Life as a modern mom requires juggling skills. Not that women from any time period in the past had it any easier, it just seems like there are a few more balls in the air these days for many of us mamas. A modern day mom not only has to juggle an active household but she also a burgeoning career to add into the mix. What’s a woman to do when a child(ren) enters her life? There are choices to be made: stay at home, work full-time with the child in daycare, reduce her schedule so that she can spend more time at home but still keep her professional life running, change careers to job that requires less time away from home. Whatever the decision, it’s never seems to be an easy one.
Integral to happy working mamas are businesses who work with a woman’s schedule to keep her productive in both her professional life and home life. Does this company even exist… this mythical company that respects the work/ life balance? Holley Ford is the office administrator for Intergalactic Productions, the group that owns and manages some of Austin’s favorite restaurants: Galaxy Cafe, Top Notch Burgers, and Zocalo Cafe. Within minutes of hearing her story, I knew she would be an inspiration to some moms who are struggling with the choices above.
Just how does she juggle her career and family life in the fast paced restaurant business? Find out below!
LM: How many kids do you have? What are their ages?
Holley: I have two kids. Elsie- age 6 and Jonah-age 3
LM: Are you a native Austinite? If not, where are you originally from?
Holley: I am not native to Austin although I have lived here for 14 years. I grew up mostly in the Seattle area. I moved to Austin in my early 20’s and I just stayed. I remember thinking then how cool it would have been to be a kid in Austin. The swimming holes, Blues on the Green, Zilker Hillside Theater. Now I get to take my kids to those places.
LM: Tell us what a typical day (Monday- Friday) is like in your life.
Holley: My schedule is definitely a juggle. I work full days Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, and I work from 6am to 9am on Tuesday and Friday. I work the early mornings so I an get work in before my husband goes to work. This way I still get almost 4 full days with my kids, and we can both work without needing day care. The days I work 8 hours, I get up at 6:30 with my kids, make them breakfast, have some tea and go for a run before work. After work, I come home and hang out with them before they go to bed. Once they go to bed, I have dinner with my husband. On my off days we do all the fun stuff- swimming, movies, whatever we want. I love the summer because my kids are home all day- less to juggle when school is out.
LM: What are some of your favorite activities to do with your family in Austin?
Holley: We love the Botanical Gardens, Alamo Draft House free movies at 9:45 am any day of the week, and Blues on the Green.
Holley: I would run 4 miles around the lake, swim at Barton Springs and take a long nap in the shade. I would have dinner at Lenoir because it is my favorite restaurant in town, and I would go hear music at the Continental Club.
LM: How do you manage your busy life as a working mom? Any tips you can share?
Holley:Working with kids is really challenging at times but in some ways it’s a nice balance. I get a lot of kid time and some adult time too. I am really lucky because I have a very flexible job, and I work for three great people. Since I decided to have a family, they have altered my job little by to little to make it work for me. The only tip I would give is to make the time you do have with your kids count. Whether is it a whole day or just breakfast and dinner some days, be present with them. I grew up with two parents who worked full time but they were wonderful and I always knew how much they loved me.<
LM: What do you love most about working in the restaurant industry?
Holley: I love the people, and, in the case of working for Galaxy, the food. I am a social butterfly and a foodie so restaurants are right up my alley. Before I had kids, I was the general manager of the Galaxy Café on West Lynn, and so many of those customers have become my dear friends. Galaxy Café has really been a second home for me.
LM: What do you like most about living in Austin? And your least favorite?
Holley:My favorite thing about living in Austin is that you can always find something fun to do whether it is with your kids or for a date night. My lease favorite is probably the traffic.
LM: If you could give one piece of unsolicited advice to a new mom, what would it be?
Holley: Probably to worry less. When I had Elsie, I was always worried about everything. When you bring your first child into the world you just want everything to be so perfect. After they get a little bigger and you have another one you remember that nothing is perfect, and you realize that those little babies are pretty tough. The most important thing you have to do is love them.