Episode 184 // Homeschool + Daycare

July 10, 2018

A huge part of our boss identity is that we’re also moms. Being creative business owners has allowed us to parent the way we want, and we know a lot of our boss listeners are also mothers or want to be mothers. So today, we’re sharing our own boss parenting styles and how we balance work and life as moms and business owners.

Learn More about the Topics Discussed in this Episode
This Episode Brought to You By:
"Think about childcare as much of an investment as a business investment."
- Kathleen Shannon

Discussed in this Episode

  • Finding work/life balance as a boss and a mom
  • The decision to be work-at-home moms
  • Emily's decision to homeschool
  • Kathleen's decision to daycare

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Kathleen Shannon 0:00
Hey Emily, guess what I'm looking forward to

Emily Thompson 0:03
if I had to guess I'd say your next meal all through that.

Kathleen Shannon 0:07
But even more than that I'm looking forward to our annual being boss vacation in New Orleans.

Emily Thompson 0:13
Same. We still have a handful of tickets left. So if you've been wanting to join us on our annual being boss vacation in New Orleans and consider this your sign to join us for a live podcast, recording, masterclasses and workshops, and an epic Abbas celebration and more with me, Kathleen and your creative peers from all over the world

Kathleen Shannon 0:35
in the most magical city in the whole world, right?

Emily Thompson 0:39

Kathleen Shannon 0:40
All right. The being boss vacation is happening September 26. To the 28th in New Orleans. Go to being boss club slash Nola. For all the details.

Emily Thompson 0:50
We hope to see you there.

Kathleen Shannon 0:55
Hello, and welcome to being boss, a podcast

Emily Thompson 0:57
for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson. And I'm Kathleen Shannon. In this episode of being boss, Kathleen and I are talking all about homeschool, daycare, and what all goes into being boss and being mom. As always you can find all the tools, books and links we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 1:26
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Emily Thompson 2:49
all day every day.

Kathleen Shannon 2:52
We're speaking of all day, every day. Today we are talking about being moms and being bosses. So this is a topic that we talked about early in our podcasting career. And our kiddos were younger and different than they are now. So we thought that we would do an episode all about how we're managing work and life, specifically around being moms and being bosses and the decisions that we have to make and the things we have to juggle. And I'm excited to talk about it. So let's dive in. Maybe we should let our listeners know for those of them who haven't been listening for a while we both have one child each. I have a kiddo His name is Fox. He is four years old.

Emily Thompson 3:35
Right? And I have one also Lily, and she is 10 years old. So it's funny whenever we started this podcast, Fox was more or less a baby. Lily was like an angsty preteen but six is not an angsty preteen, but kind of in a lot of ways, is the same. So in so many ways, like, I feel like our business has grown as our children have grown. And through that both like as business grows, and as our children have grown, our relationships between the two with, you know, us and our kid us in our work. And then sort of the love triangle that goes on between those three things have shifted over the past 234 years. So I'm excited to revisit this topic because I feel like of all the work life balance that you and I have in our work in life. I feel like we're most able to sort of keep a really good balance and separation between you know, being boss and being a mom. I oftentimes talk to clients or to people who follow me on social media. And sometimes they're surprised to know I have a kid like I feel like I'm pretty good at keeping that pretty separate you a little less so especially on social media, but whenever it comes to work, you're probably more separated than I am, which is fantastic. So I'm excited to dive into all of that.

Kathleen Shannon 4:56
So I went to before we really dive in To where we're at with our kids now and what it's like and all the things I want to go all the way back. So did you know that you wanted to be like, oh, work from home mom did having a kid factor into your decision to be an entrepreneur? Tell me more about like, from the very beginning what your expectations were?

Emily Thompson 5:20
Sure. So whenever it was really time for me to Super, like join the adult workforce, I had just had Lily. And I remember one of the decisions being, am I going to go get a grown up job, or am I going to stay at home with Lily. So really, immediately, it was the choice of I'd rather be a work at home mom, then to put Lily into daycare or to, you know, figure out some other solution. I also I'm a total homebody and a lot of ways, and you know, my home is where I'm most comfortable. It's also where I'm most, I feel like I'm most creative and most able to be myself. So it wasn't just about staying home with Lola, it was also just staying home and a lot of ways. So that was actually one of the it was the decision that really led me or at least one of the decisions that really led me into being my own boss and starting my own business and working from home, was because I wanted to stay home

Kathleen Shannon 6:24
with Lily. But I really think that that distinction of you just wanting to stay home, in general is a really good one that I've never really thought about before, because it is nice to be able to hang out in your house.

Emily Thompson 6:37
Yeah, I mean, I always think it's funny when you joke around about working, you know, just a couple feet from your refrigerator. And though you say it, I feel it just as much as you say it. And that's not to say that I haven't had offices outside of the home a couple of times in the past, because I have I took the studio into a physical, you know, brick and mortar workspace, at one point actually twice before, I've definitely worked outside of the home since then. But it's always very close to home. And I obviously keep coming back home, I do love, you know, putting around my house and taking my lunch breaks on my front porch. And, you know, not having to rush out the door in the morning, which I think we'll be talking about a whole lot in a minute. I really like life at home.

Kathleen Shannon 7:24
Okay, so I want to talk a little bit more. And we can dig into my situation because ours were almost completely opposite in the way that we've handled childcare and working from home and all of that stuff. And what I love about it that we have such different experiences is that we are so non judgmental about each other's experiences. It's almost just like is what it is. And I wish that all moms were this way with each other, like just empowering each other's choices and going with it. And so it is whatever works for you. I want to talk a little bit about Lily now. homeschools.

Emily Thompson 8:00
Yes. Cool.

