By Bullseye Strategy Staff
As Mother’s Day approaches, we caught up with one of the most extraordinary working mothers we know: Bullseye Strategy Agency co-owner Maria Harrison, who was just awarded The Commonwealth Institute South Florida Top Women in Business award for the second year in a row. Squarely in the category of “I Don’t Know How She Does It” moms, Maria has somehow managed to balance growing our 10-year-old digital agency and the growth of her 12-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son, without missing a beat (or a workout). In between meetings and sessions on Bullseye Strategy’s treadmill desk, we managed to snag her insights on working mom challenges, finding balance…and why it’s a good idea to do laundry before 5 a.m.
Q. Describe your “day in the life” as a working mom of two kids and a small business owner.
A. It starts at 4:45 a.m. I go to the gym at 5:30, so I sleep-walk to the laundry room and do a load of laundry while drinking my thermogenic energy booster for the gym. I get in at least an hour of weight training and cardio before I head home. Then I wake the kids, feed them, pack their lunches and eat my own breakfast. I’m then off to work, doing my makeup and checking emails on my phone at the traffic lights (I get beeped at–a LOT –but never look at the phone while rolling!).
At work, I am very focused and productive–yet, if I get a call that the babysitter cancels, I still have to be a mom. It’s a juggle, not a balance.
After a full day at the office, I head home, then assemble (rather than cook) a dinner from a one-pan recipe I found on Pinterest–because any more than that is too much.
I am usually shuttling the kids around to their various activities between 7 and 9 pm, then it’s a battle to get them to go to sleep before I collapse at 9:30 p.m.
Q. All that in one day, including laundry and an hour-long workout! What is your secret?
A. My secret really is taking that one hour for myself in the morning. It’s the one thing I do that’s for myself, and it keeps me sane and focused the rest of the day. My advice for moms is to put yourself first at least once a day, as hard as that is to do.
Q. How do you prioritize what to focus on and what won’t make your to-do list?
A. It’s a constant, real-time reprioritization of what’s important and recognizing that everything that’s not a top priority is going to be “extra.” I’m not cooking five-course meals and I’ve whittled down my networking and community service, which were constant parts of my life pre-kids, to really focus on the things that matter to me most, like serving on the Orange Bowl Committee to combine my love of sports and love of community outreach.
Q. How do you feel about being recognized for a second year in a row by The Commonwealth Institute South Florida as a Top Women in Business?
A. It’s an honor to be recognized by women I truly look up to. It means a lot to me to be named as a leader alongside executives at some of the world’s biggest brands. And, as the co-founder of a partially female-owned business, I appreciate that TCI recognizes the value of female leadership in business
Q. You came of age in an era when the generation before you had just begun to crack glass ceilings. What challenges do you believe still remain for working moms–and what is your hope for when your daughter is old enough to be a working mom?
A. My hope is that we can let go of the myth that women should be expected to have it all–and to be it all: the perfect spouse, the career woman, who looks like a Barbie Doll and cooks the perfect meal from scratch. That we’re supposed to dress like Kendall Jenner and have the brains of Michelle Obama. We need to stop putting pressure on women to work if they don’t want to work, or stay home if they want to focus on a career. I want my daughter and people in her generation to focus on being happy, whatever that means for them.
Q. What would be your dream way to celebrate Mother’s Day?
A. Hmmm. It’s a tie between sleeping in all day, and a trip to Italy to stay in my own private villa with my family. But I’d settle for just one day with my kids not fighting (add “Referee” to the many titles I have!)