Episode: 3 Essentials for Executive Moms

Megan Hyatt Miller: Hi, I’m Megan Hyatt Miller, and this is Lead to Win, our weekly podcast to help you win at work and succeed at life. The subject of this episode is vital for every working spouse out there, particularly women, but also their spouses. We’re talking about how to be a senior executive or leader and a mom at the same time.

For you guys in the audience, please stay tuned, because this episode is for you too. The things your partner faces affect the whole family, so there’s some great learning here for everybody, working women and spouses both. I’m joined today by one of my favorite executive moms, our chief marketing officer and cohost of the Focus on This podcast, Courtney Baker. Hey, Courtney.

Courtney Baker: Hey, Megan. Thanks for having me today.

Megan: I’m so glad you’re here. This is going to be fun.

Courtney: Yeah. This is a topic I am really passionate about. I know you put the disclaimer for men out there, but I also want to put the disclaimer for women who don’t have children.

Megan: Oh, yes. I agree.

Courtney: Because I think a lot of these things will help you as you think forward in your life.

Megan: Even if you don’t have children, some of these things are still going to be challenges for you.

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. So, today, obviously we’re talking about how to balance both and how to be in relationship with your spouse. For a lot of you ladies out there who are leaders…you’re leaders of people…at the end of the day, you’re exhausted. You come home, and the first thing that happens is, “Mom, what are we having for dinner? Mom, where are my shoes for soccer? Mom, Mom, Mom…” It just keeps going. It’s like you never got a break. There was no transition from work to home.

Megan: I totally agree. It can be exhausting, even if you have a strong partner. There’s just a lot of pressure. We’re really going to get into that today. It’s a lot.

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. It’s not easy, and I think that’s what we need to remind ourselves. It’s not easy, so we need a way to navigate through that.

Megan: That’s right. We do believe there’s a way to win at work and succeed at life, and today we’re going to show you the three essentials of that equation. Men, you have an interest in this too. If your wife is an executive or a professional, this information is going to be totally relevant to you as well. To help us have that conversation is our very own Larry Wilson. Hey, Larry.

Larry Wilson: Hey. I was going to say, “Hey, guys,” but that doesn’t seem really appropriate today.

Courtney: That’s right.

Megan: “Hey, folks.”

Larry: Well, I am pleased to be here with both of you. I have a question for you as we begin. I think there are a lot of guys out there who may be thinking, “Well, I’m an executive dad. That’s not an easy role for me also.” How is this specifically a topic for women?

Courtney: I think, as women, we feel like the CEO of the family, even if our spouse is a huge partner, which mine is, thankfully, and, Megan, yours is as well. Another factor for that, if you’re a male executive, you may or may not have a spouse who is working outside of the home, which also changes the dynamic in a huge way.

Megan: Right. Kind of like in the old model of this you would have a stay-at-home wife very often, like in the more traditional model, which, forget your opinions about whether or not that’s fair or where you come down on that; it was at least efficient. I think what it says is there are two full-time jobs to do, probably more than two full-time jobs.

Once we get into a situation where we have two professionals in a household, which we talked about in our last episode, now all of a sudden, very often, you default to the wife or the mom being an executive but also taking responsibility for running the home, and now you have someone with two full-time jobs.

Courtney: Right. It’s like as culture changed and we have a lot of households with two working individuals in the home, we’ve still kept this default of all of those roles that were previously someone at home still being roles for a woman.

Megan: I know. I think that’s how we end up with this whole cultural myth of “We can do it all.” First of all, we feel like, unconsciously, that we have to do it all. I mean, the kids have to get to soccer and the dentist and their well-child appointments and the school appointments and all that kind of stuff, but then we see people who are kind of touting this ideal of, “Oh, I can do the Pinterest birthday parties at school and I can lead my executive team.” The Pinterest gets me to no end, because it’s just not reality.

Courtney: It’s the same thing with Instagram. What we see of people’s lives, it looks like they can do it all. What we’re saying is that’s not possible. You can’t do it all. Period.

Megan: You can’t. This is the setup for guilt and shame. Whenever I talk to my professional friends, the thing that comes up for all of us at some level, depending on what season of life we’re in, is a sense of “I’m failing” or “I dropped the ball on that. I’m doing really well in these few areas of my life, but this thing I feel like I’m not getting.” We so fixate on the thing we’re not doing well that it can become a shame snowball if we don’t check it.

Courtney: Yeah, absolutely. Again, we mentioned this earlier. It’s like we move from one workplace to another workplace.

Megan: Yes. Such a good way to say it.

Courtney: It can all bleed into one another, and then you feel shame and failure, and it just trickles in that you just never have a space.

Megan: Have you ever had that thing happen where you’re driving home from work…? I think you have a little bit more of a commute than I do, but you get home, and you certainly haven’t been in the car an hour to transition. You get home, and like you said at the beginning, your kids run up to you and start asking you questions, and you have that weird out-of-body experience of you’re not where you just were but you’re not at home yet either.

Courtney: It’s like your brain is still churning away from all of the things that happened during the day, so your mind is literally still back at work but your body is at home. Actually, neither one of us has a very long commute at all. Maybe that’s one of our secrets. Ladies, get closer to your workplace.

Megan: That’s right. It helps, but the downside is you have to make a transition plan when you get home, which we’ll talk about later.

Courtney: So true. The thing is nobody can be super mom, and we’ve talked about that earlier. The reason I love Michael Hyatt & Company so much is that message of you can win at work and succeed at life. For a lot of women listening, that’s the reason they were attracted to this podcast, to Michael Hyatt & Company. It has been a really refreshing message to hear that that can be possible.

Megan: That’s definitely true for me. I think the payoff is that we can finally stop feeling guilty when we leave work and stress when we get home, and this is the most important part: we can be fully present in both of our roles, whether it’s as a professional or an executive and as a mom. Very often, we feel like we can’t be present at either. We’re going to show you how to do that today with these three essentials for success.

Larry: That brings us to the first essential: define the win at work and at home.

Courtney: One of the keys before you start talking about defining your win at work and at home is to figure out where the expectations are coming from, because they’re coming from all different directions. You have your family and how you were raised, how you saw your parents play this out in their lives. You have your own marriage and how your spouse expects your role to be, because they also grew up with their own parents who could have done things totally different.

You have culture, this invisible voice that’s constantly speaking to us. You have your religious tradition if you are religious. You have your work and the people you’re with day in and day out and what their expectations of success are, and then, obviously, we have our own self and our own expectations that we’ve thought for ourselves.

Megan: Right. Some of which we’re not even aware of, you know, we’ve kind of put on ourselves, like you said. It’s important to remember we can’t do it all. We’ve said that already. It’s not possible to be superwoman. You are not going to be able to do… Any more than you can do 100 percent of the things you need to have done in your business, you’re not going to be able to do 100 percent of the things that need to be done in your home or your family, so you’re going to have to start thinking in a category of “How do I define this idea of success on my own terms?”

I think that starts with asking, “What do I want from my career?” Most of us have asked that question in some form or fashion, so we have a vision for our professional life or our business and our role in that, but I think too often we haven’t asked that question at home. What matters to you, as a professional mom, when you think about the contribution you want to have to your family? That was a big turning point for me when I asked that question.

I remember this moment when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to do it all. My kids had some significant needs. Two of my five children were adopted at the same time from Uganda, and when they came home, they had some challenges they needed to have special care for, special time and attention. It was really clear to me very quickly that business as usual, both literally and figuratively, was not going to work for me and I had to make some hard decisions.

One of the things that became very clear to me was those school activities, like Pinterest parties and volunteering at school, were not things I could afford to do. Certainly, if that’s what you love and that’s part of how you define your win, that’s great, but for me it wasn’t. What I needed was to be home when my kids got home from school. I needed to prioritize family dinner and connection. For me, family dinner is my number-one priority as a family. Again, this is all subjective based on your vision for your family, but that was my own definition of success. I think, as women, we have to do that for ourselves.

