Mom Next Door: Joanne Dalheim / Walky Talky founder, wife and mom
Even before Joanne and Cullen Dalheim’s daughter, Harper, was born, the Dallas couple already had a very clear picture of what they wanted for her — in terms of the nursery, outfits and accessories. Unfortunately, no one carried exactly what the two had in mind.
“All the girl stuff was super girly, with bows and ruffles, and all the boy things were all Tonka trucks, dinosaurs and robots,” says the 33-year-old mom. She and Cullen were looking for something in between. And so Walky Talky was born. The hip fashion line for tots features reversible bandana-style bibs, French terry cloth sweatpants and more. Even with their full-time jobs — Joanne is a retail consultant and Cullen is a designer specializing in residential architecture — Walky Talky is fast flourishing. Aside from their store online, you can find the local label at nearby St. Bernard Sports. And while Joanne has her hands full with Harper, Walky Talky and her day job, she’s also gearing up for another big life change: the birth of her son, Jack Edward (due January 31).
On a scale of 1-10, how excited are you right now about your life?
10. Maybe 12 because I’m coming into the last weeks of my pregnancy. I’m excited to meet my son and excited to see how my daughter’s going to be with him. Just embarking in this whole new adventure — I can’t wait!
Can you imagine living anywhere else?
San Francisco. It’s our favorite place — that’s where we were married. It’s a mix between Los Angeles and New York. It has everything.
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
Stammer down the stairs to get my daughter her morning milk.
What time do you wake up?
6:30am if I’m lucky!
Last thing you do before you go to bed:
Check my emails
If your life were a song, what would it be?
“She Works Hard for the Money” by Donna Summers
If your life were a movie, who would you want to play you?
Rose Byrnes because if I am casting, I’m surely going to pick someone with good style, good hair who has worked with Brad Pitt.
Three things in your purse besides your cell phone and wallet:
Sophia the First doll, a coloring book and mini vanilla wafers
What’s your favorite activity?
Taking my daughter to the park or picking her up from school. [I love] seeing my daughter’s face when I pick her up from school.
How long did it take you to launch your first Walky Talky collection — from inception to seeing the actual product line?
About a year
Why did you choose the name Walky Talky?
Because that’s what we were living at the time with Harper. She was just starting to walk and just starting to talk. It was a play on our 80’s childhood with the Walkie Talkie (two-way radios). It felt playful and youthful, and it could grow with us as the line grows.
Baby trend that you wish would go away:
Glitter, glitter, glitter! Glitter shoes, glitter headbands and glitter on T-shirts. My daughter loves it, and I just love vacuuming up my purchase!
Baby trend that you love:
I love the mini me trend — everything my husband or I would wear in a little nugget size. It doesn’t get any cuter!
Favorite items in your closet:
When I am not 31-weeks pregnant, I love my Rag & Bone booties, jeans and a moto sweater or leather lightweight jacket. But the reality [for now]: black leggings, an oversized, lightweight sweater and my leather Vans!
Favorite baby boutiques:
We love Little Bean and Baby Bliss.
Three words to describe yourself:
Energetic, thoughtful, stubborn. When I set my mind on something, there’s really no telling myself no — it’s all in.
What’s your favorite part of the house?
My daughter’s room because we spend a lot of time there. It’s a very calm and relaxing environment. Everything else is not important at that time; the only thing that’s important is [Harper] and listening to her and talking about her day.
Proudest mom moment:
I went to [a function at school] and had parents come up to me and ask, “Are you Harper’s mother?” and I’m like “Yeah,” and they’re like, “She’s just the sweetest little girl.” One of the parents told me that their daughter had a really hard time adjusting [to school], and Harper has always come up to her and made her feel welcome and really helped her adjust.
What was your last mom fail?
Oh gosh, there’s a laundry list. We went through the hardship of getting the pacifier out of her daily routine, and somehow, it just crept right back in and we found ourselves just letting her have it again [on more than one occasion].
Do you cook dinner at home?
I’m a frequent EatZi’s visitor. They have this sticker on the door that says “See you tomorrow,” and I swear they’re taking to me. But I’d rather do something fast and healthy like EatZi’s and spend the rest of my time with my daughter.
What's the best thing to happen to you this month?
Going into the holiday season and spending time with my family [in Oklahoma]. We’re just so busy with work and birthday parties and play dates and everything that our lives are involved with in Dallas that we haven’t been up to Oklahoma in so long.
What’s one of your favorite moments, ever?
Being at the hospital right after I delivered Harper and seeing Cullen sitting on the couch, looking at her.
One of the coolest things about being a mom:
The secret club you get to join as a mom. It’s an amazing thing. You can walk into a baby store and not know the woman next to you, but all of a sudden you start saying, “Oh, my daughter really loves that; this is what we did…” It’s this bonding agent of having a child and sharing the wealth of what you’ve learned.
Three things moms should not feel guilty about:
Having a glass (or two) of wine after they put their child to bed; wanting to sleep in on the weekend; eating cereal for dinner because you’re too exhausted to make diner for you and your husband.
Last country you visited:
Favorite country to visit:
I love London for the fashion, the food, the people — it has an edge to it.
Good traits you have that you’d like to pass on to Harper:
I hope that my daughter learns from me how to be good to others, to be passionate about travel and to try everything at least once.
Your bad habit you hope she won’t pick up:
I never, ever want her to drink Diet Coke. I love it so much. And Starbucks!
Thoughts on the work-and-motherhood balance:
I’m really lucky to have Harper in a day care program that allows me to feel very secure about her environment when I’m not with her, and I’m able to focus professionally. But then, when I go pick up her up, everything workwise needs to stop. The balance is when you’re in one [aspect], you do that in full, and when in the next, you do that in full. Of course, when she goes to bed, I just pop right back on and [work], which happens more often than not. But she doesn’t know any different. She only sees me as Mommy — she doesn’t see me as Joanne, the retail consultant or Joanne of Walky Talky, and that’s really important for me that she knows she’s No. 1.
What do you wish you had more time for?
More time to travel as a family. I travel solo a lot for work, and I truly love it. But there is nothing better than experiencing something new with your husband and child.
One superpower you wish you had:
I wish I could time travel and go back to certain stages [of Harper growing up].
The most treasured gift you’ve received: