Ten Minutes with Sharon Rowley
Creator of an award-winning blog, Momof6.com, Rowley dispenses invaluable advice on family
Photo by Rana Faure
Sharon Rowley has true on-the-job training. As creator of an award-winning blog, Momof6.com, Rowley dispenses invaluable advice on family travel, organization, nutrition, and other topics that arise daily (hourly?) as the parent, with husband Steve, of six children, ages 15, 14, 12, 12, ten, and ten. Rowley, also a fashion-line representative, has partnered with retailers such as Kmart to build her business and help answer that elusive question: How does she do it?
How did your family grow?
Steve and I met on the job working at Burdine’s in Florida. We made the leap up to the city and later to Bedford. Then we had three boys in three years. We loved parenting and we knew we wanted to add to our family. We made three separate family trips to China to adopt each of our youngest children. After that, we felt complete.
Do you apply any skills from your career to heading up such a busy house?
My entire business life was managing people, timelines, and projects. I’m all about having a process. The kids all have bins where they put their clothes and equipment for after-school activities. I always start with what time I have to be out the door and work backward.
How did you turn having a big family into your career?
People would always stop and ask me how I managed. I started to realize they weren’t just making conversation, they were really listening to my answers. So the blog started as a passion project to be helpful to other women. I wanted everyone to understand that we all have the same 24 hours. My subscriber base grew, and I started speaking at conferences, developing sponsored content, and appearing on NBC as a parenting expert.
How do your kids feel about having their family life discussed publicly?
We’re a conspicuous family and people often feel compelled to speak about it. But there are a million reasons surrounding family planning, and they are all really personal. I try really hard not to share my kids’ stories. Those stories are their stories.
How do you get everyone around town?
We were struggling fitting in our mini-van, then while on vacation we spied this giant silver bus and flipped out. You would think we had seen the hottest sports car in the world. We tracked it down and bought one on eBay. It fits our whole family plus also has room to take other kids. I like being able to help carpool. Everyone knows the Rowley mobile.
What’s your most common bit of advice?
That’s easy. Be brave. Get out there and live. For example, don’t feel like you need to wait for a vacation. I took the kids by myself on a six-week summer road trip through the Great American West. We hiked in Yellowstone, went whitewater rafting, and rode horses. And I did it as a travel trip, working with tourism bureaus and partnering with a family travel website, too, as we went.
I’m going to publish an eBook about how to throw a really inexpensive kid’s birthday party. Birthday parties are my thing. But it’s all for the kids. My biggest fantasy is for them to launch into the world as self-fulfilled, happy adults. If I can achieve some version of that, I’ll be happy.