Courtney: One thing you said that is so key is that is your own set of priorities. I think, as women, we really easily will opt in to what other people have decided are their priorities should also be my priorities. So I think as you’re asking yourself those questions, you have to be really in tune with yourself. If my cohost Blake was here right now, he would submarine down for a deep moment, but it really is how to be really in tune with who we are, what we want, what our desires are, and that’s difficult.

Megan: It is difficult, and in order to do that you have to let go of guilt, because you’re going to be saying no to doing a lot of things that other people think are important.

Courtney: Absolutely.

Megan: A lot of people will say, “You need to be doing this if you’re a good parent. Your kids need to be enrolled in the most aggressive, ambitious sports if you really want them to have a great future.” You can have your own opinion on that. Personally, that’s not my opinion, so that’s not where we’ve chosen to invest as a family. That’s an external value that somebody else has that I had to choose to say, “That’s not a priority for us.”

Courtney: One key for me when I ask these two questions of myself is actually to go 10 years in the future.

Megan: Oh, that’s so good.

Courtney: And think back on it. Actually, I really struggled early in my career. I was kind of pumping the ambition brake early before I even had children, because I thought, “How am I going to do all this?” I was already overwhelmed on just the work side. How could I be successful?

Megan: So you were kind of throttling what you wanted even then professionally.

Courtney: Absolutely. Somebody really wise said, “I want you to think 10 years ahead and think back on what you would have liked to have happen.” I just felt this external pressure that I should want to just be a mom and that I shouldn’t want a career, but because I played it out in the future and looked back, I was like, “No, I love doing what I get to do every day, and that’s important to me.” It may not be everyone’s decision, but for me, it was the right decision.

Megan: I think that’s really helpful.

Larry: I have a question for you both. We talk so much here at Michael Hyatt & Company about writing things down. Write your goals and write your Big 3 for the day. Have you actually written down your vision for what matters most at home?

Megan: I’ve done it in probably a more informal way than that. I don’t know that I’ve done it in some kind of formal statement, but I’ve definitely done it in journaling exercises and through other writing projects I’ve had. For me, what I want as the big umbrella is I want to be present for my kids, and how that looks, how that gets expressed in my family is that when my kids get home from school… This is flexing a little bit right now with being in newborn baby land. Everything is flexing with that. If you have a newborn baby or have had one somewhat recently, you remember that.

But generally speaking, I want to be present for my kids when they get home from school so I can hear about their day, and I want to be present at dinner. That doesn’t necessarily even mean I’m making dinner; it just means we are sitting at the table. We do this thing called the gratitude report where our kids share the thing they’re most grateful for and what the best part of their day was. That is like the cornerstone of our family time and is really important to me.

Larry: How do you define the win?

Courtney: Mine is similar in the sense that I want to be totally present at both places. When I’m at work, I want to be able to be fully present. I don’t want to feel guilt that I’m at work, and then when I get home, I want to be totally present with my husband and with my daughter. I want to feel like I’m not checking my phone, that my brain isn’t still at work, that I have totally checked out, and that I have a really clear set of boundaries of time that I spend with them each day.

Larry: So, for you both, where do these external expectations feel the strongest? Is it from family, from in-laws, from neighbors? Where do you feel the pressure?

Megan: In my case, I’m fortunate in that my mother-in-law was a professional. She’s recently retired, but she was a professional, so I think she probably had a bigger view of this, a more inclusive view than she might have, so that really hasn’t created tension. I would say where I feel pressure is other moms.

Courtney: Oh yeah. My story is very similar. My mother-in-law is also a professional. She still is an executive assistant today, so she really understands a lot of the things I deal with. I absolutely agree that a lot of times the pressure comes from other mothers.

Megan: I have to tell you a story, Courtney. I feel like you’re going to appreciate this. As I was thinking about this podcast, I was trying to remember some of these moments when push came to shove. My husband Joel and I were trying to figure some of this out not too long after I had become the chief operating officer here.