Kathleen Shannon 8:03
So what made you decide to homeschool? And has that been the vibe like the whole time? Have you tried different things? Tell me what's going on now. And like how you've led up to that

Emily Thompson 8:15
point, for sure. So anyone who's like no, no pregnant person or has ever been pregnant. I feel like all moms have that one thing they preach about like all pregnant, like new moms. And so for a lot. It's like I will breastfeed for two years, or I'm going to co sleep or I'll never go sleep or whatever it may be, they just have this thing they preach. The thing that I preached was that I was going to homeschool. That was my thing. And I was going to do all these things. So from very early on, I was going to homeschool but I will also say you know, I decided to stay home with Lily from the very beginning. She does homeschool now and is obviously at home with us in doing that. But throughout the process, we've gone through almost every childcare option. So she was in daycare at one point she went to kindergarten like all the other kids. I've had people come into the house and keep her at home as she's gone out of the house to stay you know with a babysitter or whatever it may be we've done we've run the full gamut pretty much um and but Home is where we always come back to and after that first year of school after going to kindergarten. And I think that was even the point when we had the out of house studios we had the physical studio space and it was easier for us to have you know the traditional life of getting up every morning taking the kids to school going to work leaving work to go pick her up and then coming home. We ran that that usual routine. But and I don't I still don't know if it was me wanting to homeschool that made this happen or if like Lily turned out this way and it made homeschool be the most viable option but her in school didn't get along well and it made her really tired. I don't Don't know if you've put her in too early or she just wasn't cut out for it, or what I really think it was. And I can preach about this all day as I think the school system is quite a bit messed up and not meant to not really meant to suit all kids. And it didn't suit Lily at all. So we went through kindergarten, and she would come home every day, and just pass out cold. And I remember day after day having to like get her out of bed, put her at the dinner table while she was asleep, like trying to force food down her just so I could like pick her up and go put her back in bed. And that was most days and not even. That's not even, you know, the fact that she was coming home every other weekend with a new bug and like was sick all the time.

Kathleen Shannon 10:42
And living I'm living my dream. Right, right, right.

Emily Thompson 10:46
Like it really mess with our lives like we could not live because Lily was in school. And it was it was she wasn't reacting to it in the way that we wanted. She also had a really weird like teacher experience. Like it was just not the best experience like first year of school. And we almost took her out mid year. I remember watching a TED talk. And some of you may know what it is we'll find it and put it in the show notes. There's this TED talk by this kid. He's like 789 years old. And he's talking about being unschooled. And remember watching that TED talk by this adorable kid at Christmas break of Lily's kindergarten year and us almost not sending her back to school, because it was speaking to me and all of the ways like I knew that that's what I wanted to do. I knew that that's the sort of education experience I want. I wanted fully to have, we went ahead and decided to keep her in for her for the rest of her first year. But then after that we were done. And we've homeschooled ever since. And that was I think that was low, about four years ago now.

Kathleen Shannon 11:50
Okay, so you and your partner David, Lily's Dad, you work together. Now you guys are running businesses together? How do you create structure? And how do you divide and conquer with roles? Like how do you just truly have to balance it? Because she's in the house with you all day? Or maybe not? Like what is the day to day like for you and your family?

Emily Thompson 12:15
I feel like that's such a loaded question with lots of expectations, like what is the day like No two days are ever the same. Just like any entrepreneur, like we've definitely attached ourselves to this lifestyle where there is no really solid routine. Obviously, with Lily, we've tried to create routine because that does nurture all kinds of things. And we see that but it's not a day to day we more we have more of a weekly routine, more so than a day to day. No one's really getting out of bed, or at least not making any noise until 8am every single day, every single day. That's probably one of my favorite things about living and working in this way is that we're not like getting up and rushing out of the house. Or not like stressed, like our mornings are very chill, we get to have breakfast together every morning we usually spend when the weather's nice some amount of time like either on the front porch or walking around the yard like we're, we're together we're spending our mornings usually pretty calmly together. So that's probably like, the only thing that's pretty much the same always.

Kathleen Shannon 13:18
So nobody's like waking up angry or crying or whining. Nope, that's awesome. Okay, keep going. Right, we'll

Emily Thompson 13:27
do. So we have our mornings, usually about 9am is when like things actually super start happening in terms of everyone's responsibilities. But he does have a tutor that comes in twice a week at the moment that relationship has changed a couple of times, and will probably change a couple more times over the next couple of years depending on the lady's needs. She comes in and tutors Lily for about two and a half, three hours twice a week. And sometimes they'll leave the house they'll go do things out and about around town or they'll sit at the dining room table or on the couch. And that gives David and I usually time just like hit the ground running with work stuff. So he'll be doing whatever he does. I'll come in and do whatever I need to do and that's when we usually have the most focus work time. There's also two days a week that Lily Lily does her rock climbing practice she's on a rock climbing team so she was she spends two and a half hours each week now I guess five hours two and a half hours twice a week. Rock Climbing so David will take her drop her off and then that gives him also a little more time to do the work stuff that he needs to do.

Kathleen Shannon 14:33
And I love that rock climbing as a part of her curriculum like I think what I love the most about homeschooling or even unschooling is that I guess unschooling there is no curriculum, but getting to design their experience in a way that suits them. And as we know as entrepreneurs, your education and your experiences are a part of your education, it is so much more than that traditional, you know nine to five, here's what you're learning at school. It really is about all the things and I love that, you know, starting at a really young age, Lily is able to blend more of who she is into the schoolwork that she does. And that rock climbing is just as much a part of that as math or science or reading and writing. Absolutely.

