When Lyneè Urban ’08 became pregnant between her sophomore and junior year at Notre Dame, she was devastated. She had plans to be an RA and a marching band section leader, and to go to graduate school in psychology. “All my goals and dreams—poof—they vanished before my eyes,” she says.
But 12 years later, Urban says that God’s plan for her was greater than she imagined.
“I was 20 years old when I had Amani, and I feel like I was on a route to being a more selfish person, in terms of being completely self-absorbed in my life and my goals. Having her removed the center of my focus from just me and what I wanted to accomplish in my life to creating the very best life I possibly could for her,” Urban says. “If I hadn’t become a mom in my junior year of college, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today.”
And for Urban, where she is today is a good place to be. She lives with her family in the suburbs of Chicago. She is married to Amani’s dad, Christopher Urban ’07, and they have two more daughters, Kayla, 8, and Eliana, 5. Christopher coaches Amani’s soccer team on the weekends, with Lyneè, Kayla, and Eliana cheering them on from the sidelines.
She recently left her 9-to-5 day job in higher education administration to pursue entrepreneurship, with a focus on moms like herself. She has a nutritional lifestyle coaching business, and is also launching stress management and business consulting services for moms who are entrepreneurs.
“We are targeting ‘momprenuers’ and giving them tools and strategies to manage their stress and increase their productivity,” Urban says. “I want to help other moms like me, who have a vision and a dream to walk away from their 9-to-5 and pursue their business full time.”
Urban says that she balances business with motherhood by prioritizing self-care and wants to teach her clients to do the same. “By putting our care first, we create an overflow that we can then pour out to the other people in our lives.”
She likes exercise and baths when she takes time for herself, but it is journaling that keeps her focused. She starts each day by writing her goals down—before looking at any emails or social media—and then ends the day writing about what she is grateful for that day.
“I think a lot of women associate motherhood with killing off care for self and killing off personal dreams and goals for the sake of taking care of the people they love,” she says. “I’m really passionate about inspiring women to recognize that martyring themselves in order to care for the people they love is having the opposite effect—it is not empowering them, but teaching them to give up on their opportunities. I’m driven and motivated to fulfill my dreams and goals not for the sake of making myself happy, but to demonstrate to my girls what it means to take the gifts and talents that God has given you to create something extraordinary.”
It’s the same determination she showed in graduating from Notre Dame while raising Amani. At first, she and Christopher had discussed adoption, and were set on that plan until about the sixth month of her pregnancy. Then one day, Urban woke up and changed her mind. She wanted to raise her daughter.
“I consider myself a pretty reflective person and can typically articulate why I make certain decisions, but there was no rhyme or reason,” she says. “It was a conviction that came to me and that I decided to follow.”
Christopher followed that conviction with her, and with support from their families and the University, Urban gave birth to Amani and returned to school, living in university housing for families.
“We had to figure out all the logistics of housing, our courseload, getting jobs to support this baby,” she says. “We had to figure out a way for us to be able to take care of her and graduate.”
Friends from her dorm, McGlinn, made a babysitting schedule so that someone was always available to watch Amani while they were in class, and even some of the workers in South Dining Hall signed up. Between friends, family, and the Notre Dame community, Amani had all the diapers, wipes, and clothes that she needed.
“We felt like the whole entire campus was helping us raise her,” Urban says. “We called her the ‘Notre Dame baby.’ The community banded together and supported us, and without that outpour of love and support, we would not have been able to do it. I put my faith in God that He was going to take care of us, and He used the community to show us how much He is in control and how much power He has to be able to take care of His children.”