When graphic and textile designer Joy Cho started blogging in 2005, she probably wasn’t dreaming of a huge social following, let alone product lines and brand partnerships. Yet today, Cho is the founder and creative director of the lifestyle brand and design studio Oh joy!, but not to mention the most followed person Pinterest (15 million followers and counting). The blogger-entrepreneur is also known for creating colorful patterns and special-edition collabs with brands like Target, Keds and Microsoft. Time’List of most influential people on the Internet.
Also included is the role of the mother of two young daughters Ruby and Coco in juggling and balancing life. Yahoo Life recently caught up with the Philadelphia native from her home in Los Angeles to talk about immigrant parents — Cho is Thai-American and her husband, Bob is Korean-American — of being a girl mom. relationship, why she values communication and her new partnership with the prize.
What was parenting like during the pandemic? what have you learned?
It was crazy! For me, what I wasn’t equipped to handle [happened last year]. You go into it thinking it’s going to be a few months…
It honestly challenged me a lot – as a parent, as a person, as my husband’s partner. It was challenging (as it was for everyone) and inevitably, it made us all stronger and better, and inspired us to communicate about topics we didn’t have to deal with before and for our children. used to approach and talk about things together that we don’t have [otherwise]. I guess we’ll look back and know we’ve been through tough times, but I’m glad we see the light at the end of the tunnel because, boy, was it tough!
What have you learned as a girl mom?
I can’t compare because I don’t have boys, but having girls is an emotional ride and I learned even more during the pandemic. I realized that even when you’re comfortable, you don’t know [what to expect].
I also realized how much they listen to you and pay attention to what you do. I always tried to hear what I wanted my kids to see, but I didn’t know how much they were seeing or hearing. So just be aware of it. If you’re doing something you don’t want your kids to do—whether it’s your tone, or how you react to things, how you deal with good news or bad news—your kids are always watching. I think girls, in particular, tend to be more in tune.
How would you describe your approach to parenting?
My husband and I are both first generation Asian American and we both grew up with parents who definitely had a very specific way of parenting. We’re on board with some of this – there’s a level of rigidity and expectation that we probably have culturally – but we also know that some of it was beyond realistic and we are Americans too.
We come into parenting with a bridge between both cultures. We are a work in progress. We are strict but love; Structured but loving. We’re probably on the more structured side, but at the same time, we can be fun too! We don’t pressure our kids to get certain grades, we just want to keep our kids happy. It’s a mix: there’s something we highly respect that makes us who we are and we want to continue to be. It is a bridge of culture, [combining] What we learned from our immigrant Asian parents is how we are as Asian Americans living here.
As a public figure on the Internet, how do you see people shaming parents?
I don’t often have kids on my social media. I think the reaction comes from how often people see you as a parent, so I don’t get much [parent shaming]. When I’m on social media, I feel like I’ve largely avoided it because I’m not a “Mom Influencer.”
That’s not to say it’s not annoying and I’ve certainly dealt with negative comments outside of parenting. You have to get to the point where you realize it’s not about you. It’s hard because we are sensitive people but you get used to it; This is part of the work that we have to manage.
How do you find some time for yourself?
I’ve been very clear, especially during this pandemic, with my husband when I need a break, even if it’s 30 minutes in my room with the kids. We don’t have much alone time; We are all stuck in the house together and I am someone who needs alone time. If I need it, I say it, and find a way to get it – whether it’s driving outside, running errands or something like that.
It’s about communication: Tell your partner what you need and what’s good for your mental health. People carry it within themselves and it is important to communicate it within a family. Even for your kids: “Mom needs to be alone. It’s not that I don’t love you!”
Do you have any advice for parents?
Communicate more! Tell your family what you need.
What are you most looking forward to in the post-pandemic times?
having fun outdoors [my family’s] Favorite thing to do now is to see people again. I’m making sure I have my everything [summer] must be on hand; We have an amazing partnership with Bounty Paper Towel [launching July 1 at Sam’s Club]. I’ve had my bounty for the rest of my life and being our own version of us is really fun and a great time for summer. My team and I designed the graphics and packaging – they really let us bring you Oh Joy! to the product. It’s an everyday thing that people use – and it’s very functional.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
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