Emily Thompson 15:19
That's also super true when it comes to like actual learning things as well. So every quarter as she does one sort of one homeschool class, like there are workshops and classes and things around town, and we let her choose one every quarter, every six months, however often they go. And so we'll lay them all out for her, like you can go to the aquarium and do this, this or this, or you can go to the Children's Museum and do this, this or this or that there's also this option, which one do you want to do, and so choose whatever she's interested in, in that moment, whether it's science or cooking, or you know, whatever it may be, she gets to completely and utterly choose what it is that she's learning within reason. Like, we may not give her some options when we think you know, it's time for some really hardcore curriculum stuff. Whereas for example, the summer, we're actually going to stop tutoring for a while. And she's going to go back and do some music lessons that she wants to do so. So we really give her the option to choose what it is that she wants to learn. And so we're investing in her education. But it's her education, and which is something that we love having the ability to do.

Kathleen Shannon 16:31
I love this so much. So what about like, accreditation? Or am I even using the word right,

Emily Thompson 16:37
right? I mean, no. And yes, every state is super different. So most of the states in the south are pretty, like, pretty easy going on things like home school, and I think they should be I don't think there should be tons of regulations. whenever it comes to homeschooling, you usually have to choose what they call, at least in some states, they call it an umbrella school. So Lily actually is a member of a school. I don't I don't know which one it is. And this is one of those things where David is responsible for all of this, I have no idea I can probably find it if I needed to, I could definitely ask him, but she is a member of a school. And it's usually just, we've seen some that's like, you know, just some like hippie mom out in the woods that started like a quote unquote, school that all her like hippie friends add their kids to, and it counts. So they can either be super legit. And there are some super legit ones, a lot of them are also very faith based. But then some of them are super hippie dippie. And they don't care at all. Some of them require you to send them things like grades and attendance, some of them don't care at all. So there really is like a full, a full spectrum of what you can what you can get yourself into. And we always do a lot of research, we did it whenever we added her to a school in Alabama. And also, whenever we moved to Tennessee to really find one that was going to that was going to be really perfect for what we wanted. So depending on what school you add yourself to, will dictate what it is that you actually have to have to deliver, I guess at that school, and then whenever it comes to, I guess going to college and apply and like getting your diploma those sorts of things. Again, depending on what state you're in there is they may be required to take some tests, or definitely like getting a GED is something that Lily is interested in doing probably earlier than most, and she has the opportunity to do those things. But in the south, at least where we've been living, it's pretty lenient, you can find whatever suits your wants and needs, and we tend to go more towards the unschooling route. Technically, though, obviously, we have quite a bit of curriculum going on.

Kathleen Shannon 18:47
And then what are your roles? Like whenever it comes to your work week? And then David's work week? Do you guys shift? Who is the primary with Lilly? Or how do you divide and conquer? Or are you dividing at all? Like, how do you do all of the things? Sure. So

Emily Thompson 19:04
I mean, in reality, I'm in here working full time, so very little Am I out and about doing things I may leave occasionally and make lunch for everyone. But more often, they are actually making lunch for me, which is actually also one of my favorite things about this, like Billy will oftentimes just bring me fresh baked cookies while I'm working and I can have fresh baked cookies because that's what she wanted to do that day. So they are definitely out there doing their thing. And David also does a lot of teaching with Lily as well. They have workbooks and and things that they'll do together. David is I guess if I had to call it like primary caregiver like he's also the one taking her to the doctor or to the dentist and those sorts of things. Because his workload is also significantly less than mine just as important but like high more highly systemized than what it is that I do. He's able to just come in touch work pretty Briefly and have a lot more free time. So David is doing more of that stuff. But sometimes I'll also I'll get involved as well. We will, you know, do lots of outside things or like planting or going on hikes. And I'm usually involved in those kinds of things. Well, then I will also occasionally like have a book that we'll read together for a while, or whatever it may be, whenever it comes to things like that, I tend to, I think be a little more like, have my teacher hat on, I'm like, all right, book report. And she's like bla, whereas David and Lily, if they're reading, it's just for fun. So it, we do have a really good dynamic between those two things. But if I like really had to paint the picture, I am pretty much in here working, you know, 3040 hour workweeks while David is doing most of the taking care of Lily. But then I'm also able to leave though, and you know, I'm cooking dinner, or we're definitely making breakfast together. And we're having like regular family time, but during the work day, it's mostly David.

Kathleen Shannon 20:57
Let's say I decided I wanted to homeschool, because you've made it sound super dreamy, but super dreamy. I don't have a partner who could be home during the day as well. So well, we're

Emily Thompson 21:08
gonna get shit done.

Kathleen Shannon 21:10
Right? So Exactly. So like, if you had to imagine that David's going off and getting a full time job. And you are doing, you know, Almanac and all the things, do you think that you could do it?

Emily Thompson 21:24
I think I could more do it now than I could have a couple of years ago, because the way he is older, she's much more able to just entertain herself for an hour or two, even like there have even been evenings where your afternoons where you and I are recording and David has to go do things, and Lily's in there hanging out alone while I'm in here, like obviously very into whatever it is that we're doing. So now that she is older, I think would be much more possible, I there would have to be some hardcore shifts in how we did things, I would probably have to outsource a lot more of her learning or outsource a lot more of my work in order to make that happen. But if she were younger, if she were like first second grade, I don't think that would be as possible there would have to be someone in the house pretty much full time helping make that happen.

Kathleen Shannon 22:14
So do you think about grades like do you think about she's in the first grade or the second grader? Do you think in that?

Emily Thompson 22:20
Yeah, but and like most parents, but I think more so I have no idea. Like it's one of those things, I really have to stop and think about it sometimes because I don't have that like consistent reminder. Yes, we are, I guess more or less tracking that sort of stuff. She's in a fourth? Oh, my God is she is she in the fourth grade. Now that I'm saying it, I'm not even sure that that's true. Hmm, she's even in the third or fourth grade. Thank you for putting me on the spot. And we'll continue we'll continue tracking a lot of that stuff. He her tutor, who also teaches at a local school, who does some and some other tutoring. Also does she probably does the best job of really keeping Lily on track because she has that she has other kids to compare her to, I guess, and those experiences whereas you know, David and I have nothing to compare her to, like really like what reading level is yet you know, I'm, you know, that asshole overachiever over here that's always like, Oh my god, what or she's not getting it. But then her tutor will come in and be like, you know, she's doing so great. Like having that outside person really helps the Type A me deal with not having something to compare it to not that it's about comparing and that should be right. But I'm human. That's what I do.

