Sharing My Day to Day Mom/Work/Life Routine… Juggling it All!
Happy Wednesday! Yep, back at it! And today’s is another looooong one! As a single mom and business owner I have gotten lots of messages over the last few years about how I juggle it all and what my hour to hour, day to day and week to week schedule looks like. For once in quite possibly my entire life, I can say that I have somewhat… kind of… sort of… gotten it down to a science. A beautiful mess of a science that works for me so I thought I would finally share what Ab and I do on the daily!
Pretty much every “personal post” I share starts with one big disclaimer of some sort. This one will start with several… First off, I have to say that I have a newfound respect for all single parents out there including my own mom. Whew! Juggling it all is no joke whatsoever. Not having anyone to pass along a bedtime tuck-in or morning school drop-off is a lot. A lot that I love and I wouldn’t change for anything in the entire world but it’s a lot sometimes. Having said that, I will say that although working from home with kiddos around is no joke, I feel so blessed to be able to do so and to piggyback on that, I also have a newfound respect for those single parents who also work away from home. Take that juggling factor I mentioned and multiple it times a lot more! I cannot even imagine. So kiddos to all of you out there!
Without a doubt before I start chatting about fitting it all in, I just want to emphasize that I think the key to sanely juggling a lot is truly loving what you do. If you’re young and just starting out or are older and in a position to change things up a bit, ask yourself… what would I not dread doing on a Friday night? Or better yet, what would I actually look forward to doing at 5am, 10pm or on a random Saturday? I think regardless of any successful schedule or management of time and projects, loving what you do makes the crazy “start-up” days that much more possible and the years down the road that much more successful.
Okay dang… I thought I was done with disclaimers but I do actually have a few more. Want to know what else is key to a successful entrepreneurial life? Surrounding yourself with and hiring the best team ever. I plan on writing a blog post entirely dedicated to Ab here soon but I can truly, honestly, without any doubt say that hiring her two and a half years ago now was the single best decision I have ever made business wise and gosh on a personal level too! One person can only do so much but having an assistant or business partner that is as dedicated to the dream as you are can make things truly soar! I have no clue what I would do without her!
And finally last but not least, as I’ve said time and time again, I would never ever ever in a million trillion years have chosen divorce. HOWEVER, I will say that if there is something even 1% positive to be said about not getting to see your kids a day or two or three at a time, it is that you can flip that mindset to the positive and view it as either some good “me time”, good work focused time or a good opportunity to have a few extra date nights. As you may know if you’ve followed me for some time now, I am legit obsessed with my girls. As I know most of us parents/mommy’s are. I am blessed and so thankful to have primary custody of my girls. I do not have them every other weekend, Friday after school until Sunday at 6pm, and then every other Wednesday night. Those six days a month are all of those things for me. As hard as they were at first, I began to see that I could use that time to focus on me, my company and my budding relationship. And as I will chat about in a bit, I also recently asked my ex if he wanted to keep the girlies an additional evening every other week (the Tuesday before the every other Wednesday he has them) until school is out this May so that I could have dedicated time (not on the weekends) to complete our cabin renovation which is about two hours away and of course he wanted them that extra time. It’s a hard project to “pop by” just a day a week and get anything done. So that has been a blessing too!
Whew! I promise I am now getting to the real stuff! Just always wanting to pass along credit where credit is due. So first things first… as far as advice for entrepreneurs or for those asking how we “do it all” my first tip is to layer it on slowly. “Master” one thing before you add another. Ab and I do call ourselves the queens of jumping off of cliffs and THEN finding our wings but all in all, I think it’s been somewhat of a slow grow for me over the years in layering on the tasks and business ventures. I chatted ALL about my journey into entrepreneurship in THIS POST. But basically what I am saying is that even if you want to take on the world, start with a strong foundation and build on it from there. For me, that was in blogging. Although I graduated with a degree in interior design and with dreams of doing all things design, it was a long process of successes and failures trying to figure out the best way to make it into the creative/design field in the way that worked best for my life, finding opportunity living in a small town and with having young kiddos. Never be afraid to try things and then start back over and try them again! I will be referring back to this quite a bit as I share more of our schedule and our days.
