7AM to 7PM: How Mama Phnewfula Frederiksen Runs Her Eco Kids Boutique

Phnewfula Frederiksen and her family

Phnewfula Frederiksen

Parents don’t work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—we work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from the moment our kids wake up until they go to sleep. This is an unfiltered look at a few days in the life of Happy Mango boutique owner Phnewfula Frederiksen.

Phnewfula Frederiksen wanted to shop eco-friendly when she was pregnant with her oldest son. “I couldn’t find any eco-friendly baby stores,” she says. “If there was one, they weren’t kind to people who look like me. I didn’t want any other parents to have to go through that.”


So, she took matters into her own hands and founded Happy Mango, an eco-friendly baby, pregnancy, and kids boutique. It started as an e-commerce store in Atlanta before Frederiksen moved to Chicago. In 2016, when she moved back to Atlanta, she set up a brick-and-mortar shop in the Kirkwood neighborhood.

Happy Mango carries an impressive list of popular brands, including UPPAbaby, ErgoBaby, Clek, and more. The products are all sustainable or eco-friendly in some capacity—be it due to the supply chain or that it is locally-made. 

Fredericksen is partial to European brands because the continent's safety standards are higher. She also tries to incorporate other Black-owned and minority-owned businesses when she can because she understands how hard it is to be one. “I have the same challenges as any other Black-owned business," she says. "It’s much harder to get loans, for example.”   

Phnewfula Frederiksen

I have the same challenges as any other Black-owned business. It’s much harder to get loans, for example.

— Phnewfula Frederiksen

This single mom to two (she also has daughter) has built a baby and kid empire; and even though it's been successful, she is honest about how difficult it has been. “We have this expectation—especially in the Instagram era, where we only post the good stuff—that you should work eight hours a week [as a mom], and then spend time doing Pinterest-worthy crafts with your kids and cook dinner every night," she says. "And it’s just not that. Moms are really amazing people, and we do find a way to juggle everything.”

Her kids are understanding. “For as long as my daughter has been alive, I’ve been a business owner,” she notes. “She understands that sometimes I have to stay at the store. My son is sometimes a paid employee—he’ll be at events with me, wrangling people to come to the booth.”

Phnewfula Frederiksen

For as long as my daughter has been alive, I’ve been a business owner. She understands that sometimes I have to stay at the store.

— Phnewfula Frederiksen

At times, that means having popcorn for dinner—and that's okay. “Everyone is going to be fine because I simply cannot cook dinner," she shares. "I don’t have it in me.” 

Frederiksen shows her kids how hard she works. She wants them to understand that they can do anything they want to. The budding entrepreneurs have, in fact, learned from their mom: they’ve both already planned businesses they’d like to open.

“My son wants to open a barbershop, and my daughter wants to open a nail salon,” she says. “And if we can pull it off in the next couple of years, I will open that for them.”

Here’s how she gets it done during three days in her workweek. 

Monday

7 a.m. I'm still laying in my bed which I will continue to do for the next 30 mins while hitting snooze on my alarm. By 8 a.m, I have rolled out of bed and headed downstairs to make breakfast and lunch for the children.

My son has dietary restrictions, which requires me to make him a full nutritional breakfast every morning and a carefully curated lunch with enough protein to keep his brain running during the day.

8:15 a.m. I wake my son up.  I have to stagger the wake-ups because if I wake both children at the same time, no one will brush their teeth or get dressed. They will play tag and throw water on each other until I start screaming or threaten to leave them.

8:30 a.m. I wake my daughter up. She is very girlie and needs time to put on her bows, sparkles, and ensemble that reflects her morning mood.

9 a.m. I generally have both kids downstairs for breakfast at this time. We sit and have breakfast and talk about what our plan is for the day.

10 a.m. In theory, I should have dropped the kids off at camp by now, and I am headed back home to shower and be at peace while I get ready for work.

11 a.m. The store opens, but I am likely still at home deciding which of the same three pairs of jeans and five t-shirts I want to put on to go to work.

11:30 a.m. I finally get to work and start our Tuesday staff meetings. We go over any outstanding issues from last week and prepare priorities for this week. My staff has likely also found a way to pimp me for donuts or lunch.

12 p.m. I am finally at my desk. Tuesdays are always a packed workday for me since my work week starts on Tuesday, not Monday. I'm generally in my office with my head down catching up on emails, orders, schedules, and 100 other things that need my attention.

2 p.m. I take a break for lunch which means I have ordered DoorDash and am eating in my office. I would love to bring leftovers from home but my children are using their summer stomachs which means there are never any leftovers.

3 p.m. I always have a space in my schedule on Tuesdays for emergency car seat installs. I'm a CPST [Certified Passenger Safety Technician], so making sure parents have their car seats installed properly is always high on my to-do list.

4:15 p.m. Everyone is home from camp and work for a quick clothing change and snack. The female child and I are back out the door to head to cheerleading practice, and my son stays home to prepare for tutoring.

5 p.m. We arrive at cheerleading. I sign the female child in, and I'm off for 90 minutes of "me" time.

