Jen Green is the Brand Editor for Anthropologie, who lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her husband and their almost-two-year-old daughter Finley Elizabeth. Here’s how she attempts to juggle it all (along with a great point about marriage)…
1. What does brand editor mean?
Really, it’s another way of saying copy and content director. I oversee our customer communications: emails, invites, social media posts, newsletters, The Magazine, etc. It’s my job to ensure what we are saying and how we are saying it is true to the essence of Anthropologie. Some may say I’m “the voice” of our brand, but writing that sounds obnoxious!
2. What’s your work schedule?
I get to the office by 8:30am so I can grab a quick bite, get through my emails, and knock out a few personal errands. Then, from 9am on, I’m off to meetings. It can be a blur. I avoid meetings after 5pm at all costs—by then everyone’s tired, hungry or cranky, so what’s the point? I use the last hour to reply to emails and tidy my desk. I’m super obsessive about leaving the office on the right note; otherwise, I’m reeling the entire car ride home.
3. How do you handle childcare?
Finely had a babysitter at first, but then that wonderful lady became a grandma and went to raise her grandson. When I found out, I cried for days. Then we enrolled Finley in daycare. The very first day Finley had a complete meltdown, and I came into work looking ragged. From that point on, I swore off mascara until she was completely settled.
4. How do you feel about the daycare nowadays?
We love it. The other day, out of nowhere, Finley yelled “No, thank you, Miles!” and she’s wagging her index finger at our dog Miles for getting too close to her snack. I’m like, “Where does she GET this stuff?” Then I realize: it’s her teachers! They are why she loves to dance, and why she can count to 20, and why I get more paper-and-paste art projects than I could ever fit into a memory box. It’s a good, good feeling to be able to drop off your child at school, knowing that he or she is going to be showered with love and attention.
5. When do you typically hang with your daughter?
Our morning routine involves choosing shoes (she’s opinionated!), eating fruit and yogurt, and squeezing in an episode of Yo Gabba Gabba. During our drive to daycare, we sing and talk about the babies she’s about to see. After work, I join her and my husband outside, and we search for the elusive black cat that lives in our neighbor’s backyard. Before bath time, we share an ice pop, do flash cards and jump on the bed. Afterward, we say our goodnights with a round or two of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” When I lay her down and she says “Love you, Mommy,” I literally feel my heart somersault. (It kind of feels like holding in a hiccup.)
(Jen at work, wearing Anthropologie jeans)
(Jen’s work desk with Finley’s artwork.)
6. How do you fit your marriage into the balance?
Embarrassingly enough, I’ve forgotten most of what was taught to me at pre-Cana (the course Catholic couples take before being married in a Catholic church), but I do recall the priest saying that, once children come into your life, do not let that bright and shiny new love outweigh what you have with your partner. And it’s true, but wow, is it tough!
Bob and I are constantly “on” as parents. This may sound like the most unromantic thing ever, but we’ve vowed to make romance a priority this year. Our joint New Year’s resolution was to go out on more dates this year (that and to start collecting pieces of art); so far, I think we’ve made it out of the house twice: once for my birthday, once for Valentine’s Day. Ha. We are creature of habit, I guess–we’re content grilling and drinking wine outside on our patio, in comfy clothes, with Finley’s video monitor just an arm’s length away. By the end of dinner, we’re cracking jokes and sharing dreams, no matter how far-fetched or impractical. That to me is a great night. I’ll take that routine over fancy any day. Bob and I joke that we’re the happiest boringly normal people we know.
7. Do you have any time for yourself?
Not really. But I try to find joy in the little things, like reading a magazine cover-to-cover. (I wish I could strive for good, long book, but let’s face it: that’s not happening.) Or trying new recipes and having the whole house smell delicious and a little bit foreign. I listen to NPR during the drive into work. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’m more pleasant—and balanced—if I break a sweat, so I try to run as much as possible.
8. Who cooks dinner?
I always cook. I don’t mind—I find it relaxing. All the dicing and measuring and parcelling out ingredients in bowls big and small.
9. What about cleaning the house?
I’m lucky Bob is super, super neat. Soon after we moved in together, it became clear that I was Oscar and he was Felix. To this day, it drives him nuts when days have passed and I’ve yet to put away a pile of clean clothes. (Whoops!) For cleaning, we often do it in tandem. I’ll dust; Bob will vacuum. Or I’ll do the bathrooms while Bob mows the lawn. And he does 99.9% of our laundry, which is a godsend!
10. What would you change if you had a magic wand?
I’d nap without guilt, and without question, I’d hire a housekeeper. I’d allow myself to enjoy a pedicure or haircut without looking at the clock. I guess I don’t need a magic wand for any of these things, but they seem so indulgent nowadays.
11. What advice would you give new moms?
All in all, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that motherhood is manic. And messy. But also really, really fun. And funny! Never in my life have I laughed so hard as I do now. So maybe that’s my advice: when in doubt, choose laughter.
P.S. Last summer’s first balance series about moms who work freelance.