Successful lawyers and high school sweethearts Fred Mwangaguhunga and Notoya Green got two things right from the start – entrepreneurship and love.
In the 12 years they dated before tying the knot, the kindred soul mates kept their long-distance love afloat throughout their college years, then once reunited in their hometown of New York City, they even managed to stay together while enduring the tedious strains of full-time law school. By the time they were both practicing attorneys, they were already co-owners of a successful laundry delivery business and experts at balancing careers and love. A few years later, Mwangaguhunga founded popular urban celebrity gossip website MediaTakeout.com, which quickly became a multi-million dollar business.
Two years after the couple took their vows, they received news of their next big challenge – raising triplets. Green left her post as a family law attorney to take on her biggest job offer yet – being a devoted full-time mom of three. That’s when her popular parenting blog, TripletsInTribeca.com, was born. The dynamic duo just celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, and while Mwangaguhunga continues to work determinedly to further the growth of their family empire, Green says her most rewarding work is still being done at home.
We asked the multi-tasking mom and her hard-working husband to sit down with us and talk about how they’ve lent their business savvy backgrounds to perfecting marriage and parenthood and what they’ve learned about mixing business and pleasure.
ESSENCE.COM: How did you balance dating and law school?
FRED MWANGAGUHUNGA: If your spouse or girlfriend is in medical or law school as well it definitely makes it a lot easier.
NOTOYA GREEN: I think people can make time for relationships when they’re busy with school or work. I don’t believe it when someone says they don’t have time for relationships. We were both extremely busy when we dated. People make time for what they want to make time for. It does help a lot when you have the same goals. We both wanted to go to law school, and it was a big part of our relationship. He was a year or two ahead of me and able to give me advice. Law school was a big part of our relationship, our love life and our friendship as well.
ESSENCE.COM: First came marriage; then came triplets. Wow!
GREEN: Our second year of marriage, we decided we wanted to have a family. We found out we were going to have triplets, and it was hard and it was shocking. I don’t think anyone is ever prepared for that.
MWANGAGUHUNGA: Yeah, you always hear about people having twins, but never triplets. Who knows a triplet? No one, right? I mean, only on TV.
GREEN: We knew the chance was there, and we thought it was possible, but we certainly weren’t expecting that. It was a lot to talk about. It’s a huge responsibility. But we knew that we were committed and fortunate enough to have our family right here in New York to help us. We were prepared to do whatever it took.
ESSENCE.COM: Has parenting triplets made your marriage stronger?
GREEN: It has definitely been a test. I can say to every woman that is having a child or having a new baby that adding a baby to the family is always a challenge. It’s increased responsibility, and in some cases, it’s stressful in terms of finances. And some women, including myself, aren’t ready for all the stuff that comes with it. You have to give all of yourself to your child or your children, and some people just aren’t ready for that. It’s not easy to adjust to that.
MWANGAGUHUNGA: There are big changes in your life. It took us like six months to even have a date night.
GREEN: We definitely kind of went into hiding for a little while. We gave up a lot of stuff. But that was the hard part – the adjustment. It was a test to our relationship and to us, just as human beings. We began to divide our roles a little bit and do what was necessary for our kids. I needed him to really participate a little bit more, and he did that. He works very hard, and he has a very tough schedule, yet he was able to do that. As a wife and mother, that was really great for me to see; it really strengthened our relationship. We strive to both be really involved with our kids – to be there.
ESSENCE.COM: What has it been like to give up your law career to become a stay-at-home wife and mom to triplets?
GREEN: It’s hard. I was a busy attorney. It’s challenging but I do it because I think it’s important. I think that to the extent that we can be there for our children, we should. And, not everyone can, and not everyone wants to, and that’s okay, but for us, it’s really important. The window of sacrifice is small. It’s only a matter of time before they grow up and go off to school. I really do enjoy it despite the challenges.
MWANGAGUHUNGA: They’re all the same age. It’s kind of wild. You see them cover milestones, and then they’re no longer crawling or walking, and you think, wow, I’m never gonna see that stage again. It all happens at once. This is it.
ESSENCE.COM: What gets you through it?
GREEN: We believe that a strong marriage is a key to a strong family. If the marriage is weak, it affects the kids, and they can see it at some point. Fred is great at helping out. He’s very helpful as a husband and as a father.
MWANGAGUHUNGA: We have a great family.
ESSENCE.COM: How do you take your entrepreneurial attitudes and apply them to your marriage?
MWANGAGUHUNGA: I think it is a strength for us. When you’re an entrepreneur, you really invest your entire self into it, and your goal is to build the best company that you possibly can. Then you keep your eyes open for any new opportunities out there. I don’t know any entrepreneur that just comes in and starts a business. And, that’s kind of the way you have to look at your marriage: You put one hundred percent into it. You always look at opportunities to get better, and you never stay stuck in your ways. If you just keep an open mind, always be an optimist, and you’re willing to work day in and day out because it’s something you believe in, it will work out.