Battling 'The Mom Complex'


SUMMARY: As founder and CEO of The Mom Complex, Katherine Wintsch (’99) helps mothers around the world by developing strategies to make their lives easier. Her personal experience combined with years of research inspired her to write a self-help book for mothers.

By Talia Davis, alumni relations intern 

Katherine Wintsch (’99) is on a mission. As founder and CEO of The Mom Complex, Wintsch and her team study the passions and struggles of mothers around the world to help develop innovative new products, services and strategies to make their lives easier.

The team has worked alongside some of the world’s largest mom-focused companies, including Walmart, Chobani, Pinterest, Kimberly-Clark and Discovery. Wintsch’s sought-after research and expertise have been featured on Today and Good Morning America and in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company.

The Mom Complex was designed as a platform to help mothers cope with feelings of self-doubt. 

It all started with an idea in 2010 while Wintsch was on maternity leave with her second child. While watching TV and caring for her son, Alex, she noticed how mothers were portrayed in advertising.

“It was all so idealized and glamorized,” Wintsch said. “Women dancing around in high heels baking cupcakes, and I was barely holding it together as a new mom. I felt this extraordinary divide between how hard it was to be a mother and the way motherhood was brought to life in advertising.”

When she returned from leave, this divide was confirmed with the results of a client research study that showed the No. 1 emotion mothers feel is self-doubt. The study included 5,000 mothers in 17 global markets, and every mother was battling self-doubt, regardless of her age, ethnicity, household income, marital status or geography.

Wintsch decided to start The Mom Complex. Her experience with self-doubt, combined with her years of research with mothers, inspired her to write Slay Like a Mother, a self-help book for mothers. The book teaches mothers how self-doubt starts, why it grows and how to slay it.

While the book is wildly popular today, the path to getting published wasn’t smooth sailing. Wintsch’s book proposal was rejected by 23 publishers. But after a lot of introspection and late-night work sessions (and a few cry sessions), Wintsch landed a major book deal. The only catch was that the publisher needed the book written in seven months. She agreed, completely clearing her schedule and writing for at least nine hours a day, five days a week.

Wintsch proudly holds up the finished product after months of writing.

Slay Like a Mother made its debut this year. Parade Magazine named it “One of the top 10 life-changing self-help books of 2019.” Its success has taken Wintsch around the world, with appearances on Today and GMA.

“To be able to stand in front of women and know that this book is out in the world is a dream come true,” Wintsch said. “I hear from women all the time about how much my book has changed the trajectory of their life. I know what it feels like to be filled with self-doubt, so I know how meaningful it is to them to be free of that doubt. It’s extraordinarily rewarding.”

Although she is a CEO and author, Wintsch refuses to sacrifice her sanity as an entrepreneur. Growth isn’t the goal at her consulting company; she would prefer to do good work with good people and then go home to her family. In fact, in the future, she hopes to combine running The Mom Complex and promoting the work behind Slay Like a Mother.

“I’m extraordinarily happy and fulfilled and I have amazing work-life balance,” she said. “I’ll never go back to working the schedule I did in the past. “I don’t need more than what I have right now, and that feels pretty amazing.”

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Published: Friday, November 15, 2019

Last Updated: Monday, November 18, 2019

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