Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Emily Butterworth
I first met Emily Butterworth when I was introduced to Mac & Mia. I quickly fell in love with all the fun clothing options she would send for my children, she is now their personal stylist! Emily has amazing creativity and really thinks outside of the box. I love following her on social media to gather ideas for clothing, parties and so much more. Learn more about Emily, her business Hello Charlie and her favorites in Des Moines, Iowa.
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?
I am originally from Spirit Lake, Iowa. I grew up there and my husband did as well but we didn’t date until later on in life. I went to school at UNI, graduated and moved to Iowa City then onto Des Moines and lived here for about 5 years. During that last year of my single days I “met” Andy, my husband, at a Nadas concert at the Iowa State Fair and we started dating shortly after. He lived in Spirit Lake at the time, so when we decided to get married I moved back to our hometown and we had all three of our children there. In 2014, Andy got promoted and his job took us to back to Des Moines. We have been here for almost four years now and really love it and feel like it’s the perfect fit for our little family. We have three kids: Caleb is 8, Charlie is 7 and Miles is 5.
What is your business, and what do you do?
I am currently an Art Director for Better Homes & Gardens home design group. I work downtown at Meredith and love the people I work with and feel lucky I get to do what I do. My side hustle is Hello Charlie which is a lifestyle and fashion blog related to motherhood and style for kids. I am a stylist for Mac & Mia and thought it would be a great creative outlet for me to combine all the things I love to do in one creative space.
Why did you become a small business owner?
I started Hello Charlie years ago when I had my first child and it was my only source of income for seven years. It was a photography studio for families at first and then when I moved back to Des Moines I evolved it into a studio that concentrated on styling and photographing children’s clothing lines. It was such a fun experience and I got to meet so many great parents that had their children come model for me every weekend for two years! It got to a point where my kids were all starting school and I was seeing them less and less and it was time for a change. I had started this business to be with them as much as I could and I found myself working nights and weekends all.the.time. Our family plan was for me to go back to work full time when the kids were in school and so that is when I began my job at Meredith. I didn’t want to fully give up “Hello Charlie” though and my creative hobbies so I got the job with Mac & Mia as a way to help our family have “fun” money along the way and to keep myself involved in children’s fashion which is a passion of mine. I started the blog at the beginning of 2019 to have a place to document all of this and share with others my ideas and tips along the way.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
My parents gift our kid’s annual passes to the zoo and the science center so when we need to get out of the house in the winter we love to go check out the new exhibits. All three of my kids have winter birthdays so we have also loved going to Sky Zone, The Playground for Kids and Pump It Up to burn some energy.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
In the summer we love going to local splash parks. We love Union Park if we can catch it on a not so busy day because then we can ride the Heritage Carousel as well. Another favorite is Greenwood/Ashworth Park by the Art Center. It also has a nice playground next to it so you can split time between the two. We also love Miracle Park in Ankeny and we have gotten Palmer’s to go and had a nice picnic there. Our go-to is Ironwood Park in Altoona. We can walk there on a nice day and they have huge hills the kids love running up and down!
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
A perfect parent only day out for us would be a breakfast date at La Mie Bakery with some plans to do some sort of shopping. My husband will amuse me with shopping if we have a good food plan for the day. We love to go to Flix Brewhouse for matinees and we both have a favorite meal we get there. If we were lucky enough to be able to go to dinner too I think we would choose Malo downtown. We luckily agree on food choices and have a few favorites as our date nights are so rare. Someday we hope to add to this list!
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
I think you have to do what feels right for you and your kids. I knew I was someone who wanted to be home with my kids when they were small. We had one main income for several years and that was really really hard but worth it to me and my husband so I could be home with the kids during that time. My first full-time job after years of being home was a complete disaster. Not family friendly, long hours, not flexible at all. I knew in my heart it wasn’t right for me and I was incredibly unhappy. I luckily found the right fit at Meredith a few months later and haven’t been this happy in a long time. I still miss my kids but I don’t feel like I am missing out as often as I used to.
My personal life is still on the backburner in this season of life but I make lunch dates with friends during the week and dinner dates with two of my girlfriends once a month to feel like I have a social life. We are all so busy in motherhood right now but it’s still important to me to keep up on their lives and have that bond with people over the age of 5 🙂
My best tip from going from stay at home mom to full time working mom is now more than ever I think my one on one time with my kids is so important to me. I used to take them on dates before I worked full time but now I take each of them on breakfast or lunch dates on the weekend and it’s the only time I can get them to really share with me what is going on in their little worlds. It helps me feel more connected to the hours I’m away from them during the week and it makes them feel special too to have a one on one. During the week we are so busy with activities and getting ready for the next busy day there never feels like we have any time to really chat. We come back from those dates completely recharged for the week and it has been one of my favorite things we have stuck to with our parenting. I hope they let me do it for life!
What is your number one parenting tip?
My number one tip is to follow your gut. You know your kids better than anyone. We had one of our babies really sick in the NICU, go through therapies for months … to simpler things like being overtired from school and refusing to potty train. It’s your journey with your kids and you have to navigate it. It’s great to get advice from those have been through it but honestly every time I have pushed for answers from professionals or otherwise for my kids I have never regretted it. I think all too often we question ourselves and have doubts on if we are doing anything right as parents. I know I still get a lot of things wrong, but I will never regret going to bat for my child.