Meet Heidi Clavet: Juggling many hats
We are excited to launch our new series of Le Mat Bar interviews featuring women sharing their thoughts on how motherhood has impacted their career. We're kicking things off with Heidi Clavet, mother of three small children (6 years, 3 years and 8 months old!), who shared with us how she manages her online business, coaching, teaching, volunteering and more.
You can check out Heidi’s website at http://www.heidiclavet.arbonne.com and feel free to contact her via her Facebook business page https://www.facebook.com/heidiclavetmomtrepreneur/. Heidi helps others discover safe and botanical skin care (for moms, dads and babies), makeup, hair care and nutrition. She can help develop, grow and sustain online businesses to add multiple income streams to a household. In addition, she teaches people how to improve their physical health.
Describe a typical weekday in your life.
As I'm on official maternity leave from a traditional employment (I took two years off), my online business is my main focus along with my volunteering. Although it looks quite preset, there is a lot of flexibility with my hours. If the baby is sick or the older ones have an appointment (or are sick), I move my work time to later in the day or the next day.
6:30 am: Wake up
6:45 am: Wake up the oldest child. Set her up for breakfast.
7:00 am: The middle one and the baby usually wake up. If they wake up past 7 am, I know I'll be late in my routine.
7:45 am: Drop off the older one at kindergarten.
8:00 am: Drop off the middle child at daycare.
8:15 am: Return home to put the baby down for her 1st nap.
8:30 am: Get myself ready for the day with my protein shake.
9:00 am: Sit down in my office to start working on my online business until 10:30 am.
10:30 am: Baby wakes up and head to cardio (2x a week) or go out for a walk or meet with a client.
11:30 am: Feed the baby lunch.
Noon: Baby's nap number 2. Then I eat.
1:00 pm: Return to my office to finish work, or attend to my volunteering organizations, or do a personal online training, or meet with a client (online or in person at my home).
2:00 pm: Rest with a book, or clean up the house, or nap.
3:00 pm: Baby wakes up. Feed the baby. Start preparing supper.
4:00 pm: Pick up the older one. Pick up the middle one.
4:45 pm: Kids play outside or inside.
5:00 pm: Supper
5:30 pm: Baby's bath
5:45 pm: Baby's in bed. Play with the older 2.
6:15 pm: Bath time for older 2.
6:45 pm: Story time
7:00 pm: Lights out (but the bedtime "tango" still can go on until 8 or 8:30)
7:30 pm: I eat supper
8:00 pm: Start laundry and return to my desk. Work for another 15-30 minutes.
9:00 pm: Clean up kitchen.
9:30 pm: Chill.
10:00 pm: Up for bed.
How did having children affect your career?
Pre-children I was all set with a 40 hour work week and a permanent position. But children do affect your vision of work and what it means. My identity was tied into physical therapy, it's who I was and worked so hard to become, but now I was something different and I had to take time to think about what that meant for me. In a way, I had to mourn my chosen career because I loved it so much but it is quite demanding physically and emotionally...not to mention the commute (traffic sucks). My vision for my family life was to be a working mom but also available at all times. I chose to be more present at home but I really needed something to do besides baby stuff. I wanted the potential to get a full time pay on part time hours...so that's what I did. I realized that I was really good at many things. I feel so fulfilled and blessed to be able to contribute to family expenses, from home and completely available to my children when they need me.
What has surprised you the most about balancing your career and motherhood?
It's a rush in the beginning. You're kind of all over the place because you've never had to manage so many things before. And although your partner can be fully involved and present, for some reason moms think more about the details (does baby need diapers at daycare? baby didn't sleep well so will nap be ok? what if he doesn't like lunch? etc). What did surprise me, though, was how my brain was not at work when my body was at work. You're constantly thinking about your kids' day so you lose the presence you once had pre-kids. And those "family time off" days that you always wondered why you had them...you'll need them...all of them! That first 6 months in daycare, especially in the winter, baby gets sick ALL THE TIME! With my husband traveling, I was the one who had to take all that time off. After the first baby, that's when we realized we needed things to be more flexible for the family. We adjusted for the second, then got it down pat for the third.
What advice would you give to a new mother returning to work after maternity leave?
