two thousand per person and we can’t afford it now with four people. So we ended up going to San Antonio with you.  It turned out to be super fun. So it doesn't matter where you fly to or what you do, as long as the company is good, it will be fine. And I think it's probably much easier to do road trips with kids, so we probably would do that more often.

S: In terms of planning, would you say that you are the spontaneous type or you are planning-a-year-ahead kinda person?

J: Definite very spontaneous, like a day before, a week before or an hour before. I'm very random. I plan a little bit more now because of the children. We have to take a little more effort.
… …
I'm not a planner type and my husband doesn't really care where we go. We just enjoy going to places together. We do want to try a different place every time and I know my kids really like San Diego a lot so we try to plan a trip there again. But no, I don't think I ever tried to plan too far ahead.

S: I haven’t been to San Diego. Are there a lot of kid-friendly places in San Diego?

J: San Diego was actually one of our first places with Grace (flying wise). She was only 8 months old. She did really well. She didn't cry. She was behaving extremely well. We went to the market and the zoo. It was a very very kid-friendly place. There're a lot of things to do and next time we probably go back to Legoland. I definitely recommend that for kids.

(... ...)

S: Many parents are wondering: is it even worth it traveling with kids? Any benefits you can think of?

J: They don't remember the entire trip per se, but my daughter is 3 and she would ask me if we can fly to San Diego again. Just seeing her smile, we know we will just do it all over again even though we are lugging around our luggage and stuff. I would just feel like every minute just to be with them you can't put a price on memory or how exhausted you are.

S: I want to dive into the topic of being a working mom and how you balance work and life. So how long have you been working as a dentist?

J: I've been working as a dentist for almost 10 years and I'm looking to acquire an office, and currently in the process of it.

S: Did your job give you a decent amount of maternity leave?

J: I actually work for myself, so every time I take a leave or vacation, I don't get paid. My boss originally gave me 6 weeks' maternity leave and I agreed to that but I didn't know how I would feel. But I ended up actually taking 10 to 12 weeks because I basically had no help. It would just be me and my husband and two kids. At that time my husband was in the MBA program. It was very hard. It would just be basically me watching them 24/7, even night shift. I let my husband sleep because he was working and I wasn't. So I thought I could do this but by month three I broke down and I was like “I need to get a nanny. I need help.” So I told my husband I really need his help with the night shift and help me feed the baby. Everybody breaks down after having kids and watching them all day, and I tried to be Superwoman but at some point, you have to ask for help.

S: Thank you for sharing your postpartum journey with us. It is extremely hard without asking for any help. (... ...)
Did you have a hard time going back to work?

J: Going back to work actually feels more normal for me: doing work and going back home to my kids, so it’s more like, you know, having a schedule and having a routine for me. It was actually nice and refreshing after that.

(... ...)

S: So I want to go back to traveling. Have you heard about the term “momcation”? Have you ever done anything like that?

J: I have actually gone on a few trips with my girlfriends, I called it “girl trips”. I think I went on my first one when Grace was 6 months old, and my husband told me to go because he wanted me to take a break and get away. I canceled one trip to Nashville when I had my second baby because he was only 3 months old and I was still breastfeeding so I didn’t want to leave him and my husband at home with two small children. Since then, I’ve probably taken about six or seven girl trips already. I still feel guilty about trips even though it’s just a short one like going to Austin this past weekend. I felt bad and most of the time I just felt like sleep. I was so tired. I couldn’t stay up the way that I used to. I think most of us moms by 11 or 12 at night, we want to go to sleep and we want to go home and facetime our kids. Then in the morning, we still woke up super early even though we slept late. It was a lot of fun but it still had the mom guilt.

(... ...)

S: Yeah... the mom trips actually made me miss my son even more: Whenever I come back, I will be like I need to spend more quality time with my son and I want to do more for my baby. So it definitely makes me want to bond with him more after the vacation.

(… …)

S: What are you most looking forward to in 2020?
J:  I was looking forward to acquiring a practice, so that'll be a big thing this year. I do have a trip booked to Arizona... If I do acquire business by the end of this month, I don't know how to balance that yet. So just have to figure that out. Maybe I will have to cancel the trip, not sure, but as of right now, I do still plan to go and try to become a business owner and wait for everything finalized. But the most important thing is my number one priority, my children. I don't want to take time away from them. I do want to have as many experiences as I can with them.

S: Thank you so much for sharing your stories and experience with us today. I had fun hanging out with you and listening to your life adventures. You inspired me in many aspects, not just being a loving and fun mom, but also working towards your goals and entrepreneurship. I wish you the best of luck with work, with life, and with everything!

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