Revolutionary Mom: Sharon Rechter, mother of a 5- and 7-year-old
Location: Los Angeles
Career Role: Co-founder & Executive Vice President of BabyFirst TV
Describe your career pre-motherhood?
I started BabyFirst, the TV channel, before I had kids. I was what you’d call a Type A workaholic. I’d work every hour of the day, and I used to think that if somebody was missing a meeting because they had to take their kids to a doctor’s appointment, then that meant they weren’t serious about their work.
How did that change?
When my first daughter was born, who is now seven, life changed. Suddenly, I had a different appreciation for all of those people. My priorities changed…when my kids came, suddenly there was this guilt. I felt guilt toward my kids when I was working, and I felt guilt towards my work when I was with my kids. And that, for me, was very hard.
How did you handle these new challenges?
When I was 20, my dad gave me a piece of advice that—when he gave it to me—I thought was completely chauvinistic. But today, I think it was the best piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. He said to me, “Don’t worry about the money now. Find something you really, really love and get really good at what you do, so that when you decide you want to slow down, you will be good enough at it so that you can do it with less time—but still get nicely compensated for it.” Of course, when I was twenty, I thought, why would I ever want to slow down? But, when I look at it now—and I’m not the first one to say this—I think the way to do it all is to have some control over your time. That is the ideal…and one of the best things about being an entrepreneur along side with making dreams come true is the fact that I manage my time.
What does your daily life look like these days?
I travel a lot. But when I am with my kids, I try to be 100 percent present. I try—I can’t say that I 100 percent succeed—but I try not to look at my phone when I’m with them. The way I work today is that I wake up in the morning with my kids, prepare them for school, take them to school, and then work really, really hard. I joke that the women I work with that are mothers are the most efficient people I know. We don’t have time for Facebook. We really need to be efficient. I find that I love working with working moms who have had children…they do a lot more with a lot less time. I try to pick up my kids from school at least a couple of times a week or more if I can. And when I’m with them I try to really be with them until they go to bed. Then, I often go and work after. I work late at night if I need to do things. Another thing that is really important to me is that I include my daughters in our business decisions—to an extent.
That sounds really interesting. How do you do that?
To give you an example, I had to go to a meeting in New York with a toy company, and wasn’t going to be home for three days. I explained to my daughters that we were trying to do something with a toy company that would get more kids to be able to enjoy BabyFirst characters, and that this would be really good for the company, but also for our family. And actually the toy company said that if we do a deal then they will end up getting a toy. Then they cared. They didn’t look at is like I was taking anything away from them, but rather we are part of a family working towards a goal. Then they called me in New York and asked, “Mom, how’s the deal going?” There was a vetted interest then, and I see that as a potential life lesson.
My kids are also totally involved in My First Movies. I tell them, “Your opinion matters. You know kids better than I do. Tell me what you think?”
Do you feel that your career has expanded or contracted since becoming a mother?
After a period of adjustment…I think my career has become better. I have learned a few lessons:
Do you have any additional advice for parents struggling to balance the varied demands of life?
There’s a rule that comes to mind…the rule of Pareto, and what it says is that 80 percent of your efforts will generate 20 percent of your revenue, and the remaining 20 percent of your efforts will generate 80 percent of your revenue. It’s a rule that applies to almost anything in your life, if you think about it. Eighty percent of the things you do will generate 20 percent of your happiness, and 20 percent of the things you do will generate 80 percent of your happiness. I do things that are of meaning to me. I don’t do everything I can or every deal I can; I do the ones that make a difference. I look at things and think, what are the things that will really make a difference to me—in my happiness, in my business, with my friends? Who are the people that are most important to me? I then invest my time and my resources in those things that have the most upside on either a business or on a personal level.
More About Sharon:
Sharon Rechter, along with business partner, Guy Oranim, conceptualized and co-founded BabyFirst. In her role as Executive Vice President, she leads the business development and distribution of the network – via television, mobile and cinema with a clear passion to bring quality, new educational programming to families of babies and toddlers.
BabyFirst is the leading baby-focused TV channel and new media company dedicated to delivering quality educational content to young children and their parents. Working closely with an extensive network of renowned authorities in early childhood education and psychology, BabyFirst is a trusted, age-appropriate TV network, mobile apps developer/distributor, and movie studio. The BabyFirst channel is currently available to more than 80 million households in 35 countries including the top five U.S. satellite and cable operators. BabyFirst’s content is available in more than 40 million homes in the U.S. via basic packages on DIRECTV, Dish Network, and Comcast & AT&T U-verse.
Recently, BabyFirst TV also launched My First Movies, an interactive movie theater experience designed by experts to meet the cognitive and emotional needs of young children. To find out more about BabyFirst TV, or to locate a My First Movies location near you, visit www.babyfirsttv.com or www.myfirstmovies.com.