Mom Crush: Heather White Luckow

Heather White Luckow is a busy and creative mom who lives in Beaconsfield with her husband and 11-year-old son. She owns the business WeeJam, a studio offering parent/child group music classes in a drop-in setting, so no one is locked into a “session.” She let MList readers in on her unique company, why she and her family love outdoor adventures, and her best tips for women who want to start their own business.

Tell us about WeeJam.
I opened my own studio so people can come to me, because I was doing a lot of work where I went to other locations. At WeeJam we sit around and sing songs, as well as move and dance, but I truly believe children should learn through using all their senses, including touch, so I have a lot of instruments they can play. It would be impossible to lug all all of those instruments from my home studio to a bunch of other locations every day!

How has your child helped to inspire your work?
I’ve always been an educator. I started when I was 17-18 working for the municipal government in childcare, and I got my first job in music while I was working through my undergraduate degree. I kept going and was teaching at McGill's Schulich School of Music and had my son just as I finished my PhD. I was diagnosed with MS at the same time. I found that having my son and trying to put in 80 hours a week in an academic career was not going to happen. I also realized I missed being with kids. So I started teaching when he started school at 5 and I started contracting myself out during the day. The more business built up, I decided to open WeeJam. I was able to put in the hours while my son was at school and it was the perfect work-life balance.

Who is a female role model you admire and greatly respect?
My mom… it would have to be. I don’t know anyone who could raise four kids, one with special needs, and then go back to work around the same time I went to school. She actually told me to not leave the workforce. She said she was glad she was home, but you lose your skills, so keep active and keep moving. She’s phenomenal.

As moms the day can escape us, so what is your best time-saving trick?
Plan everything the night before and have your kids participate in the planning. If you keep it up, it really does work.

What is your favourite part of your job?
Really seeing the children grow. I love seeing the new skills they’re acquiring. I also love the parent-child interaction and watching them grow together, and watching the social bonds grow.

What do you do you do on a day off?
I don’t take days off generally. If I have to force myself to take a day off, I take a canoe and disappear with my son and go off the grid for awhile.

Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Start slow and don’t be discouraged. It’s a big leap between being a contractor and being contracted out and starting your own business. You’ll need people to lean on. And save your money because there are always unexpected costs.

What is something you do with your child/children?
Anything that involves outdoor adventure. And my son likes to plan the adventure and trip. We went to Washington DC and he planned the trip for the family. He decided what museums we wanted to see and why. Start early and make them responsible for their own decisions but give them choices.  Empower your kids.

What is your go-to dinner?
African tomato peanut butter soup. It’s tomato, sweet potato, carrot, and natural peanut butter, water, and every spice in the kitchen cabinet. It’s filling, full of protein, vegan, gluten-free, and it freezes well. It’s a great one-pot meal.

What television series are you marathoning?
Only one: Murdoch Mysteries

What is your favorite family vacation?
We really like Club-Med-active type of vacations, and we adore camping, which costs basically nothing. Otherwise we like staying local and living within the environment.