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How Dallas Mom and Tech Consultant Shannon Graf Spends Her Tuesday

She finds ways to stay connected to her toddler during the workday.

Dallas mom Shannon Graf lives in a house divided: She’s an Aggie, and her partner, Blair Black, is a Longhorn. Together they’re raising 18-month-old Layla. In addition to her role as a mom, Graf leads research and strategy at a tech consultancy, projekt202, and teaches yoga. 

6:30AM  A bit reluctantly, I wake up on my own, reach for my phone and go over my work calendar. I’m working at the office today and have a commute to a client later, so I know that if I am going to get some exercise in, it’s now. I check my ClassPass app, and nothing at a nearby studio starts in the time frame I need this morning, so I opt for a run. While Blair and Layla sleep, Lincoln (our 4-year-old golden retriever) and I quietly drag ourselves downstairs and out the door for a 30-minute jog around the M Streets.

7:30AM  Back home. I make the first of two cups of coffee and a breakfast smoothie, feed Lincoln and take a quick look at email before showering and getting ready for the day.

8AM Layla begins to stir in her room downstairs. I keep an eye on her with the video monitor in the bathroom while expediting my hair and makeup routine since she will be up soon. Looks like it’s a dry shampoo day!

8:20AM  I wake up Blair to let him know that I have to leave in 10 minutes and that I’ll bring Layla up to him. This wakeup call gives him a chance to snap to it before I put a toddler in bed with him.

8:25AM  I go get my sweet baby girl from her crib where she is just babbling away. She giggles with delight as I walk in and start singing our morning song. I give her some water to drink while we change her diaper and walk upstairs to Daddy. He takes Layla, and she begins to fuss. This mom guilt never gets easier to wrestle with—no matter when it hits. I clutch my coffee and workbag and head downstairs to the garage.

8:30AM  My commute is the time I have to mentally shift into working-mom mode. Marco Polo has become one of my favorite apps for keeping in touch with one of my mom friends who lives in Raleigh. We often exchange stories that make us feel less alone in this new-motherhood-while-juggling-work chapter of life.

9AM  I drop my things at my desk, fill my water bottle and head (a little late) into my first meeting where we are huddling to discuss our approach to pitch a new client.

10AM  On my way to a quick restroom break, I check my WhatsApp to communicate with our new nanny, who only speaks Spanish. We use Google Translate, but I’ve been challenging myself to try and craft the statement first, then check it. I receive a few pictures documenting the morning, and it makes me feel more connected to my daughter.

10:05AM Meetings!

12PM  I need to check my email and catch up on the morning’s happenings, so thank goodness this is one of the days we have lunch catered. Lunch is Zoës Kitchen, so I load up on an obscene amount of hummus.

1PM  I wrap up some housekeeping tasks and get ready to head over to a client meeting about 20 minutes away. On the way in, I make time to run to the restroom and scroll through more pictures from Layla’s day, text a few to my mother and Blair, and let the nanny know I might be less responsive over the next couple of hours.

4PM  On returning from my maternity leave, I gave myself a boundary to “hard stop” my workday at this time to be able to commute home and have enough of Layla’s wake time to spend with her. I can always log back in to work after she goes to bed.

4:30PM  Today’s commute didn’t take too long, so I arrive home to change and get ready for our evening walk only to remember we have a Kindermusik makeup class tonight!

5PM  We say our goodbyes to our dear nanny, and I gather Layla to walk the couple of blocks to the church location where we have our music class.

6PM  I hurry home to make Layla some dinner. Tonight, it’s a scrambled egg, peas, cauliflower rice, some raspberries, yogurt and some leftover smoothie from Mommy’s breakfast. I feed Lincoln, and Layla stands beside him to make sure he eats.

6:30PM  After I clean up dinner, we have a little pre-bath dance party, and I add in some bubble blowing for good measure. We pick out Layla’s bedtime books, and I start her bath water and lay out her jammies and diaper.

7PM  We splash and sing while I bathe Layla. Tonight she’s into her stacking boats and less into her other bath toys, so we work on counting the boats and reciting their colors. I brush her teeth, put her in her jammies and brush her hair, and we settle down for books while she takes a bedtime bottle.

7:30PM  I walk Layla down to her room, where we say our nighttime prayer, and I place her in the crib for night-night time.

8PM  Back upstairs, I pour a glass of wine and enjoy the quiet (minus Lincoln’s snoring) before Blair gets home. I read a little while texting with friends and my mother. I’m finally decompressed from the day and fading fast!

9PM  I fight to stay awake so Blair and I can catch up from the day and maybe enjoy a show. We opt for Grace and Frankie tonight. I start to doze a little, so I get up and get ready for bed.

10:30PM  Blair comes to tuck me in. We review tomorrow’s calendar, then I do some journaling before falling asleep.