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I Don’t Know How She Does It – Cortney Pellettieri

2012 October 9

I know Cortney through Karen Levy, another amazing working mom I have featured here, from the days when they used to work together at InStyle Magazine. Now, Cortney is the entertainment director at Good Housekeeping (you may have heard of it, one of the highest circulation magazines in the country…no pressure at all!) where she is responsible for booking all the celebrity covers and features, staying on top of Hollywood’s boldest names and what they are starring in one year from now, and then writing all about it. But the biggest stars in her life are her sons Max (5) and Owen (3). In a house full of boys, this pop culture junkie prioritizes balancing her home life with her girlie passions and high-profile career…here’s how she does it:

What time does your day start and how?

My day starts at 6:15AM when I first hear my kids up and around. They’re either stealing cookies from the kitchen and eating them in bed so I wake up to a mess; screaming at each other at which point one of us has to explain the merits of sharing; or laughing together which makes my husband and I smile and get an extra 20 minutes of sleep. I try to check my emails to make sure there aren’t any fires that need to be put out (my main office is in NY so they’ve been up and at it for awhile before I get up). We try to eat breakfast together as a family before my oldest and I ride our bikes to his school, which starts at 8:10AM (way earlier than preschool and we’re still getting the routine down).

What time does your day end and how?

I like to be in bed with an amazing book by 9:30PM but typically that doesn’t actually happen until 10:30PM and around 11PM I wake up with the light on because I’ve fallen asleep while reading. At least one night a week I try to I meet friends for dinner so we can have some wine and yummy food. It keeps me connected with my girlfriends and helps the juggle because inevitably talk turns to how we’re all getting the work/mom/wife thing down.

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

Both. I have an office a couple miles from home and I have a home office that’s even closer—our guesthouse in the backyard. I share my home office with my husband—I use it during the day and he writes at night. Both of us try to be respectful of the other and keep it tidy but he accuses me of leaving way too many teacups and spoons of honey around. For us, having separate computers is key.

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

Every day is different because of photo shoots and interviews but when it’s possible, I try to take a break when school lets out and pick up the kids. I like hearing about their day right after it happens and before they forget all the good stuff. My kids finally understand that if they knock on the door to my office and mommy doesn’t answer they can’t come in. I had to set boundaries early on or they’d be traipsing in whenever they wanted, which wouldn’t work for me.

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

The best part is having a group of people who know me as someone other than Max and Owen’s mom. My kids won’t be this young and needy forever and I like having something that’s my own that I’ll still have when they go off to live their own lives. The hardest thing is letting go of that mom guilt and realizing it’s OK to not do it all. I physically can’t do everything—play with Legos at a moment’s notice, make every lunch and dinner, help with homework, buy all the birthday presents, etc. It’s all right to let other people help.

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

That they get to say they’re lucky enough to be stay at home moms. And that they get to check their email for fun. Not because they’re on a deadline.

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

A supportive husband, girl’s nights out and deep breaths.

And here are a few things Cortney is currently coveting for she and he and he:

I love this shirt from J Crew. It’s my new favorite Fall find though it’s been so hot here I’ve not been able to wear it yet.

We’re constantly going to birthday parties and I hate the last minute rush of wrapping gifts and finding a card. My life got so much easier once I got personalized stickers with the boys names (love, Max & Owen).

I just got these House of Harlow earrings that I adore. A modern take on a classic style. You can wear them to a PTA meeting or on date night.

I’m obsessed with these constellation necklaces. I’m a true Leo.

Minnie and Emma has awesome personalized phone cases. My phone is the one accessory I always have with me so I like to dress it up. I’ve got the blue chevron with my initials.

My boys love to paint their nails but my husband doesn’t want them using any chemicals. We’re having so much fun with these Sally Hansen nail stickers in Check it out—(black and white checks).

Ever since Max started Kindergarten we’ve had to label everything. These labels are life savers.

I love that bold nails are back. I’ve been using OPI’s French Quarter For Your Thoughts and doing my ring fingers in their That’s a Hot Pink for a little edge.

Someday my kids will write their own thank you notes. For now, I have to do it. I like Expressionary—they have cute stuff that’s appropriate for kids and affordable.

Thanks for sharing, Cortney! See more “I Don’t Know How She Does It” moms here.


3 Responses
  1. Alison permalink
    October 9, 2012

    I just wanted to pop in and say that I love this series of posts! I’m a small business owner and *hope* to be a mother soon as well… I stress sometimes thinking about if/how I’ll be able to do everything; reading everyone’s stories is very inspiring!

    • WWGD permalink*
      October 9, 2012

      Love it! I truly believe you can do it all and that’s the main inspiration behind this series — it may take some help, some creativity and a little extra coffee or wine, but you can! Keep me posted! And thanks for reading 🙂

  2. liz duncan permalink
    October 9, 2012

    Great post. Love hearing how it’s possible for women to carry the role of mother and worker bee. Obviously they have a lot of support from their husbands, but it is still inspirational. I’m currently trying to get the career/finances and wondering where kids will fit into that..If only I were 20 again. Ha!

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