Balance: Breakwater Design Studio

by Cat on June 24, 2009

I never tire of hearing about how other moms “balance” their work and home. I know that we all manage to find our way, but it’s wonderful to get glimpses into how others are doing it as well. When Ryan of Breakwater Design Studio wrote me, I couldn’t help but ask her to share her schedule and day-in-the-life with her two studios. Thank you Ryan!

Tell us a little about your space and how your work?

My work takes place in two different locations – my home office—located in Southampton NY and the Breakwater Design Studio, located in Bridgehampton NY. The two spaces are approx. 20 minutes away from each other depending on the time of year. The home office is where I get most of my designing and work done while my employees work in the Studio. I hold meetings and creative sessions in the Studio, and have at times had employees to my home for conferences.

What is a day in your life like? How do you organize your schedule?

Will is an almost 2 year old – he pretty much dictates my schedule. “A day in my life” has become quite regimented, as Will seems to be happiest with a routine. And as this routine changes he changes… we just go with the flow.

Lately Will has naps all morning. I’ll never understand it – he sleeps all night (most of the time) around 12 hours. Then crashes again around 9:30 am. It works for him though. During this time I get a great deal done… I check in on emails, voicemails return some calls… then I work on projects… prep for meetings… anything that needs to be done. Lately I’ve become addicted to blogging and Twitter—so much excitement online. He’s napping now!

The rest of our day varies… some days if I have tons to do, I’ll ask Hannah, our babysitter to come over to play. I hide away in my office and get to work. Other days, if I have meetings, I’ll leave him with her for about an hour or so, which I find hard to do…. Thankfully a lot of our clients love to see him so MOST days I take Will with me– we check in on projects and do whatever needs to be done.

When there isn’t much going on (which has been the case lately due to the recession, unfortunately) we will hit the library on our way home. Or the Children’s Museum of the East End. Warmer days—we go to the beach or the playground or just for a walk. Everyday is a new adventure for Will.

Greatest challenges of “balancing” work and life as a mom?

I am beyond grateful for Will—he has opened my life up in ways I never though possible. Before he was born I was a serious workaholic. I worked right up to the day he was born… I was up early – to the office, worked through lunch… late into the evenings… worked most weekends too. I never realized how addicted I was until he came along. He has completely changed my outlook and my plans for the future from an ego driven need to land that client and design everything to maybe I’ll slow down and have more kids…

Greatest rewards?

Well—Will of course is my greatest personal reward…

To me, there is nothing more rewarding, work wise, than having a logo design approved, a website design launch, or have brochures go to press. It’s a great release to complete something that is going to help promote and generate success for our clients. I also enjoy collaborating with my associates on new projects. Everything that we do is very positive and that always leaves me with a good feeling.

Do you have any do’s or don’ts on advice for moms out there who want to start their own businesses?

Do’s – Do – Go for it because having “it all” is really possible. Do, go with the flow. Do – remember to find time for yourself.

Don’t’s – Don’t plan ahead too much with how it will all pan out. I remember thinking – it will be great! I’ll bring my son to work with me everyday – after all I am the owner. Not so much – his crying interrupted work; I was totally embarrassed to nurse him in the office… Changing him became awkward on the conference table… And I found a privacy factor that I never considered – I wanted alone time with my little boy! Obviously, we worked it out.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carrie's mom June 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm

My DD has the same EXACT same nap schedule! It's great t o know you have found the right schedule for both your work and son :0).


Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama June 25, 2009 at 2:10 am

Her "do's" are great advice! Going with the flow keeps all WAHM's sane :-)


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