One of my favorite sayings is "when one door closes, another opens." This can be so true with motherhood and career paths. I know I struggled when my husband, Tony and I were discussing my stepping out of my career to stay home with the twins while they were preschoolers. I loved my job and colleagues, was passionate about my industry, and enjoyed my work. My mom inspired me as she stayed home with us when we were little. I'm grateful Tony and I were able to make it work for us for me to stay home with Stella and Sophia these past two years. The door to motherhood has been filled with amazing experience, some tired days, and lots of adventures. I'm not sure what career doors will open for me down the road but I am optimistic that something spectacular will be behind those doors.
When Sophia and Stella started pre-school 3 at fabulous St. Thecla I was just as nervous as them. We were new to the school and drop-off stressed me out. Thankfully, St. Thecla is a warm and welcoming school and the girls quickly made friends with their classmates. Thankfully, I met some great parents and we became friends too.
Margret's mom, Polia Towey was one of my new friends and gradually over drop-off and pick-up chats and park playdates I learned more about her background. She was born and raised in Bulgaria. Polia owned and operated a wholesale company in the textile industry. The business, which imported textiles from Dubai, UAE and Milan, Italy, was the first and largest of its kind to give customers current market and product trends. I was so impressed with her entrepreneurial spirit and a bit in awe as she talked about her travels and business deals. It was awesome. She eventually shared that she had successful sales relationships with textile manufacturers, such as Giorgio Armani, Doice e Gabana, Krizia, Versace and Prada. Again, I was so impressed and thought maybe I should step up my usual drop-off outfit of yoga pants! Polia also casually mentioned that she is fluent in Bulgarian, French, Italian, Macedonian, Serbian and Russian. Amazing! Her passion for working hard, helping her clients, and resolving problems came through in all of her stories.
While Polia met her fantastic husband in Bulgaria, he is a police officer from Chicago and they live in the neighborhood with their darling daughter Margret. Polia and I would occasionally talk about juggling kids, careers, and family. Polia thrived on the relationships with clients and the ability to help them pursue their dreams. She enjoyed the research aspect and designing a product that met their specific needs and budgets. I could see the entrepreneurial spirit in her and was so happy when she shared last year that she becoming a real estate agent. One of the special things about motherhood is that it allows you to assess where you've been, where you are with your family, what your priorities and needs are, and then the ability to design a career option that will work for you. While Polia's textile door closed, she had a beautiful family and life in Chicago and the real estate door was swinging open.
I recently had coffee with Polia and talked with her about real estate in the Northwest side of Chicago. I asked Polia about the differences from Bulgaria and in the states. She shared that people are very busy in America, it is a fast life and your home is really important. She shared that your home is your base and can help keep your kids and family be organized. Polia talked about the importance of looking at a potential home with how it can help your busy lifestyle - does it have a nice family room for entertaining, does it have a basement that the kids can play in, does the garage have storage for sports gear, bikes, snowblowers, etc. She also talked about one of the great benefits of this part of Chicago is the fantastic yards. Our neighborhoods are perfect for cook-outs, swing sets, and gardens! There are plenty of quiet streets for walking pets and kids, stretches of restaurants, and shopping for all tastes.
Polia loves the small business shops along Northwest Highway and we're all thrilled about the new Starbucks on Harlem Avenue. Polia shared that from families to single people, they are attracted to our neighborhood for the great restaurants in Edison Park, the shopping and dining in Park Ridge, the welcoming community in Harwood Heights, the activities in Niles, and the great events from the Norwood Park Chamber of Commerce. We love the St. Patrick's Day Northwest side parade and can't wait for the Memorial Day parade.
I asked Polia what advice she has for a home seller and she shared that it is important to get the real value of your home. She said it is important to know what you love about your home and your home's best features. She said to seek buyers who will appreciate your home and the home's potential. Polia shared that it is important to define how quickly you want to sell your home and recognize how attractive your price would be to home buyers. The Spring market is open, is getting faster, and people are ready to buy and sell. Now is a hot time to sell and buy because families want to have their kids moved for the start of school.
I also asked Polia what advice she had for a home buyer and she talked about the importance of looking at how much money you would like to spend and what you can afford to frame your search. Next, you should look at what areas you would like to live, if the type of street matters, what you are looking for in a neighborhood, do you need to be near schools, do you want to walk to restaurants, and other priorities for your move. Polia shared that when you go to look at the home, you often have a feeling inside if you like it or not. It is important though to look past if something is not updated. You have an opportunity to decorate by your taste and should look at the bigger picture. If you are willing to update and fix up a home you can sometimes get a better price.
