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“How Extremely Busy Executives Make Time to Be Great Parents” with Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Alissa Bayer

Don’t feel guilty for leaving your phone and computer at the door. Your colleagues will begin to learn the cadence of your schedule. Enjoy your time with your kids. It’s cliché but it goes by too fast. I’m much more joyful now that my kids are a bit older and I find we are laughing […]

Don’t feel guilty for leaving your phone and computer at the door. Your colleagues will begin to learn the cadence of your schedule. Enjoy your time with your kids. It’s cliché but it goes by too fast. I’m much more joyful now that my kids are a bit older and I find we are laughing at the same things and are having more meaningful conversations. When I am really dialed into my kids and what they are talking about, it’s amazing. They are really hilarious, creative creatures — and it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention and/or multitasking.


Alissa Bayer, lifestyle entrepreneur, launched Austin-based milk + honey in 2006 on the founding principles of creating an exceptional spa experience, committing to clean ingredients, and giving back to the community. After attending business school at UT Austin, Bayer — a self-described “spa enthusiast” — reflected on the lack of urban day spas in the Austin area (as compared to NYC, DC, LA, etc.) and subsequently founded milk + honey. From a single standalone spa in 2006, milk + honey has since grown to include a collection of six spas and salons — with an upcoming Los Angeles location on the way — and a nationally-available line of hyperclean, non-toxic, and effective bath, body, and skincare products. With the ultimate mission of helping people feel healthy, happy, and beautiful, milk + honey is redefining the spa experience for a new generation by providing therapeutic and accessible respites and effective and luxurious skincare products to indulge, unwind, and cleanse body and mind. Bayer and her husband Shon run the day to day operations at milk + honey, while also making time to raise their three children.


Thank you so much for joining us Alissa! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Mydad was an engineer turned entrepreneur. He had lots of successes and lots of struggles and I learned from him the importance of doing due diligence, having a plan, and always making sure you are prepared for worst case scenarios.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I launched milk + honey after going to business school. I knew, after interviewing for finance and consulting jobs that I wanted to make a living doing something that made other people feel good. milk + honey is the result.

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

I have three young children (ages 6, 8, and 8). My husband and I get them to school by 7:30am each morning. Before going to the office, I usually will meditate, have some coffee, workout, and then set my intentions and my priorities for the day. My days at the office are full of meetings — formal and informal — pushing projects forward, and spending some time thinking strategically about my business. I like to be home by 4:30–5pm most days. I enjoy cooking dinner, usually with at least one ‘helper,’ which is a fun way to spend time with my kids after school. They are lights-out by 8pm; then, my husband and I have some time to decompress from the day.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now 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?

Of course, children need to feel close and bonded to their parents to feel safe and secure in this world. I allowed myself as much time as I felt I needed to bond with my children when they were infants, but I also didn’t feel guilty if I spent time away from them for several hours, whether that was to catch up on sleep, some time at the office, or a date night. For me personally, I knew I didn’t want to be a stay at-home parent, but I also knew I could have a very close relationship with my children without feeling like I had lost my own personal identity.

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?

There is always, always more work to do, more projects to start, and more people to catch up with. It could literally never stop — exploring all of the endless opportunities that exist in this world. For me, having children keeps me grounded. I am rarely at the office past 5pm these days, but I’ve never been more productive than I am now that I have children. Aside from the fun and bonding that happens, having kids has also forced me to be laser-focused on what my objectives are each day. I may be at my office or on my computer fewer hours each day, but because my time is so limited, I have learned to be extremely efficient.

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 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

My experience is that children are keenly aware when they have your full attention and when they don’t. My children are much calmer and more relaxed when I am fully present and I stop trying to multitask. When multitasking with children around, I simply do not believe you can do anything well. You might feel like you are accomplishing more — by, say, working from home — but your children will notice and your work will suffer. For me, I have learned the best practice is to be fully present with my children when I am with them and to also not feel guilty when I have to leave to work. While I allow myself to check in sometimes, I think it’s important not to have my phone near me at all times. I also make it a point to pick my children up from school at least one day a week. They are excited and I love our afternoon routines. The rest of the days I leave the office by 4:30–5pm so I have plenty of time to spend with them at home. They help me cook, we review homework together, practice for spelling tests, and take baths together.

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? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

Don’t feel guilty for leaving your phone and computer at the door. Your colleagues will begin to learn the cadence of your schedule. Enjoy your time with your kids. It’s cliché but it goes by too fast. I’m much more joyful now that my kids are a bit older and I find we are laughing at the same things and are having more meaningful conversations. When I am really dialed into my kids and what they are talking about, it’s amazing. They are really hilarious, creative creatures — and it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention and/or multitasking.

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

I think there is too much judgement in parenting. I’m hard enough on myself most days and I’m not about to judge another. A good parent is one that has the best intentions for their children and does their best to keep their child safe, secure, happy, well-rested, and allows them to explore their interests and develop talents — ultimately raising children who will contribute positively to the world.

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

I think by living my own dream — and creating my business — I am leading them by example.

I constantly tell my children that they can do ANYTHING they want to do. I really believe that there are no limits to what they can do and that every parent and adult should encourage children to believe the same. Only limited belief systems hold children back. If a child observes a parent commenting on something being ‘hard’ or ‘difficult’ or for ‘other people,’ children will adopt those beliefs for themselves. When one of my children discovers a new interest or passion, we help them explore it. We will go to the library and check out books on a subject, we will read about it online, and watch documentaries. Teaching them to follow their interests will instill in them the confidence and awareness that there really isn’t any knowledge or thing that is out of their reach.

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

There is no amount of money or recognition that will make you feel better than simply being grateful and happy every day. Financial riches are nice, but it is certainly not what brings joy. For me, creating a life that is in harmony with my desires and values has yielded true fulfillment. For my business, that means that we don’t solely focus on profits. I consider success to include making life better for our employees, our clients, our vendors, and our community. If we were to just focus on profits, my life would have no joy and my ‘work’ would have no meaning.

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

In the early days of parenting, I was a voracious reader of parenting books and blogs. That is not the case anymore. I am still interested in studies, new information, and insights into parenting, but I have found that spending time on myself — meditating everyday, taking care of my own health, making sure I have quality time with my husband and friends — all of that sets me up to be the best parent I can be.

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

I have learned not to be bothered by small things. If I let someone upset me while driving or if I am annoyed at the actions of others, I am essentially giving that person or thing quite a bit of my power and energy and I am being robbed of joy. It is not a perspective that I was born with, but it is something that I have learned over the years, and something I still continue to practice. Time is our most precious and limited resource.s

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. 🙂

I would like to inspire more people to become entrepreneurs who are not just focused on creating “shareholder value” but also want to increase value for their employees, clients, vendors, and their community. This creates a virtuous cycle where everyone is uplifted and benefits from an organization instead of the downward spiral of being focused solely on profits. Also, when you do what you love, profits and financial success come more easily. If money is what motivates you, you will never be satisfied, happy, or complete. Abundance of money is a side-effect of doing what you love — it should never be a goal in and of itself.

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