A Day In The Life Of CMO

How do you do it all

The other day, a co-worker told me “I don’t know how you do everything you do!”

She doesn’t know about this website.

She was only thinking of my day job work, and how productive I am there. I believe she knows I have kids at home, although I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s fuzzy on the details. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t talk much about my kids at work – I love my boys but while I’m at work, I talk about work. Maintaining a relatively strict home/work division helps me give my all to the place I’m at in any given point in time.

I put this up on Twitter, because I thought it was amusing. I got an interesting suggestion in response from eatmoneyblog:

FYI, if you missed it, this is the goals post they were talking about. I thought a “day in the life” post might be interesting, so I decided to track that particular day.

Now, I was traveling for work, so it wasn’t really “typical”. But in all my many years as a working mom, I can tell you there is no real “typical”. Every day is different, both at work and at home. So this day is as typical as any other.

Here you go – this day in the life of Chief Mom Officer. And be sure to read to the end for some musings on why people ask me this question.

A Day In The Life Of Chief Mom Officer

4 AM– Wake up

Text message from my husband asking if I'm up
Text message from my husband

4:16 AM – Receive text from husband to see if I’m up. Yes dear. Drink coffee-2 cups.

4:45 AM – Start working on site

5:30 AM– Skype with hubby and oldest son, since he leaves for school at 6 AM. Yes, my fifteen year old has to be at the bus stop at 6 AM, and gets up at 5 AM.

6 AM – Wash my hair, grab breakfast (banana and almonds) and espresso. You will notice caffeine plays a big role in this day. Work on site until 7:22

7:22 AM – Finish packing and get ready to go – then realize I have no makeup on and I’m wearing pajama pants, Oops.

7:27 AM – Put on makeup and work pants, all set and out the door. Yes, that fast. I’ve had many years of practice.
Get in rental car, start the 25 minute drive to the officeTraffic

8:13 AM – Get to the office – stupid traffic

8:15 AM – Come in, go through security, get coffee, up to conference room. Someone else is in the conference room, even though I have it reserved. Guy gets all huffy and annoyed, claiming he’s reserved two rooms for the month! OK, but there are literally two of you. Why can’t you set up in your other room? We have ten people. Better yet, why did you reserve TWO conference rooms for yourself??

8:25 AM – My coworker asks if I’m surprised to see him. Last night he had asked if I wanted to go in on mega millions and powerball, and I said no. I was not surprised to see him. I’m good with not paying voluntary taxes

8:30 AM: Start meeting. Half day planning. Yesterday was all day planning, which ended late. Today we need to wrap up. Lots of prep work go into these planning sessions.

12 PM: Ended meeting. Good meeting, and I got lots of compliments. I also made sure to complement team on how well prepared they were. Feel like a proud mom how far they’ve come in the 3.5 months since I joined. I realize feeling like mom is not professional so do not mention this. Instead of getting lunch, I hang around to wait for a woman who wants to talk about career options with agile. IT teams are transitioning to agile structure, meaning more/different role options. She asked to chat while I’m in office

12:30 PM – We go through the agile team structures and roles, and chat about next steps. Talked about training options, explained how role interfaces with rest of organization, and chatted about how agile teams work.

1:15 PM – Leave office to drop off rental car.

1:32 PM – Arrive at train rental car drop off. forgot phone in rental car. Luckily realized before I left. Rental car drop off complete. Train is at 2:06, so there should be time for lunch.  Lady asks if I wrote down my miles? No. Because you said I should just come inside. Grr. Get rental car receipt. Rental car return done

Train Station1:45 PM – Go buy lunch because it’s almost two and I’m starving. People who “forget to eat” – I envy you. I do some work on my work phone while I wait for the train.

2:09 PM – Train is three minutes late-not bad

2:15 PM – I start to try to eat my lunch, and boy is it terrible. I ate only about 1/4 sandwich and tossed it. I hate wasting food but it’s just not edible. Luckly the coffee and banana I also got are fine.

2:20 PM– Go buy some almonds on the train to go with my banana

2:30 PM – Do work email on train. Skype isn’t working, ugh. Eventually get it started up. I eat my banana and nuts, and drink my coffee.

2:40 PM – Pop on Twitter for a minute. I spy a great kickstarter posted by Bill from FamZoo, all about financial literacy for girls. I back it, and you can go here to do same 

3:20 PM – Still working, luckily I got my Skype up an running. At one of the stops I decide to have fun by counting male:female ratio boarding train. I realize it is 5:1 (business train). I quickly become annoyed and am having less fun.