Kathleen Shannon 23:38
Um, if you feel comfortable talking about it, I want to make sure that I protect you know, our kiddos and their experiences, because it's different from us. But do you guys ever butt heads whenever it comes to? Being the teacher? the authority of the mom or the dad? Like? How do you balance that part of it?

Emily Thompson 23:55
lots of conversations, for sure. I mean, David is significantly more passive than I am, I definitely tend to be more aggressive and like, let's follow, like, set up the boundaries and follow them. Whereas David's like, let's just have fun and plant all the things and you know, all the fun stuff, which is fine. But there definitely has been times where I need structure, and I need the lead to have that structure as well. And David is it's just more fun than I am, which I totally see or especially in regards to let's say, someone we've hired to help Lily you know, if they're not meeting my standards, David's the kind of person who will just let it slide, but I'm going to be the one who says something about it. So there have been a couple of times even there and it's not so much butting heads just sometimes there is a little bit of friction. Dave and I have been together long enough and we've been doing this long enough that it is no, no big thing to just have a conversation just move forward. But there are definitely times a lot less now than there used to be. And you just have to learn to talk

Kathleen Shannon 25:01
And then I know that Lily loves some video games like how do you keep her from just wanting to play video games all day, because I've even heard of like some unschooling philosophies where it's, if that's what they want to do, then let them do that. And maybe they'll be some badass video game designer one day or you know, like that, that is just as valid of a curiosity as anything else. And that's kind of the parenting approach. I take in general, like, I don't limit screen time. And I found that fox, even at four years old has been able to self relate. And I've almost left some pretty awesome mom groups on Facebook over the topic of screentime. So what are your thoughts on screen time? How do you regulate it? How do you enforce it?

Emily Thompson 25:43
Yeah, that's such a good question. And I think every kid is different. I wish I didn't have to regulate it. But I think in a past life, Lily probably had a really sincere addiction problem. or something because she cannot self regulate her screen time at all. And we've even had some hardcore issues before where like, she's sneaking out in the middle of the night to like, grab the iPad to play games like, okay,

Kathleen Shannon 26:05

Emily Thompson 26:06
I mean, it's, it's, it's been difficult. So we've had to set up some very hard core rules. And they have helped her really, really a lot to have a healthy relationship with screentime. It's one of those things where again, I just think every kid is completely different. I wish we had the capacity. And maybe she does now a little more to self regulate. But that hasn't been so in the past. So what we do on Saturday and Sunday mornings, eight o'clock, whenever, like we're all up and about, or actually now Lily's older David and I are not up and about at 8am anymore on the weekends, but Lily does get up and that's that's really her unmitigated screentime that's whenever she's really able to just go in there and do whatever she wants. And she'll do that until either we go somewhere, or she starts getting snappy at me, or, or we have something else going on. So Saturday and Sunday mornings is when I really like give her the freedom to go play your video games, watch TV, do whatever you want. And she'll she's gotten really good at getting up and fixing herself breakfast and doing all those things on Saturday on Sunday morning and just having her time and it's become super important to her to have that. To have that time to herself. It's really helped her be super independent, and to just do things that she's interested in without mom and dad being around, which is really great. And dad, David Knight, love it. Because we just get to lay in bed as long as we want without being bothered on the weekends. During the week, it's a different story. We don't let her watch TV or like, or really even Well, we don't let her watch TV until after like school hours, which is usually about three, four o'clock. And then we have to we still have to Super regulate, like the laptop Billy goes, little fingers just go off without even realizing it. So we've really kept that to only school stuff. Occasionally during the week I'll show you know, watch something educational Well, we'll allow her to do those sorts of things. But, but those are the times when we're really have to keep it on lockdown. Because if we didn't, she would not ever walk away from a screen.

Kathleen Shannon 28:15
What would you say is your biggest challenge whenever it comes to being a mom and being boss, and it could be around homeschooling or it could be around anything really?

Emily Thompson 28:23
Sure. I think I have to because I do want to talk about homeschooling for half a second was like the biggest challenges there because I know I just made it sound probably the most dreamy

Kathleen Shannon 28:33
I ever could be. I'm like Tell me what is an awesome about it? Because right now I'm feeling like maybe I need to do this thing

Emily Thompson 28:39
here. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of awesome things about it. I mean, David and I can't go have you know, business lunches without Lilly being with us almost every actually literally every single day. So those sorts of things definitely, like makes it a little more difficult to live in adult life. And not that like you can you can't live in adult life with a kid. That's not what I'm saying. But you can't do only adult things. We can't go to the bar at noon. How about that? We can't do a Thursday, happy hour. But we can't do that as easily, at least not together. We can do that separately. And we do sometimes. We can't do that together. But I think the hardest thing about homeschool for us being in the south especially is that we're having a really hard time finding homeschool communities that are not super religious. And again, not that I'm against that though I've experienced enough to know that this point I'm kind of against that, personally. And so that's been really difficult for us to find some, like just very secular homeschool people has been really difficult and also in doing homeschool activities around town. One of the things that we've super found is a lot of the kids who are in those homeschool, like workshops or classes or whatever, are quite often at least involves a couple of kids who have been kicked out of every traditional school. They We've been in because of, you know, behavioral issues or whatever. So what really makes those investments kind of touching go where sometimes we will go and get a whole lot out of them. And sometimes a little it will go and get nothing out of it. Because there are some kids in there who make it really difficult. I think that's can obviously be true in traditional school. But these are even the kids who can't go to traditional schools. And it makes that extra investment and the excitement that we have about her having these cool opportunities to go, you know, learn at the aquarium and do all of those things. Just kind of hit and miss where sometimes they're really valuable. And sometimes all it does is you know, really teach slowly about different parts of the human condition, which is also valuable, but is what it is. And then in terms of like being boss and being Mom, I think it's like prioritizing my energy. And I speak of this specifically around like that morning, I was talking about where sometimes I like to get up super early, and come in and knock out two or three hours worth of work before anyone even gets out of bed. That changes my ability to Super enjoy that hour of morning that we have together. Because my brains already in it. Like I can't be, as you know, consumed in that conversation about the slug that we saw going across the sidewalk, because I'm already thinking about the 18 emails in my inbox that I need to answer whatever it may be. So I think I think for me, it's like really weighing what it is that I want to be doing. And not even like in that moment. But how it will affect the moments afterwards as well. Like you want to talk about like adding a whole other layer of being boss, be a boss and be a mom at the same time. And you're kind of like a superhuman.