Another bit of advice I have is to never be afraid to ask for help! Coming from the girl who forever hates doing so but has learned it’s KEY to building and growing a dream. Two and a half years ago now, my now ex-husband encouraged me to finally hire someone. After four years of growing my blog platform and then wanting to dive into an online and/or retail store, it seemed clear, to everyone but me, that this was the next best step. There were so many factors in my own mind holding me back. For one, I work from home. The thought of having someone inside my home on a full-time basis seemed so… well… intrusive. Sooooo not what I feel like now with Ab but at the time, it just seemed so not me! “So not me” for one because I am rather introverted. I feel like I am the most extroverted introvert ever. I loooooove going out and having fun and being around people but being around those who aren’t part of my “circle” exhausts me after some time and I need a break to re-energize. Also, “so not for me” because I am a blogger. How exactly do you hire someone to help you document your life? Yep, I mentally fought the idea of hiring someone for so many reasons. But then came Ab and I cannot image AW without her! And I cannot imagine AW having grown as much as it has without her either! Point of the story is that hiring someone was sooooo intimidating to me but it has been one of the best business decisions I have ever made.
So… down to the nitty gritty. How do we manage “it all”? Here’s what a “typical week” looks like for us and then I will explain more…
So here’s a peek at my day to day…
I start most days with a wakeup alarm at 7:00am. May seem a little “late” for a busy schedule but I take full advantage of my evenings and stay up pretty late, usually 11pm-12am. I wake-up, get Winnie ready and make myself a big ol’ coffee! I drop them off around 7:45am and head back home. We live maybe a mile or two from their school which is amazing! As soon as I get home, I sit in the cozy embroidered bird chair in my living room and write. That hour is one of my very favorite of the day. It’s quiet, “me time” where I write blog posts and do personal writing. It’s a clear head space for me and I love it so much. Ab arrives at 9am every morning and I then spend a little time finishing up whatever I am working on before getting ready-ish for the day. I don’t wear full makeup often during the week so it’s usually a quick foundation, bronzer kind of thing and an outfit change. I am used to showering at night so that helps me get ready quicker in the mornings. During that time, Ab spends maybe 30min-1hr doing random things around my home from laundry to dishes. She literally helps me with everything and it is the best ever. Once we are both finished, maybe around 10am, we “head to work”! We sometimes split time working from my house or working at my brick and mortar store which is walking distance to my house. There’s an “event space” side that isn’t occupied during the week so it’s a great place to work! And this is also the space that is about to be the official AW Design Studio so we will be up there lots more now. We then work almost never officially stopping for lunch until I get my girlies at 2:45pm. Our day runs to 5-5:30pm each day for the most part.
Here comes the meshing part… meshing all of the business ventures of AW. As I mentioned above, it all started with my blog. That is the foundation of everything I do. It’s one of my main sources of income and it keeps my rental homes rented and my design business busy. It is the bread and butter that we constantly try and “feed” the best we can. As far as my blogging platform, I try and blog personal thoughts and inspirations which I do each morning, home projects and a random assortment of design projects and just life… from vacations to recipes! As far as home projects, we try and focus 1-2 days every other week completing a project. That can range from completing tile in my laundry room to doing a little dining room refresh. Typically we plan out our blog schedule in advance so we have everything ordered/purchased and ready every other week on those project days. I tend to do lots of my “ordering” at night when my girlies are asleep and John isn’t over. On the every other, to those every other weeks (LOL), we spend Tuesday-Thursday in the community where our two cabins are located. We spend much of that time working on renovations for those homes. Well, one is now completed but now we are working on the newest one. We take breaks and work on our laptops at the clubhouse to answer emails and such. It’s great because whether it’s a home project I want to complete anyways or working on a renovation project, it is blog content, social media content and it marks something off of a to-do list! I also use this time to replenish “stock” on rental supplies at my cabin and spend two nights seeing John since those are the weeks he has his boys. That then leaves 3-4 dedicated days for everything else! Now that AW Design has taken off, we spend most all of those 3-4 days designing. Which I love. Since I complete most blog posts each morning and projects those off days, those 3-4 days are fully design focused! I of course pop in on social media to promote products and share our days but overall it’s Zoom calls and design!
