Welcome to our Mom Around Town feature! We took a bit of a break over the summer but I’ve got a lot of great features lined up for the fall! Last time I posted my visit at BELLE+BEAU, a children’s boutique in Park Ridge. Today I have an interview with Melissa Haak, creator of the website, Little Lake County and the blog, Peanut Butter in My Hair.
Since many of the business owners I will be interviewing work directly with children and expecting parents, I think it is important to get to know them well. Our Mom Around Town feature will help you do that! Make sure you check out our other Mom Around Town posts!
Blog Name: Little Lake County / Peanut Butter in my Hair
Year Established: Peanut Butter in my Hair started in 2008 and Little Lake county in 2010
Erika: What services does your business provide?
Melissa: Little Lake County is a website for families in Lake County to get all the information they need to have fun and explore Lake County. We have a calendar of events and 10 moms that write reviews and experiences about being out and about in Lake County with their own kids. Peanut Butter in my Hair is my personal blog on motherhood, life and everything in between. I write out the “sticky side” of motherhood working through PPD and miscarriage and pregnancy after loss.
Erika: How did you get the idea to start your business?
Melissa: I moved to Lake County from the city in 2008 and was shocked at how hard it was to find and connect with other moms online. Everyone at my schools seemed to know all these cool things to do with their kids because they have lived in the area their whole life. I wanted to create and curate a space where families could find and connect to their local community. There are so many local gems in Lake County, probably in your own backyard, that you don’t know about. I wanted to get people, and myself, out and staying local instead of only hitting the big places (usually in the city) that had the marketing forces to spread their message.
Erika: What did you do before you started your business?
Melissa: Prior to having kids I was in healthcare. I started staying at home when I had my son in 2005 and was just a volunteer, writing for my local parents group before moving to the suburbs.
Erika: Can you share one memorable story from an experience you had related to your business/blog?
Melissa: Well I have had a lot of really cool experiences thanks to my personal blog and for being part of (now closed) Chicago moms Blog and ChicagoParent.com. I have been an ambassador with Campbell’s Soup and Huffy Bikes and am currently working with Netflix. I have met Apollo Anton Ohno, and I have met amazing writers and friends. My favorite experience is summed up in my 2012 Listen to Your Mother Performance (which was such a great experience)! I met a great friend who lives down the street online.
My favorite, and the coolest thing really, about Little Lake County is when someone I meet or know casually through school etc says to me, “Hey have you seen this site? Little Lake County? It’s so great!”. I love hearing people referring it to friends and hearing that it helps them.
Erika: Do you have children yourself? Feel free to tell us about them.
Melissa: I have four children and an angel son, their “online” names are: PBboy (9), PBgirl (7) JSH (angel lost at 18 weeks) PBToddler (3) and PBFin (1).
Erika: Do you have anything you would like to tell us that is new for your
business in 2014?
Melissa: Little Lake County is really growing and we have big plans! Look to see us out and about in the community more and having more events for kids and moms to connect and have fun! I also just won the Lake County Suburban Life Women of Distinction award.
Erika: Is there anything else you want to tell us about your business or yourself?
I hear a lot, ” oh you’re a blogger? You get everything for “free” and that’s so far from the truth. Yes, I blog on my personal site and for Chicago Parent as a way to tell stories and connect with moms. At Little Lake County, we are much more like journalists. We spend a lot of time researching and aggregating the information to make sure we are not only giving you the best answers and resources but the correct ones. It’s not about sitting at home waiting for someone to give me something for free.
Personally I think it’s so common for moms to put their dreams, hobbies and desires on hold while they are in the early mothering years. I love, love, love my children and being a mom, but I am a person too. Taking time and energy to cultivate my hobbies and desires only makes me a better mom and teaches my children that their desires matter in a relationship, it shouldn’t be all consuming.
Erika: What is on your “bucket” list?
Melissa: To run a marathon. I love running and was training when I got pregnant and subsequently lost my son. Now that we are done making babies I can’t wait to get back to running and training. I also really, really, want to write a book. I have several ideas and I can’t wait to see where they take me.
Erika: Any fun, unusual talents you have or what is a fun fact about yourself?
Melissa: Weird talent–my toes are like monkey toes, I use them to pick things up all the time – usually because my hands are full with babies and stuff!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! Make sure you check out her two blogs, Little Lake County for fun events in Lake County and other useful kid-related articles as well as Peanut Butter in my Hair for a look into the “sticky” side of being a Mommy!