Des Moines Parent: Marisa Clark
If you are a parent in Des Moines, Iowa with young children you probably have heard of Just Between Friends Des Moines. Just Between Friends Des Moines is an amazing way to shop, sell and save on children’s clothing, toys and so much more. Learn more about Marisa Clark the owner of one of the most consignment sales in Des Moines.
Give us a little background of your family and personal life! How many kids do you have? Have you lived in Des Moines all your life?
Hey, Y’all! I’m an Oklahoma girl that now lives in Iowa… well, I’ve been in Iowa for almost 7 years. I’m married to my best friend, Cannon, and together we have 2 kids: 7 years old, Noah, and 4 years old, Blakely. We also have an incredibly lazy lab, Tex. We live in Norwalk and love the smaller suburb feel but the close proximity to all the amenities of Des Moines and West Des Moines.
What is your business, and what do you do?
I own Just Between Friends Des Moines which is a semi-annual children’s resale event. Events are hosted each March and September. We enable thousands (seriously, thousands! Last fall our event had over 3500 people come through the doors) of Central Iowa families to shop, sell, and save on all things you need for raising a child. In addition to owning JBF, I also work full time as a senior business manager for Meredith Corp.
Why did you become a small business owner?
I always knew that I would work for myself once I gained enough experience, but I never imagined it would be as a franchise owner for a children’s consignment event. Just Between Friends earned a special place in my heart when I was pregnant with my son. I was so worried about how we were going to afford all these things that baby needed (who knew a tiny human needed SO many items?!), and a sweet friend of mine introduced me to JBF. It was a complete blessing. We purchased everything at JBF slightly used for 30% of the cost of our registry. Fast forward 3 years and a move to Iowa, I was given the opportunity to purchase the Des Moines franchise, and I jumped on it. I love being able to help local families stretch their money. At least once each event, I have a mom come hug me with tears in her eyes thanking me for offering an event like this. That moment makes all the late nights completely worth it.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
The Science Center! My kids LOVE the science center. Some days we only go for an hour, and some days we’ll spend several.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
Oh, this is a tough one- there are so many places! We live in Norwalk, so our most frequent visits are to Raccoon River park to play on the playground then the beach or to the Norwalk City Park for playground play then a trip to the library next door.
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
We’ve become BIG fans of day dates lately. I’ll take a half day off work on a Friday, so we’ll start at noon and pick the kids up at daycare at 5. When you’re already paying a fortune for daycare, why not take advantage? This is a combination of a few dates we’ve done. Start the date with bowling. Have you gone bowling just you and your spouse? It’s so fun! Follow up bowling with dinner at Cosi Cucina. Cosi is on 86th St in Urbandale, and it is my go-to restaurant in the metro. The ziti Cucina is to die for, but you have to save room for the mouthwatering cheesecake. After dinner, head downtown to Juniper Moon for a Manhattan or an old fashioned. Finish the evening with a moonlight walk across the bridge at Greys Lake.
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
This area was a struggle for me for so long. I’m actually working on a blog series to release about finding peace in the chaos. My biggest piece of advice is to learn how to say “no”. As a family, we set a mission, vision, and core values. If something comes up on a large scale (vacation, job opportunity, business travel, etc) we ask if that opportunity works with our core values. I actually said no to an amazing job opportunity a few months ago, because it would pull me away from the family more. On a smaller scale, write out your list of obligations. Clear off as much as you can, and don’t feel obligated to sign up on every volunteer sheet your kid brings home. If you’re working 40-50 hours a week and shuffling kids to practice 3 nights a week, you do not need to feel obligated to add homeroom mom to your list. Also, carve out time for yourself. Wake up early and enjoy the silence while you sip your coffee. Run a hot bubble bath and let your spouse handle homework time. Self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary. Similar to self-care is time with your spouse. For us, morning is our time. We wake up at 5:15 (kids get up at 6:30) and have coffee together while we read our devotionals and talk about the day ahead. When I get home from work, we cook dinner together and talk about our days. It’s so easy to get caught up in the rush of the kids and their needs, especially in the early years, but you need to make time for yourself and your spouse.
What is your number one parenting tip?
Be joyful. Always. Ok, I stole that from the bible, but it’s SO true. The early years are full of magic as well as trials of all kinds (potty training, I’m looking at you), but they don’t last forever. Look for joy in the little moments as well as the big moments. Your kids don’t care if your house doesn’t look straight out of a magazine. Your kids don’t care if you didn’t cook a gourmet meal. They love you and want to spend quality time with you. You are doing your absolute best, and if that means that you pull a lunchable out of the fridge for dinner because you’re too tired to cook, that’s OK. Heck, my kids live for the nights we eat Lunchables. That’s the kind of joy I’m talking about. Nights like that made me feel like a failure until I took a step back and realized how magical they think picnics in the living room are. Give yourself some grace, and always look for the joy.
Instagram: @jbfdesmoines @marisamclark