Tool Kit Series: Ariana Pritchett

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Ariana is the co-founder of Flight Design Co, the strategy and graphic design studio that is responsible for my new logo and branding design! She is always offering up great nuggets of wisdom and I was thrilled that she agreed to contribute to the series.

Ariana 1Q. Tell us a little about your family.

I live in a 100-year old craftsman in Oakland with my husband, Jake, 6-year old son, Teo, one-year old daughter, Juniper Quinn, bulldog, Maya, and two cats, Sophie and Froto. It’s a full and adventurous crew, but we somehow manage to calm the crazy and lead wonderfully fulfilling lives.

Q. How do you find work/life balance?

I actually don’t think balance is what I’m striving for. Or rather I think balance is very difficult to achieve or if I do find a moment of perfect balance it will quickly dissolve when a kid gets sick or a big work project hits the table.

Instead I . . .

:: aim to be fully present whether I’m at work or with my family.

:: spend my time with people and activities that fill me up and inspire me

:: check in regularly with what I’m needing and then give it to myself

:: say no more than I say yes.

:: say yes with enthusiasm

:: remember I am always in choice

:: forgive myself when I over-schedule, get crazy, or generally Eff things up

:: try again.

Ariana 3Q. How do you carve out time for yourself? What do you do when you find it?

Time for myself is a non-negotiable.  I’m a better mom, wife and business partner when my cup is full.

Recently I hit a wall with our new baby and some new scheduling challenges and I couldn’t figure out why I felt so crappy and then I realized I had hardly a minute when I wasn’t taking care of something.  Whether it be family or work or even exercising became about getting the dog on her run (two birds with one stone).  I had worked myself into a corner where all my time had a task at hand and there was no freedom in my schedule.  This lead to me feeling like a caged bird who was desperate for the wild.

Once I recognized this I quickly started making choices that infused my schedule with freedom and adventure.  Small things like running in the redwoods.  Or large things like taking a weekend solo sabbatical just for fun and recharge.  This dramatically changed my mood and my ability to be the kind of mom, wife, and partner I want to be.

Q. How/when do you make space for your partner? What do you like to do together?

One of the magical things that happened when I was seeking out more freedom, was my sister simultaneously looking for weekend work.  We decided it could be a win/win if she gave us some extra Saturday child care.  Now this was kind of a mind blowing experience because whenever I thought about increasing child care I thought it would be during the week (I currently have three work days with care and 2 days where I’m with the kids), but I know myself if I got more care during the week I would just work more, not to mention I love my days with my kids. But Saturday care felt different.

Getting childcare on Saturday has transformed my family.  My husband and I have time to each exercise, recharge however we need, run an errand or two (read grocery shopping with out kids), and spend some time together.  This means that Sundays can be complete family days with both of us feeling full and present.  And our kids LOVE their extra time with Auntie!

Ariana 4Q. What do you like to do as a family?

As I mentioned Sundays have become our family days and we like to spend them outdoors.  Whether it is hiking in the redwoods or spending the day at the beach, this has become our church.  A time where we reconnect with each other, re-fill our souls, and remember the vastness of this world we live in.


Q. Please share any other tips that might make life easier for other moms.

I think the main thing I’ve learned is that it is okay to not be able to do it all by myself.  Asking for help and engaging my community is essential.  If there is something that feels heavy, tedious, or I flat out resent doing, I try to get creative about a way this need could be met differently.  And then I give myself permission to make a change and throw convention on it’s head.

It’s really easy for us moms to constantly compare ourselves to what we think we should be doing, but living up to someone else’s standards is exhausting and totally un-necessary.  If a perfectly themed and styled birthday does not feel joyful to you, don’t do it.  If getting your groceries delivered takes a huge weight off, then it’s worth the extra cost.  If going to one more of your child’s school fundraisers makes you want to poke your eyes out, politely decline.  Really, it’s okay.  I promise we’re still great moms!

*all photos by Abi Q Photography
Ariana, thanks so much for sharing! I love that you made the conscious decision to say no more than you say yes. Have any great tips to share? Contact me at inquiries@shiragill.com to be a featured mom on the site.
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