3:40 PM – I can hear a guy across the aisle talking about prepping someone for a deposition. Last time I overheard woman that sounded like she was trying to discredit a mom whose child suffered an allergic reaction. Sometimes I don’t like this train very much.

4 PM – Guy on train seat across from me is staring as I eat my nuts. Bag must be loud. Crinkle bag more because, really? This isn’t the quiet car. And even there you can eat nuts! Continue working while eating my nuts.

I packed using my PLUTUS awards backpak
What I used to pack my stuff

God this train is FREEZING.

More work email, vendor wants a test file for something we haven’t started (no), vendor has 500,000 questions (estimated) that they send through email. Of course email is a terrible way to handle this. Send off to teams that can help answer and offer to set up a call. Call is scheduled for next week.

Check my personal phone, and noticed I’ve gotten emails with edits for two posts-one I can update on my phone, the other I need to use laptop. Luckily they only take a few minutes

I keep seeing on Twitter stuff about the market. Check and it’s down like 800 something points. Check the five year report and feel fine. The market continues its downward plunge so I post some things to Twitter. Luckily I’ve been through two major market crashes before, so these little blips don’t bother me. Also, I would like to note that I am grateful for smartphones, because I can only imagine how hard running a website must have been in the desktop age.

More working, working, working. Updating some documents and keeping up with e-mails.

5:24 PM – I am turning into an icicle on this train. I swear it is so cold it feels like winter. And I’m wearing a sweater!!!! Continue working, but start to wrap up as we’re almost there.

5:33 PM – Announcement of my stop

5:37 PM – Time to de-train and warm up!

5:45 PM – Finally off the train and de-icing. Time to pay for parking and drive home

Alex giving me my taco bowl6:26 PM – Finally home! Everyone is having dinner. Sit down to taco bowls, and a pile of mail. Alex wants me to eat my taco bowls

6:51 PM -Dinner and mail are finished. Worked with husband and son to arrange his fifteenth birthday party date and time. Make your own pizza has been decided as the food. Now looking around the house for blank invites, because I know I picked some up a while back.

7 PM– I found the invites and filled them all out. Had my oldest son write the kids names because he’s almost 15 now. My husband helped by stuffing the envelopes.

7:15 PM – Middle son wants to play battleship now. I won, but close game

8 PM– Head upstairs and drop my luggage off. Come back downstairs because I forgot my charging cord, and trudge back upstairs. My husband is reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Alex’s current favorite book) to the little guy, I can hear them through monitor reading the lines together. It’s adorable.

Party Invitations8:15 PM – Sent a note via Twitter to CT based bloggers I know asking if they’ll be at the upcoming Connecticut Choose FI meetup. They are unaware of the groups existence. Send link so hopefully I’ll have some friends there.

9 PM – Time for sleep. Older boys go to sleep at this time too. I’m exhausted from the 4 AM wake up, and all the travel. I slept the next morning until 5, which is late for me.

I feel like I’m starting to come down with a cold, which I was, and has now lasted about a week.

What Don’t You See

You don’t see me watching TV, surfing the internet, watching movies, or the like. I’m using my time to create content, rather than consume it. I could have come home and crashed on the couch in front of the TV, but I didn’t. Although I did crash and go to sleep soon thereafter.

On this particular day, you don’t see much other than work. Other days are more balanced. This is actually my third week out of the last four traveling, although only two were technically for work (one was FinCon). That’s a lot of travel, so I’m looking forward to some more “normal” time.

Why Do People Ask Me This Question

I’m honestly perplexed why I get asked this question repeatedly.

Do people ask men this question?

I’ve read plenty of stories of male startup founders, or business executives, that start their days early and end them late. They have seemingly endless activities in between waking up and going to bed at night. I never recall seeing them asked how they do it all?

The answer is – they work hard. I work hard. I’ve worked hard my whole life. I used to go to school full time and work full time (not typos) to get my undergrad. I worked full time and got my MBA part time, while I had two young kids at home.

I cared for my husband when he almost died, and worked, and finished my MBA, and took care of the kids.

Frankly, this is easy compared to that time.

And today he takes care of the household things, freeing up my time so I can spent time with the kids at home without working the “second shift”. Having a stay at home spouse does make things much easier. Of course there are single parents, and couples with two working parents, that do as much as I do. But having one parent at home makes things much easier.

So today I succeed at work, spend time with the family, and run an award-winning website in my spare time. I do this website as a personal passion project, to make a difference in other peoples lives. I love the direct impact I can have, while at work my impact is much more indirect. And I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned about money, and the stories of amazing women, with all of you.

Don’t feel like you have to work as hard as I do. You don’t. Being driven to do so many things is a particular quirk of mine, and it doesn’t need to be of yours.