At the time, one of our kids was in kindergarten, and we had decided that I was going to drop the kids off in the morning and he was going to pick them up in the afternoon. It was what worked for our schedule at that point. We had a different arrangement. Good point that everything has to change seasonally as your life changes.

Anyway, one time we flip-flopped. He had a meeting or something, so I went to go pick up the kids in the afternoon. The teacher came up to the car in the car lot, and she said, “Oh, Megan, it’s so good to see you. We were really worried because we hadn’t seen you in a while.” I was like, “What? I drop the kids off every day.” Of course, you don’t see anybody when you drop kids off. There’s usually one person out there.

I thought, “Her expectation is that good moms pick their kids up from school.” Even though my husband and I were equally dividing it up, she was judging me, kind of in a funny, implicit way, for not being the one to pick up my children. It really was a gut punch. I remember going home to Joel and saying, “Am I failing? Is this arrangement we have not good? Are the kids going to be damaged because of this?” He was like, “No, it’s fine.” He was totally dismissive of it, like it’s not a big deal.

I actually think other women are often the culprit in this sense of guilt and shame, and the tension, often, between stay-at-home moms and working moms can be a big deal. Frankly, working moms do this to stay-at-home moms too, instead of creating enough space where everybody gets to make the best choice for their season of life and their family and all that. It’s terrible.

Courtney: Oh, totally. I am really fortunate that I have two best friends. One is a working mom and one is a stay-at-home mom. I have been blessed over and over again that we have really taken down that sense of judgment, and we’ve been able to collaborate in ways that I feel like would be so beneficial for women on both sides of that story, to really celebrate each other and the choice we each get to make.

Megan: I love that.

Courtney: One other interesting part of that is on the flip side, one of my friends told me a story about… He has three children, and he was taking them all to the grocery store to pick something up, and several women stopped him and were like, “Oh, you’re such a great dad.” Of course he is, but they went over the top to celebrate something that most women do on the regular. It’s an interesting dynamic that just awareness of is so helpful.

Megan: That’s a great story.

Larry: I can affirm that, Courtney. It is amazing how much praise I’ve received for doing the simplest things, like doing dishes and mentioning that in public. “What a great husband you are because you did the dishes one time.”

Courtney: I was wondering why you told me that every time you came to the office.

Megan: Or it’s like, “Joel is so great for keeping the kids, for babysitting the kids.” I’m like, “They’re his kids! He’s not babysitting. No one is getting paid in this scenario. He’s parenting.”

Larry: The first essential is to define the win at work and at home. That brings us to the second essential, which is to negotiate explicit agreements with your spouse.

Megan: Joel and I actually talked about this in the last episode about how to have two successful careers in one happy home. If you haven’t listened to that episode, that’s the subject of the entire thing, so I recommend you do that. Courtney, what do you think about this?

Courtney: Oh, I could not express how key this has been for my husband Chase and me. We have sat down and talked through how this is going to work for us on a day-in and day-out to a really minute level, and it has been absolutely game-changing for us.

Megan: I agree. Joel and I have done the same thing. First of all, I think you have to agree, if you have children, that you’re going to co-parent. This is a big idea. Either you haven’t thought about this, in which case this is a big idea, or maybe this is like no big deal because you’ve already thought about it. Regardless, the idea of co-parenting, particularly when you have two professionals in a marriage, is that there is no primary parent. There’s not going to be a default parent. You are both equally responsible for your children.

We were just laughing about how funny and ridiculous it is when people say to dads, “Oh, you’re so good for babysitting the kids.” It’s like, you’re not babysitting; they’re your children. You’re just parenting. When you co-parent with your spouse, first of all, it’s an amazing partnership. Your kids get the benefit of two really present, really involved, really committed people, and they have the benefit of those two role models. So I think it’s not only good for practical division of labor, but it’s also good for your marriage and for your kids.

Larry: Megan, I’d like to add to that. There’s actually some really good research behind that. It turns out that kids have better social skills and higher academic results when both their parents play with them and help out with homework and when the family eats together. So that co-parenting, co-involvement is super beneficial for children.

