Brit Morin is the founder and CEO Brit + Co, a lifestyle site that's packed with tips and ideas for everything from hosting a royal wedding viewing party to cleaning a mattress. Through her brand, which reaches over 175 million every month, she wants women to know that they can do it all themselves, and she's helping them learn how through online classes, an annual festival called Re:Make and informative summits (the company recently hosted one on investing in cryptocurrency).
Morin's "side hustle," as she jokes, is being a mum to her two boys Ansel and Austin. Here's how she parents.
Name: Brit Morin Location: San Francisco Job: Founder & CEO, Brit + Co Family: Husband Dave, and kids Ansel (3.5) and Austin (2)
Tell us a little bit about your family and your career. Did life happen mostly as planned or were there surprises?
My husband, Dave, and I met 12 years ago when we were both working at Apple. I was 20 years old and was definitely not expecting to find my husband so early, but such is life and love! In 2011, after working at Google for a bit, I decided to take some time off to get married and consider a change in career. It was during that period that I saw an opportunity for a media company that inspired and empowered women, so I started Brit + Co at the end of that year. Fast forward and we have two amazing boys, Ansel and Austin, who are three and a half and two years old.
Timing did not go exactly as planned with my first child. I expected to start having kids after we raised our Series B of funding for the company, but I got pregnant earlier than expected and was nearly to my third trimester by the time we needed to raise the money. We ended up being able to bridge the company so that I did not have to fundraise until after I had the baby, but it was certainly a bumpy road. It's been a bit chaotic juggling the pressures of CEO, wife and mum, and I've come to learn that I can never expect "normalcy" because that just doesn't exist in the universe I chose for myself.
Take us through your morning routine.
I start the day with a quiet reflection before hopping out of bed. I quickly scan my phone for any major news that may have happened overnight. Then it's a quick run or yoga session followed by time with my kids. After kid time, I jump in the shower, grab breakfast, and am on my way. My best trick for getting out the door is to keep it simple! I've experimented with different ways of doing this - from going with no makeup, to using dry shampoo instead of constantly washing my hair, to even subscribing to the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg mandate of wearing the same thing every day.
How much outside help do you get as a parent? What are the gadgets, apps, charts or tools you rely on?
It would be impossible to do all of this without help! I have various help with childcare, from babysitters to a more consistent nanny, and of course, grandparents who love to come help out as well. As far as apps go, I'm all about a shared Google Calendar with my husband for all the moving pieces - from preschool graduation to doctor visits. One other app I've used for years that keeps me sane is Life360. It allows my immediate and extended family to share our locations with one another and keep up with our day-to-day activities. For example, I know if my sister-in-law in Montana is out trail running, or what my parents are up to in Texas. I can also know if my husband is running late at work for the evening, or if he's on his way home.
How do you divide household/childcare responsibilities with your partner?
It's all about dividing and conquering! He's better at doing the dishes; I'm better at tidying up the toys and making the kids' meals. But sometimes, we can't both be home at once and so a lot of the responsibilities must go to one person.
Has becoming a parent changed the way you work?
Believe it or not, being a parent has made me more efficient. As a parent, you have to constantly evaluate how you are spending your time because it's not just about you anymore. I ruthlessly prioritise and have recently subscribed to the philosophy that if it's not a "hell yes" then it's a no. I no longer feel rude declining an invitation. My kids and my family come first.
What does your evening routine look like?
As soon as I get home from work it's "mum time." I drop my phone, play with my kids, and do bath and bedtime with them. Then it's dinner and catching up with Dave, followed by wrapping up work for the day. I'm a total content junkie so I always record my favourite talk shows and watch them while I finish up emails in the evening.
How do you decompress?
Exercise has always been helpful for me. I've historically been into running, but more recently have gotten into yoga. It's incredibly relaxing and calming, not to mention physically demanding. Yoga is something Dave and I enjoy doing together, so it's a nice bonding activity to boot!
What's been your proudest moment as a parent?
My children are both so kind. Wherever we go, they are waving to strangers and singing "Good morning!" to them, or telling them to "Have a great day!" It melts my heart to know that we are raising our little boys to be kind to all people. I truly believe it's the most important quality of a human.
What moment are you least proud of?
Oh man, that has to be the moment when I totally forgot the diaper bag and my youngest, Austin, decided to have a poop blowout in public. It was smelly and messy, and I was incredibly embarrassed.
What do you want your kids to learn from your example?
I want my kids to be fearless and follow their passions. I also want them to see that women and girls are just as fearless as men and boys. Last year, I had the opportunity to fly a fighter jet with the Air Force. I dressed in uniform and kissed my boys goodbye before loading the plane. They watched me zoom around in the sky, doing tricks for an hour. I want my boys to be raised knowing that gender is not limiting and both men and women can do it all.
Do you have any funny/weird/special family rituals?
I am a cake decorating nerd and have started a habit of making a very intricately decorated cake for each kids birthday every year. The problem is that I feel like I have to outdo myself everytime now that my kids (and husband) look forward to it so much. The last one I worked on took five hours! And this has to last till each of them are at least teenagers? What have I started?!
What's your best parenting hack?
If I allow my kids to have any screen time, it's always towards the end of the day and only if they have been very good throughout the day. Plus I require them to be expedient in their baths, tooth brushing and pajama dressing. The trade-off of a more speedy and happy bedtime routine in exchange for a 12-minute episode of a cartoon is totally worth it to me! Otherwise, it may be an hour of stalling and negotiating with two toddlers.
Has anyone ever given you a piece of parenting advice that has really stuck with you?
As a working mum, I have an enormous sense of "mum guilt" - the feeling that I'm never with my kids as much as I should be. But at one point, someone who is a stay-at-home mum said to me, "Brit, I'm with my kids all day long and even I don't feel like I ever have enough of them." It was so refreshing to hear that and consider that as women, we are biologically trained to want more time with our kids. Yet, we will never fill that gap, so we should learn how to be proud of the quality of our time versus the quantity of our time.
What's the hardest part about being a parent?
I am a perfectionist, so not being able to control everything can be challenging. Kids are unpredictable and a lot of the time you just have to go with the flow, try as hard as you can to work through the tantrums, stalling and accidents. If you set a lower bar for yourself, you'll feel better about achieving it.
What's your favourite part of the day?
Waking up and seeing my kids! They are so snuggly and cute in the mornings, fresh out of bed with messy hair. While it's sometimes hard to juggle, there is nothing happier or more humbling than raising these two amazing humans. I feel grateful for every day with my family.
The one thing I would tell other working parents:
I'd reiterate the same advice that was given to me: Quality over quantity! No parent (working or not) can be there for every single moment in the lives of their children. There are different ways to show love and sometimes that means staying home and other times that means going out and working to create a future your family can be proud of. Instead of feeling guilty for what you miss, be present for the moments you are there.