If you’ve wondered “How does she do it?” when you see another mom running an amazing business, A Day in the Life of a Mama CEO, is for you.
Grace Kraaijvanger shares how she brings family and business together, where she finds inspiration, and how she makes “me” time part of her routine.
Grace is a coach and the founder of the Hivery, a co-working space, creativity lab, and community. Grace brings women together to cultivate creativity, passion, and purpose.
She lives in Mill Valley, California with her husband and two kids.
First, and always, coffee! We have an old tradition that whoever is up first brings the other coffee in bed. Since it’s usually me that is up first, my husband is very lucky, indeed.
I enjoy my coffee in my little meditation spot and settle in to listen to Deepak Chopra. I love the 21-day meditation series that Deepak and Oprah do together. Taking the time to set up my meditation spot was one of the most impactful things I’ve done to take care of myself. I can’t recommend enough having a meditation spot of your own!
I’m trying to create a morning workout routine a couple days per week, but I love to meditate and read, so I haven’t really been consistent with my 2x per week gym goal.
My kids (ages 12 and 10) get up between 6:30 and 7:00. Sometimes, they’re up early, but sometimes, I’m dragging them out of bed, turning on all of the lights, and begging their little bed-heads to please get in the shower. I’m guessing we are like most families that way . . .
I love getting to The Hivery before our amazing members roll in. There’s something meditative for me in having a few minutes just to fuss around at all of the details of our lovely women’s co-working space to make sure everything is looking beautiful and inspiring.
I meet with new members of The Hivery and work on newsletters, social media, marketing, operations, planning . . . Mornings are BUSY at The Hivery, both with me trying to work on my business, and my members getting into productive mode on THEIR businesses. I love the bustle.
Our new Hivery office is in downtown Mill Valley, which means I can step out for some fresh air in our charming, little town. I love grabbing a salad at Mill Valley Market and having a casual lunch meeting/chat with a Hivery member in the town’s square. A quick walk up the many Mill Valley stairways and paths is a pretty awesome lunch date, too.
My middle-schooler and 5th grader ride their bikes from school to The Hivery. We grab a quick snack together, and they head off to theater or soccer practice, or grab a spot at The Hivery to work on their homework.
I love having them around my business—I think it’s great for them to see how important it is to me and what it means to do work you love. It’s also inspiring for them to hear from The Hivery women on all of the cool stuff they do in their work and businesses. I try to find ways my kids can contribute, too. Sometimes you’ll find them (possibly begrudgingly) wiping down the desks, dusting, or other tidying. I love the idea of a family business, so it’s important to me that they pitch in.
Our dinner routine had gotten a little out of whack with the craziness of running a start-up, so I started ordering Blue Apron, a grocery/meal service that sends you recipes and all the ingredients. I LOVE this service! It’s healthy, yummy, makes me feel like a great cook—and keeps me from running into the grocery store at the end of the day (yuck).
After kids go to bed, it’s time for email, a social media fix, tidying up, and a catch-up with my hubby. I love going out in the evening to a dance performance or girls’-night-out, but I’m also all for getting in my pajamas and slippers, sitting by the fire, watching Modern Family and hibernating a bit, too.
I always mean to get to bed earlier, but this is it. They say that sleep is the best gift you can give yourself, so I’m working on that!
Keys to Grace’s Week
I started reserving times for coffee chats with women who inspire me. I also blocked off time to go to my much needed and beloved ballet class, as I realized that I operate 1000% better with a few hours of ballet in my life. My hubby and I have an hour kid-free time slot every Friday night before we pick our son up from his breakdancing class. It’s just enough to grab a drink, connect, and start our weekend off together.
Dealing with the Unexpected
Part of the routine is to expect the things that throw off the routine! The first month that I opened my business in its’ new location, both of my kids got sick and missed school, there was a teacher staff day, I had to leave town for a family memorial service, I went away for a visit to my sister, AND I got called in for jury duty. The best we can do is expect the unexpected and be willing to roll with change—and go very easy on ourselves when we don’t get everything that we had planned done.
One Take Away Tip from Grace
Set aside time to write. My whole business came from a few months of journal-writing. Writing in my journal has helped me countless times in figuring out what I truly want, how I feel, and what to focus my energy on. Life is such a jumble of information, activity, and commotion—even 15-minutes with a pen and journal can help me make sense of it. I believe that we know what we want for ourselves deep-down, and writing helps us discover it.
Thank you, Grace, for sharing a glimpse into your Mama CEO life!
I am lucky to work and collaborate at The Hivery. It’s a beautiful space and such a vibrant community. If you’re in Mill Valley, definitely check it out. I’m also loving The Hivery blog—it’s inspiring reading for every Mama CEO.
I believe being a Mama CEO is a great way to show our kids how to use our gifts to live a great life. I love that Grace is showing the kids the value of her business (and the great work of other Mama CEOs)—and getting them involved.
How do your kids help you in your business (or how do you imagine they might some day)? I’d love to hear in the comments!