Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about work-life balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”
By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
No. 176: Maggie Lord, Founder of RusticWeddingChic.com
Where I live: Fairfield, CT
Job: Founder & Editor of RusticWeddingChic.com and author of soon-to-be 6 books
Kids: Jack (7), Charlie (3) and William (9 months)
Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
When I started RusticWeddingChic.com 10 years ago I was just engaged and finishing graduate school so I used any free time I had to work on the company. Now 10 years later and after welcoming three boys, I have had to change and shift when and how I work. When I am home with the boys I am CEO of Mommyhood; it’s important to me to be there for school drop off/pickup, class parties, sporting events, and those moments since I know I will never get those back. When the boys are at school or with our sitter, I am the CEO of RusticWeddingChic.com. I feel it is important to try to not give either my boys or my work half of my attention so I try to separate work and home as much as a possible. Lots of early mornings and late nights help as well so I can check off everything on my work to-do list.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or impossible and why?
I really do feel having “it all” is realistic—it’s how you define “having it all” that counts. I firmly believe I have the best of both worlds since I get to be with my children and present for all of the moments, yet I get to fulfill my work dreams by running my own company and watching it grow.
Do you prefer the phrase “work-life balance” or “work-life integration”? Or do you think they’re both terrible?
I call it “work-life juggle” since somedays you can keep all the balls up in the air without a problem and other days they all come crashing down, which is totally fine too.
What part of “balance” can you not seem to figure out?
I hate saying to my kids “just one second” when I know I have to send a quick email or check something online. I can’t seem to figure out how to 100% turn off work when I am going through my day.
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I am getting very good at taking the weekends off of work and just being mom.
Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I started spending time at my favorite yoga studio and at first I felt like I was “cheating” my work schedule. If I had a sitter for the baby and the two older boys were at school I felt I should be working but what I found was that one hour at yoga did a lot not just for my body but for my brain too. I have always felt the amount I have to work is so limited that I should never give any of it up, but I now count my yoga class as working since it really helps clear my mind to work better when I sit down in front of the computer.
What’s the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? “You can’t do everything in one day so pick and choose what you can do best at that moment.”
From your mother? “Enjoy everything, celebrate the good times, and learn from the setbacks.”
From your spouse/partner? “Walk away from work a little and come back to it in a minute, hour, or day.”
From your son? “It does not have to be perfect, as long as you tried your best.” —Jack (7)
If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
I would love to have an extra hour when all of the kids are asleep to talk with my husband more. We are so busy with the kids and work that we don’t often take time to just talk without interruption.
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To stop and enjoy more things and create less stress for myself.
What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
The things you think you need and want are not as important as the things you already have.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Cooking! I like to cook but I find it stressful during the week with the kids’ schedules.
Whose job do you wish you had?
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
Fiction: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.
Nonfiction: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson.
What are you reading right now?
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.
Activity? Shopping at Marshalls.
Food? Pizza and wine.
Website? Facebook. We all get sucked in even if we don’t want to.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
Four, maybe… my baby DOES NOT SLEEP.
What do you read every morning?
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: make a good mom and boss.
I wish I: did not stress about the little things
My kids: are the reason I am happy!
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
Where focus goes, energy flows.
Maggie Lord is the founder of the popular websites, Rustic Wedding Chic, Rustic Wedding Guide, and Rustic Baby Chic and the author of 5 books. Maggie is a sought-after wedding and lifestyle expert who often appears on TV, radio, and podcasts sharing her insights on everything from wedding trends to baby nursery decor to business advice. Maggie quickly became known as The Naptime Entrepreneur after a series of articles she published for Entrepreneur, which were focused on how to be successful at both motherhood and entrepreneurship, gained national attention. In addition to Rustic Wedding Chic and Rustic Baby Chic, Maggie has moms everywhere falling in love with her blog series, “Mommy Hacks” found on Rustic Baby Chic. Maggie is married to a fellow writer, is a mom to three young sons, and lives in Connecticut.
Find out more about Maggie:
RusticWeddingChic.com and Maggielord.com
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY AWARD-WINNING NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!
More Balance Project Interviews…
I’d love to know what an actual schedule or to-do list looks like. How many things do you try to achieve in a day? Do you work on projects everyday? Or in chunks? How many people work for you?