5:15 p.m.  I am likely still sitting in the car responding to emails because in the hour and 15 mins since I have checked my email last, there is a veritable plethora of unread emails that are now screaming for my attention.

5:45 p.m. I finally get out of the car and go walk two miles.

6:15 p.m. I sit by the door, stretch, return more emails while stretching and wait for my daughter to finish practice.

6:32 p.m. We are in the car and on our way home.  For the entire 28-minute ride home she tells me all about her cheers, stunts, dances, and her friends. I gleefully listen.

7 p.m. I'm home and getting dinner ready. I try to do as much dinner prep on Monday as [possible] to cook in a timely fashion on Tuesday.

My day is nowhere near done and my children are on a summer sleep schedule. Chances are they are up for at least the next three hours, and I will be doing a combination of working and cleaning my house and hopefully getting some time to read before I finally get to sleep around midnight.

Phnewfula Frederiksen and her family

Phnewfula Frederiksen


Wednesday

7 a.m. I'm up and making lunch for the children.

7:30 a.m. I wake up my son so that he can get himself together to very quickly get out of the door.

7:45 a.m. I wake the female child up and let her know we need to get out of the house quite quickly. Both children know Wednesday mornings are our rush days. We could just get up earlier, so we don't have to rush but anything earlier than 7 a.m. would just not be successful.

8 a.m. By this time everyone should be in the car. Breakfast is served in the car, and we are headed to allergy shots.

8:30 a.m. My son is in the office for his allergy shots. His sister and I sit in the lobby and watch “Mochi & Waffles” while we wait. Sometimes we come up with meal ideas while watching.

9:15 a.m. We are back in the car. At this time my children will ask me if they can have Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle, R. Thomas & Sons, and possibly a few more other restaurants as we drive past them to get to summer camp. Most of the time my answer is, "No, I have already made you lunch;" but occasionally I will stop at R. Thomas and get them cups of “Liquid Gold,” the most delicious orange juice you have ever tasted.

10 a.m. I'm dropping the children off at camp.

10:15 a.m. I am back home. I am supposed to be treating myself to a two-mile walk before I get to work but 90% of the time I convince myself that the emails in my inbox are more important, and I do not do my walk. I do, however, sit and have breakfast and tea in peace.

11 a.m. I am now on the proverbial clock. The first thing I do is check the warehouse to see what items need to be shipped from there, and I do all of the shipments or transfers on Wednesdays.

12 p.m. Wednesday is my conference call day since I work from home, which is odd because it is also the day I am least likely to have real clothes on. Nonetheless, I'm on calls and knocking out projects that require a little more focus on Wednesdays.

3 p.m. I stop to do quick dinner prep. If anything needs to go in the oven or be marinated, I do that now. I also eat lunch.

3:30 p.m. I'm back in my office working until pick-up time.

5:30 p.m. I leave my home office to go pick up my children.

6 p.m. We are back home! I will start dinner, my daughter will go outside to play, and my son will prepare for tutoring.

7 p.m. Dinner time and talk time. We sit at the table and discuss our day. At this time, the children will try to convince me that I need to stay up and watch a movie with them or play a game of Uno, which I will decline because my son makes up his own rules, or Go Fish which I will accept because I can win.

The kids will be up for another three hours or so. I will likely have gotten in my bed and tried to just lay there and exist in my tiredness until I fall asleep.

Phnewfula Frederiksen at her store

Phnewfula Frederiksen


Thursday

7 a.m. Still hitting snooze on the alarm clock like a boss.

7:30 a.m. Probably still sleeping.....

8 a.m. I am up now and downstairs making lunch for the children.

8:15 a.m. Waking up my son so he can get himself ready for camp.

8:30 a.m. Waking the female child up to get herself ready for camp.

9 a.m. Breakfast. By this time I'm sure my routine is off, and I am still trying to get lunch together while the children are eating breakfast.

9:30 a.m. Kids are in the car and we are headed to camp!

10 a.m. I am back home and having breakfast and tea by myself while I strategize my day. At some point, I will also get in the shower.

11:15 a.m. Therapy.  his is one thing on my schedule I do not mess with. I stay home to do my therapy call before I go to work.

12:30 p.m. I'm at work and this is a heavy car seat install day for me, so I'm in and out of cars explaining car seat safety to parents. In between installs, I'm making calls and returning emails.

5:20 p.m. I'm in the car headed to pick up the kids from camp!

6 p.m. We are home and I'm cooking dinner. My daughter is likely outside playing or inside playing wedding planner with her dolls. My son is either outside playing or trying to ruin his sister's wedding planning with her dolls.

6:30 p.m.  We are eating dinner early because my son has tutoring at 7 p.m.

7 p.m. My son is at tutoring and the female child and I are monopolizing the male-free bathrooms upstairs as we get ready for wind-down time.

We are not up as late on Thursdays because we are tired!!  We will go to sleep probably by 9:30pm-ish.

Related: 7AM to 7PM: How Ariel Foxman Is Speaking to the Non-Traditional Family

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  1. European Union. Environment.