From running households to running businesses, moms teach us what it means to sacrifice for the people we love while still finding time to feed personal passions. These role models are there to greet us when we enter the world, pick us up when rocky trails get the best of us, and cheer us on when we snag our first catch.
At Free Fly, we’re constantly inspired by the powerful moms out there leading by example. They teach us how to balance chasing our dreams with the daily responsibilities of life, and show us how to inspire others to do the same. To celebrate this Mother’s Day, we sat down with two exceptional mommas to learn what it means to lead like a mom and how to stay sane while doing it.
Meet the Moms
Free Fly ambassador, Katie Cahn, is a fly fishing enthusiast and talented guide who not only pushes the limits of the sport, but designs and sells her own jewelry too—all with her young daughter on her hip.
In 2013, Charleston native Caroline Robinson founded Citrine Swim – a current Free Fly partner brand offering vibrant, soft, and flattering styles for the whole family. Caroline continues to grow her business while still making time to chase waves with her three rambunctious boys.
Free Fly: What’s your favorite outdoor activity to do with your child(ren)?
Katie Cahn: Definitely fly fishing. Myra has been on my chest and back in slings and packs since she was just weeks old. There have been so many memorable times, especially the time she had a meltdown while I was snagged on a log. A young man was walking by and I yelled out, "Mom life!" and he replied (to my surprise), "I only hope to find a woman as cool as you one day." That helped me feel not so out of place and I was able to laugh at the whole thing instead of being full of hormonal rage. Myra caught her first fish (with my help) a few weeks ago and that was priceless. We also love to do yoga together and she is learning some new moves. I’m a very proud mama!
Caroline Robinson: We love to surf together! They're still young, so it's been mostly pushing them into waves or riding together on a board up until this point, but they love it and we love helping them learn to do something we love. We just gave Charlie, my oldest, his first board for his 6th birthday, so he's now learning how to paddle on his own, which is fun.
FF: What’s the most rewarding part of being a mom?
KC: The most rewarding part of being a mom is watching her evolve. There is so much joy in watching her just be a kid and it really brings me back to when I was that carefree. Myra is very nurturing and to see her console a friend that fell on the playground is uplifting. To know that I have a role in guiding her to be the person she will become is, well, magical.
CR: The unconditional love they have for you is one of the best feelings in the world to receive. The smiles, the laughs, the hugs, the kisses… it makes all the struggles worth it.
FF: What advice would you give to other mothers who are trying to strike a balance between their motherly duties and personal interests?
KC: The advice I will give is to make sure you do the things in life that make you, YOU. Before being a mother, I was out on a river fly fishing three or four times a week. I would call last cast right before the day turned into pitch black night. When I am able to do that alone is when I feel like myself again. Not Myra's mother or Daniel's wife, but Katie. That time helps to refresh my spirits and then I am able to return home with a good attitude. Now don't get me wrong, life doesn't always deliver a free day, so on the days that I only have a couple of hours, I like to do yoga and exercise. A healthy heart and mind make for a healthy family life.
CR: This is something I struggle with every single day. My mom guilt and work stress are constantly battling each other. But my advice would be this: don't give up. There have been times when I've considered stepping away from the business so that I can give my full focus to my family, but I'm so glad I didn't. I love what I do, and it fulfills a part of me that I think would be wanting if I was a fulltime mom.
FF: What are your go-to Free Fly products?
KC: I love everything Free Fly makes, but my favorite styles are the Bamboo Daily Tights and their Breeze shorts. These two designs are my favorites when I'm doing yoga, but they work for anything. I wear the tights under my waders when fly fishing in the cooler months. All of their clothes are so comfortable and easy to wear!
CR: Anything and everything in the bamboo fabric blend—it's heavenly! Personally, I love the Lightweight Long Sleeve. And my boys live in their camo hoodies, which are the cutest things ever.
FF: What would you consider to be the “perfect” Mother’s Day?
KC: The perfect Mother's Day would be a float down the river with my daughter, husband, and dog. With that being said, for it to be perfect, I wouldn't have to lift a finger or hear any whining. So, perfect really doesn't exist, does it?!
CR: No frills, just a day on the boat with family. I'll take a sub sandwich in a chair on the beach over a nice restaurant any day.
FF: How do your personal interests of guiding and owning a small jewelry business collide with family time? Do you ever bring your daughter along for a day on the water or an afternoon in your studio?
KC: I won't lie, juggling work with being a mother and wife is difficult. It's probably the hardest thing I do. We live in a remote area, so childcare is hard to come by. I’m able to get into my jewelry studio twice a week; three times a week if I'm lucky. I have brought Myra out on a guiding trip with me when she was a baby. She slept the whole time in the backpack I used to carry her in, so it wasn't that tough, but I could never do that now. When she does have to come into the studio with me, it's screen time for her and grinding the gears time for me. She doesn't watch much TV, but I am totally ok with screen time if it helps the both of us. I have learned that sometimes being productive isn't helping me or my family and that's when I surrender to work. There is only so much I can do and to realize that is the first step at being healthy for myself so I can be healthy for my family.
FF: Between running Citrine Swim and spending time with your family, has it ever been difficult to manage the two? How do you find a better balance?
CR: Absolutely! As Citrine continues to grow there are definitely growing pains that come with it. But I have a wonderful team that truly cares about the business the way that I do. It’s not easy to find wonderful people who you can rely on wholeheartedly and who feel more like friends or family than employees, but I think that’s the key to feeling like you can let go a bit and maintain that balance.
From grinding in the office to outdoor adventuring with the kiddos, these driven entrepreneurs and exceptional mommas are proving that you can have the best of both worlds and inspiring the women around them to lead by example.