This instalment of my Working Mom Series features Suzanne from Let’s Be Chefs. I met Suzanne when she approached me to review her meal planning app. It’s a great app, but I still suck at meal planning!
Because Suzanne is CEO of her own company she works a lot – but she also has some flexibility as a work from home mom. Read on to hear how days go!
Describe your home life – how old are your kids? Does your spouse work as well? Or are you a single parent?
I work from home while watching my 2.5 year old son. My husband and I work together (he founded Let’s Be Chefs with me and is the CTO), so the lines between work and family can definitely blur together.
What do you do? Describe your working life.
I’m the Founder and CEO of Let’s Be Chefs, which is an app-based service that saves you time getting home-cooked meals on the table. As the CEO, my job varies a lot day-to-day; I’m the chef, photographer, copy writer, head of marketing, PR, HR, product manager, head of customer service, janitor, and much more. I also need to juggle my son’s activities since he’s at home with me. It’s pretty crazy at times. I’m constantly learning new things and am frequently working outside of my comfort zone.
It varies a lot, but generally 40-60.
How soon did you return to work after having a child? And is your work life the same now (same job, or role at that job?)
When my son was born, we were right in the middle of launching a prior business, so I think I only took about a week or so off (though with a much lighter workload). Now, I’m still an entrepreneur, but founded a new company and my role is quite different. I was doing a lot more marketing and advertising before, whereas now I’m the CEO.
What do you do to treat yourself? Do you have something in your routine that you do just for you?
About once a month, I take a night off to go out with my girlfriends. We usually just go to someone’s house and hang out, talk, and play games, but it’s a nice break from work and it’s great to spend time with friends when we’re not having to keep an eye on the kids. My husband and I also go out to dinner, just the two of us, a few times a month.
Touch on your most and least favourite things about being a working parent.
My favourite thing is that I feel like I’m really accomplishing something that is my own. I’m very proud of my son, but I don’t want my self-worth to be tied to his accomplishments. With Let’s Be Chefs, I’m really making a difference in peoples’ lives, and that’s very rewarding for me.
My least favourite part is that my life is completely and totally insane at times. There have been days (and weeks!) when every minute of every day is accounted for, the emails are pouring in faster than I can answer them, and it’s 6 pm before I realize I haven’t eaten anything yet that day. I’m pretty sure that 99% of people would spontaneously combust if they were thrown into my life for a day. So there’s that.
What are your goals going forward?
I’d like to make Let’s Be Chefs a service that people absolutely love. We’re putting a lot of effort into getting feedback from customers, and iterating the product as quickly as we can to ensure that our users are getting the best product possible. I’m also pretty happy with the quality and amount of time that I’ve been able to give my son, so I’d like to continue down that path as he gets older.
Any tips to share for balance in your life?
I don’t think it’s always possible to strike a perfect balance (some weeks are busier than others at work) and I think it’s too much pressure to put on yourself to expect perfection. So my advice is to embrace the chaos. For example, one day, my son really wanted to play with me, but I had to take a customer support call. So I built a fort in his playroom, brought in my laptop, and worked from inside the fort. He was happy and I was still able to do my work.
Suzanne Hayen is the Founder and CEO of Let’s Be Chefs, an app-based service that saves you time getting home-cooked meals on the table. Her background is in Aerospace Engineering, but she loves being an entrepreneur now. Suzanne lives in Colorado with her husband and 2.5 year old son, and loves hiking, eating sushi, and travelling.
If you enjoy this series, click here to read the other ladies who’ve volunteered their stories. Then subscribe to my blog so you’ll get my posts delivered right to your inbox.