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I Don’t Know How She Does It – Kelli Murray

2014 March 25


I had mixed feelings about this column today. I saw it replicated somewhere (practically down to the exact title) and it kind of made me sad and made me want to scratch it altogether. Blogger rite of passage, I suppose. And don’t get me wrong, I know I have not invented Jell-o here and many great bloggers and writers and outlets share amazing stories of working moms, but the fact that the title and the layout and the vision behind it were all so similar to mine somehow made it feel less exciting, too expected, too ordinary. But it’s not. Because I have incredible women like Kelli Murray to introduce you to. And so I am going to stick with the column, though you may see some tweaks in the future, and hope it brings you a sense of inspiration like no other.

So back to Kelli. I came across her work at a holiday bazaar a few months back and bought the most beautiful print from her that seemed to sum up everything I needed to hear in life at that exact moment. Well it turns out I was one of the last ones to catch on because she has a very successful business as an artist, a huge following on social media, and a ton of women who already admire her for her personal style, grace, talents and approach to modern-day motherhood. She is a full-time freelance illustrator and graphic designer who studied at FIDM and followed her passion for art after several years in fashion design, building a mini creative empire one sketch at a time. At home, she is mother to Rylee, 2, and expecting her second in the Fall. At work, she is wildly talented and driven. And at the end of the day, she is just doing her very best. Like the rest of us. Here is how she does it:

What time does your day start and how?

Rylee is usually the first to rise, so we wake up when she does. Usually around 6:30 or 7am. I put on coffee and make us some breakfast and we usually watch a cartoon or two together.

What time does your day end and how?

I usually crawl into bed at around 12am. The last two hours of my day are usually catching up on emails and preparing my “to-do” list for the following day. Lists are my life saver. I wish I could tell you I curled up on the couch and watched a TV show with my husband….but we are lucky if that happens!

Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?

I have a home office. A room dedicated for design and creativity. Because I do work from home, it was important for me to have a space of my own where I felt inspired. It’s filled with art and plants and books….and of course, my drawing table and computer.

Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?

I have someone watch Rylee 2 days out of the week, and the rest of the time, I am with her. Those two days on my own are my primary work days where the bulk of my projects are completed. But on the days I am with her, I still squeeze in some work (mostly emails) during her nap times and after she goes to bed at night.

What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?

The best thing is that I still feel like I am able to pursue my own career dreams and do what I have always loved to do – create. I feel purposeful and inspired in my job, and I love working with other people in taking their vision to reality artistically. The hardest thing is definitely the juggle of it all. The feelings of guilt that creep in from time to time and the constant lack of sleep. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but it definitely comes with its sacrifices.

Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?

I’ve always had this idea that if I were a stay at home mom, I’d have less stress. My mind never turns off and I am constantly thinking of what is next on the list. Project deadlines are always looming and there is always more work to be done. Sometimes I think if I just got rid of that whole work piece and just focused on being a mom, my life would be much more simple. Mentally and materialistically, I suppose.  And I’m sure it would. But in the grand scheme of things, I think I am meant to be doing what I am doing. I love being a momma and I love working….and I want to be doing both for as long as I can manage.

Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.

Realizing I can’t do it all. My best is enough.

And here are some of Kelli’s favorite things. Her husband owns a great shop in Del Mar called Lone Flag that stocks premium picks for men, women and the home. So clearly a good sense of style runs in the family:


Twig Creative makes an adorable wooden toy camera for children. Rylee loves hers.

I’m a huge fan of Ace + Jig and we carry it in my husband’s store. Their spring collection is my favorite yet. Crushing on this Hopscotch Cliff dress.

Hansel from Basel tights and leggings – quirky and fun.

Janessa Leone hats.

Still love a good cut-out ankle bootie.

Laura Mercier perfecting water moisture mist. Super hydrating and refreshing for dry skin gals like me. I put this on before applying my make up.

Art and cushions by Studio Meez – perfect addition to a nursery.

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Kate permalink
    March 25, 2014

    Thank you for deciding not to abandon these columns! They’re how I first stumbled upon your blog and what drew me in (totally hooked on everything else now!). I’m a young professional, still pretty early in my career and without children, but it’s still so inspiring to see how you and others juggle career and family. Long story short: I love them; don’t stop!

  2. March 25, 2014

    You shouldn’t have to change your column, how frustrating! But maybe unsolicited inspiration for you to update your idea? Anyway, I love these posts so hopefully you won’t stop doing them altogether.

    Kelli sounds delightful, thanks for sharing her story!

  3. March 25, 2014

    Thanks so much for having me and for that super sweet intro!
    I’ve enjoyed looking through past posts from this column! Don’t stop 🙂 xx

  4. March 25, 2014

    As a fellow blogger, I can affirm there are many of these types of Q&A posts. I actually started one on my blog and it does focus on working moms since that is what I write about at , but I still think your Q&A has a unique twist with moms focused on fashion and the arts fields. Plus, don’t they say being copied is the greatest form of flattery? 🙂

  5. March 25, 2014

    totally don’t stop these posts. i love them. as a stay at home mama, these posts are so intriguing and inspiring — i love reading about how working mamas do it, and how even though our day-to-day lives can be so different, there’s some commonality with each one. and motherhood is such a cool thing to have in common, i think.

    keep it up. this space of yours is top notch. people may (try to) bite your style but you’ve got an authenticity that can’t be ripped. simple as that,


    ps: a meet up someday would be so fun!

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