The Juggle Series: Two Moms Share How They Manage Work, Life and MarriageCarmen Ordonez
In today’s The Juggle Series (where fabulous moms share just how they manage to juggle it all), I interviewed two moms who lead high-powered jobs. First up, we have Danielle Dubin Manion. She’s the executive editor at Serendipity Magazine. She joined the magazine in 2011 after working close to 14 years as a writer and editor for People Magazine. Prior to that, she was a freelance editor and writer at Gourmet, the New York Times and the New York Post. She currently lives in Fairfield county with her husband and three children, who range from ages 6 to 10.
Next we have Veronica Bosgraaf, founder of Pure Bar, an organic, gluten-free line of healthy fruit and nut bars. She currently lives in Michigan with her husband and three children, who are aged 10, 13, and 15. She travels to California, where her business is based, at least once a week to make sure everything is running smoothly with the brand.
Scroll through to find out how these working moms each juggle their daily to-do’s…
Danielle Dubin Manion, Executive Editor at Serendipity Magazine 1 of 2
What is your typical day like from start to finish/describe your work schedule? It's pretty typical. We all get up and begin winding our way downstairs. My husband leaves earlier than I do for work, so I make breakfast for the kids and pack them up for school. You'd think by now we'd have it down to a science, but nope! I drop the kids off at school and then head to work. I'm very grateful because I work until 3 and am able to pick up my kids from school. It's always hard to peel away from whatever I'm in the middle of, but once I manage to disengage from work I go into mom mode and that lasts until bedtime. After pick up different kids go to their respective after school activities or it's back to the house where they have a snack, do homework then hang out with friends or chill out at home. Then dinner and bedtime. We try to leave some time for just the two of us talk or watch tv -- just be together.
How do you balance being a mom and work? It's a balance in that some days I think I'm doing a mediocre job at both work and parenting -- then other days I think I'm totally nailing it. That keeps me on my toes and forces me to examine where the weak links are in both roles. What can I do to carve out more quality time with each child or be more present? How can I be more organized so I feel like I've done a thorough job at work and stress less as a result. That helps give me a sense of balance.
What do you love about being a mom? I joke sometimes that being a mom is like completing an emotional decathlon every day--in 24 hours (sometimes less!) I can feel love, frustration, joy, pride, rage, regret, protective, peace, untold happiness and humility. I love that being a mom keeps me on my toes -- self-examining my motives, my schedule. I don't do that every day, but often enough that I'm able to make adjustments. And I love being a mom because we get to raise these 3 kids amazing kids and see life through 3 very different and thoughtful perspectives.
What advice would you give other women trying to juggle it all? Oh, wow. That's hard and giving advice implies that I've found the right way to juggle it all. And I haven't. The one thing I'd say is to be kind to yourself -- if some of the balls fall, remind yourself that they spend almost of the time in the air. And remember that knowing how to juggle at all is an impressive skill on it's own.
How do you manage childcare? At first it was daycare, then preschool with a sitter picking them up and staying until I got home. We've had the same great woman with us since my oldest was born. Once my youngest started Kindergarten, I was able to manage without regular help. I'm so grateful to have a job where I work until 3. When I do have to work late I call the sitter or reach out to friends and family. During the summer, their camp ends at 12. I've hired really great college students who have a lot of energy and are athletic who can make sure they're still active part of the time until I get home.
How do you manage household chores/cooking? We have cleaning ladies who come every other week and I love when they come. Love. We break up the chores -- the kids do have their own and then my husband and I divvy up the rest. I'd like to say we get to everything in a timely manner, but that's not the case! Because of his work schedule I do most of the cooking. On the weekends he'll get up and take care of breakfast, coffee, etc.
What has been your biggest challenge being a mom and juggling work? I feel like I'm not doing either job well. It can feel like you have to give 200% -- being a mom and my job each need 100% of me and that can create a lot of stress.
Do you think women can "have it all"? Well, it depends what their "it" is. At the risk of over philosophizing, everyone's "it" is different so there's no one answer. Some can have it all, some can't--and some experience both in their path to fulfillment. Some people "have it all" already and can't see it. Others constantly redefine their "it" to accommodate whatever life throws in their way.
Do you manage to squeeze in any "me time"? Not enough! But I do try to squeeze it in -- even if it comes at the risk of shirking other things for a little while. Usually I stay up too late to get some in. I think it's so important to give myself that time. When I don't, that's when I can start to feel resentful or run down.
