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I Don’t Know How She Does It – Karen Levy

2012 August 8

I have a fun story about Karen. A hundred or so years ago when I was fresh out of journalism school in Montreal and dreaming of a job in magazines, I sent out a lot of cold emails to editors by finding their names on mastheads. Karen was one who actually answered me (she works at one of the top magazines in the country; I can practically guarantee it’s sitting on your coffee table as we speak, it’s surely on mine.) Sadly, the response was that they weren’t currently hiring, but that she would keep my info on file. They never called me for a job. But many years later, when I found myself working in lifestyle PR in Los Angeles, I ended up meeting (and quickly learning to love) Karen via work. I always remembered her as the high-profile, busy editor who took the time to answer an unsolicited email from a new graduate. Now that I know her as a full-time working mama to two super-cool girls (Emma, 9 and Ella, 6), I realize it’s even more amazing that she took the time to write back to me. But that’s just how Karen is. Here is “how she does it.”

What time does your day start and how?

My day starts between 6:45 a.m. and 7:00 a.m. I am the first up and head to the kitchen to brew the coffee and start the girls’ school lunches and take out the cereal bowls. I then proceed to check my Blackberry for emails, and since I work closely with my NY office, which is three hours ahead of me, I get a lot of 7:00 am emails. I then wake up the girls and help them get ready for school. I throw on some jeans and flats and we leave the house around 7:50 a.m. and I drive them to school and walk them to class. I say hello to the other moms along the way. I then drive back home and rush to get ready for work (usually around 8:30 a.m.). I leave my house at 9:00 a.m. and get onto the  freeway for a 45 min to an hour commute to West Los Angeles, where my office is located.

What time does your day end and how?

On a day when I do not have a work event or dinner, I leave the office around 6:00 p.m., get on the freeway for about an hour, arrive at my parents’ house, where the girls are staying, pick them up and drive home. I usually walk into my house around 7:30 pm. From that point, it is checking homework, cleaning up the house and hanging out with the girls until bedtime (and checking emails on my Blackberry 🙂

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

I work in an office with nine other women.

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

Yes, I speak with my kids. They usually call me at the office or on my cell. My eldest daughter, Emma has a cell phone so she texts me as well.

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

The best thing about being a working (single) mom is that I set a good example for my children. They know the meaning of working hard, being responsible and sacrifice. Being a working mom allows me to work hard at something I love, yet not be overly dramatic about political situations. My children create a balance between work and home. They ground me and allow me to find patience and order in any situation I may find myself in.

The hardest part about being a working mom is not being able to pick them up from school and not taking them to play dates that happen during the week. Every minute of my day is accounted for and it gets very stressful but I try and find a proper balance and not bring my work into our time together.

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

Their free time. Their ability to volunteer in the classroom. Their yoga classes.

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

I am fulfilled both professionally and maternally.

*top photo credits – Hellin Kay (l), Casey Rodgers (r)*

And since this stylish editor has her pulse on the latest and greatest everything, here is what she is coveting right now:

Clockwise from top left:

Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume

Frank Gehry for Tiffany and Co.

Janie Bryant limited-edition collection for Maidenform

Boscia skincare products

Alice + Olivia box-pleat leather skirt

Tory Burch Aaden ballet flat

Corey Lynn Calter tops and dresses

2 Responses
  1. August 9, 2012

    Another great, insightful interview, R! Have I mentioned these are my favorite? It’s always nice to get a glimpse into how other moms make it work, especially working moms. I think it’s really great that Karen answered that cold email all those years ago. It’s admirable and I’m sure as a new graduate you really appreciated it. I love everything in Karen’s roundup, as well.

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