Megan: It really is. By the way, if you study this historically, this idea of one primary parent and Dad goes away all day while Mom is taking care of the kids… That is a post-Industrial Revolution convention. Before that, when we were in an agricultural culture, kids were with both parents all day. They might be out in the fields or in the kitchen or in the garden, but they had the benefit of two parents most of the time throughout history.

So this is a fairly recent thing that has happened, and I think we’ve all been losers because of it, because there’s so much that kids need from both of their parents to have the benefit… If you’re fortunate enough to have a two-parent family, to have two parents really hands-on parenting the kids is great.

Courtney: That’s awesome. I think as you’re talking about this with your spouse, there are a couple of questions you could talk through. The first is, “What do our kids need?” We’ve talked about this a lot, but this is not, “What are other parents doing?” That’s not the question. It’s what your children need. Your children are unique, and so are you, so that needs to be part of the conversation. The next question you could use is, “What matters most to us as parents?” And then, “What are the limitations we face?” Lastly, “How can we partner on these responsibilities?”

Megan: Like we talked about last time, you have to agree on how you’re going to manage your home. In the last episode, we talked about this idea that it’s not about fairness, which is really all about accounting; it’s about equality and equity, which is about balance. What we’re looking for is kind of like if you looked at it on a trend line, there’s balance between the two of you and how you share responsibilities, even though on a day-to-day basis it’s not going to be exactly 50-50. You’re going to negotiate this in ways that are relevant to your responsibilities and season of life and all that.

Courtney: I think it’s really key as you go into these questions to try to take out the gender-based roles or how you’ve had those set in your head. If you do that, you’re probably not going to be as successful as you could be if you can really come to the table and look at it almost like you would a work project. “We have this work to do. Who is going to do it, and who’s the best to do it?”

Megan: Also, it’s so important that you revisit these agreements on how you’re going to divide things up periodically…even regularly, I would say…as you both have a new job that comes up or, like in our case, have a new baby. We have totally had to rethink everything. Joel said in our last episode that our daughter Naomi, our new baby, is like a domino. There’s a whole chain reaction of things that have happened with her arrival that we’ve had to renegotiate and rethink, and that has required a lot of partnership and a lot of conversation around what works now, because what used to work and what we had been in for years, which was very successful, does not apply anymore.

Courtney: Just to add to that, my husband Chase and I actually have our roles and responsibilities for every night and morning written on a board in our kitchen, and we actually revisited it last night.

Megan: What changed? Were there big “ahas”?

Courtney: Basically, I was like… This feels a little nitpicky, but I think it illustrates to what level we’re talking about. I always load the dishwasher at night and start it. That’s something I do, and he always unloads it in the morning. On paper that seems equitable, but at night, it was taking me so long, because we were cooking these meals and stuff was everywhere. So at night, he would be in bed reading, and I would be slaving away still cleaning the kitchen.

I was like, “Hey, is there any way we could revisit this list?” We were able to do it in a way… It’s just black and white in a lot of ways. I was like, “Can we talk about maybe changing a couple of these? Because I feel like I’m spending a lot more time here and there are some other things I would like to get to.” Actually, we laughed a lot. So there are definitely ways to do these and have the conversations in a really successful, fun, lighthearted way that everybody wins.

Megan: What a great example.

Larry: Courtney, you remind me of the book Fair Play by Eve Rodsky. She organizes this very topic around a deck of cards. She calls it the 100 cards of fair play. They’re arranged into four suits, like the home suit, the caregiver suit, and a couple of others, and then each one has a whole set underneath it that adds up to 100 with very specific things, like bathing and grooming the kids or doing the dishes, as you say. The idea is to make it visual so you can both see clearly who owns what, and then you can trade or renegotiate as needed.

Megan: That is really cool.

Courtney: Yeah, I love that.

