Juggling your schedule, showing appreciation, leaning on your team, and stocking up on lots (and lots) of wine: these things and a few other tricks to handling being a leader, designer, traveler, and mom all at the same time.
PAIGE BYRD / Managing Partner and Design Director
While en route to Phoenix, I open up my phone and plan to start brainstorming blog ideas (why doesn’t this plane have TVs?). As I open the app to begin jotting down ideas, an old grocery list is still open. The shopping list contents? Milk, coffee, half and half, strawberries, yogurt, and wine. I literally laughed out loud when I read “wine”.
I’m a working mom. A full time working mom. A mom of an infant and a toddler and my third (actually first born) baby is a growing interior design, architecture, and procurement firm. I travel and when I’m not traveling, my work days are scheduled nearly down to the minute. When I leave the office, I begin my third shift. Preschool pick up, commute, meal prep, playtime, bath time, and bed time. The days of happy hours and nice networking dinners are on pause for the time being. Please know- I am NOT complaining! I LOVE the circus that surrounds me and there is no way I would rather spend my evenings than with my family. Caring for the ones I love is what motivates me to keep moving and keep planning and keep progressing. But I’ll be honest, it’s hard and sometimes it sucks!
As I’m on this flight and having time to reflect over the past few weeks, I’m thinking, with everything going on- I’m doing okay. Actually, better than okay... some days are easier than others but I have found my groove and routines that work for me, my family, and my team. While I do not have all the answers, or know all the “mom tricks”, I do have a few recommendations that make my life easier. So for all the working moms out there… or people that just juggle a lot- here are a few ways this #momboss keeps it together!
Deliberate planning and valuing of your time makes an incredible difference. Trust me.
My business partner and I started Dan Sullivan's Strategic Coach program three years ago, and one of the biggest takeaways I've implemented so far is reassessing the value of time. I have adjusted how I evaluate, organize, and VALUE my time. My weekly to-do list isn't separated by work vs. personal. It ALL has to get done, so who cares how or when? It ALL has to get done!
My weekly task list consists of everything from deadlines to client calls to design charettes to paying bills to sending birthday party invites to ordering groceries and getting my hair colored. It all goes on one list! As I move through my list based on urgency, I feel the sense of accomplishment as one, two, three ... items are marked "complete". This keeps me on track, and ensures strategic projects move forward and that we do not run out of diapers and formula at home. I remind myself, I may not achieve perfect completion, but I'm making progress. Surely there's a hashtag for that.
I categorize days by Free, Focus, or Buffer. Strategic projects and revenue generating activites are saved for Focus days. General "stuff" like fire drills and everyday working items take place on Buffer days. And Free days ... oh, how I love Free days. These are the days I do what I want. The days I block everything else out and do the things and spend time with the people that fuel my soul. This is what keeps me rested, motivated, and able to tackle the hard days.
In short, it keeps my battery charged so I can function most efficiently and be at my best. I can go on and on about Strategic Coach and Dan's Entrepreneurial Time System, as it has saved me from complete burnout and allowed a life balance I never knew was possible before 2015. But regardless of the specific methodology or teaching, the important thing here is being extremely deliberate with your time. It'll save your relationships, career goals, and sanity.
I delegate anything (with reason) that doesn't motivate me or is an energy sucker. Example: I used to enjoy grocery shopping because it was a way to unplug and to take a few minutes for myself to meal plan. I've always enjoyed cooking and creating a farm-to-table experience in my kitchen. My husband loves it too (or at least he used to!). Anyone with small kids knows the challenge of navigating a grocery store. It's not fun anymore ... actually, it's a nightmare. When I want to meal plan or am hosting a dinner, I still take the time, alone, to shop and enjoy the shopping experience.
For weekly items we need to survive, I have delegated the task to Instacart. Hallelujah! The personal shoppers generally do a great job selecting produce and in most cases deliver to my door within 2-3 hours. For anyone that is a control freak with their groceries, this may not be the best solution as the shopper can make substitutions when items aren't available in store. But as a working mom with two kids– sign me the hell up.
Caring for the ones I love is what motivates me to keep moving and keep planning and keep progressing. But I’ll be honest, it’s hard and sometimes it sucks!
I've also "delegated" bottle washing and prep to my husband (a sure sign that he's a keeper) and, let's be honest, I do not clean my own house. If cleaning was my responsibility, it would never get done. I'm still working on the right laundry service– until then, piles of clean clothes will continue to lay on the bench at the foot of my bed.
I call this the "I swear I have it together" kit. There are a few things that I have with me at all times– some seemingly random –just because they make me happy and do come in handy while on the go. These items are: TSA-approved roll-on perfume, organic lavender hand sanitizer spray, Altoids (preferably cinnamon), Consuela wristlet wallet and key chain, white fur eyeglass pouch by Canoe, and of course my oh-so-trendy reading glasses.
The philosophy here is simple: I may not always be put together, but I sure as hell will look like I am!
When someone says "I don't know how you do it" or "you're Wonder Woman", it does make me feel good. Affirmation is my drug. But– big surprise here –there's no way I can do it all. I do my best and have a team at work and at home that keeps the world turning. We rely on each other's unique gifts and abilities ... that's the real magic around here.
My husband and "work wife" (I have so many) are incredibly organized and want to know the facts. They follow through flawlessly while I thrive at innovating and initiating. I can't stand still and not go crazy– so while I'm trying to bust out of the gates, they are the ones saying "Woah, Bessie!", and I need that in my life.
We rely on each other's unique gifts and abilities ... that's the real magic around here.
I need them and they need me pulling them out of the mud when they are stuck in analysis paralysis. I appreciate their gifts and how we together make complete, thriving, innovative, and FUN teams. The people in my life make my lifestyle possible, and I strive to give them that same gift.
Wine bottles, wine splits, glass of wine, a box of wine (Mommy's juice box) ... in the evenings, after a long day, mama just wants some wine. Sometimes it's a little, other times it's a lot. Working moms tend to burn both ends of the candle with a little time for mental decompression. Sipping a glass of wine while watching the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo is my favorite flavor of escape.
Here's some of my favorite wine picks pending my mood and dinner menu:
At the end of the day, one thing doesn't change. The alarm goes off at 5am and my feet have to hit the floor; and when my feet hit the floor (sometimes after a few smacks of the snooze button), I will take on the day with a strategic schedule, delegating what I need to, with my pretty "things" to keep me happy, while appreciating those around me and the responsibility God has blessed me with and hopefully drinking a nice glass of wine (maybe more than just one glass) before it's time to start over again. Cheers y'all. ◾
Paige Byrd is a managing partner and T&T’s interior design director. She is passionate about leading innovative design as well as cultivating a unique company culture. She dedicates her time to her largest passions which are her faith, family, and living BIG to gather inspiration from experiences. She is a true southerner with a heart for hospitality and service.