AW Design… the biggest part of AW has very very quickly become AW Design. I have dreamed of this for so many years now but the time just never felt right. Until Covid. With my store and blog a little slower, we decided to dive right in! And not even two months later, I decided to add on two more amazing ladies to the AW team that I will introduce hopefully next week! Two of the most talented women I have ever met. With AW Design, Abigail handles ALL communication and I handle ALL design. If you are a client working with us, you will see me on the Zoom call and then I will be fully focused on the project. Our two new girls pull products that I prompt them to find (i.e. I am looking for a 48″ light wood stained cane cabinet… AND GO!), come up with additional ideas that complement the design we are working on and create mood boards with what I have sent over to them. Abigail handles all product ordering for clients and all scheduling of contractors, etc. Like I said, we have it down to a SCIENCE and it is FABULOUS! We also just purchased and set-up the best software EVER that keeps everything organized called Ivy and it is LIFE for helping us to all work together with submitting products and ideas and invoicing our clients.
AW Boutique & Event Space… another huge part of AW is my brick and mortar store. Although we had a huge hand in completing the store and setting it all up two Summers ago now, I have almost fully stepped aside from the day to day. That was REALLY difficult but there just aren’t enough hours! When we were completing the space, we were able to fully focus on the store and the blog since my rentals were not yet underway and we had not started AW Design just yet so there were many more hours in the day. This is where I say layering is KEY! My blog was established and “running smoothly” so now then it was time to focus on getting the store rolling “on it’s own”. Abigail now handles scheduling employees to work the store as well as event space rentals. Our boutique girls clean the event space between events which has been amazing too! Double duty once again! Thankful for the BEST CREW at AW over the last year and a half. Once again, a great team is KEY! I do still handle most all product ordering for the store although Ab has started to do more and more as well. I honestly do most of that at night when the girls are asleep and John isn’t over. It’s me, a glass of wine and my laptop! Ab always jokes that she knows when I am on a “store purchasing mission” at night because her e-mail starts blowing up with order confirmations. I will say though that now that we will be designing from the new AW studio, we will have a bigger hand in the day to day at the store since we will be there.
I am always one to click on random business advice articles on social media and one thing I see time and time again is to have multiple revenue sources. I agree with this 1,000,000%! If you are able to layer ventures in the same field that can work off of one another and each make money, I feel it’s so much more feasible to gain wealth. Ab and I are actually planning on starting to launch some “advice and tips/tricks” podcasts and classes before the end of 2021. So like I said above, it all started with my blog which makes an income. I then saw opportunity to build on that and open an online store that I could promote to my blog and social following. From there also came a local brick and mortar store. Once again an opportunity on a smaller scale to have blog content with the renovation of my store and an opportunity to have a place where online orders could more easily be managed. More easily than the boxes that had begun to fill my basement ;-). Once those were established, it was time for rental homes. Once again, something that has been great for blog and social content and something I can promote through all of my channels as well. Finally, there is AW Design. My biggest dream of all. With my blog and social channels in place and a brick and mortar to eventually grow a design studio, we felt this was the time. Once again, a business that is fueled through my channels and backed by my store. “Backed” in the sense that my boutique and weekend event space rentals now pay for our design studio. It’s all been a seemingly slow grow but it has worked for me timewise and financially. Not having to risk too much to launch something big each time. The other upside of AW Design is that now that we are searching for home products all day/every day, I now find great products to carry in store and online and as well as amazing finds for my own home and cabin renovation. It all works hand in hand!