Kathleen Shannon 31:46

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Emily Thompson 32:37
Alright, I want to hear about Fox now.

Kathleen Shannon 32:39
Okay, so I was whenever I was pregnant with Fox, I was already running braid creative. Yep. And Fox was about one years old, one year old whenever we started being boss. And I knew that. Okay, so after he was born, I thought I just didn't know what to expect. And we've talked about this before. We're like, I could go one of two ways. I could go super crunchy. He's going to be attached to my body for two years kind of thing. Yep. Or I could go the other way and just send him to daycare and call it a day. Right. That's the direction I went. But I didn't really do I will say that I did kind of a blend like a hybrid of attachment parenting like I nursed until he was 15 months. And we cook we still co sleep to this day. He's so he's four years old. And also, okay, let me just clarify now that I've done. So we did quote, co sleep like he was full on in our bed for about

probably about a year. And during that year, I tried different things because of the sleep deprivation to get him into a crib and his sleep training light. And that just doesn't work for him. He likes to be basically laying on top of me while we sleep. So and I don't mind it now. So um, we've basically co slept his whole life. And so we were getting a lot of that like super physical bonding time with the nursing and the sleeping. But then he was going to daycare eight hours a day from the time he was about eight weeks old, to now. And we've tried a couple of different things as well. I even wrote an article about why daycare is awesome, because before I sent him to daycare, I was googling that and it was always acting like daycare was the constellation like, Oh, I'm so sorry that you can't stay home with your kid. And I felt like it was all very just rooted toward moms and we live in a modern world where a lot more dads are, you know, either the primary caregiver or totally 5050 and taking just as much ownership over their family and their kids as the moms. But there is something about being a mom, I will say there is something about being the mom, at least for my son. He is a mama's boy. And so whenever it comes down to it at the end of the day, I'm the one that's right. really giving him the cuddles and my husband's playing with him and does a lot of things. But he wants his mama. So I thought, you know, well, maybe I will stay home with him or somehow work from home. And I'd seen you do it and try lots of different things. But ultimately I decided daycare was edge, I had to write the article about why daycare was awesome, because I couldn't find it like it just did not exist. And that had to come with a couple of years of experience, though I can't write an article about daycare, why daycare is awesome if I haven't even experienced it yet. And so what I can say now that he is four years old is that daycare is awesome, that time is fleeting. And for me, I feel more like I want to spend more time with him now, like if, if I were going to pull him anytime it probably be now more than ever, or who knows, maybe whenever he's age than it is whenever he's eight weeks old. And I do think that there is something to that, like a mama baby bond where like, yes, it'd be great if you could just hold your baby all day, every day for a year. But it's just not incredibly realistic. And you're still the mom at the end of the day, and you get the opportunity to let other people love your child to teach your child new things. For me, that's been huge. So my kiddo goes to daycare. Whenever he was around two years old, I don't think I've talked about this much on the podcast. Whenever he was around two years old, his daycare teacher quit, and he was not very happy. So after about a week, she actually quit to nanny for another mom. And the mom was like, hey, let's nanny share. And so after about a week of him being miserable without his regular teacher, Miss Ashley shout out. And I decided to see what it was like for him to stay with her all day. And it was this dream of like, we'll take them to the zoo once a week, and then to the Science Museum, and all of that. And that worked for right out about a year. But after about a year, it's like a day at the zoo turns into a day in front of the TV. Right. So just like anything else, things evolve and things change. And also, I love the reliability of daycare, like I know that on any given day, it is covered. So I put him back in daycare. And then we moved up to Detroit. And up here, I was definitely looking for schools that was a number one priority was getting him into another school. So now that he's four years old, it's almost like a daycare, preschool hybrid. I found a really great Montessori school. And for me, the kind of decisions that went into it that were really important to me, were making sure that it was really diverse. And I'm okay with faith based schools, but there's one around the corner from me that was just a little too heavy handed. With with all of the Jesus time they didn't they didn't enforce like a statement of faith, which was cool, but at the same time, we're not Christian. So it made it really tricky to feel like we could like fully. I don't know, it's almost like a community thing. And so I'm friends with lots of Christians, like one of my really good friends is a pastor. And Fox has gone to faith based schools before anyway. Oh, I'm rambling. Can we cut some of that out? No, it's

Emily Thompson 38:19
good. It's, it's all part of the process. Because you're right. I think and like, especially with this faith based stuff, we're like, literally this preschool was like, I think a Methodist which we are not even Methodist, like even whenever we weren't Christians, I guess if that's something you were in aren't anymore, like we weren't even Methodists like. And I also think that in many cases, it's important for kids to learn like the faith that is surrounding you, for sure. But there are definitely like, there's a sliding scale. Absolutely. I want to talk about this Montessori thing, because that was something whenever we were looking for somewhere for Lily to go, you know, really early on was Montessori and I know that you took a lot of time to like, find one and make that decision. Tell me about the decision to go Montessori.

