In the last 13 years, fans of Joy Cho's super-popular blog "Oh Joy!" have watched her go from unemployed graphic designer, eager to start her career and new life with her fiance Bob (who is now her husband) to president and founder of her own lifestyle brand. Her epic journey has taken her from Philly to Los Angeles, where she now resides, and has led to her whimsical, cheery designs being featured on everything from bandages and planners to luggage and phone cases.
But career isn't the only area Joy has experienced major changes. She's also become a mother, and as a recent interview with Working Mother revealed, Joy is just as thoughtful a parent as she is a designer.
Joy has two daughters, Ruby, 7, and Coco, 4, who she shares with her husband. Since her girls are growing up in a time when it can feel discouraging to be a woman, we asked Joy what her best parenting tips were for helping make sure they grow up confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
One thing Joy does is be mindful of the type of message she's sending her kids, even if they're just watching as she's just getting ready. "I’m very aware of the way in which they look at me as a role model for their future selves. I really try to make sure that even if I do have my own self-conscious moments or body issues or whatever, I make sure they do not pick up on that, and I really try my best. That includes things like makeup. I don’t mind if my kids are seeing me apply makeup, because it is part of my daily routine," she said. "But I make sure they don’t see me standing there obsessing over outfits or spending a long time getting ready. None of those things are wrong, but I just know that if they see me spending too much time on it, they might assume there’s a reason that you have to spend a lot of time on it. And that’s not what I’m trying to project to them. I want to project to them confidence."
And when her daughters ask her why they look a certain way versus someone else, Joy has a simple approach. "In my mind [that type of question] implies that they’re starting to think there’s a certain way somebody should look, which is obviously problematic for me as a mom, who doesn’t want them to feel that way. I'm always just reminding them about how every single person is different, and every single person is special, and how everybody is the way that they are, but we should all love ourselves," she said. "At [my kids' ages], you really can’t get too deep into it. You just need to focus on the uniqueness of each person."
Even drop-off time is an opportunity for the designer and entrepreneur to help her daughters to be confident. When she first started bringing them to school or to the bus stop, she would always say, "Have a great day," or "Be good." But she decided that needed a tweak, and now she asks them instead, "What are you going to be today?" She said sometimes their response ranges from 'awesome' and 'amazing, to 'silly' or 'funny.'" Explaining her approach, she continued, "I think for me it puts a little bit of the the control onto them. It’s obviously meant to be a positive thing … Confidence is not just physical. [You] can be confident about the fact that you have control of your day even at 4 or 7, up to a certain point. Kids, especially as they start to get older, are going to have bad days, but realizing that they can try to be as positive as they can, we can help turn [those bad days] around."
Joy spoke with us to promote her partnership for the second year with Embassy Suites, as well as Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, all by Hilton. "With Embassy Suites, because there’s more space and you have multiple rooms, our kids can bring their crafting activities … And we can set it up and make it feel like it’s our home away from home. I also love the fact that when I’m traveling for work, it allows me to stay at a place like Homewood Suites where I can meet up with friends I haven’t seen in a very long time and have them over and reconnect. So this is a really great way for me to partner with them, to not only share the amazing features that they have at their location but also to be able to speak to it as a real working mom."