We asked four powerhouse women what their secret to success is and how they juggle family, work, and self-care. Chief Content Officer of Hearst and Author of “Love Rules” Joanna Coles, Co-Founder of Body Language Sportswear Erica Franco Cedeno, and Television Journalist/ CEO of Sockabu Abbie Boudreau and Angela Sutherland, CEO and Co-Founder of the nutritious food delivery service Yumi share their tips and tricks on juggling parenthood, business and everything else in between.
What advice do you have for moms who are trying to balance running a family and a business?
Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer of Hearst and Author of “Love Rules”
@JoannaColes: There is no balance so if you look for it you will be frustrated. Instead grab small moments of time with friends or reading a book or stare out of the window and enjoy a moment of solitude. It can be strangely refreshing and rejuvenating. As Margaret Thatcher once remarked, “Never underestimate what you can do in ten minutes.” A chat with a friend is emotional nourishment and laughter with another working mom is always worth it.
@EricaFraco1: I feel it is imperative to set a schedule with on and off times for each. When clocked in to each, make sure there are no distractions from that other side. When you are your own boss, it is very difficult to distinguish that difference between family time and work, but it needs to be done for your sanity and the love of your family. I still strive to accomplish this successfully some weeks.
@AbbieBoudreau: For years, I have tried to achieve work-life balance, but I’ve always come up short. I mean, how are we really expected to balance all of the responsibilities we are tasked with every single day? Then, not too long ago it hit me. Balance requires perfection. And we all know perfection does not exist. We have been chasing balance all of these years, thinking it was healthy and attainable. But in my opinion, the word “balance” is nothing more than “perfection” in disguise. It’s like some marketing genius swapped out the meaning for perfection and applied it to word balance - just to drive all of us crazy. I no longer chase balance. Instead, I choose to enjoy my unbalanced life, and I’m happier because of it!
Angela Sutherland: "It’s always a challenge to find a happy middle ground, but I try to just get through one day at a time and address what's right in front of me. Every Sunday, I'll look at the week ahead and prioritize where I’m needed most. If there are family functions, pediatrician appointments, parent teacher conferences etc, I’ll adjust my workday to accommodate my kids; and if it looks like a particularly hectic work week full of meetings or travel, I’ll make sure to get in lots of quality time with the family before or after. I also have to remind myself that its not really realistic to perfectly balance all the things that we as moms have to juggle. I'm more of a believer in work/life integration, vs balance. I do the best I can to maximize my time, whether its at the office or at home, and focus on the most important task of the moment. If it starts to feel like one thing in particular is draining a lot of my time and energy, I’ll take a step back and try to reset. What I do know for sure, however, is how important it is to surround yourself with a strong support system, both at home and at work. It's such a gift to have people you can lean on in times of need who are trustworthy and capable.
How do you implement self-care into your hectic schedule?
Erica Franco Cedeno, Co-Founder of Body Language Sportswear
@EricaFraco1: Early bird gets the worm. If you designate an early time the world is quiet & you can get it all in. Especially if you have a very supportive husband that helps tremendously! Thanks babe. <3
Angela Sutherland: Running a company while simultaneously raising 2 young children leaves very little time for self care, I'm going to be honest! But I do make an effort to find pockets of time where I can squeeze in some pampering. I definitely don't have time for long trips to the spa these days, so "self care" for me can be as simple as taking 5 extra minutes in the bathroom after my kids have gone to bed to apply a luxurious face mask and slip on my coziest pjs from Lunya, or going for a manicure with a colleague in lieu of a working lunch so we can still talk business and leave with sparkling hands. Since my time is so scarce, whenever I see an opportunity for multitasking that incorporates a bit of relaxation, I'll take it!
@AbbieBoudreau: I am a total product junkie! I am constantly spraying tonics, applying facial oils, using red light therapy and facial toning devices. I love Sonya Dakar’s Flash Facial. It’s an easy, on-the-go facial for busy moms. The minute I use it, I feel like my skin is fresh and glowing. I also love Sonya’s Retinu Retinol Serum. I really feel that it helps diminish fine lines around my eyes.
@JoannaColes: I love to walk my dog and have someone come to do yoga twice a week. I never feel like I want to do it but after the session I am so glad I did. That’s the key with exercise. I never actually want to do it so booking it in and making it a non-negotiable ensures I do actually do it. And of course getting to Sonya Dakar whenever I am in LA!
How have your children inspired your career?
Abbie Boudreau, Television Journalist/ CEO of Sockabu
@AbbieBoudreau: I’ve been a TV journalist for 17 years. Right now, I freelance for ABC News - Good Morning America and Nightline. But after becoming a mom, I came up with an innovative sock idea for kids. I always hated when my young son would slip while wearing socks. So, I started cutting off the toes to his socks, which gave him tons of natural traction from his toes! Then, I sewed on a “flip,” allowing him to cover his toes for warmth or uncover them for extra traction in one quick flip! This is when Sockabu was born! We are now manufacturing in America and our Sockabu adventure is just getting started! Oh!! One more thing… Sockabu socks are completely seamless and perfect for kids who are finicky about their toes. They are pediatrician-approved and recently endorsed by a leading foot and ankle specialist and surgeon.
@JoannaColes: My children have inspired my career because I want them to see a cheerful working mom. They both have a good work ethic and my younger son, 16, is a killer negotiator. Much better than I am.
Angela Sutherland, CEO and Co-Founder of Yumi
Angela Sutherland: I really owe my current career trajectory to my first child, my daughter Elodie. When I was pregnant, I became obsessed (as most new parents do) with understanding how I could best nurture this little baby, and how I was going to take care of her. I wanted to understand my pregnancy on an almost molecular level, and, as such, I wanted to know how best to nourish my daughter through nutrition. In my research, I came across the concept of the “First 1000 Days.” Researchers and doctors have identified this period – from in utero to age 2 -- as the most important time in a human’s life, nutritionally speaking. I soon realized that despite the critical nature of this period, the baby market didn’t reflect its importance. Most baby food products at the center of the grocery store were high in fruit sugar, low in nutrition, and had been sitting on a shelf for months.
As a working mom, when it came time to feed her solids I was forced to choose between two bad options: compromise at the grocery store, or feel pressured to cook every meal. I was convinced that there had to be a better way and felt compelled to create a product that provided a healthier, more convenient feeding option for parents. From there, the idea for Yumi was born.
Since we have launched the company (...almost 1 year ago!), my children still serve as a big source of inspiration, but I would say even more so now is our community; the parents who feed Yumi to their babies and write to tell us how much our service has changed their lives for the better. Whenever I get positive feedback from other parents, even if its just quick thank you note or words of encouragement, it brings me happiness on a level thats hard to describe. They are the reason we do what we do.
@EricaFraco1: I definitely think of them first every morning and those thoughts make me want to work hard and strive for more knowing that it’s all for them. I not only want to create a great life for us, but I want my son and my newborn baby girl to see how hard mommy works. I’m motivated to teach them how important it is to always hustle and to instill the values of a great work ethic at a very young age.