Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.
Who: Georgene Huang
What: CEO & Co-founder of Fairygodboss, mom of 3
Where: New York, New York
I have a 4-month old who doesn’t sleep very well at the moment. So, today, I get up around 4:30 a.m., because that’s when he wakes up. Since having kids, I haven’t had to use an alarm to wake up — we are a household of extremely early risers, so it just has never been necessary.
This morning, it's just the baby and I who wake up that early, and after breastfeeding he sits quietly in his chair for about an hour while I catch up on work. I appreciate having a peaceful period in the morning to get caught up and to familiarize myself with the tasks ahead for the day before the chaos ensues; it’s very mentally grounding.
I start making breakfast for my two older kids and our nanny, who is living with us for the year — a central factor in our decision to have a third child. I’m a big believer in morning meals, and my husband and I spend a decent amount of time making sure it’s a nutritious start to the day for everyone. It’s a task he and I usually take turns on, but now that we have our youngest, he does it more than half the time. This week, however, he’s out of town for business, so I'm the morning chef.
While making breakfast, I make sure to quickly scan my Slack and email to make sure there aren't any emergencies at work, and also to help me think through how I need to plan the work day.
With breakfast done, it's time to get everyone ready for the day — meaning, mouths being brushed, kids getting dressed, lunches being packed for the two older kids, and I also start to get dinner prepped because there isn’t time for that later in the day.
There's just enough time to squeeze in a violin practice with my oldest. The Suzuki method of violin requires daily practice, and as the resident musician in the household, I take this pretty seriously.
With 45 minutes to spare, I get back online to knock out a little work, including cranking out a column involving Fairygodboss’ latest research for Forbes, before it's time to head out for the day.
I say goodbye to my 3-year-old girl, who I’ve just dropped off for her 9 a.m. morning classes in uptown Manhattan. Right now, it’s a crazy set of schedules for three kids that require three adults to juggle them. I’m a big fan of routine at home (mostly because certain, less-important things I can be on mental autopilot for), so the fact each of my mornings looks a little different right now based on my kids’ commitments drives me crazy.
Soon though, in June, the kids will be in summer camp with identical morning schedules, and then come September, I’ll look forward to my oldest getting on the bus in the morning and my 3-year-old no longer having morning commitments. For now, it’s all hands on deck. And time for me to hop back on the train and get to the office!
Coffee in tow, by about 9:45 I'm at my desk. My commute wasn’t bad this morning — about 30 minutes, including subway and walking time, which is pretty typical for most New Yorkers.
After answering more emails — my inbox at times looks pretty frightening; such is entrepreneur life! — I sit down with our CTO to talk about a new privacy and cookies law coming into effect, which necessitates some urgent product decisions this week. We had to strategize over what exactly to implement on the site so that we’ll be in compliance, and I had to read about the new law in order to understand what our responsibilities were.
One of the side effects of running a company is that there is no “usual” routine when it comes to what I address first at work — whatever seems most urgent takes priority, if there isn’t something already on my calendar. Some days it’s a client issue, other days a technical or product need, and yet other days new employee onboarding. While I appreciate routine at home, this is one of the things I love most about entrepreneur life, is that dynamism.
I’m back out the door for an unrelated meeting with an attorney; one of our board directors recommended that I connect with them. We just closed another round of VC funding — for $3 million — and the team is growing pretty rapidly, so making sure all is in order legally remains top of mind.
En route back to the office from my meeting at the law firm, I swing by Pret for a soup and sandwich. I usually eat whatever is most convenient, and I can’t remember the last time when I regularly ate lunch without multitasking — meaning, I walk back to the office immediately to eat at my desk. Sad, but true… I remind myself a lot that, in the grand scheme of things, this crazy period is only temporary.
The afternoon is speeding by. I have interviewed a developer (we’re hiring a lot at Fairygodboss, as I mentioned, so I spend a good deal of time recruiting), had a call with the bank (I am functionally the CFO since we’re a small team), and I also spent some time working on our financial model and forecasting. It’s very important as we scale this company from four people to 35 by the year's end that we have a good sense of our expenses and financial health.
All kids are now back at home and eating. My nanny finished up the dinner prep I’d started earlier — she’s very efficient, thoughtful, and always makes extra for the grownups...which also means that my dinners right now are kid-approved and not the most interesting!
I used to sit down and eat dinner with my husband after the kids were in bed at 7. After the baby, though, everything has gotten out of whack, and we’re all really just trying to survive. The baby goes to sleep around 6:30, and there usually isn’t time to sit down to dinner after that.
With the kids now in bed, I head to bed myself — with laptop in tow, so I can knock some more work out! There are a bunch of unanswered questions for me on Slack from our head of Customer Success and I chat with our CTO for a bit online. My husband is also an entrepreneur, and because we both take advantage of the flexibility we have during our work days, nights are often spent trying to catch up work.
I can barely keep my eyes open. In my experience, nothing is typical in terms of sleep hours during the early months of having a new baby, and last night I slept only 2-3 hour stretches at a time. I’m totally exhausted; it’s lights out for me. I look forward to a few months from now, when the baby will sleep through the night. Then I’ll be able to go to bed at a more respectable adult hour (like 10, or maybe even 11!) and actually do things beyond working in the evenings. But, for now, this is the life of an entrepreneur and mom to a 4 month old!
Interested in contributing to Fairygodboss' #MakingTime series? Email [email protected] with "#MakingTime" in the subject line.