Kathleen Shannon 39:07
Well, I mean, part of it was what was available. So I'll be completely honest, I was making phone calls to all the daycares and preschools around the area and first asking if they had availability immediately. And this Montessori happened to be kind of close to where Jeremy works. So he's able to drop Fox off in the morning, before he goes to work. And whenever I visited, they did have availability. And then whenever I went to the actual school, it was incredibly, incredibly diverse, which was important to me, one of the schools I toward there were no kids in the class at the time. So I asked them I was like, how diverse is your school? That's really important to us. And they were like, What do you mean? It's like okay, bye, noted, noted. And so the kids Like, I wasn't entirely familiar with Montessori and I am in no way an expert on the style of learning. But basically like the routine is and I think that part of the base philosophies of Montessori is that the kids are really responsible for themselves. So fox is incredibly independent, he loves being responsible for himself. And so they go out, they get a mat, they roll out their mat, they get their wooden toys, which are usually math based. So they're building blocks, or in counting at the same time, it's kind of like trickery, like you're learning things by doing other things. For example, He finally learned how to hold a pencil because in Montessori, they have them use a little tack to poke holes along an image of a picture. So that's another thing, like you're giving a three year old attack, which I feel like some schools would be like, what they could die. Um, but just, you know, knowing that they're, they can handle it, they can handle attack. And so different things like that. So he'll have like, I think two hours of Montessori education time, and it really is self guided, they blend the classrooms, so three year olds, four year olds, and five year olds are all together, which I love that aspect of it, they're all learning from each other. And so Fox will often go to where the big kids are, and watch what they're doing. He's really into that. But then he also gets the opportunity to help the smaller kids with what they're learning. So all the kids are getting to play to their strengths and teach each other and learn even more by teaching each other along the way. So I love that and then they have lunchtime, they have then afternoon class and then free play. So one of my biggest concerns about Montessori though, is that I'm I really value imagination and play and I don't think that they have as strong of an emphasis on play. I think that they're more about, like rational logical facts

Emily Thompson 42:04
to actual wooden blocks. Yeah, for sure. Um, okay, so Montessori that's like full time, right?

Kathleen Shannon 42:11
Yeah, it's full time only because we pay for the aftercare or whatever. So they had some, like, pre and after care built into it. But some of the kids that go to that school might just go for four hours a day, or they might just go for six hours a day. The fox is like a 10 hour a day baby.

Emily Thompson 42:30
Good for him. He's gonna be ready. And so if he's for now, does he start kindergarten next year?

Kathleen Shannon 42:37
I don't know. You know, earlier, whenever you're talking about like, you don't know

Emily Thompson 42:40
what right. Attorney for in February, correct.

Kathleen Shannon 42:44
He turned four in January. So January. I think he's still pre k like he'll do all one more year. One more, yet. He'll be our oldest in his kindergarten.

Emily Thompson 42:54
Gotcha. And have you thought about, like, what happens next?

Kathleen Shannon 42:57
I know, this is a good question. Because it's so funny This is the other thing about being a mom and being a boss is that whenever you have your first baby, at least in my experience, I felt like he was going to be one forever. And then I felt like he was going to be to forever, like I just couldn't comprehend that he was going to be getting older. Yeah, so I have started to think about it, it is difficult thinking I won't be able to just pull him out any time to go travel. My dream is to find I would like to keep him in Montessori, we are big supporters of public education. And if we can use our tax dollars, and our straight up talent, like our kid is pretty brilliant. And I think that he would be a great contribution to any school that he goes to, if we can use our, you know, our emotional and financial and physical support to support public education and help turn that into what we want it to become. Then I think that we'll try to do that. At the same time. This is where it gets so tricky, being like a warrior for social justice and wanting to make it work and make it better. So

Emily Thompson 44:03
do you have time for that?

Kathleen Shannon 44:05
No, I don't have time for the PTA. Like I don't have time for any of it. I met I even miss Foxx his birthday celebration at his school because I had a meeting and this is what I have to tell him he so we do wake up crying and screaming and fighting every morning and getting dressed and in the car and there's tears like it is not like a happy scene in my house in the mornings. most mornings that there's nothing dreaming about it. But what I tell Fox every morning and this is why I really am careful about my words. Help be crying like why wouldn't go to school. Why do I have to go which by the way, every evening he comes home happy. Like he's glad he went once he went. But I tell him because we choose to work. And lately he's been asking why do you work and it is nice to be able to wear your shoes right? But not not I mean, I don't want to attach it so much to the money stuff, right? I am practicing abundance and we live rich lives. And he would have shoes, even if, you know, one of us didn't work, and he could stay home all day. But what I tell him is that, you know, we're changing the world with our work. Your dad is engineering, self driving cars, to make the world a better place. And your mom is writing, like having the book has been cooled, because I can show him that he's old enough that he can understand like, Look, this is what your mom does. I wrote a book and he came to the book signing and got to see some of that in Oklahoma City. So I tell him, I love the work that I do. And it is my wish for you that you will love the work that you do at school. And so I try and get more specifics out of him about like, what he doesn't like about school. This is really tricky for me, and he doesn't have either the language to communicate it or he's just straight up lying. And he doesn't hate school. He just doesn't want to get out of his pajamas.