First, stop thinking about it so much. I've met moms who start planning it the moment the baby is born. They start to worry about it and prepare so much that it consumes all of their thoughts. Enjoy the time you have with your baby. Don't let your mind go to the future; it'll just stress you out. And when you go back, give yourself some time to adjust. The first day you will be exhausted and your brain will be really foggy. But then you will start to feel smart again. For some of you it may even be an energy boost to do something for yourself, take time for yourself (yes, work does become like "time off", it's really weird) and to start making money again.
What tips do you have on maintaining a social life once you have kids?
Make time for it. Yes, you're super tired and you'll just want to plop on the couch...but maintaining friendships is so important. And this also includes mandatory dates with your partner. It'll keep you sane and feel like yourself. You are so much more than a mom so don't forget how awesome you are and all the things you are capable of doing. It also helps to have a group who knows what you are going through. You may find your friend circles change and evolve over time. But please please make sure it's with people who lift you up. Go where you are celebrated and let go of the people who make you feel like crap. You have enough to worry about in the day, you don't need the extra negativity. And social media does not equal social life. If those mommy Facebook groups are starting to make you doubt your power as a mom...just let them go. You don't need to know everyone else's opinions about vaccination, that skin thing someone's kid has, or what stroller is the best. Focus your time on things that bring you joy.
Share a life hack that has made your life as a working mother easier.
HIRE A CLEANING CREW! Just because I work from home doesn't mean I want to clean. And if you work full-time you MUST make this a priority for your sanity. At first I cringed when I had to pay them...but now, I will gladly work harder and sell anything I own on Kijiji to pay for them. It has taken a HUGE weight off of me, my husband, and my family life not to have to think about washing the floors, the bathrooms or dusting. Now don't get me wrong...the clean house lasts a maximum of 24 hours but at least the big things are done. They come Monday morning so often I plan an outing or I hide in my office. And then when I emerge the toys are picked up and the dishes are done. It's like having a fairy godmother. Seriously the best.
What’s the most important thing that you do to maintain your sense of well-being?
At least once or twice a week I meet with a friend. With my first baby I was at Melons and Clementines all the time just to get out. I didn't do that as much for the second one and I felt more secluded. With the third I sometimes book tea dates up to 2 weeks in advance to be sure I have it in my calendar. I've also made exercise a priority. I do mom and baby classes but with summer coming I will go for a long walk while listening to an audio book. It's not an obsession daily, but just to feel like I'm moving and making my body stronger.
And I have to say...the biggest thing that has saved me mentally is the ability to make money working from home. It has really changed my life not to have to commute. Whatever your passion is I recommend looking into it. Start your own thing or start a network marketing career, it's so worth it. The opportunities are endless now and there is lots of money in the online world. You can take your trade and even go solo or join an online site like Fiverr.com or Freelance.com to sell your capabilities. And if you want to do something but don't know what, call me and I'll point you somewhere. People will gladly pay an independent entrepreneur. Even if you make $200 a month, you can put that into your investments or pay for things for the kids (or yourself) guilt-free.
What else would you like to share with our readers?
Don't forget who you are and your personal passions throughout mommy-hood. Rethink the notion of "I don't have time" and look for pockets in your day that free up so that you can work on your own goals. When I stop to think about what I have on my plate it would be easy to convince myself I have no time, but it's really not true. I will get lost in Facebook/Pinterest/Etsy for a good 30 minutes, I get sucked into The Crown for 1 hour...and that's time that I could have used to grow my business or do a training or see a friend or workout or anything else, really. Time is relative. If you keep doing exactly what you are doing, where do you see yourself in 5 years professionally and personally? If you want something different, then invest the time today to do something different that will bring you to a different place. You'd be amazed at what you can do in a concentrated 15 minutes. That's nearly 2 hours a week and 7 hours a month closer to your goals. There are no limits to your potential...even with kids.
But in conclusion my biggest advice would be to be kind to yourself and the words you say to yourself, and for the love of God don't compare yourself to others. We all have different realities. You are amazing just the way you are and you are doing a great job at being a mom. I know it's easy to go last in the priority list...but you being your best YOU will make you happier and more fulfilled...which will trickle down to your little ones and how they feel about themselves.