I first “met” Geneva resident, Chrissy Somers, online, drawn to her contagious smile and honest assessment of being a working mother in the world today. As strange and terrible as social media is sometimes, at other moments, like-minded women come together in perfect harmony to make their small respective worlds a better place.
I was honored to chat with Chrissy over coffee at Cafe & Barr in Geneva, and as I indulged in a handcrafted iced matcha latte, this clever force of female energy had me hanging on every word and eager to learn more about her mission to “Explore More”.
Unaware she was an inspiring force while creating online hyperlocal resource guide Families on the Fox (FOTF), Chrissy was caught aback when area women started contacting her to confide in and rally support.
“I’ve had several women reach out and say that they have been following my journey and felt so inspired to pursue their passion or try a new career that played to their individual strengths,” Chrissy reflected during our interview. “I am flattered that they would think I played a role in their new career move, I like to think I’m providing the, “Well, Chrissy did it, so I can too,” feeling.”
Upon first meeting Chrissy, which most observe from her candid social posts about local deals, small businesses, and family-friendly events, she’s a ray of absolute sunshine.
Her tenacity is bold, yet not unapproachable, as Chrissy boasts about living in the Fox Valley in the Western Suburbs of Chicago by way of her “go-to guide” for families in Batavia, Geneva, and St. Charles.
A former teacher, Chrissy was forced to decide between paying for the cost of childcare for her three children while working full-time, or attempting what many modern domestic women venture to do — mobilize her creative and entrepreneurial spirit to start a business.
“Daycare costs are astronomical,” commented Chrissy. “Teacher salaries are… well, the opposite. In fact, I would have been losing money had I went back into the classroom, so I decided not to lose money AND time with my babes. I was fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my three girls!”
The early beginnings of creating Families on the Fox was out of necessity as her new life with small children presented a challenge to find a collective and updated list of “things to do” in the Fox Valley area. Chrissy knew there was so much going on in her community and she was frustrated at the amount of time she spent digging to bring an activity schedule together for her young family.
As Chrissy spoke with other parents, she found relief knowing she was not alone and decided to create a space for other families to fill this need.
A long-time supporter of local businesses, it only felt natural for her to promote tri-city businesses.
“Because I was a teacher for nearly a decade, I am a “helper” by nature, so what I am doing with FamiliesOnTheFox.com is a continuation of my need to help others,” explained Chrissy.
Beyond her website, FOTF has an active community on social media, where followers can learn more about Chrissy as a woman, mom, business owner, and human being.
“This is where I have noticed the way Families on the Fox is truly creating a little ‘community within a community’,” she reflected. “As my local social media audience grew, I wanted to use my platform for good beyond the services and guides I provide.”
What started to really resonate with her audience was Chrissy’s personal struggles with anxiety, starting a new career, parenthood, marriage, relationships, pressures, and social expectations.
“These posts continue to resonate with my audience and I have received so many private messages and emails from my audience sharing similar stories, words of support, requests to talk one-on-one, and even people saying what I shared caused them to seek additional support or take the next steps in pursuing something more.”
Chrissy Somers enjoys supporting local businesses and her community.
While she has seen definite growth and excitement as business continues to grow, Chrissy admits there have been challenges.
“I know I am not the only hyperlocal resource out there, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t bother me when I see websites and social media pages popping up locally with a very similar concept… and nearly identical content on their site,” she shared.
With all the ups and downs, Chrissy is dedicated to serving her community in a way that makes sense for her family. Actively venturing out into the Tri-Cities to meet business owners and provide a welcoming vibe for families at local events has allowed her to meet women from all backgrounds and socioeconomic status.
“I think this area sometimes gets a rap of being “stuck up”, but I have met a LOT of people… and everyone seems to just want to feel a sense of belonging. I feel that Families on the Fox is providing that to our audience on an equal playing field.”
As she grows with Families on the Fox, Chrissy finds many moments unexpected and humbling, excited to know she is inspiring and supporting women in their vision to try something new or pursue a passion.
To learn more about Families on the Fox, visit www.familiesonthefox.com.
A version of this article originally appeared on Medium, Exploring More: Interview with Chrissy Somers at Families on the Fox on November 6, 2019.