Meet Carlee Hansen. She is as she calls herself “an average girl with an extremely twisted sense of humor, a love for telling a good story and an uncanny knack for tracking down awkward moments in life and living them to their fullest. She figured that all of those things combined should produce an entertaining, if not totally uncomfortable, read.” – Carlee Hansen, “Peas are Gross.”
Interview by: Jenny Hansen Lane
I’m a former marketing exec turned stay-at-home mom, speaker, author and podcast host. I left my career in marketing after my company sold and felt like it was time to not only be with my kids but to do something that could potentially inspire others to chase their dreams, which is what led to writing more frequently and speaking. I come from what most would call an average background but I’ve worked hard to figure out that sometimes being average is the best place you can be. Does that sound self-deprecating? I certainly don’t mean for it to be! What I mean by that is that you have to learn to take the cards, talents, money, station you’ve been dealt and make the most of what you’ve got. As Amy Pohler says, “You’ve got to find your currency and offer it to the world.”
You know, changing my career from full-time business partner and marketing enthusiast to full-time wife and mom has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced. My job wasn’t just my “job”; it was my hobby, it was my passion, it was what I was good at – it was what defined me. When I left, there was a very real sense of loneliness and disappointment that I couldn’t describe. I had plenty to do (where did all of this laundry come from?!?) but I couldn’t help but feel like there had to be more to it. I felt lost and unaccomplished and really struggled with my new reality. If I’m being honest, I still struggle with that (to some extent) on a daily basis. BUT, one thing that has helped me push past that is to remember that each of our lives is made up of seasons. This one, for me, is made up of peanut butter sandwiches and Trolls. It can be really, really hard sometimes. But when it gets hard, I reflect on what I was able to accomplish before all of this and I remind myself that I’ll get to do it again! There will be a time when my kids hate peanut butter (and probably me!) and I’ll focus my energy elsewhere. It helps to continue to find things to do that make me happy and make me feel whole – writing and the podcast and speaking to groups about adult issues like finding balance in life and women in the workplace and finding yourself. Those weekly glimpses into a life I once had and (hopefully) my future self sustain me and make me proud. They are also a good reminder that I can do hard things.
Peas are Gross is a humorous look at daily living; everything from food and exercise to dating and marriage is addressed in this must-read tale of life as we know it. The perfect weekend get-away, this book will take you to new places and help you wander through fantastic memories of your own.
So much inspires me! I LOVE watching people do hard things. Love it! There is nothing better than seeing someone push themselves and accomplish goals. Not just people that are close to me. . . anyone. That was the catalyst for creating Pead in a Podcast – we interview people who have worked like monkeys (do monkeys work?) to chase their dreams and it is so fun to hear their stories. This love for accomplishment means I LOVE watching documentaries about triumph and shows like American Ninja Warrior. . . hahaha! I love going to graduations and awards ceremonies. Uh, it’s so good to see people in their proudest moments! Seriously though, people all around us are accomplishing goals that are HUGE and that is so inspiring to see.
Some of the biggest female influences in my life would roll their eyes at the ways they have inspired me, but their influences have made me better in every way. I am influenced by my mom and her planning and ability to work, but mostly by her care and concern for others. I am blown away by my mother-in-law and her ability to see the best in others and to just meet them where they are in life. My sisters-in-law all have this incredible fortitude to chase what they want and push themselves. One of my former employees pushes herself to be her best at all she does, everyday, as an employee, a wife and a mom. Honestly, I have been so blessed to have friends that inspire me and encourage me to strive to be more than I currently am and that is incredible. Women can have such a power for good in each other’s lives – I wish we would do more of that. Less comparison, more encouragement.
I just think it’s so important to recognize that inspiration is all around us. Women are powerful, powerful people that encourage and love and nurture and succeed and I love to see them putting down a hand to help pull others up.