How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents: “A good parent is a happy parent. Period” with Kelly Bayett and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

A good parent is a happy parent. Period. When you are happy, you are more patient and can give your kids the attention they need to thrive. I took a lot of time off with my second child. I wanted to eat him up, I loved him so much, but I just wasn’t happy inside. […]

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A good parent is a happy parent. Period. When you are happy, you are more patient and can give your kids the attention they need to thrive. I took a lot of time off with my second child. I wanted to eat him up, I loved him so much, but I just wasn’t happy inside. I said things that sounded crazy as they came out of my mouth. I was lacking self worth and I realized that work gives me a purpose that I need.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Kelly Bayett, Co-Founder & Creative Director at Barking Owl. Creative Director and Co-Founder of Barking Owl, Kelly has been pushing creative boundaries in music as well as being one of the few female creative directors at a music and sound company. Barking Owl began with no reel in Kelly and Justin’s home and almost a decade later, the company has grown into three mix rooms, a sound design room, foley stage, music room and kitchen with an incredible chef/ life coach at the helm. You walk into Barking Owl and it feels like you have come back home. The growth is a testament to the passion and authenticity that Barking Owl puts into each project. Kelly put together a team of producers, mixers, sound designers and composers that lead the business not only in creativity, but professionalism. Barking Owl has always had a single vision for the strongest storytelling in the most artful way, and in growing they have never had to sacrifice that. Barking Owl not only works in traditional commercial spaces they have also attracted long form work such as last year’s award winning Corazon with John X Hannes as well as experiential work including Google’s rollercoaster, “The Ride” built for CES. Barking Owl was honored to be the 2018 LIA North American Music and Sound Company of the Year, as well as the recipient of the Cannes Lion Grand Prix, Grand Clios, Grand LIAs and countless gold, silver and bronze awards. Kelly lives in Los Angeles with her partner in business and life, Justin Bayett. They live with their four children, Annabella, Townsend, Holland, Leo and their menagerie of pets. Life is always exciting and that’s just how she likes it.

Thank you for joining us! Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I was at a point where I had hit bottom. I was in the middle of a divorce as a single mother with no money and two children. I had to do something and so I started Barking Owl with my boyfriend at the time. I wanted to start a company that really cared about the work first and bringing in the best talent. That boyfriend is now my husband and we have added two more children to the mix!

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

I will try to get up extra early to work out before the kids get up and the house gets moving. I will usually work out at home, cook a hot breakfast for the kids while they get ready and then I sit with them at breakfast and finish getting them ready for school. Once they are off, I quickly get ready and start the drive to work. I try to get home for dinner with them, but that is not always realistic. Getting home to put them to bed is a really important part of my day, but it isn’t the end of my day. I will usually finish work after they go to sleep.

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

My only research is really what I have seen with my kids and other families we have been around. Your kids need you. They crave you. That connection to family and having someone who loves you so deeply and truly is so important for their understanding of people and relationships. I don’t believe that you have to be there all the time, but when you are there, you need to really be present.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

While it is important to my children that we spend time together, it is also important to me. I love to see each stage. I love to watch their minds open to new things and how their understanding of the world and different dynamics are shaped. I want to help them work our family morals, values and traditions into their lives. And they teach us so much. I cannot tell you how many times a 3 year old has said something so profound that is has changed my idea about something.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

Breakfast is a really big deal for us. Before the day gets started, having that time together starts all of us on the right foot. On the weekends we have a lunch tradition the kids love where we go to the same place and we get some food. It sounds so basic, but they always look forward to it. No phones, we just sit, eat, laugh and talk together. We also take them to the park to ride bikes or go on the playground. We pay attention to them and not devices when we have this time. It’s key that they see you putting down other things and really investing in them. Sunday nights are for dinners at home and swimming.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

This is something I really struggle with. You are never able to give everything in your life everything it requires. What I am about to say will sound insane given the question, but the first thing you can do is take care of yourself. I like to exercise. It is my anti depressant. Whatever helps you clear your mind or makes you feel confident and clear is something you need to make the time to do. As parents, we put ourselves last, but you can’t do that or your mood will suffer. When your mood suffers they feel it.

Second, boundaries are really important. You can’t exist without them in the world of work and children. There are going to be times where work will impose on your time with your children and unfortunately that is part of balance. But do your very best to hold that boundary whenever possible.

Third, when you can, take some time away for family. Use the vacation days or personal days on time with your kids. You can even do nothing. We remember so many precious and simple moments from childhood. Sometimes, it’s just going for ice cream or writing a story together that has a lasting impact. One of my happiest memories of my childhood is cooking with my Nana and we made up stories, each sentence taking turns making up the most absurd tales.

Fourth, stop and listen. If your child wants to tell you a story from their day, put down the dishes, the phone, or whatever it is that you are doing and be fully present and listen. Everything can wait five minutes, and when you put away all the distractions, your kids notice and it’s so meaningful.

Lastly, play pretend. I know that every time I spontaneously start an imaginary storyline, my kids light up with delight. I’ll say out of nowhere, “Hey chef, what are you cooking in your restaurant today?” They giggle and jump right in. It surprisingly takes you out of your own head and your own thoughts and it’s as fun for the parent as it is for the child.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A good parent is a happy parent. Period. When you are happy, you are more patient and can give your kids the attention they need to thrive. I took a lot of time off with my second child. I wanted to eat him up, I loved him so much, but I just wasn’t happy inside. I said things that sounded crazy as they came out of my mouth. I was lacking self worth and I realized that work gives me a purpose that I need.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I live by example. We are family that is self-made. We didn’t come from money and no one gave us anything. We work hard and we encourage our children to work hard as well. We always say that you can be the smartest and most talented person in the room, but it won’t really matter unless you are a hard worker. You can have anything you want and you can be anything you want. They have the good fortune of seeing their parents make their dreams come true and they take note. It gives them confidence and they know they can do anything.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success to me is happiness and balance. You have to know that nothing is perfect and there is never enough time. Ever. You have to figure out what gets sacrificed and then you have to find peace in those choices. I feel successful because I am fortunate enough to have a career that I absolutely love and I am so passionate about. I keep my expectations modest and that is the key to happiness with or without a family, I think!

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I have never been an avid reader about parenting. I really do everything by my intuition with my kids. I believe the best resources for you as a parent are the people around you. There are parents that I know that I feel I learn so much from. They have incredible children and I love having conversations about parenting and different challenges with them. Your community is where you will learn the most as well as speaking with parents you admire. I love Neal Wrightston and believe in everything he teaches about children and progressive education.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

My favorite quote is from the movie “Finding Nemo.” When Marlin is completely down, Dory sings, “Just Keep Swimming.” It’s the absolute truth. Energy brings movement, and if you just keep moving and putting energy out, even when you are down, something has to change. And it always does. So when things get hard or I feel like I can’t do it all, I just sing this to myself, (in Dory’s voice of course), and I keep moving and things change. Even if it’s just my attitude or thoughts on a situation. The CS Lewis quote, “It’s not the load, it’s how you carry it” is my second favorite.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could inspire a movement, it would be to have a movement of more patience. The “Take a Breath” movement. It’s small but powerful! I see people loose it on their kids constantly, and you think with just a little more patience and explanation they can understand and not get so angry. Could you imagine a world where people had patience with each other and we would take a breath before losing it? The freeway would be made of rainbows! Ok, maybe not that extreme but it would definitely be better.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

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