Being a working mom is tough – but when you are passionate about both being a present parent AND growing your business, you can be pulled in different directions.
You all know her…and you all love her: We asked Director of Brand Partnerships, Samantha Dunning how she manages being an amazing mama while being an incredible asset to the Parker Management team. The biggest takeaway: we’re in this together!
Q: Walk us through a typical work day. How do you make sure you are starting your busy days on a positive note?
A: I always wake up before the kids! Whether it’s to shower, have a cup of coffee (in silence and while it’s still warm) or just start answering urgent emails before the work day truly begins. I’ve always noticed that when I wake up before them I have a better mindset and more productive day. Our day to day changes a bit, but they just started Daycare again so I get a pretty good chunk of work in while they are there. Typically, I start my day around 5-6am and after the coffee sets in I take a look at my calendar and plan my day. From 6:30-8am is time with the little babes getting ready for the day. From 8:30-4:30 I try to be fully online and available for work calls, contract reviews, content reviews for talent, and anything else the day brings. 4:30-8pm is my time with the kids where we do dinner, bath, play, and read books. After they go to bed I try to wind down for the day and also love to spend my evening catching up with friends/family.
Q: How do you manage your time during the work week? Any special tools or tricks?
A: Sheila, our amazing business strategist helps me with this! There are quite a few moving parts to my role and I’ve realized how important it is to ensure I’m blocking off time to do each task. I try to do contracts in the morning/evening when emails aren’t coming through that way they can have my full focus. Before the day starts, I really try to plan everything out in order of importance. Using my google calendar and boomeranging emails so they come back to me and I can be sure to follow-up are probably my two biggest tips. Also a good ol’ fashion list is my favorite. Something about writing down everything you need to do never gets old.
Q: How do you set attainable daily goals for both work life and family life?
A: I think since having kids, I now know each day comes with something new and typically always unexpected so I give myself quite a bit of grace. I make sure to take care of everything urgent but I also know that some days just don’t go as planned and that is OK! I do my best to set realistic expectations and that is incredibly helpful. I also try to delegate/ask for help when I can- it takes a village. I typically set overall work goals by the month versus the day and I think that is helpful as well.
Q: What do you do throughout the week to maintain self care and to ensure you take care of yourself as well?
A: I definitely need to be better about this! I try to get to bed early because sleep is key to my ability to be the best to everyone around me. I also started turning my phone on do not disturb when I’m going to bed. That way I’m not hearing “dings” throughout the night. I also try to take weekends off my phone as much as possible and that is the best reset for a new week. I’m a sucker for manicures/pedicures and a good online shopping trip for some self care as well. ; )
Q: Advice for mama’s who are working from home right now?
A: Give yourself grace. Set boundaries and ask for help when you need it. I worked most of the pandemic at home with both kids and it was wild. I was taking work calls while giving the kids fruit snacks so they wouldn’t be yelling in the background. At one point, Mila threw a cup of coffee at my computer- so when I say wild, I mean willllldddd. I set my expectations very low and asked for help when I could. Little things like making sure Chandler knew he was in charge of pretty much everything home related (laundry, cleaning, etc) and Home Chef oven ready meals saved my sanity. Overall though, just know pretty much everyone is in the same boat so you are not alone. : )
Q: What is a goal of yours for 2021?
A: I want to practice more self care – I want to work out more. I notice by giving myself more time, it helps in my work life!
Thank you for your time Sam, no go run after Mila! xx