S3E4: How Having Kids Changes Your Network with Guang Ming Whitley

In this episode, I speak with Guang Ming Whitley. She is married to a friend of mine from university. He introduced me to her when I passed through Los Angeles on business many years ago. Guang Ming wears many hats. She’s the CEO of the Whitley household and stayed home for many years to raise 4 wonderful children. She has written both fiction and non-fiction books. She is also an elected official in her local town council. Most recently, she co-founded Aenea, a mentorship program for young adults.

In this episode we talk about:

  • How deciding to become a stay at home mom impacted her relationships
  • Some of the changes she noticed in her network as she had more children and they aged
  • How her and her family navigated the challenges of finding people they all wanted to spend time with
  • The importance of networks for young adults
  • When she thinks it’s a good time for young adults to start cultivating networks of their own


  • What her network looked like before she had her first child [3:30]
  • Joining the “mommy network” [5:15]
  • Challenges of relating to people who don’t have kids [6:13]
  • Value of parenting classes for creating networks of new parents [7:12]
  • What matters in friendships when you have very small children [8:35]
  • “Dating” other families [9:03]
  • Importance of these relationships for stay-at-home moms [9:52]
  • At what age do the kids start driving who you spend time with? [12:00]
  • When children start having relationships independent of their parents [13:25]
  • How does family fit in? [15:44]
  • Maintaing a separate identity in addition to motherhood [17:00]
  • “You can have it all, you just can’t have it all at the same time” [17:30]
  • Using the structure of a book club to collect friends and as platform for running for public office [18:02]
  • How each family member’s network intersects [19:00]
  • Cultivating a rich, diverse network [21:05]
  • Keeping in touch with non-local friends [22:25]
  • Something nice to say about social media [23:39]
  • The difference between being out of touch and losing touch [25:40]
  • The role of age in making friends as a mother [26:02]
  • What holds mothers back from cultivating networks [27:05]
  • Maternal mental health organisations promoting human connection [28:45]
  • How do you think about your kids’ networks? [29:33]
  • Aenea video on importance of young adults building their network [30:11]
  • When is the right age for a child to start building their network [31:14]


Connect to Guang Ming Whitley: LinkedIn


Learn more about other life events that impact your network and how to reduce their impact here.