Elizabeth King is the founder of Sleep Baby Consulting, a wife, and mom to three boys (9, 6 and 4).
Let’s get down to it — who cares for your kids so that you can work?
The older two are in elementary school and my youngest is in morning preschool a few days a week. I’ve continued to be their primary caregiver while building my business! It started with lots of work during naptimes and after bedtime.
What keeps your plate full these days? What’s your job?
Sleep Baby has grown so much over the past few years that my role has shifted to supporting the business rather than focusing on one-on-one client coaching. I head up all of our marketing and communication and also work on building partnerships with other companies or providers who work with similar groups of families to us. Until this summer I was also responsible for all of the management of our team but thankfully was able to bring on a partner to take over that role.
Do you work because you want to, need to, or some combination of both?
I think it’s a bit of a combination for me. I can’t ignore that the compensation is a benefit to our family but I do this because I am really passionate about helping families and how much good sleep can change your life. I also am really proud of my sons growing up seeing me run a business and all that their mom can do.
What does day to day look like and how do you juggle it all with kids? Walk us through your typical day.
I am beyond grateful for an incredible village that helps me! I start my day with getting breakfast ready for my kids and a quick workout. My husband gets them all out the door to school and I have a few hours to sit down and get work done. Most days this is my largest piece of work time but it’s also the time I fit in doctors appointments and self care! I am always the one emailing on my phone in the waiting room. My youngest gets done with preschool around lunchtime so I pick him up and we spend the afternoon playing and with me wrapping up my work. Once we get the big boys from school I try to keep my notifications off and focus on my family. We are entering the phase of life with activities every day after school and I want time where I am dedicated to them. After they are in bed, I’ll usually spend another 30 minutes or so answering any urgent emails or messages that have come in and then turn that off for the night. It’s taken years but I have realized the importance of balance and having time that is separate from work.
How does being a working mom impact your kids – either positively or negatively?
It’s good and bad. I love that my sons get to see their mom building a successful business and we talk about how my work (and my husband’s) provide for our family. It is also hard for them sometimes though because they see me at home “playing” on the phone or the computer and don’t understand that it’s actually work and why I can’t play with them. Having specific hours when I work is helpful but it’s a constant juggling act. I wish I could always focus on them 100% but also know that it is good for them to learn appropriate independence among other things.
What holds the biggest tension for you in trying to manage everything?
For me, it’s the overwhelm and anxiety. I want to do everything: be involved at school, a great cook, an supportive wife, an engaged mom, and run an incredible business, but it’s impossible. I’ve learned to recognize that anxious, overwhelmed feeling and that it means I need to take a break. I’ve noticed it creeps in quickly especially when I’m trying to do multiple things at once. Sometimes I just need to be mom at soccer practice, not sit on the side and answer emails.
What’s one thing or resource that, if you had, would make your working mom life easier?
Uber for kids? In all seriousness, it is having someone who can relate to what I’m going through. Life feels so much easier when I have someone who has been in the same situation and can relate or decompress with me.
How would you encourage other working moms who are overwhelmed? What would you say to someone who’s in your shoes?
I’ve tried to do it all and have learned that you have to make choices. Whether that is ordering pre-prepped food or bringing in a daytime sitter for a few hours, it’s important to let a few of the balls drop. Figure out what jobs you have that you can let go or let someone else do. For example: I’ve learned to keep several easy, 5 minute meals in our freezer that I can make on nights things are crazy and we need something fast. They might not be what I want to prepare but they feed my family and take one thing off my plate.
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