We've pulled together our favorite conversations with and advice from our founder, Nicole Centeno. As a mother of three and founder of Splendid Spoon, she balances a busy schedule. Read on to hear her perspective on motherhood, entrepreneurship, balance and food.

Why did you start Splendid Spoon?

I went to culinary school at the French Culinary Institute in NYC, and I studied the biochemistry of our diets — but still struggled to maintain a balanced one for myself. I was totally over-indexed on low-nutrient convenience food and lacked the foods that are best for energy, immunity and longevity (ie. fruits and vegetables.) It wasn’t because I lacked the knowledge or know-how; it was because I didn’t have the time to prepare flavorful plant-based meals. I thought, if I can’t achieve a healthy balance in my diet, then it must be a struggle for lots of people.

Pulled from an interview on the Camille Styles blog.

How did becoming a mother change things for you?

Many people mistakenly think that I’m 100% vegan but actually I aim for a 80/20 plant-based diet. I created my plant-based food business because I struggled to get my daily dose of fruits and vegetables when I was pregnant with my first son. I wanted to achieve more balance in my diet without sacrificing varied food experiences. I love creating food that is easy, delicious and yes, vegan.

So really, becoming a mom was the catalyst for Splendid Spoon – and it changed my entire life’s trajectory for the better.⁠ What I try to tell myself is — I’ve chosen to have a very full life and while that means I need to manage more trade-offs and hard decisions, it’s also part of who I am and what makes me, me.

Pulled from an interview on the Camille Styles blog.

What are some of your favorite childhood food memories?

When I was growing up, my mom always said to us, “Waste not, want not,” and our prolific collection of rotten bananas in the freezer was a perfect example of Mom’s adherence to this value system. Banana bread or muffins is still our favorite way to make use of the overripe fruit!

Pulled from the Great Jones Mother’s Day Cookbook, Family Style. For the month of May, 100 percent of the retail price of this cookbook will support No Kid Hungry’s work to ensure kids get the healthy meals they need during school closures.

What is the hardest part of juggling work and motherhood?

It’s mostly mental – managing my guilt is the biggest obstacle. This was most pronounced in the early days of Splendid Spoon as I struggled to get a business off the ground while learning how to be a mom to a newborn — I felt like I was always letting someone down. That feeling has circled back in this current Coronavirus environment.  I’m wearing many hats: sheltering-in-place mode with a newborn and two older kids who need homeschool. Simultaneously, I’m in all-hands-on-deck mode with the business as we navigate changing consumer behaviors and a fragile economy. What I try to tell myself is — I’ve chosen to have a very full life and while that means I need to manage more trade-offs and hard decisions, it’s also part of who I am and what makes me, me.

Pulled from an interview on the Camille Styles blog.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from another mom?

I can’t remember if someone told me this or I figured it out on my own but the best decision I made early on was to work on my own stress relief. Babies are super intuitive little creatures and if you are relaxed, so is baby.

Pulled from an interview on the Frances Hart “In Her Words” page.

Words of advice for new mamas?

What is the thing you worried lots about when your child was first born that you’d tell other women to lose less sleep over?: I thought a lot about nursery schools and education and whether or not I was doing enough to nurture my baby’s brain development—constantly reading and talking to him for example. I have definitely taken a more relaxed approach to this since baby number one!

Pulled from an interview on the Frances Hart “In Her Words” page.

Any tips for moms to stay sane while at home sheltering-in?

Find solace in daily routines. Most of us thrive in environments where they know what’s coming next. Part of what’s hard with newborns and the current shelter-in environment is that we have very little control of our environments. What we can do, is come back to the same routines everyday. Having a breakfast ritual with family, an afternoon Facetime with your friends or workmates, and even the consistency of feedings every 3 hours are all examples of routines that help us stay focused on the steady beat of our day-to-day.

Pulled from an interview on the Hatch blog.

What traditions or routines have you built for your family?

Sitting together at mealtimes is really important for me - I love this opportunity to just enjoy food, and nourish our bodies with togetherness after a long day of tasks. It has morphed into everyone getting involved with our different rituals as well: setting the table, cooking, lighting candles. I also tell the kids something that made me proud of them and grateful before we go to sleep. It’s important to close the day with something positive!

Pulled from an interview on the Frances Hart “In Her Words” page.

What is one thing you’d like to share with the mom community right now?

This goes for new businesses, becoming a mom, or the current crisis… having a support system is huge. It’s the difference between something pulling you under and feeling overwhelming, or being a shared moment that you get through together. Even now, virtually or otherwise, lean into your support system.

Pulled from an interview on the Hatch blog.

We love and support all of our #SplendidMoms and are so proud to be a female-founded company. Questions? Send us an email at [email protected]