BCM – How did your life change when you became a mom?
Alison – How didn’t it change?! It has been an incredible experience- and each of our kids has been such an unbelievable adventure! Life in general no longer became about me – in a good sense. Every task or activity or anything at all that does not include my children now has a very high price tag associated with it– meaning it is at the expense of spending time with my kids so it has to really be worth it! That is very life changing– you evaluate opportunities differently and plan accordingly!
BCM – What has been your most memorable moment (s) as a mom?
Alison -There isn’t just one moment! It is the little moments in between which I realize are the most memorable. We take a lot of trips, do tons of activities and have had incredible experiences together as a family, however thinking back it is the little things like sitting on our steps having a popsicle, or just even driving from one place to another that are the most incredible times – because it is also hard not to take them for granted.
BCM – What has been the biggest challenge for you in motherhood. Any advice for new moms?
Alison -The biggest challenge for me is to make sure I am giving each child 100% all the time, and for them to feel special and confident. It is very hard with 4 kids, giving each child their own time, as it comes at the sacrifice of spending time with the others. For example, even at bed time, by the time I even spend 15 minutes with each kid, it is over an hour of my time– and with dinner time, homework, showers and overall catching up about the day it is very difficult! I am very hard on myself as a mother and sometimes have to take a step back and remind myself that there are only so many hours in a day, there is just one of me and the best thing your kids have is your love and also each other. I think that in today’s world where parents try to give their kids every opportunity and everything in general- it is really easy to be hard on yourself. My advice is always remember that these kids are all so fortunate to have your love, and that is really all they need– so don’t stress about the little stuff and and don’t be so hard on yourself!
BCM – Congratulations on the success of Suburban Jungle Realty! What was the inspiration behind starting your company?
Alison -The inspiration, like many great ideas, came from personal experience. When we decided to move out of the city- we truly had no idea where we wanted to go. We had heard about certain towns, but really did not know about them. We picked a few, cold called a few agents and started to explore. It was a ridiculous process we were running, specifically because even after we would tour certain areas we still had no clue about the types of people that lived there, and whether or not we would be happy there. We settled on a great town, however ultimately not the perfect fit. Going through the experience, it made me realize what an inefficient market there was for people just like us moving out of the city. In fact, even within certain towns there are different areas – so having so many options and not one truly objective firm or person to discuss that with was the opportunity to launch the concept. I was at Columbia Business School at the time, and the combination of the void in the marketplace for this type of service and the lack of focus on young families’ needs as they were transitioning from city to suburbs led me to create this innovative real estate brokerage.
BCM – Can you please share some tips for parents who are thinking about moving to the suburbs?
Alison -This is what we do best! Some tips- and this is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to what we do-!
1. Always understand your universe and ALL of your options. The greater your information, the better your decision will be.
2. Understand and outline what is important to you and your family- the way you want to raise your kids, how it is the same or different than where you grew up.
3. Always remind yourself that this is your first house out of the city. It is rare to live in your home for 30 years these days. Take the pressure off and understand that the first house might not be perfect, but will be great. It is much more difficult to switch towns, than it is to switch homes– so you are better off picking the right town first rather than the home!
4. Always understand who lives in the town, and what attracts them to it. These will be your friends, so make sure you understand the dynamic!
5. Visit the schools, including the high school even if you have a newborn. It is important to understand- as scores don’t mean anything in reality. Good schools vary based on what you consider a great school- small or large? more suburban or more urban? so many variables and many of which are intangible…
6. Go to the supermarket and the local coffee shop–watch the people and see how you feel!
BCM – What types of activities do you like to do with your children?
Alison – We love to travel! We have gone to some really fun places!! We also LOVE to ski and snowboard and do that all winter long! We also love taking our 2 dogs to the dog park and riding bikes there!
I’m totally obsessed with…
Alison – Becoming an incredible skiier!
My biggest influence is…
Alison – My parents and grandparents
My favorite drugstore buy is...
Alison – Those eye make up wipes–
Products I can’t live without…
Alison -Shu Umera shampoo
My guilty pleasure is...
My Favorite NYC Restaurant is….
Alison – Toughest question! i live in the suburbs now….still love petite abeille for brunch