After a holiday break from interviews, the Mompreneur series is back and I couldn’t be happier to have Caitlin Kruse sharing today. Caitlin is a woman of many talents. She not only serves as the founder of The Mama Notes and Editorial Director of Glitter Guide, but also runs a boutique event planning, design, and floral company—Kruse + Viera Events—focused on creating bespoke, timeless, and personalized weddings and events. Today she’s sharing how she balances these roles while also guarding time for family and self-care.
First things first, tell us a little bit about your family and where you live.
My husband, 17 month old daughter and crazy rescue dog live in Annapolis, Maryland. We just bought our first house and are having so much “fun” working on it :)
Which came first, the babies or the business?
What made you decide to be an entrepreneur?
I’ve alway had an entrepreneurial spirit — and have “started” so many various businesses over the years (like selling vintage barware online and starting a branding & social agency). I knew I wanted to work for myself but was never quite sure how I could make that happen, it took many years of burning the candle at both ends but it finally paid off.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
Morning! I work best in the early morning hours, which has been especially hard since having my daughter. I used to love to get up at 6am and hop right onto my laptop with my coffee from the couch and get a head start on the day before most people were working. Now I’m getting up with her at 7am and getting us both ready for the day and typically don’t start working
until 9:30 or 10.
Coffee or tea? (Or are you a unicorn who does not need caffeine?!)
LOTS of coffee. At least 2 cups in the morning, much less when I was breastfeeding though.
That was hard.
What does your morning routine look like? What time do you get up? What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I get up between 6:30-7:30 most days,
my husband and I take turns waking up with our daughter and letting the other “sleep in” a little longer. We just started doing it about a month ago and i have to say I don’t feel nearly as tired! She wakes up pretty regularly at 7 or a little before so when I’m getting up with her I get her out of her crib and ‘wake up slow’ together. It’s such a great way to start the day, we rock in her chair and I read her a book or two. Then she starts asking for her milk and I make our coffee, pour her a cup of milk and turn on the Today show. We hang out and play for a while before getting dressed and having breakfast. Our nanny arrives at 9 and I usually head down to my office then!
Balance—we can’t do this interview and not talk about it! Mostly because I’m desperate to know all of your secrets. How do you make it work?
I wish I had an answer! It’s so hard, a few things that I’ve picked up along the way…
-I try to put my phone away when I’m “off” and not working after our nanny leaves, its hard but I only have 2-3 hours to be unplugged with my daughter before bedtime and it’s much more meaningful if I’m not browsing Instagram or trying to check my mail. It helps if I just plug my phone in my office or room and shut the door and truly focus on my daughter.
-Two days a week my husband watches Piper part of the day and then I’m with her, I’ve given up trying to seriously work these days and just give myself a break – I don’t freak out about emails or deadlines. I don’t schedule calls or projects, instead I actually try to schedule playdates or errands in the afternoon. For the first few months I’d feel guilty if I wasn’t checking email all day or trying to ‘work’ but in reality I’d get frustrated my baby needed to be held, or fed, or just given attention and hated feeling that way so I stopped putting the focus on work and instead on just being with her. Basically, give yourself grace. You can’t do it ALL, all the time if you don’t have full-time childcare. Even then it’s impossible.
-I work MOST every night from 7-9 with a glass of wine. I can power through emails and get a lot done in this time period, and then give myself an hour to unwind in bed with tea and a book or Pinterest
Childcare is a big factor—what’s been working for you? Nanny, daycare or the stay-at-home/work-at-home life? Or do your kids go to school now?
We have a nanny MWF, because my husband is in grad-school and I work from home we have flexibility that sometimes drives me crazy but has definite perks. He helps watch Piper Tuesday & Thursday when his schedule allows. We are going to put Piper in a 2’s program next fall !
How do you make room for personal time for yourself? When you do get down time, what do you do to relax, refresh and/or get inspired?
I’ve pretty much given up personal time for myself during the week – except for that one hour before bed. I feel pretty good if I can end the day feeling in a good place about my work load (that I accomplished a few things on my list) and have the opportunity to unwind with hot tea and fit in a shower at some point. It’s really my favorite part of the day. My husband and I just started watching The Killing and The Crown and are obsessed with both. I try to plan something with friends once a week but sometimes it goes longer than that, something I’m working on! I also love to bake and cook for fun and luckily do that all the time!! To get inspired I still love to get lost in Pinterest and read interviews and memoirs.
What one bit of advice would you give to a fellow mompreneur trying to make it all work?
Talk to other women/mothers you admire who have started successful businesses, find a mentor. You’ll be amazed at how many women are willing and happy to help and offer suggestions on how they are making it work. Don’t be too hard on yourself but understand that success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, late nights, and risks but it’s worth it to do something you love.
Thank you, Caitlin, for taking the time to share! Loving your new mama website so much :)
Photos by Anna Reynal