Megan: I think you would have to be careful if you are a female executive and you feel like your arrangement, maybe by default, is not really equitable and you’re going to now initiate this conversation. You have to be careful that as you step into that, you assume positive intent, you’re on the same page about trusting that the other person has your best interests at heart. If you have that foundation of high trust… I think for some men, they’re not even aware of how much has to be done to run a family.

Courtney: I was about to say, men out there, listen up. This is the way to score enough brownie points for the next three years. Whatever these cards are, bring them home. Your wife is going to be all mush. You’re going to have her. I mean, just to even start this conversation, honestly.

Megan: Yes. I love that idea. That’s a great idea. Honestly, if you’re a man listening and your wife maybe doesn’t work outside the home, this is still a relevant conversation. It makes it visual, because then all of a sudden you can see, “Oh my gosh! She has 75 cards and I have 25, and that clearly doesn’t make sense, so we have to rethink this a little bit.”

Larry: So, the first essential: define the win at work and at home. Second essential: negotiate explicit agreements with your spouse. That brings us to the third essential: initiate intentional self-care practices.

Megan: I love this topic, because it’s critically important and I think nobody feels like they have it in the bag, especially professional women. Your time is so tight, and I think we get a lot of pressure from the media and just out there in the atmosphere that we’re supposed to be doing this thing called self-care, that that’s somehow mission-critical for us to do what we want to do at home and at work, but it can be very elusive. Courtney, what has been your experience with that?

Courtney: It goes back to that guilt, especially for women. We feel like there are all of these things we should be doing that we don’t even allow ourselves to have time for ourselves. To be really intentional about that takes a lot of work. One of the things, for me, that I always start with is having boundaries at home. One thing I find really hard for me is when I try to do both things in the same space.

Megan: That’s a good point.

Courtney: If I’m trying to work at home and my daughter is downstairs, even if she’s with someone who’s taking care of her, for me (and this isn’t everybody), I just mentally have a really hard time, because I’m like, “I should be down there playing,” even though I’m trying to work, or vice-versa. For me, that was a boundary I had to set. When I come home, I am home, and when I am at work, I am at work. Mentally and physically, I try to connect those as much as possible.

Megan: That’s a really good point. I think we have two things going on with self-care that can be problematic. One is that we get this pressure that our self-care is supposed to be part of our superwoman complex, that we’re supposed to go work out and do CrossFit for an hour and a half and we’re supposed to be regularly having spa days and we’re supposed to be regularly out having girls’ nights, and all these things, and it can feel crushing, like another job is your self-care, and that completely defeats the purpose. Or it can feel like you don’t give yourself permission to take care of yourself. Either one of those is really problematic.

I like to think of it as… First of all, it has to be relevant to the season of life you’re in. If you are a professional woman who’s an empty-nester, this is going to look completely different for you than if you just came back from maternity leave with a new baby. Don’t ask me how I know this. Or if you have school-age children who you drop off at school at 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. These are all very different seasons of life, and if you take somebody else’s idea of self-care and try to superimpose it into your situation, you’re going to just feel like you’re failing all the time, and it’s terrible.

Courtney: The thing that has been really revolutionary for me is my rituals.

Megan: Me too.

Courtney: Those do change for me, but that is where I’ve really been able to establish how I’m going to take care of myself. In the most stressful seasons of life, the times we especially need self-care, those rituals can kind of go by the wayside. For me, over and over again, I just hold to those, even if they need to change.

Megan: And they often do.

Courtney: And they do. They need to be shorter or different, but still holding on to something, even if it’s five minutes.

Megan: I agree. By the way, if you don’t know what we’re talking about, this is a concept that comes out of the Free to Focus book that my dad wrote and also the Full Focus Planner. Inside the Full Focus Planner is a place for you to build your morning and evening rituals and also your workday startup and shutdown rituals. The idea here is that you want to have good transitions, that you want to create space for the things that matter, but, again, these are relevant to you, to your season of life.

