Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town? What brought you to your current town?
I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan. We moved to Highland Park four years ago from Wicker Park. The city is wonderful, but we were ready for a slower pace of life.
You’re a mama! How many kiddos do you have and how old are they?
I have one daughter, age 6.
What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?
Just seeing our daughter’s perspective on life. My husband and I are frequently charmed by her interpretations of things, and it’s been so fun to see her personality evolve.
Least favorite mom job?
Regulating screen time. I hear ya!
Can you please share a mommy short-cut or mom hack that makes your life a little easier?
Laying out clothes the night before eliminates so much indecision and debate. Good one!
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
My daughter and I just came back from a girls trip to Australia. While a long-haul trip with kids is a unique challenge, she did really well almost 20 hours in-flight!
Favorite local places to spend with the family…Family friendly restaurants and date-night restaurants in the North Shore
I absolutely love playing hooky at Rosewood Beach in Highland Park, followed by a trip to Sweet Home Gelato in Highland Park. I find that most restaurants in the North Shore are family friendly. We particularly like Disotto Italian Restaurant in Highwood for brunch and Sushi Kushi in Highland Park (my daughter loves their collection of lucky cats). For date night options The English Room with a nightcap downstairs in The Bar at Deerpath Inn in Lake Forest.
You’re a Chicagoan, Any Chicago restaurant recs?
I recently went to Machine located in Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village neighborhood with some girlfriends and loved it. It has an edgy floral shop vibe and serves really creative cocktails. Wow, that restaurant looks so cool! Worth trying for sure!
Many of us mamas reinvent ourselves a few times over! You are a true mompreneur! Tell us about your business!
I own Dayhouse Coworking in Highland Park, which opened in spring of 2019. It’s the only coworking space in the Chicagoland area with a childcare program and a wellness program. We were lucky enough to find an awesome vintage industrial building in downtown HP, and the design team (fellow North Shore mamas Ellie Nottoli and Jennie Cornell) turned it into a gorgeously inspiring and comfortable space. There’s even a nap room! We currently have 30 members, and everyone is so friendly and interesting. While there’s a waiting list for private offices, we still have dedicated desks and open seating memberships available. It’s the ultimate sanctuary for any work-from-home parent.
What was/is the inspiration and/or training involved behind the formation of Dayhouse Coworking? What is your background and how did your background help with getting involved in your business?
Prior to launching Dayhouse, I was a blog editor and event producer, trying to work from home with a toddler. Needless to say, it was extremely challenging. A friend posted on Facebook that she was experiencing the same frustrations, and wished there was a coworking space with childcare. It was a “thunderbolt moment” — one those moments when you’re hit with a force that yells “HEY! DO THIS THING!” So, I did it.
Before that, I was in sales and marketing. My career path has been more of a jungle gym than a ladder. At times I wondered if that was the right strategy, but it turned out those different experiences have been enormously helpful in starting a new business. I have to wear many different hats, and am able to draw from a diverse background.
What are some of your proudest moments with your business where you said “wow, I did that”?
Opening day was so gratifying. After two years of careful development, the space was open and full of happy people.
Work-from-home parents tend to work while everyone’s at school. Why a coworking space?
More people are working from home, which is great for eliminating long commutes, but home offices can be both distracting and isolating, and coffee shops are terrible for meetings (not to mention having to pack up your stuff when you need a bathroom break). When you join a coworking space, you get the best of all worlds — strong wifi, free coffee, quiet spaces for meetings and phone calls, chatty kitchens when you want some camaraderie, plus free events ranging from social media strategy to yoga classes. We combat the growing loneliness epidemic by giving you a tribe of motivated professionals who only want to see you succeed (read: no office politics!)
How important is it for you to have a passion outside of being a mother?
I think that’s important for everyone, no matter what stage of life they’re in. We should always strive to be multifaceted, and to nurture different parts of ourselves. For me, it’s supporting arts organizations. For the past ten years, I’ve served on boards for both Ravinia Festival and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
If people have been doing this for thousands of years, and in rougher conditions, then I can successfully navigate bedtime. LOL, I hear ya, sister!
What’s on the horizon for your Dayhouse Coworking? Future aspirations, plans….
We plan to expand Dayhouse to more suburbs around Chicago and eventually, to markets across the country. While coworking spaces are beginning to pop up in suburban markets, most are very corporate. Dayhouse is unique in both our vibe and in having childcare and wellness programs.
Dayhouse Coworking is located at:
2057 Green Bay Rd. in Highland Park
Learn More because Jen wants you to reach out!