I Don’t Know How She Does It – Annika Krausz
Annika Krausz is an amazingly talented interior designer who lives in Montreal where she and her partner Ethan run a mini culinary empire (Lawrence Restaurant and the soon-to-open Boucherie Lawrence) and a thriving, creative home for their impossibly adorable kids Oscar, almost 4, and Eloise (Lou-Lou), 19 months. After a long career in set design and art direction, she now works in both residential and commercial interior design and is the visual eye behind some of my favorite go-to spots in Montreal, including Sparrow and Cocoa Locale. I’ve known her for years as an ambitious, hard-working fellow Romanian and watching her transition from a busy, independent career gal on the go to a busy, independent career gal/working mother/entrepreneur/taste-maker/partner and now blogger has been inspiring, to say the least. Here is how she does it:
What time does your day start and how?
My crazy mama radar has actually been waking me up even earlier than my babies around 5-5:30am. My youngest went through about a month of early wake ups and my internal clock has not bounced back from the trauma. I will lie in bed thinking about the busy day ahead, and sometimes manage to fall back asleep for a bit, though this is rare. Then I’ll get up physically with the kids anywhere between 6am and 7am. We go downstairs for a cuddle on the couch and some “curated” TV. I then make breakfast and I eat with the kids. We then wake daddy up and he throws on some pants and takes one or both kids to daycare. Once they are out of the house, I clean up the morning tornado that hit the living room, dining room and kitchen, then shower and get dressed. At this point my love comes home with a much-needed coffee and I start returning work calls and emails. Generally by 10:30am I am out of the house and either meeting or shopping with clients.
What time does your day end and how?
My day ends around 11-11:30pm. I have dinner with the kids around 6pm every night and if my husband is not working nights at the restaurant, he plays/wrestles with the kids while I clean up. Next is bath time and then I put Lou to sleep while Ethan starts story time with Oscar. Once she is asleep, my son gets ONE last story with mommy and then the long falling asleep process begins. This is an area in our life that needs work for sure. Our son has had a rough time sleeping for the last year and half, basically since the birth of his sister. Coincidence? Nope. Anyhow, I usually manage to escape his room by 9:30-9:45pm. If the hubby is home and not asleep himself by this point, then we cuddle and watch a show and have a glass of wine and ideally some chocolate. If he is working at the restaurant then I’ll usually end up doing work on the computer, research or return emails until around 11:00pm. Or I’ll do my nails. Or all of the above.
Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?
I would say I have two offices: my car and my bedroom. My car is my main office as most of my time is spent going to client’s homes or businesses, shopping with them, and heading to various renovation sites. So my office is a Subaru Forrester that I love dearly even though it is littered with crumbs and raisins and tile samples and paint swatches. These go nicely with the cases of booze or bags of coffee that my husband transports to the restaurant when he borrows my office. I think my father is revolted by the state of my car (editor’s note: he’s Romanian, I can practically guarantee he is revolted).
My second office is at home and my desk is our old, round teak kitchen table. It sits in our large bedroom between a window and our balcony door. I love this room: it is white and calm and bright. This area became my home office kind of as a fluke but I really enjoy working here. I work with a large black and white photograph looking down on me that an artist took of my very pregnant belly. Really, when I am at home working all I need is the desktop and my iPhone. Not much. One day, we’d like to build a master suite and office on the roof. I’ll probably design it white and bright and calm and bring my belly and my old kitchen table with me.
Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?
My youngest has been going to daycare only occasionally until her full-time spot frees up in July. So if she is home, I do speak to her. Unless she’s at home with a sitter (twice a week) in which case I avoid home like the plague. My son is at daycare all day so we don’t see each other until I pick him up around 4:45pm. Their day away from me is barely enough time for me to get everything done, though I know it feels long to them, especially for Lou-Lou (sad face).
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
I really enjoy the work I do and get lots of satisfaction from it. I want both my children to see me liking what I do and striving to do better. I can complain about things in life in general but they rarely ever hear me say anything negative about my work. Also my job is ever-changing. No two contracts are ever alike and I enjoy that aspect of my work. And my job is pretty flexible which is great with young kids. If someone is sick or has a dentist appointment, I can work around it or postpone my work to the next day. I am still small enough in my business to be able to shift things around, for the most part. And due to the nature of my work, I can always do school pick-ups and play dates and we have dinner together every night.
The hardest thing about being a working mom is that my partner works so much and is away six days a week and sometimes up to three nights a week. This means that I do a lot of single parenting and though I manage, it isn’t easy schlepping two kids to and from activities, putting them to bed solo, taking care of everything. And we miss him. Another hard thing is that feeling that I think many mothers have of being pulled in a million directions by work, children, partners, friends and family. There are days when everyone wants a piece of me and I feel like no one gets the good Annika or the whole of me. Everyone ends up with teeny bits and I worry that no one got everything they needed. I hate that feeling. Also the lack of sleep is killer. I don’t know that I will ever sleep deeply ever again. That’s hard too. So many hard things!
Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?
I suppose the thing I envy is that they can get everything done without the kids around and then when the children come home from school, they can fully focus on each child. On the increasingly rare days that I have no meetings scheduled, it is amazing how much I can get done around the house. And I love having dinner ready before school pick-up. When they come home, they want all of my attention. I find it hard to give it to them when I’m rushing to get food together. And I’m so tired once they are asleep, I don’t want to have to clean or fold laundry. After their bedtime is my very brief personal time. No laundry, no cleaning.
Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.
I adore my kids, husband, family and friends – wine helps.
And here are some of Annika’s must-haves of the moment:
1) I want this wedding band from Nora Kogan.
2) We are going to Cape Cod in a week and I ordered this bathing suit from J. Crew.
3) My kids love books and Oscar really likes books by Oliver Jeffers. The stories are so great and whimsical and the artwork is so lovely.
4) I am really a big espadrilles fan and these Zara ones are super cute.
5) I’m really liking this gloss from Maybelline with SPF 20.
6) My mom’s cousin lives in Paris and she goes to visit her once or twice a year. When she goes I have her bring back clothes from this store Alice à Paris. Their designs are beautiful, simple and comfortable yet so very French.
7) I have art up in both of my kids’ rooms and one artist whose work I really like is my friend Todd Stewart’s screen prints. I have the Montreal print in Ozzy’s room.
8) I love Baggu bags and have a back pack already but I WANT this one.
9) My son is obsessed with animals and I like these figurines from Schleich. We have so many of these in our house, they have their own giant storage bin and I always have one or six on me when we go out to eat.