To celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked our rad contributors to interview the most influential woman in their life: mom...
Name: Tonia Enni-Warnshuis, 52. Occupation: Former Hairstylist Children: Andrew, 30; Briana, 27 and Corinne, 26
Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
I grew up in Salinas, California and my childhood was wonderful. My first memory was that we lived on Pembry Way over by Oak Park Grocery Store, and I remember walking to that store by myself. And then we moved out to a house on Berta Canyon and we got a horse and chickens. It was so much fun being able to run around in the country.
I used to ride my bike down the hill, and land in the cherry bush down at the end of the road. I had a happy childhood.
[My father] worked for the Sheriff's Department and he would come home on his lunch break and he sometimes would take us for a ride in his patrol car.
Tell me about your work, and your proudest accomplishment in your career. Did you face any hurdles in your professional life as a woman?
The first place I went to work after beauty school was the number one salon in Salinas, and [the owner] was a chauvinist. He was really egotistical: his station was on a platform above everyone else! He got into hairdressing to meet women.
And then I went to work at Regis, which was like a corporation; it was really big. There were like 20 women, where I was used to working with a smaller group, five or six. It was fun, but there were a lot of hormones bouncing around! It was difficult to work with so many women in one place.
I loved being a hairstylist, but you also had to be a psychologist, a therapist...and it was just stressful sometimes.
I was proud at that time that I had my own place. I had my own furniture, and my own car. I earned my own money and was having a blast.
In terms of my biggest professional accomplishment, that would be working on the Board of Directors for the Housing Authority here in Salinas, helping people find homes and giving money to people who couldn't afford to pay their rent. I didn't even realize I did it for thirteen years! When I was done there, the Board Chair thanked me for my years of service and that made me feel good. That outweighed all of my years hairdressing.
And then when I had kids, that was the best career for me. I always just wanted to be the best mom.
How has your life been different than what you’d imagined? How did having kids change your life?
I wish things could have been different for you guys. I just wanted to make sure you went to a good school. I feel bad now that I didn't teach you how to cook or to clean, but I just wanted you to have fun and be a kid. I just wanted you to get a good education.
And I don't even know what you mean; I can't imagine my life without you kids.
What is your favorite memory of your mother?
I remember we had an icing fight when I was in the 5th grade. We were frosting cupcakes for school and I took the knife and rubbed frosting on her face. And she didn't get mad, she just put frosting on my face and we had a frosting fight. That was funny.
What woman has been the biggest influence on your life? What lessons did she teach you?
I guess my mom. She was a really good mom. She must've instilled motherhood in me, because I really wanted to be a mom. She taught me to have dreams and we always talked about fantasies. For better or worse, we'd talk about fairytales and Cinderella, Prince Charming, etc.
My Aunt Gracie and Aunt Jenny were both influences on my life. Aunt Jenny wasn't around much because she was always flying herself around the world, and I always admired that.
I was surrounded by some powerful, independent women.