I Don’t Know How She Does It – Jennifer Berson
Jennifer and I live semi-parallel lives, but we’ve never actually met. It’s very 2013 of us. She is a mom of two boys (one is 3 1/2 and one is 1 1/2 and that adds up to a LOT of work), owns her own wildly successful PR agency, and manages the minutiae of a very busy, fulfilling life from her gorgeous home in Los Angeles. We became friends online upon realizing that we have so much in common – a passion for motherhood, career, style, and a good girls’ night out every once in a while. She left a career in law to pursue something that gave her more freedom, creativity and flexibility and has never looked back…because she’s far too busy looking forward. My kind of girl. Here is how she does it:
What time does your day start and how?
Day starts at 7 am. I wake up just before the kids do, check email on my iPhone, make a cup of coffee, and start to work. My boys wake up by 8 a.m. We’re very lucky they are great sleepers (thanks to sleep training)! I quickly get them breakfast & dressed for school, then shuttle them off to preschool. Most days, my younger son stays home with the nanny. After drop-off, I zip back to my office and get right to work, trying not to miss a beat.
What time does your day end and how?
Day typically ends by 11 p.m. I cook dinner around 7 p.m. and we either eat with the kids, or if my husband works late, we’ll eat after we put the kids down by 8 p.m. Then I work for a bit, wrapping up loose ends from the day and prioritizing my to-do list for the next day. If I have time after getting all my work done, we’ll watch TV until 10 p.m., usually catching up on shows in the DVR or a series we’re behind on (just got caught up on Homeland, Dexter, and next is Veep & Breaking Bad), then I’ll read in bed to decompress until 11 p.m.
Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?
I have an amazing home office that I absolutely love being in. It’s a light, bright & airy room upstairs in my house with tons of windows, and French doors opening up to a gorgeous view off the balcony. I was so lucky to have this room renovated by HGTV a few years ago, and they did a kick-ass job creating an inspiring space that I enjoy working in every day. It’s filled with lots of things that inspire me, including a wall of cards, art & notes taped up with colorful washi tape. There are also shipping boxes and product samples tucked away in every corner, and we’ll use this large office space for press kit assembly when we have a big client mailing that has to go out. It’s the perfect space for my business!
Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?
Yes, I visit with my kids throughout the day. My office is upstairs and they are usually playing downstairs, or will come up for a quick hello if I’m not on a call or in a meeting. I’ll grab a glass of water and stop in to visit with them several times a day. My boys have always known it this way, so they understand when I’m in my office, “mommy’s at work,” and they don’t usually come up and distract me.
I also have some flexibility in my schedule so I am able to go bring my kids to school and pick them up on most days, and attend Mommy & Me class with my little one. I used to be a lawyer in my former career, and I realized that having balance in my life and being there for my kids was the most important thing to me, so I changed careers to be able to do this.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
The best things about being a working mom are doing something that I genuinely enjoy for clients that I love and believe in, and helping financially support my family. I started this business before I had children, and it’s such a big part of who I am. I am so grateful to be able to continue working and building my business while also enjoying motherhood. I think that if I gave up my career and walked away from my business that I had built over the last 8 years to focus on being a mom, I would likely feel resentful. I truly get to enjoy the best of both worlds, and I am very appreciative for that.
The hardest thing about being a working mom is the struggle I have with feeling guilty about how I’m spending my time. When I’m working, I sometimes feel guilty I’m not doing more with my kids. When I’m with my children during the work-week, I sometimes feel guilty or distracted because I am not able to focus on work. It’s also very challenging that work doesn’t end when my nanny leaves or when my kids go to bed. There’s always something to do, so it’s a good thing I enjoy it so much.
Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?
The thing I envy most about stay-at-home moms is that they are always available for playdates, My Gym, music classes, and generally getting the kids together outside of school. I feel guilty sometimes when my kids are cooped-up with the nanny when I hear about a group of mommy friends getting together for a park playdate or swim classes that we’re missing because I have to work. With enough notice, I will make the time for these extracurricular activities, because I know how important it is for my sons and for myself to get out & socialize.
I also envy having time to cook and bake, as it’s a constant struggle for me to grocery shop, plan healthy meals and have time to cook every weeknight for my family (editor’s note: here are my tips for menu planning, Jen!). These small things aside, I wouldn’t change a thing about my career and family life—I can’t imagine not working!
Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less:
Make lists. Get help. Go easy on yourself.
And since a PR girl is always in the know, here are her current must-haves for mommy and he and he:
Clockwise from top left:
L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara. It has one of those cool silicone brushes that truly gets every lash and separates them, so you don’t get that “spider-legs” look.
I also never leave the house without curling my eyelashes with my Shu Uemura lash curler (all of the pros use this one).
Urban Decay’s Naked 2 Palette. Best palette for creating everything from neutral daytime make-up to a smoky eye for evening. I bought it for everyone who works with me for the Holidays last year.
And a nice pair of oversized sunnies are the perfect “glamouflage” for a sleep-deprived mom. I have these by Tom Ford, but I had to swap for prescription lenses.
I’m currently coveting Rag & Bone ankle boots and I may just have to break down & finally buy them.
My older son is obsessed with getting light up shoes, so I’m planning to order these rad Puma Speeders for him when he’s ready for the next size.
I’ve been living in Mother denim skinnies. So comfy!
Little G plush toy from Little Giraffe (a Jeneration PR client) is my younger guy’s favorite. He goes everywhere with us. My son absolutely lights up when he sees his Little G.
I’m currently obsessed with L’Oreal Youth Code BB Cream. It’s what you wish a tinted moisturizer would be, but performs even better – lightweight, even coverage, and is moisturizing with SPF. It gives a nice, all over glow, and is so easy when you’re in a rush to get ready.
I’m getting TONS of use out of this Joie lace top, which I have in both cream & black.