In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we sat down with our co-founder Susan Krauss to discuss women's issues and her experience running a business and balancing family life. If you haven’t met our Mammoth mama, let us introduce her so you can learn more about our favorite lady.
Born and bred a Texas gal, Susan, or as her friends call her, Sue was born in Amarillo, Texas, and moved to Austin when she was 10 years old. Coming from a family that owned the first natural health food store in her town, she grew up in a home focused on healthy living and homeopathic medicine. She attended the University of Texas in Austin, and on a rare Austin snow day, she met her now-husband, Tim. After college, Sue focused on raising their beautiful family of four children. When her husband Tim was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she dramatically changed their family's lifestyle to focus on a high-fat, low-carb, low-sugar diet. She became their household's master keto chef, but there was one thing that she couldn't find a recipe for — ice cream. In June 2017, she started making her own high-fat, low-sugar frozen
custard. It didn’t take long for her ice cream to gain popularity with family and friends, so Mammoth Creameries was born.
A: Choice is everything, and in 2021, women are choosing to stand up for women — women who choose to stay at home and raise children, women who choose to work and have children, women who choose to work and not have children, women who choose to be whoever the hell they want to be without having to explain who they are and why! I choose to challenge myself this year… to explain less, speak up more, be myself, appreciate other women, support other women, and be a woman that my girls can be proud of today and every day.
A: Mental health support might be one of the most pressing women’s issues we are currently facing. Sexual assault, fear of sexual assault, negative body image, the need to be perfect, the need to do it ALL, the guilt we experience from not being able to do it all, and on the other side, feeling guilty for doing it all at the cost of ‘neglecting’ our families, inequality when it comes to working environments, inequality in pay, the unfair stigma attached to being a single mom, trying to meet someone while being a single mom without putting your child(ren) at risk… all of these things need to change. Until they do, we need to repair the damage that has been and is being done to the mental health of so many women.
The past 12 months have put more strain on women for both at-home moms and working moms (currently now one and the same!) than ever before. It feels like we’re being told to suck it up and balance your home, your children, your meetings, and workload while trying to serve lunch and answer little questions, and oh my, don't forget to figure out what's for dinner and move that laundry from the washer to the dryer. And while you’re doing all of that, let’s make sure that you don’t complain or mention your mental health, or you risk looking weak, unable/unqualified, unhappy, or burned out. It's a cycle that never ends, has no sympathy, and destroys more women right now than most of us are willing to admit. It is absolutely critical that we change the rules and make it a priority to lift women up for asking for help or admitting that we can NOT do it all. We want to work! We want to stay home! We want to be role models to our daughters and raise boys to respect the women in their lives. We WANT to do it all because we love so hard, and we love making life great for the important people in our lives. We just need to make sure that we are in a healthy enough state of mind to understand that it’s okay to love OURSELVES at the same time. Taking care of others does NOT have to equate to silently suffering. It's a very hidden part of life for many women right now, and it needs to be addressed so it can be corrected.
A: For me, the hardest challenge has been learning to balance family and a full-time job. I’m sorry… I mean two full-time jobs. I tried bringing in a part-time nanny a couple of years ago because I was told that's what you need to do. “You won’t be able to give 110% of yourself to Mammoth if you don’t have a badass full-time nanny on deck.” I was quite literally heartbroken. I didn’t understand why I had to choose. How was I supposed to upend everything I had done for as long as I could remember? I had been at home with my kids for so long, and that’s not something I hated or wanted to change. I enjoyed it, but I was also enjoying building a business that was essentially my fifth baby! One day, the realization came to me — no woman, no ONE at all, should ever have to give 110% of themselves to anything. What's left for yourself when you give more than all of yourself away to anything? I would choose it all and spread myself out as evenly as I could manage while still trying to save something for myself. I rarely have anything left, and I don't have much time for myself. Yet, for me personally (and yes, we are all different, I am in no way criticizing others' choices, this is how I choose to operate), I didn't want to have to choose. I wanted it all, and if that means later nights or not meeting every deadline or growing a little more slowly than one might like, that’s fine. I will always make sure I’m being true to myself and doing what I feel is best for all of us, including myself.
A: Women, over time, have become excellent multi-taskers. We can balance it all, whether that be good or bad. We are critical thinkers. We’ve learned to listen to our guts. We know something is wrong before it’s obvious. We care, we listen, we are compassionate, we love. We are getting better at standing up for ourselves and demanding what we need. We’re crafty and can make things out of nothing. Now apply all of that to running a business, and it translates into something incredible! It equates to being able to wear multiple hats when you need to run a scrappy and lean operation, balancing the tasks required to ensure that everything stays on track, critical problem solving quick on our feet, knowing when something doesn't feel quite right, and trusting yourself to find an alternate solution. Employees who feel listened to and cared for tend to feel more invested in what they do, which obviously leads to a more successfully operated business.
A: Oh my word, go for it! If you feel like you've got a solid idea of what you want to do and how you're going to get it done, DO IT. If you fail, you fail, but what if you don't? You'll never know what you could have done if you don't try, and personally, as painful as it would be to see my dream crumble, I'd find it even harder to always wonder what could have been.
A: Harriet Tubman in her 30’s. I'd be too afraid to ask her many questions, but I'd want to hear it all. From her perspective, I'd like to hear anything and everything she had to say. I’d want to squeeze her and tell her how loved and revered she is today. I’d tell her what her life meant to me and how I see her as the epitome of bravery and selflessness. I just would want her to know that in 2021, we celebrate everything about her. Seems like the great ones die, and then we celebrate them. It’s such a shame that it happens in that order.
A: We are raising four feminists. We are also raising four human rights activists because it can’t stop with feminism. Four humans that understand the importance of equality for all. Hate and inequality are bred at home, and this house has no room or tolerance for it. We don’t just talk about it. We live it; it's a part of who we are. When you teach children the basic idea of equality, it all falls under one umbrella. From the beginning, we say that what we look like on the outside makes us unique, but what we all have on the inside is the same as everyone else. It's what inside that counts, and that's what we look for.