AW Rentals… and finally, rental home(s). As I mentioned above, AW is about to have rental home number two and I am sooooo excited! As you’ve seen on my social media, Ab, John and I are working on completing our second cabin renovation in the same community in North GA and I CANNOT WAIT! As I also mentioned on IG stories and maybe here as well, John actually just purchased this cabin from me. We closed on that two weeks ago now. The closing attorney said he’d never seen a buyer/seller so “cozy” with one another. LOL. Everything will be exactly the same with this new cabin as far as me designing it and it being a part of AW rentals. Just trying to divvy up homes since we plan on doing quite a few more together over the next few years. And because I am planning/hoping to purchase a home overseas this year and wanted to “free myself up” while I work to pay off my other cabin. As I also mentioned above, we use every other week to make progress on the newest cabin renovation and to restock the finished cabin for renters. John stays there with us so he’s able to do any fixes and such on those two days. We do have an amazing cleaning crew who handles the cleaning between renters but I do not have a rental management company. I handle all of that myself and I do plan to share a full blog post soon with details on getting a home set up for vacation rental usage. I also handle all airbnb communication with renters. I have set “verbiage’ that I save on my phone and copy/paste for each renter right when they book the cabin and then one for several days prior to arrival. I also double stock all sheets and towels so that the cleaners can come fully prepared with a clean set of everything and not have to wait at the cabin and wash every single thing. That has worked wonders!
Life… I am a mom FIRST so my family comes first and foremost! I pick my girlies up from school everyday at 2:45pm and that begins mom/work life time. Winnie usually sits with us to do her homework as Ab and I continue working for the day. They know, as I remind them often, that my workday isn’t complete BUT I am home if they need me! I actually love for them to see me work and know that entrepreneurship could be an option for them one day. But that hard work is key! I remind them often that the trade-off of not having to stay in aftercare or anything is that mommy is still working until 5-5:30pm but we are all home together. Now that I have Abigail, I will also say that being able to actually officially stop working at 5pm or so is now finally an option for me. I start cooking every night around 5:30 and I make the girlies take part. Dinner is a sit down, spend time together and on most nights… play a board game together event. Winnie usually helps me cook and she always sets the table and then Addie cleans up and does the dishes. We are pretty clock work with all of that! I do film some for IG stories or collaborations in the evenings but I have tried to minimize that more and more. Once 7:30pm rolls around, it is time for bed. I am a bedtime “freak”! LOL. Addie retreats to her room around then and reads or finishes her homework. Winnie goes to bed then after I read her a book and sing her “twinkle twinkle”. That’s our thing 😉 Once 7:45/8pm rolls around, it is wind down time! This is the time that I relax from a go-go-go day and the time that John and I (when he is over) have “our time”. That time is sooooo important to me and we almost have a routine now that I look forward to so much. We drink a glass of wine, have our shows we watch and snuggle.
Tips and Tricks… I can honestly say that all things 21st century technology keep the wheel turning for me! Things like grocery delivery from Walmart+, meal delivery from HomeChef (Code: BRITTANY90) and the ability to order pretty much everything else online. I can honestly say that I have hardly stepped into a store AT ALL since basically Covid began. I literally order EVERYTHING either online or from my cute little historic downtown shops. Everything. I definitely think Covid jumpstarted that. I used to pick the girlies up from school and then hit the store with them but now I do grocery delivery and it has given me soooo much more time in my day.
I guess all in all my thoughts on entrepreneurship are… it’s exhausting and a lot of hours but if you love what you do, it’s all worth it! AND… work hard and play hard is really a thing. It’s how I survive. Work crazy all day and then enjoy my family at night and on the weekends! Oh and layer, layer, layer! Layer your business ideas but do it slowly and calculated. It will all pay off! XOXO
XOXO, Brittany Hayes