Monday, March 18, 2019
Feeling overwhelmed and exhausted are not unusual in motherhood. Balancing multiple obligations while raising children is even more exhausting when a negative voice inside your head says you’re not good enough.
Katherine Wintsch, a former advertising executive, dealt with this as a young mother. Wintsch, who lives with her husband and two children in Richmond, said motherhood started as a struggle for her, causing self-doubt from her teenage years to resurface. It wasn’t until Wintsch began interacting with other mothers that she learned parenthood is the hardest, yet most rewarding job on the planet.
After earning her master’s degree from the Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter, Wintsch joined The Martin Agency. She was working as a senior vice president, studying consumer behavior, when she was invited to conduct research with mothers around the world in order to win business with Johnson & Johnson.
Personally, she hoped she would learn how other mothers coped with self-doubt. What she discovered changed her life.
“Regardless of age, income, race and nationality, every mother I studied was plagued with some sense of doubt,” Wintsch wrote in a blog post on healthwarrior.com.
That research set her free, she said, and she began to dedicate herself to sharing the knowledge with other women. Armed with her research, Wintsch set out to close a gap between how mothers felt and how they were being portrayed in marketing.
“Three out of four mothers say marketers have no idea what it’s like to be a mother … that they’re getting it wrong,” Wintsch said. “I thought as a marketing expert, maybe I could point my research toward mothers and help companies better understand what it was really like to be a mother.”
In 2010, she started her own company, The Mom Complex, which helps companies such as Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Chobani and Pfizer develop better products for mothers. She has become a leading expert on motherhood, connecting with mothers through speaking engagements, self-help workshops and her blog. Wintsch’s work has led to her to being named one of Business Insider’s “30 Most Powerful Women in Advertising” and one of AdAge’s “40 Under 40.” In April, she will be recognized with YWCA Richmond’s 2019 Outstanding Women Award in Media and Marketing. She has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times and is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post and Working Mother magazine.
Unmasking Motherhood: Katherine Wintsch at TEDxRVA 2013
Wintsch’s experiences also inspired her to write a book. “Slay Like a Mother: How to Destroy What’s Holding You Back So You Can Live the Life You Want” is a practical guide on dissecting how you’re speaking to yourself and what that says about how you feel. Wintsch said the book is a great read for anyone who wants to find inner calm amidst the chaos of life.
“What makes my book different is that it’s a journey and … I personify self-doubt as a dragon,” Wintsch said. “So in addition to being self-help, it still has a very powerful narrative to it so it’s not so prescriptive.”
Throughout the book, Wintsch talks about how your “dragon” of self-doubt was born, seven ways you’re feeding your dragon and what life looks like on the other side after slaying your dragon.
“Making the shift from worrier to warrior is not easy,” she said in the healthwarrior.com post. “It took 20 years to realize self-doubt was controlling my life, two years to figure out how to destroy it and four years (including over 25 rejections) to sell a book to a publisher on how to help other women do the same.”
“Slay Like a Mother” comes out March 19. The book has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and was named one of the 10 life-changing self-help books every woman should read in 2019 by Parade magazine. Wintsch will appear on “Strahan and Sara” on March 21.