For example, in my case, when we brought Naomi home… I had a much more elaborate morning ritual that I used to do. That seems like a distant memory, but now what I do is while I’m feeding her, because the way Joel and I have divided things up, he’s doing some things with the kids, getting them ready in the morning, and I feed her, and while I’m feeding her, I read my devotional, which takes me about five minutes, and I fill out my Full Focus Planner for the day.

She usually goes to sleep at some point in there, and that works out well. That’s probably 15 minutes is my morning ritual. I also go on a walk later, and the way we’ve worked that out is while Joel is taking the kids to school he also takes Naomi so that I have about 35 to 40 minutes to walk. That’s really basic and real life, but that’s my self-care.

Courtney: I love that. I love that you and Joel seem like you really advocate for each other to have that.

Megan: Yes, we do.

Courtney: Again, regardless if you are a man or a woman listening, this is something you can advocate for your spouse, like, “Hey, tonight would you like to opt out of this thing that you were going to do and go take a walk?” Talk about some brownie points. I’m giving all the men all the…

Megan: I know. We’re making it easy for you guys. Joel and I, actually just last week, realized it was time to overhaul this at another level, and we created a Google calendar for the time that we spend at home, kind of this Ideal Week concept that is also in the Full Focus Planner. Usually we think about that relative to work. You know, how do you time-block your days at work so you can mega-batch, as we call it, your most important tasks and priorities so you get a lot of efficiency. Well, sometimes we don’t think enough about what is happening outside of work.

We realized that if we were going to both exercise, if we were both going to have time to ourselves, if we were going to get the rejuvenation we needed to meet the high demands of our lives, we really needed to figure it out on a schedule, kind of like a budget. We did it, and it was challenging in a way to get to those answers. It felt like there wasn’t enough time, but we did figure it out, and I think there’s a new level of alignment and support for each other on the other side of that, because while our intentions were supportive before, we didn’t really have the practical part figured out. Figuring out the practical part enables us to get behind that intention with action and support each other.

Courtney: I love that.

Megan: Courtney, one other thing that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention is that you have to give yourself grace around self-care, because you’re not always going to do what you plan to do. You’re going to have a situation where the baby is not sleeping through the night or one of your kids is sick or you had to travel or you came home late from a trip or there was an activity at church. Something is going to disrupt your plans. That is just life, and we need to anticipate that and not fight it and not feel rigid or like we’re failing. We need to make room for life to happen.

In my mind, when I fill out my Full Focus Planner each week… In the new editions of the Full Focus Planner there’s a self-care planner that asks you what you’re going to do in the coming week around rest and nutrition and movement and connection and relaxation, really basic five categories. I always have a plan for that. I love that because it keeps it top of mind. But I probably hit 80 percent of that on a pretty good week. I never hit 100 percent, because what do I hit 100 percent of in my life? It’s just not reality.

Larry: Well, today we have learned that every executive mom can win at work and succeed at life by locking in three essentials for success: define the win at work and at home, negotiate explicit agreements with your spouse, and initiate consistent self-care practices. So, Megan and Courtney, final thoughts for our listeners.

Courtney: I know I mentioned earlier how important I think this is also for women who may not be married yet. Maybe that’s down the road for you. I think this is key to be thinking about these ahead of time, or if that’s on the horizon, to have these discussions early in your relationship. That would help to know that you have a really supportive partner out of the gate. We’ve said this over and over again: grace is so key, and to be really intentional and aware of what you want. No one else can tell you what you want. It’s hard work to get there sometimes, and there are a lot of pressures. So, you’ve got it. You can do it.

Megan: I totally agree.

Courtney: You can win at work and succeed at life.

Megan: You can win at work and succeed at life. You can’t do it all. You’re not going to be superwoman. That’s impossible. But you can win at work and succeed at life, and you can succeed at the things that matter most to you if you’ll think about it through the lens of these three essentials.

Larry: Well, if I may, I’ll add in a final thought of my own for the men out there. Guys, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by helping your wife succeed in both areas and both domains. So, Courtney and Megan, thank you for this very helpful episode today.

Megan: Thanks, Larry, and thank you for joining us today. We’ll see you right here next week. Until then, lead to win.