Emily Thompson 46:03
Me neither. That's why I work from home. For sure. Right? I mean, it. I love that you're telling him why it is that you work in that way. I hope. I hope

Kathleen Shannon 46:14
that helps him. Yeah, I'm trying not to be like because everyone has to go to school or because everyone has to work like I want to say, right, but he does have options. Oh, so going back to like what he's going to do for school, probably whenever he gets more to like kindergarten, first grade. I do like the Montessori I feel like it suits his strengths. He's really into building Legos. Like he can build a Lego set for seven to 12 year olds. At four, he can follow the instructions and do the whole shebang. And so if we can do public education, if it makes sense, if it works great. My dream is, you know, as you're talking about homeschooling is to have some sort of hybrid, where maybe if it's Montessori part of the day, or even there's an outdoor school up here, where the kids spend every single day, rain or shine, outdoors. And I think it's called, like wilderness school, or I want to say jungle school, but we don't have a jungle. So that means

Emily Thompson 47:15
this he will be there with his little galoshes on in a second.

Kathleen Shannon 47:20
Doesn't that sound incredible. So I kind of want to do something like that to almost mitigate all the screen time that fox gets. And that's another thing that I another reason why I don't super limit screen time is because he's not watching TV at all all day. And I remember being in school and then coming home and just vegging out in front of the TV same, I have been more strict about turning off around 7pm so that he can actually fall asleep. Um, but I've also found there have been some weeks where he's real heavy on the screen time and could probably spend eight hours a day on his iPad, and then other weeks where he's completely uninterested in just doing Legos and crafts and into that sort of thing. Yeah.

Emily Thompson 48:03
And I think it's just all about being super cognizant of what sort of phases they're going through and what works and doesn't work. I want to want to high five, this like dream of a hybrid, because that's definitely where we're going. I wish more than anything, maybe not more than anything, but I do wish that we could send Lily to school one or two days a week only, and that it was just an option for her to go those one or two days and then come home and you know, do the things that she does here with us. Continued because I do absolutely see the various tons of value and things like you know, a traditional public school system. And all of those things. I do however wish that it it gave parents the options for flexibility, which it doesn't currently do. I'm I'm hoping that there's a future obviously, probably once our kids are done, that there there's a future where parents do have more options for how it is that their kids get an education and how it works in their overall life flow. Because one of the biggest reasons why we have decided to do homeschool and stay homeschool is for that travel piece that you mentioned a minute ago. I don't think I could be happy. Or I definitely wouldn't be as happy as I am. Now if I knew that we couldn't just pick up on a weekend or that we couldn't, you know, run. You know a couple states away in the middle of the week if we want to do like I have obvious it's obviously important enough to me in my life that I've built a career that allows me to do it. I wish I could also do the same for my kid.

Kathleen Shannon 49:45
I also have like some weird conspiracy theories about public education.

Emily Thompson 49:49
Me too.

Kathleen Shannon 49:50
I mean, I get kind of weirded out by like testing. I don't think it Yeah, that's fucked up. I feel like it's just not considering all i Get that we need to standardize some things like we need to standardize money. But even now with cryptocurrency, but you know, like, there are some things that we have to be able to measure, right. And I get that with standardized testing and it's the easiest way to understand where like all these kids are at Ryan's easy

Emily Thompson 50:18
for not the right people, I think I could talk, we could do 14 episodes, I know shit, Emily thinks about public school systems.

Kathleen Shannon 50:27
And like, I feel like, I feel like it takes a toll on like, working, you know, single working moms who are working three jobs and if their kids are falling behind on homework, and then also taxes, and what neighborhoods are being funded or not. And, you know, I come from Oklahoma, where, earlier this year, there was a two week walkout where teachers just said no more, right? And even then, like, it's just hard to make real change happen and to get the funding and all of that stuff. And so that's why on one hand, I want to be a part of that change and, and help make that extra that change in and on the other hand, I want to be like, you know, what, if all I can vote with at this point is my dollars, then I will spend the money on a private education like at a Montessori, right? That or, you know, nature school that really supports my values, and my kids learning style. Sure,

Emily Thompson 51:23
but that like so in Chattanooga, that has been the problem. It's been everyone who wants to vote with their dollars taking their kids out and putting them in poten private school, and it's completely fucked up the price of the public school. I

Kathleen Shannon 51:35
know them. Well. That's the problem in all Houma, too, and that's where I get conspiracy theory about it is that then if just the rich people are putting their kids in private school, and getting the best education, where does that leave our public school, and that's why I say I want to show up with you know, physically and with Fox brilliance and with our support, as you know, parents, man, it's hard, it's hard decision, whenever it comes down to your child it is, which is why we chose homeschooling, which is

Emily Thompson 52:06
why we just decided, like screw them both. Like we'll educate literally how it is that we want her to be educated and everyone else sorry, not sorry, can fend for yourselves. We're in that, like, I'm here to like answer questions, and all those things about how it is that we do it. But I can only take care of my family. And but part of that being also the work that we do, where I do believe that we are, you know, helping people create lives and empowering them. And you know, the ways that we are empowered to make our own decisions based on our own circumstances, and to build those circumstances to be exactly what it is that we want them to be. And I think I absolutely know that the work that I do, and the work that David and I do together, is making Lily into a better person. And even that homework piece you were talking about a minute ago, very early on and Lily's current, like tutor relationship, her tutor tried to give her homework on the weekend. And Lily said, I don't do homework on the weekend. And her tutor told me that like I think kind of expecting me maybe to get mad about it. And I was like, girl knows her boundaries. were like, even I'm not bad about it, like, sorry, not sorry, but like, weekends are definitely going to be more for playing and friends and all these things like we'll reserve the week for schoolwork. So even knowing like that Lily, came up with all of that at our own, like spoke her mind, like had her boundaries, and then like held to them. I know that the work I do is making at least one way more awesome human being. Yeah,

Kathleen Shannon 53:37
for sure. I think that whenever it comes to school, and all of that, too, one of the things I worry about is the experience he might have. And this is where I've had to let go of a lot of control even as you're talking about Lily on her outings, or like her camps that she'll go to. And sometimes it's a bust, sometimes not like I think it really is taking it year by year or class by class teacher, by teacher, kid by kid and really seeing you know, what's working, what's kind of working, what's not working. Just like you know, the stuff that we're creating for ourselves and for being boss and the way that we run our businesses. It's the same for our children, and really just being able to check in and gauge the best solutions. And also though, being willing to ride out some tougher times. So even right now with Fox saying like I don't like school, one of the things he's saying is school makes me shy. And I'm trying to understand really what he means there but just kind of letting him write it out. Because the truth is not everybody's gonna like him all the time. And so if a teacher or kid doesn't like you, I know I'm just going to trust that that experience is also going to make you a better person. And we'll talk about it at home obviously. And then Only really, I just really want to be proactive and not incredibly reactive. So I do need to start thinking about what we're going to do. But I also really just want to take it one year at a time, and continuing to do things that work like Montessori until they don't.

