Elle Walker made her first videos in a closet. Now she executes six-figure deals for What's Up Moms on YouTube. She can find the funny in almost anything!
The 8 Faces Every Mom Must Master Featuring Elle Walker
In the hands of Elle Walker, 35, parenting's most stressful moments—labor and delivery, a surprise visit from the in-laws, potty training—become 24-karat comedy gold. Just two years after launching What's Up Moms from her home, then joining forces with two mom friends to make the site bigger and better, she's become one of YouTube's brightest stars, with her team posting new videos four times a week. "I get recognized by other moms every day, but never at cool places," says Walker, who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Ross, their daughter, Presley, 4, and son, Ford, 2. "It only ever happens at the zoo or Target—and about 50 percent of the time, it's when one of my kids is acting up."
Her willingness to be real with her audience, and poke fun at herself, has earned the What's Up Moms channel 300 million views and a million subscribers. "Being a parent is awesome, but it can also be a little lonely," says Walker, who founded whatsupmoms.com in 2014 with her Stanford classmate, Meg Resnikoff. Partner Brooke Mahan joined soon after, and Liane Mullin was named president and COO, rounding out the company brain trust. "Not everyone has friends with kids the same age or a mommy group they click with, so we're trying to create a community where we can all support each other," Walker says.
Just as any great mom-friend would do, Walker, weeks away from her third baby's due date (it's a girl!), took a break from filming to share advice. She touches on everything from working while expecting to preparing the nursery.
Go After Your Goals
"When What's Up Moms first started, I was editing our videos on the floor of my walk-in closet. I'd actually sneak in there when my kids weren't looking, because it was the only way filming was going to happen. I even kept snacks in there! Finally, this past July we got an actual office, where I work full-time now. I was so proud to show the space to my 4-year-old daughter. Now, when I tell my kids that I'm going to work, they understand. And when I'm home, I'm there with them 100 percent."
Solve Stress Together
"Meg, Brooke, and I get each other in a way no one else can, and we instinctively help each other out. For example, we were recently on our way to a shoot when it started pouring. It never rains in L.A., so I had sent my daughter to school that morning without a raincoat. Meg suggested we stop at her house to borrow one of her daughter's, and then—no big deal—we dropped it off at Presley's school on our way to the shoot. Things like that are just so helpful."
Know That Every Pregnancy Is Unique
"The first time I was pregnant, I knew right away, because my boobs hurt. The second time, I could smell everything. This time, I didn't know. I just found out by taking a test one morning. That day we went to the farmers' market as a family, and I decided to surprise Ross with the news. When he ordered some lunch, I actually snuck the pregnancy test inside his box of food. In retrospect, it wasn't a very appealing way to do it, but that's what I did. I was bursting. I couldn't wait any longer!"
Take That Nap
"As a mom, there will be nights when you don't get a lot of sleep. As a pregnant woman, forget it! I really believe in the five-minute catnap to keep my energy up. I could fall asleep anywhere, even on a hardwood floor with people walking all around me. I once fell asleep in the editing chair at work. Alex, our production guy, told me later that I was snoring!"
"I recently took both kids to the mall, and when we were there, Presley lost her minuscule clip-on earring. She was so upset that I actually got on my hands and knees and started searching for it, though I was eight months pregnant. Two security guards came over to ask me if everything was okay. Until that moment, I didn't realize how ridiculous I looked. There are times, as a parent, when you have to laugh at yourself. Otherwise, you'd cry."
Peace Out With Your Long To-Do List
"I have so much on my to-do list that, despite the back pain and lack of sleep, I'm trying to keep this baby in as long as possible just so I can finish everything. It's all big stuff, too, like 'convert basement to a playroom' and 'launch new show.' But while my dream is to get it all done by the time I deliver, I know now that it's never going to happen, and that's okay. The baby's going to come soon, whether I'm ready or not!"
Walk Away from Registry Anxiety
"When you're pregnant, you feel like you need everything. But now I know that less is more. For instance, you don't need too many outfits because you don't know how big the baby will be. Try to get hand-me-downs from your friends. Meg, Brooke, and I just keep passing maternity and kids clothes around in a circle."
Labor Your Way
"My first two labors lasted over 30 hours, and each kid's head was in the 99th percentile for size. So, while I admire women like my mother who can have natural births, I embrace the drugs and try not to be too horrible to my husband. The best push present he can get me is to let me be mean to him during labor. Well, that and some earrings."
Let Things Be Real
"I shoot day-in-the-life videos so people know that life with kids isn't perfect. And in turn, it's a relief for me to read the many comments that say, 'That's MY life too!' Thankfully, I'm not the only one with a toddler who's obsessed with his pacifier or a picky dresser. That's comforting."
"We all wish we could do more. My house is often a mess, but I can't work, have kids that I pay attention to, and always keep my house clean. When you see me at home on film, you're looking at the 10-foot radius that is clean behind me! None of us is perfect. But the great thing about kids is that they're always excited to see you. They really help put everything into perspective."