Des Moines Parent Spotlight: Erin Port
Anyone have someone they follow on social media and feel like they are your best friend, but you don’t really “know” them? Erin Port fits this description. I came across Erin and her Instagram Simple Purposeful Living months ago and quickly fell in love with her warmth, honesty and motivating words. Learn more about Erin, her family and the amazing resources she provides through Simple Purposeful Living.
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! My name is Erin and I have been married to my husband Scott for 12 years. We met our freshman year at Iowa State University. I moved to Ankeny when I got a job in town as a first-grade teacher. We have lived in Ankeny for 13 years and love raising our 3 children in Central Iowa. We have a 9-year-old son, 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old daughter. We also are in the process of adopting a little boy from China.
We love to find adventure in our own backyard or by visiting family all over the country. When our oldest kids were just 2 and 5 months old, we took them to visit family in Australia for 2 weeks. Our kids have caught the travel bug and can’t wait to go to China to pick up their brother.
We also love to play games as a family, cheer on the Iowa State Cyclones, invite friends over to our home, serve our local community and I do my fair share of carpooling and taxi-driving for activities!
What is your business, and what do you do?
Simple Purposeful Living equips and encourages women to lead simple and purposeful lives in a chaotic world. Motherhood can be overwhelming and sometimes discouraging, I love coming alongside women with tips to simplify their lives on purpose.
I share about simplifying your home, creating purposeful habits and routines, and launched a product line that includes a daily Christian meditation journal and 52-week meal, planner. I love to speak to groups of women locally in person and globally leveraging social media for good.
Simple Purposeful Living’s goal is to help women live life simply on purpose so they can do what matters with those that matter. We only get one life we have to live it simply on purpose!
Why did you become a small business owner?
I am a teacher by trade but as our kids have gotten older, I wanted to remain flexible while still providing financially for our family. I decided to launch Simple Purposeful Living to both serve women and provide an income for our family.
I am so thankful for the relationships I have forged as a result and am so thankful for all the people who have helped me figure out things along the way.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play indoors?
We visit our local library weekly. Our local library offers so many free and fun activities. Not only do my kids have a blast, but I also love meeting other moms and sharing adult conversation. I have met some dear friends at the local library.
Where is your favorite place to take your children to play outdoors?
We love to visit Ledges State Park annually and splash through the streams, hike the bluff and enjoy a picnic. We also love to become tourists in Des Moines one day every summer, it’s become our kids favorite summer activity.
Our kids especially love the sculpture gardens, Cowles Plaza, the Robert D. Ray Asian Gardens and visiting Scott’s cousin who works at the Better Homes & Gardens test gardens with a picnic lunch.
Some of our favorite parks we found include Ashby Park (Des Moines), Sargeant Park (Des Moines), Miracle League Park (Ankeny), Terra Park (Johnston), Big Creek State Park, Jester Park Naturescape and McHenry Park (Des Moines). We normally invite our friends to join us for an adventure and take a picnic lunch!
Parent’s day/night out. Describe your perfect parent only day/night out in Des Moines.
We love heading downtown to one of the many delicious restaurants. Some of our favorites include Malo, you have to try their totchos, and you can’t beat the duck frites at Django. There are so many awesome events that come to Des Moines as well. We enjoy the Des Moines Civic Center Broadway Series.
What are some tips on juggling parenthood, working, and personal life?
First, of all always give yourself grace. As women, we tend to focus on the few things we aren’t doing or are falling short in and fail to see all the areas we are serving and loving our family well.
I remember when I started Simple Purposeful Living, I was so worried it was going to negatively impact my children. I have invited them into the business and they have seen their mother pursue her passion and serve others.
As a result, they share with me things they want to create and do when they grow up. It turns out, pursuing my passion has served to make me a better mom and taught my kids to work hard and pursue their dreams. More is caught than taught and I always try to lead them by example.
There is no such thing as perfect balance. Some weeks are heavier in family life and others more business focused. The good news is we are in the driver’s seat of our lives and can course correct when we feel we are leaning too heavily to one side.
The other thing is to be a team with your spouse. I could not run a business if I didn’t have the support of my spouse. We are a team and I am his biggest cheerleader and he is mine.
What is your number one parenting tip?
Don’t do for your kids what they can do for themselves. Our job as a parent is to raise our kids to be self-sufficient, hard-working, service-minded adults. It’s hard to remember when you are changing diapers that one day they will grow up, but it goes fast. We have to teach them the skills they will need in adulthood.
One day I found myself putting away everyone’s laundry and I thought to myself, they can do this so I stopped and that night I taught them how to put away their own laundry.
We are all apart of this family and as a result, we have the responsibility to help and serve each other. Teaching our kids how to do something will serve them into adulthood and help them go out and serve others.
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