Emily Thompson 55:20
Yeah, so basically is taking all the same things you do in our own businesses and applying them to how it is that we parent. And I think, I think that's where, you know, the sort of being boss mindset, boundaries, habits and routines, all of those things, is like it's a holistic solution. It's not how it is that you build a business, but it's how it is that you build a life. And in the case of all the mom and dad bosses out there, it's also applying it to how it is that you parent, because No two days are ever going to be the same. No year is going to be the same as the one before or after. And if you want it to be getting progressively better, you have to say consistently conscious of all the things that are happening.

Kathleen Shannon 55:58
And I do want to say that in any situation, in any circumstance, there's probably a sacrifice to be made. So I think that if people ask us, you know what it's like, and you're having to make sacrifices, with homeschooling, I'm having to make sacrifices with daycare, or you know, whatever preschool. And that might be monetary, it might be energy, it might be level of happiness, it could be a lot of different things. But no matter what decision you make, I mean, that's just parenting, you're gonna have to make some sacrifices, I think we're adulting as adult bosses, just owning your choices, really owning what it is that you think is best, but also going with your gut for me going with my gut in what the best choice is, and not questioning it. Anytime I really start questioning what I'm doing. That's when the mom guilt creeps in. Like it's not I never feel guilty about screentime until I start questioning the screentime. Yeah, I'm just gonna own it. Own it

Emily Thompson 57:03
all day. All right. What are three things that bas parents can do at this moment? To stay more sane and balancing being a parent and being a business person?

Kathleen Shannon 57:20
I think that you should think about your support system in work in life more holistically. So you were just talking about, it's about creating the life, right? Well, I had someone come up to me at one of our book signings and she asked me, she said, Can I tap your brain real quick, I need I need help. I was like, shoot, give it to me. And she said, Okay, I'm a working mom. My child is one year old, and she's at home with me all day, I only work while she's napping. And I want to grow my business, who do I need to hire first. And I was like, hire a babysitter first. So think about your support system more holistically. So she was asking me who her first hire should be for her business. But after hearing that she had a kid and she's only working during nap time. I said, invest in daycare first, like investing or you know, and I of course asked her, I said, Are you opposed to daycare, and she's like, Well, kind of. I said, I think that whenever you think about who you're hiring, think about what's tapping your energy the most. And so where you need the most support. So if you need support cleaning your home, or if you need support with childcare, or if you need support with your inbox, or, you know, managing your email or whatever it looks like for you hire around those things. But don't forget that childcare and running a family and a household is a part of that, that you could hire out for first. So I would just say Think about your support system more holistically and think about childcare as much of an investment as like Facebook ads.

Emily Thompson 58:58
Right? And like business investment. Yeah, for sure. Right. Mine is mine is prioritizing your energy. Again, that like piece where I've discovered that if I get up really early in the morning and do work, I cannot expect that like I cannot expect expect for the breakfast conversation to be as light and easy as it would be if I had not gotten up early, and that's fine. But it's knowing when that's okay, and when that's not okay. And so for me, it's really always been about prioritizing my energy putting it where I really wanted to go. If it's if it's Lily that day, then that's going to be a day where I'm shutting down all of my meetings. If it is meetings, that's a day where I know David's going to have Lily out in a way or maybe there's even ways where I can combine those two and, and building Almanac that's one of the things that I'm really excited about exploring a whole lot is how I can actually give energy to both at the same time and again, like helping league As someone who knows what it's like to work for what you want, but for me, it's really been being super cognizant of when and where my energy is best and not best and making sure I'm putting it where I actually want it to go.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:16
I think my last one would be to write out your dream day. So this is an exercise that we have on our website, and we have it in our book. And it's something that I really want to revisit even after telling you admitting to you and all of our listeners that our mornings are kind of shit is really thinking about what do I want my mornings to look like? And does it mean that I need to wake up 30 minutes earlier to be able to have a cup of coffee quietly, before we start the hustle of getting dressed? Or is it getting Fox up earlier so that he can chill into his day instead of having to hit the ground running? So I think for me, it's writing out my dream day have what are typical Monday through Friday, but even the weekends to what that really looks like so that I can make the dream. And I'm talking about like the daily grind dream. Like what does that look like? In the evening? Whenever I'm, am I hovering over my laptop while I'm making dinner? Which is sometimes something that I do? Or do I have music going and candles on and incense burning? And I'm making dinner and foxes playing Legos like what do I want it to look like? So I can start taking the steps to actually facilitate that happen. So if I want to be playing Legos and stuff, the iPad, maybe I set Legos out on the table or have a craft ready for him whenever he gets home. So I think this is something I really want to do. And it's something that I encourage all of our parent bosses to do as well.

Emily Thompson 1:01:49
I love it, Kathleen, it's been so good to like catch up with you on all of these things. Sometimes I take it for granted that we see each other multiple times a day. Because again, we're so good at keeping these separate that we're not always talking about what our like mom's situations are we're talking about all of the email marketing and like numbers and all various things so it's good to good to catch up.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:09
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Emily Thompson 1:03:48
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.