I Don’t Know How She Does It – Rachel Ayotte
I met Rachel ages ago when were both handling PR for a big hotel and restaurant opening in LA and I immediately knew we would become fast friends. Her smarts, southern charm, and savvy business sense impressed me from the get-go. A few years later when I already had Little D under my belt, we had lunch when she was pregnant with her first (and by then also firmly at the helm of her own wildly successful food PR and digital marketing agency, Bread & Butter) and she grilled me about working motherhood, a tiny sense of intimidation in her voice. Fast-forward to today and I should be the one grilling her – she is now mom to three little Ayottes and growing her business by leaps and bounds every day, with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Las Vegas and Austin. Wow. And of course, while motherhood has given her that incomparable inner glow, her classic smarts, southern charm and savvy business sense haven’t changed one bit. Here is how she does it at home on Los Angeles’ eastside:
What time does your day start and how?
Three days a week I wake up at 5 a.m. to go to a 6 a.m. CrossFit class (beat it baby weight!) The other two work days I “sleep in” until 6 if I can. Then I’m off to get my baby boy from his crib, quickly followed by my 2 year old daughter, and our 4 year old usually emerges around 7ish. Then it’s a mad dash of breakfast, lunch making, getting dressed and getting the kids out the door. I usually head into the office between 8:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
What time does your day end and how?
On a regular day, I leave work around 4:45 p.m. to get my daughters from school, then head home for dinner, baths and bedtimes. Followed by a glass of wine while I catch up with my husband and try to squeeze in anything Bravo produces before bedtime around 9 p.m.
Do you work from home or in an office? What is the set up like?
My company has five offices and I work mostly from our LA office close to Downtown LA. We’ve recently expanded into two different office spaces and I finally have my own private office, which feels SO decadent and so necessary at this point. We have about 20 employees in the LA office. One floor is for client meetings and the account teams and one floor is for management and our digital teams.
Do you see/speak to your kids throughout your work day? If yes, how/when?
I don’t! My daughters are in pre-school and my baby son stays with my mom. I check in with my husband to confirm drop-off went well, but other than that, I’m pretty much in work mode.
What is the best thing about being a working mom? Hardest thing?
The best thing is that being at work is really rewarding for me on a personal level. I feel challenged and smart and ready to kick ass. Plus, I love the example it sets for my kids – they see mom has a life and enjoys things that don’t only revolve around them. The hardest thing is balance. Balance, balance, balance. My work brings me tremendous joy and I have to work to balance that with the joy my family brings.
Be honest, what is one thing you envy about stay at home moms?
If I’m being totally honest, there’s not anything that I envy. I have no qualms about saying that being a stay at home mom is the hardest job in the world – hands down. I couldn’t do it without losing my mind. I mean, of course I fantasize about being a stay at home mom who plays tennis or gardens all day long, but I know that’s so far from reality. I was on email in the hospital bed after my second child was born and went back to work relatively quickly after all my kids because I was going stir crazy. So my hat is off to you, ladies.
Answer the question “I don’t know how you do it?” in ten words or less.
I do it because I love it. And I have help. Shoot, that’s 11. Sue me. 😉
And given her background – at work and at play – we had to get Rachel’s top picks for LA eats…and more:
HomeState – I am obsessed with Tex Mex and this place has cheese dip (or queso, as the Texans call it) and it’s amazing. This is my happy place and I look for any and every chance I can to eat there. I basically plan meetings at HomeState just to be there.
The Gentle Barn – this place is so great and fun for kids. We had my daughter’s third birthday party here and people still talk about it. It’s a great cause and kids get up close and personal w/ a big variety of animals. Love.
Purple Twig – as an Art History major, I tend to try to cram art down my kids’ throats. They’re all pretty creative, so this is a great space to channel that energy. Plus, we get lots of original art for our walls. My favorite!
Dominick’s – these guys were my first client and as they’ve grown, have remained clients ever since. The patio at Dominick’s is just the best, the food is always good and they have a terrific cocktail program. Although I tend to end up drinking martinis every time.
L&E Oyster – this place is just fun. My husband and I will go for date nights and have oysters and champagne or whenever one of my girlfriends visits from out of town, it’s our go-to spot for salads and wine. I just love the vibe and the food is always solid.
Son of a Gun – I’ve known Jon and Vinny for years and they’re just good guys who make delicious food. Son of a Gun has been my go-to spot for my birthday for the past few years and it’s always where I take friends visiting LA.