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.
Jess Ryan MS, E-RYT, believes that we all have something amazing to share, but that it takes curiosity, asking questions, someone holding space as we explore. As she holds space for others, she works at making space or herself and her family even while running two businesses.
Jess is the Mama CEO of OurRealWork.com where she guides people through major life and spiritual transitions. Using tools from life coaching to energy work to scientifically proven body- and mindfulness-based practices she helps people discover their intuition and build better boundaries so they can do the real work of discovering their most authentic self and bringing their unique gifts into their everyday, real lives. Jess is also the co-founder of dharma. The Institute for Awakened Living and the dharma. Integrative Yoga Teacher Training.
She lives in Wyoming with her husband and three-and-a-half-year-old.
I take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes to do some sort of personal practice (yoga, meditation, walk around the neighborhood park and talk to the powers-that-be). When I let this slide, life gets WONKY. In my line of work, if I’m holding space for others, I need to put my money where my mouth is and create a little space to be held and be receptive. Then I’m out the gate. Shower and get dressed.
My little guy, Bodhi, is three, so we still have a co-dependent sloth with the attention span of a squirrel on our hands. It keeps us on our toes in a very unregulated and creative sort of way (like is 8am too early for a glass of wine?) Our munchkin has three jobs (eat breakfast, go to the bathroom, and change clothes). We are lucky if these get done in an hour and have pants on.
Three days a week I take Bodhi to a magical day-care by 8:30am. (The other two days, my husband takes him at 7:30am and I get a little extra work time in for bigger projects or I teach a yoga class at the local studio.)
I grab a cup of tea, set an intention to be of service for the highest and greatest good and settle into client work. I see 1:1 clients between the hours of 9 AM—1 PM. 1:1 work looks like anything from coaching to energy work to exercises on building better boundaries or strengthening one’s intuition.
I keep lunch short. I step away from technology, grab a quick bite to eat and either take another brisk walk around the park for 15 minutes or do some impromptu yoga
This is when I do all the behind the scenes “stuff”—client follow-up, group program planning, content creation . . . I also touch base with my VA (who is a godsend to a mama CEO running two businesses).
I pick up little guy, depending on the day, my husband gets home around 4 PM and I’ll do another hour of work until dinner or we’ll all hang out and prep dinner together depending on what program I’m running.
5:30 PM — 7:30 PM
Except for one night a week, this time is sacred. I put a really strong boundary around family dinner, wind-down, and bedtime routine. My husband and I don’t have family nearby so we often switch off watching Bodhi on nights and weekends when we have work events. I used to be a bit more wishy washy about this time: I’d teach a yoga class one evening or pick-up a client one evening or see a friend another evening. Before I knew it, I was missing most of the week with my family and we started to find it hard to hang out as a trio.
After Bodhi’s bedtime, I’ll occasionally work an hour or so on content or my other business. I rarely do client work at this time. I keep a good boundaries around this type of work at this hour as well. I care very deeply for my 1:1 and group clients and I know that I’m a better coach, healer, parent, and partner if I can step away from the people I hold space for on a regular basis so that I can give them my full presence when I am with them.
I pull the plug on social media and computers by 9 at the latest. Sometimes I’ll watch an episode of The Voice or Grey’s Anatomy, or I’ll chant a little or kick it with my partner before I crash by 10 pm.
Because It’s Hard to Fit It All In
The part that gets put on the back burner the most is partner time. I’m not going to lie, couples coaching/therapy is non-negotiable for us. Once every-other week. In the past three years we’ve had a parent die, Bodhi had surgery, we bought a house and moved, my husband started and finished grad-school while working fulltime, I rebranded my business and am growing another business with two other women and I had chronic pelvic floor pain after Bodhi’s birth. That much change does a number on a relationship AND we’ve been in this relationship for over 20 years, so it’s worth the time and effort … even when it is the part of our lives that often gives at the moment.
The Mama CEOs Supports Jess Relies On
This year is the first year I’ve had child care from 8:30-3pm everyday. I started out with about 12 hours/week for a year or so, went up to 20 hours and then as my business grew I needed more. Man, that time flies, and I’m dialed in and working as soon as I drop him off. There are no wasted minutes, because I don’t want to have split attention when I’m with Bodhi.
I have an AMAZING part-time VA for my business who also picks up more client interaction when I’m juggling multiple launches.
We also have a house-cleaner. This is an insane luxury as I grew-up in a working class family and there are a lot of stigmas and beliefs around having someone clean your house. AND, with no family nearby, two working parents, and a three-year-old, I’d rather spend those extra few hours a week with my family while still providing a clean, safe home environment. Time goes by too fast and we make cuts in other parts of our budget to accommodate this other non-negotiable (minimal eating out and no cable).
One Take Away Tip from Jess
We all need BOUNDARIES and this reminder, whatever “this” phase of life is, it’s not going to last that long––good or bad––trust that and keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Right now I have WAYYYYY more ideas than I have time to implement. It’s sometimes frustrating, and I also know I’m doing the best I can. I won’t sacrifice the few hours of family time I get each day, and I know that this season of life won’t last forever so I’m going to cherish it … and trust that the slowed timeline is probably better for me. I’m one of those that would burn the candle at both ends if I didn’t have boundaries (and a small child) in play to remind me to get up from the computer.
Thank you, Jess, for sharing a glimpse into your Mama CEO life!
We all know that the line between family and business time is blurred when you are Mama CEO. I love how Jess uses boundaries to set aside time for her clients, herself, her and her partner, and her family. I’ve been working with Jess with astounding changes in my home and business life. Her teleclass The Real You 101: Healthy Boundaries in a Demanding World starts April 6.
One of the reasons I love scheduling so much is that it’s our chance to make space for the things that are truly important to us. I call the unmoveable or non-negotiable pieces in our schedule our rocks. Jess has made a rock out of evening family time and couple’s coaching/therapy.
Do you set aside time for self or family that is non-negotiable? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!