Polia and I also talked about juggling being a mom and an entrepreneur. She shared that it is nice to teach your children the importance of hard work and that from hard work comes success. I agree! Polia clearly recognizes that there are so many real estate agents in the Chicagoland area. But that is the beauty of America. You can come here and create your own dream. You can open your own door and help people achieve their dreams. People can choose the agent that best fits them, the real estate agent that understands their culture, and wants to help others realize their dreams.
If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your home, are looking for a commercial property or are looking for an investment property please give Polia Towey a call! Polia is part of the outstanding CENTURY 21 McMullen Real Estate, Inc. CENTURY 21 McMullen Real Estate is the number 1 CENTURY 21 office in IL, is in the top 10 CENTURY 21 office in USA, and is in the top 20 CENTURY 21 office worldwide. Polia is fluent in Bulgarian, French, Italian, Macedonian, Serbian and Rusian. You can reach Polia at (773) 664 1075!
Someone recently asked me how I manage to do it all – meaning work full time, travel, be a mom, a wife and make sure our dog Max is fed.
The truth is… I have absolutely no idea.
I swear, sometimes I tell my husband I don't know how we’re able to get through each day unscathed. First, we both have extremely busy jobs. If I'm not on a phone or a computer working… he is. It seems as though our lives never slow down and it can get pretty crazy. In this day and age…I know we're far from the only dual working couples with kids out there.
While any job can be stressful, staying home is no joke. I would argue it can sometimes be even harder. I know because once upon a time I played the role of a stay at home mom…and it was immensely difficult!
Those moments spent with Sofia were truly wonderful but when the time came, I was ready to get back to work. I needed to have conversations with adults and stop trying to spend my days rationalizing with a two-year-old!
My personality doesn’t allow me to slow down. I honestly love the hustle and bustle lifestyle…so even when I stayed home I still kept myself busy.
For several years I was a TV reporter and my husband was a cop. We were dedicated to our careers…always on assignment, in the know and right in the middle of it all. Sometimes we'd be called out to the same murder scene where we’d find ourselves texting each other about who would be able to pick up Sofia.
Over the years we’ve taken on new career paths but not much has changed -- except one thing. When I'm at work, I'm completely dedicated to my job, but when I go home I'm all in as a mom and a wife. Television reporters are expected to be present and ready at all times of the day, turning off at the end of the day wasn’t an option.
But after all those years as a reporter… turning off didn’t come as easily as I’d hoped. It’s especially hard in this world full of people literally addicted to their smartphones. I sadly don't even remember the days before smart phones... and I’ll admit when I lose my phone… I feel somewhat lost.
To be completely honest, I still struggle with stopping myself from being a typical millennial statistic. It’s too easy to get wrapped up in checking Facebook, Twitter, news apps and whatever else to keep myself informed of the latest news. I don’t even know why I care about what's happening with my friends or others I've not talked to in years.
Hey... I'm happy they're happy but it shouldn't be getting in the way of spending time with my family and honestly it was... a little more than I'd care to admit. While I'm not completely disconnected on the weekends and evenings, I've defiantly made an effort to cut back on the constant addiction of checking my phone.
It wasn't until Sofia asked me why I was on my phone all the time that I knew I needed to dial it back. Funny thing is…since I've put down the phone more I've begun noticing the number of people who are on their phones. It’s made me realize that the days of calling people are obsolete. Many of us are sitting at dinner we hardly look up because we are so buried in our phones. It’s saddens me to think that my daughter will grow up living in a world where the conversation has stopped.
I only hope that when Sofia gets older she’ll be able to carry on conversations and not be forced into this societal smartphone age where catching the latest Pokemon has overtaken learning how to communicate with your peers. Don't get me wrong... I'm not hating on the smartphone... I think it's a brilliant piece of technology that many of us can't live without. However, my hope is that it doesn't make us forget to look around and see how beautiful this world really is. It starts with us, as parents, to teach our children that putting down the screen and looking up is as essential as fresh air.
I know this started out as a blog post on balancing work and life but the first step to getting there, for me, is to unplug…literally! Give it a try... It's a great world out there!