Veronica Bosgraaf, Founder of Pure Bar 2 of 2
What is your typical day like from start to finish/describe your work schedule? I'm not sure I ever have the same day twice so a typical day is hard to describe! It varies in the summer versus school year because I have hundreds of kids running around in the summer, and less "alone time" but since it's summer right now I will describe my day today. I woke up around 6:30, made coffee, managed our social media pages, woke my son up at 8 am and took him to the dentist. I brought my computer and worked on the cookbook I am writing while at the dentist office. Then I drove home and responded to emails/worked until 12. I picked up my daughter from a friend's house at noon, made the kids lunch, and hung out with them for an hour. I had a phone meeting from 1-3 and worked on my book, interviews and updating social media until 6. Somewhere in there I made guacamole and sun tea. There were also no less than 7 neighborhood friends at our house, but luckily my kids are pretty self-sufficient while I work. On the positive side, I had all 7 kids taste test some new concept snacks we are working on and give me great feedback!
How do you juggle marriage/work/motherhood? I live in the moment and make the most of each day. When I am with my kids it is all about them, no calls, no work. When I am working I focus and try to be very efficient. I talk to my husband often about everything and always create down time with him. I try to compartmentalize so that work worries stay away from home and life worries stay out of work. I believe wholeheartedly in being balanced, so I am ok with shutting off the computer and having a glass of wine even if the work isn't done yet. It makes me better in the long run at what I do.
What do you love about being a mom? Everything. Truly I love the joys as well as the challenges because the challenges make me a better and stronger person and a better mom. I especially love cuddling with my kids and holding them close. I love laughing with them. I love that because they are of me, we share the same sense of humor and laugh together often. I love seeing them grow into beautiful souls and know they will make the world a better place.
What advice would you give other women trying to juggle it all? There is only so much time in a day so try to live each day in a balanced way. Spend time on family, work and self and even though you are being pulled in a million directions, stay true to living in balance. Also try to take a big picture, holistic view of life. When you are in a crisis, step back and think about your crisis as it compares to the big picture, what is really important and what will matter in 10 years to put things in perspective.
How do you manage childcare? In the beginning I had help and sought out very responsible young people to help me care for the kids during the summer. As my children got older I taught them how to be more self-sufficient and responsible so that they could entertain themselves while I worked from home.
How do you make time for your husband and your marriage? I am deeply in love with my husband so it is easy to take time for him. Having a great partner is like having a full time counselor! We are each other's rock and I believe the most important part of marriage is to talk often and about everything. I have objective perspective on parts of his life and he has that for me so together we support and motivate each other.
How do you manage household chores/cooking? We are a team and help each other with everything. There are no roles but we understand who does what and if we get out of balance, which we do sometimes, we communicate that with each other. There are no unspoken assumptions like he will mow the lawn or I will cook dinner. We talk about who is doing what and agree upon our division of chores.
Does your work require you to travel? If so, how do you handle? Yes, I travel about once a month for a week. My children stay with their father when I travel.
Do you think women can "have it all"? It depends on how you define "Have It All". To me, we play a large role in creating our own destiny when it comes to what matters in life, like love, empathy, health, and work. I do believe that every woman can be happy and love her life if she is willing to be introspective and really understand what makes her happy. As women we are often taught to be pleasers and therefore lose some of our sense of self along the way, which can lead to misery. To have it all, it is really important to understand what fulfills you.
What has been your biggest challenge juggling marriage/motherhood and a high-profile career? The biggest challenge is when I have to ask my children to sacrifice something, like not being able to attend an event or not being available right when they need me. It is definitely the guilt of motherhood, but I believe that these moments make my children stronger and more self-sufficient, especially if they know without a doubt how much they are loved, and there is balance between work and family. The flip side of being so busy and not always available is that I am an example to my children of how to create and run a company and still be a mom, which will help them as they grow and mature and find their way.
Any tips for managing time/priorities? Take advantage of quiet mornings! Make lists when life gets really busy so that you can focus and conquer one thing at a time. Shut the computer and chill when you need to. Go for a walk or take some deep breaths or play a game with the kids.
How do you manage any "me" time (if at all)? I know what I love to do like sailing, waterskiing, yoga, having a dinner date with my husband, and I do those things, on the weekends and after work. Life is short and should be rich in the people you love and the things you love to do. I just make it happen and know that I am better at my job because of it.
Read more of Carmen’s writing on her blog, Viva Fashion.