But also, don’t think that this is somehow more impressive because I’m a woman.  It’s really not. When we talk about equality, it means equal opportunities. To have an opportunity at work, you need to work hard. And to have opportunities to reach people online, you need to work hard. Otherwise no one will stop by your corner of the internet.

I Want To Hear From You

What did you think of my day? Any questions for me? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to follow my blog for more great posts via e-mail or WordPress, or connect with me on Facebook or Twitter and say hello! You can also check out what I’m buying or baking on Instagram,  what I’m pinning on Pinterest, or the latest books I’m reading (or want to read) over on Goodreads.

13 thoughts on “A Day In The Life Of CMO”

  1. You hit the nail on the head before I was finished reading, you don’t watch TV. Some people might shrug that off and think it’s not a big deal, but they have no idea how many hours they are wasting every week. I think there’s a time and a place for TV or a movie here and there, but it should be an hour or two a week as a decompression thing or some light entertainment. The problem is, the average adult in America watches five hours a day according to Nielsen It’s insanity!

    1. Imagine what people who even watch half the average could accomplish if they eliminate TV! I really only watch it if I’m (1) sick, or (2) seeing an occasional weekend movie with the family. It’s only about once a week, or once every other week, that we have family movie night. And half the time I’m working while the movie is on!

  2. Also, as a stay at home mom for many years, I want to give a shout out to your amazing husband. There is so much stay at home spouses do behind the scenes to allow the working spouse to be able to focus 100% on work when they’re at work. Appointments, cleaning, groceries, managing kid crises (“Mom I got hit in the nose with a basketball during lunch!” calls), and myriad other tasks that can get forgotten. There is no doubt that you are amazingly efficient with your time, but I’m also giving major props to CDO (Chief Dad Officer?) for all the stuff he manages so you can be fully present with whatever you’re doing at the time. Not to diminish anything you’re doing, but to help others see how it’s all possible.

    1. Heck yes! Full credit goes to him. If not for him staying at home, and doing all the home things, there’s no way I could do what I do. 😃

  3. Even more impressive than what you did all day, which was incredible by the way (although sadly typical for parents who work), is the detail in which you can recount everything in such detail! Did you write this out the next day? I’d have forgotten half of the detail by the next day – lol.

    Great post.

    1. chiefmomofficer

      I actually wrote it during the day itself, in a notepad on my phone. Otherwise I would have forgotten it all. 😂 I didn’t write the whole post, but keeping track of the highlights helped me remember what happened when.

  4. You are a warrior, I did great in my career and got to a high level of pay and responsibility but I don’t think I ever worked as hard as you do! You are a wonderfully expressive writer, and to think you are doing this in the wee morning hours! Awesome, thanks for providing this quality content.

    1. chiefmomofficer

      Thanks so much! This really is a passion of mine now, and I hope to help a lot of people through this site. It takes a lot of work, but if it helps people it’s worthwhile

  5. Thanks for sharing this insight into your daily activities — and I must admit, I’ve also wanted to ask how you are able to accomplish it all. And now this leads me to another question — which I did debate asking, wondering if I might ask the same of a male. Ultimately, I believe I would (but maybe worded differently.)

    Question: Do you ever take time off or need a short break (other than when sick)? Ex. for relaxation, “me time”, or whatever you’d like to call it. Because reading your post has definitely inspired me to believe I could accomplish more if I really wanted to. But on the flip side, I know myself, and I need breaks. However, I also have a friend who is basically unable to relax, she always needs to be “doing” something. She’s scrubbing bathroom floors at 10 o’clock at night. So maybe it does differ by personality. But just curious to know if you ever take moments for quiet time or reflection. (Or maybe that’s what the 4am work time is for?) Thanks again for offering your outlook — always an informative read. (And loved the documented reference from 8:15pm — CT meetup — Yay!)

    1. chiefmomofficer

      I’m one of those kinds of people that always likes to be busy. My real down time is usually spent reading (not as much now as I used to though), doing art or other creative projects, and baking. Even on vacation, I prefer a very active one to a relaxing one. And I prefer waking early vs staying up late. But everyone is different, and some folks would hate the activities I enjoy! A sustainable level of activity for *you* is what’s most important. PS cleaning is at the bottom of my personal list

  6. I’m hugely impressed by your energy levels! It’s only this year that I made the conscious decision to go from a voracious consumer of content, to a creator of content, and that has changed how I make use of my time and attention. While I still follow my favourite TV shows, I’m down to maybe two, rather than the usual ten, and the time savings really add up!

    Thanks for sharing your day to day- it shows what’s possible when we have clear goals and intention.

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