I Don’t Know How She Does It – Kaity Velez & Jessica Pallay
I met Kaity (rhymes with Heidi) many years ago when she was the editor-in-chief of Antenna Magazine and I was handling PR for a skateboard company CEO. She was super sweet, smart and had a great sense of style. Fast-forward to today. She is still super sweet, smart and has a great sense of style, but we found even more in common after work hours when we both became mamas and she took the leap into the online world with the launch of Well Rounded NY, a site devoted to all things stylish and savvy when you are expecting. She and founding partner Jessica Pallay make motherhood in the big city look like a walk in the park. They share tips, must-haves and advice from a variety of new and expecting New York mamas with an aesthetic that’s all NYC. And they balance this passion project with other full-time gigs and of course, mommyhood to their combined three kids (Jessica’s girls Libby, two, and Elsie, 9 months, and Kaity’s son Oliver, two). Which knows no “after work hours,” as we all know. Here is how they do it:
What time does your day start and how?
(Kaity – right in the above picture) My day starts between 7am and 8am, usually prompted by either the demand “choogoo leche” which means cereal and milk, “read,” or “beso” from my two year old. My son sleeps with us most of the night so those little words are very close to my ear. And very persistent. I am in no way a morning person (I wish) so thankfully he’s cute and gives a lot of those “besos” because my mornings are a little blurry.
(Jessica – left in the above picture) My day starts around 6 a.m. with a gorgeous smile from my 9-month-old babe Elsie. We have a bottle and head downstairs to play. My toddler, Libby, is a late sleeper, so those first few hours of the day are the only time that Elsie and I have together alone — we get to bond and giggle and cuddle, and we don’t have to share our attention with anyone else! My husband Andrew trades off mornings with me, so we get to enjoy Elsie in equal measure (and sleep “late” in equal measure too!). Libby is up around 7:30 or 8, and Nanny May arrives by 8:30 (editor’s note: read her great post about her beloved nanny here). We eat breakfast, get dressed and head out to school and work.
What time does your day end and how?
(K) It usually ends around midnight, sometimes later. On the best days 11. It’s usually me wrapping up late night emails or writing. I’ve been trying to stay on top of my list-making so I cross things off and add things on so my brain doesn’t keep going all night (or at least that’s the intention). You’ll usually find me tiptoeing around our apartment shutting lights off and navigating my way to our bedroom in the dark. One day I’ll actually start going to bed at the same time as my fiancé (sorry babe!).
(J) The kids go to bed between 7 and 8pm. My husband and I eat dinner and catch up on our days, then we’ll relax on the couch (and by relax, I mean I work on Well Rounded NY and text with Kaity) until around 11pm.
Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?
(K) I either work from home on my couch or at my delicious local pie shop. I have an odd caretaker situation so on many days my work gets done in the evenings and during naptime (but those have been tricky lately).
(J) I have a full-time job at a nonprofit and work from an office during the week. It’s pretty corporate, although still creative.
Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?
(K) My caretaker is my mom at the moment (thanks, mom, I love you!). She usually picks up Oliver and takes him on an adventure to “the burbs” on her days (usually two) with him to visit my one of my sisters and my nieces and nephews. On those days I don’t call. I let them do their thing and have my mom tell me how perfect he was with her. They’re always so perfect when they’re out of our hands, no? On other mornings if he’s with a friend (I do babysitting swaps with other moms) they usually check in with a cute photo so I know he’s cool.
(J) When I’m working at the office, I don’t have time to get home and see the girls during the day, but Nanny May calls frequently. My office-mates know a lot about my kids’ pooping habits. I get to spend Fridays working from home, which means picking up Libby from school and having lunch together, and lots of mid-day kisses from Elsie.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
(K) Am I a working mom? Because I work from home and have just started consistently freelancing in addition to Well Rounded, I feel like it’s taken me a long time to finally feel like I could legitimately say I’m a work from home mom. But yes I am! But definitely not in the traditional sense. The best part about it is being creative and challenging myself on a daily basis. The hardest part is continuously trying to find a balance that works for our family… I’m assuming that will be a lifelong work in progress.
(J) Working is so incredibly satisfying to me as a woman — I am proud of my accomplishments, and I have so many career goals and aspirations that I haven’t even come close to achieving yet. For me, becoming a mom has enriched my life and changed me fundamentally. But it hasn’t taken away from the other aspects of what makes me ME, including my work. I’m also proud to be a working-mom role model to my girls, and hope they are one day proud of me and the things I’ve done both inside and outside of the home. The hardest thing? Leaving those beautiful girls every day. But I believe I am a better mother because I spend part of my day focused on something other than them.
Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?
(K) Nothing, really. While I still have such a long way to go in my career — building a business, creating work for myself — and while there are days I don’t know where I’ll find the time (who’s hogging all the TIME??) I believe I’m exactly where I should be right now. The grass is always going to be greener somewhere else but you know what? Mine is looking mighty bright.
(J) They get to witness all those little special moments all day long, the ones that happen when you least expect them. I also wish I had the flexibility to go to singalongs or meet up with other mommies during the day – I get so jealous when I see my listserv group planning a fun playdate while I’m at the office! But… that envy is really fleeting — being a SAHM is also filled with long days and hard work. I am in awe of those ladies…I don’t know how THEY do it!
Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.
(K) With a lot of help from family and friends. Cheesily grateful.
(J) I’m just doing the best I can.
And here are some of the ladies’ favorite must-haves of the moment:
Clockwise from top left:
(K) I can’t even handle the awesome prints on the Beau Loves stuff.
(J) Ace & Jig everything.
(K) I gave up hair spray and all other styling products when I was pregnant because scented items became too overwhelming and then the more I started reading about the toxins in beauty products I decided to just leave them out of my daily routine altogether. This Citrus & Ginger Sea Salt Spray has made a great natural substitute though.
(K) This leather drawstring Baggu feels really retro yet fresh. Into it.
(K) I haven’t lusted for a pair of sneakers for a long time but I need these to come back in stock. The color is perfect.
(J) At the moment, I’m craving Boy+Girl and Chalk NYC for Libby and Munster Kids for Libby and Elsie!
(J) Kahina Giving eye cream.
(K) After recently featuring the founder of MiH Jeans on Well Rounded, I can’t stop thinking about her over sized shirts and jeans! Especially these.