Amy Richardson-Golia owns the cutest shop. It’s called June & January, but you may also remember it as Little Hip Squeaks, a fast-growing company whose beginning happened in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. I’ll let Amy tell you about her new office; the visual she paints of her time creating in it without a care in the world — Whoops! Sorry, neighbor! — is as hilariously sweet as something out of a Drew Barrymore movie, and will make you smile for the rest of her interview.
Also, I should tell you that Amy is sleep-deprived, as most of us have probably felt at one point or another. Any encouraging pats on her back and “Go, you!” cheers are surely welcome! And speaking of welcome…hello, Amy!
My husband and I have a four-year-old son named Eli and a ten-month-old daughter called Juniper, the latter of which is a miserable sleeper! Eli is mediocre, at best, so we’re usually up four to five times each night between the two of them.
We alternate sleep-in days; the difference between 6:00 am and 7:00 am is glorious!
Since I am the CEO of my own company, and my husband is an editor who works from our home four days per week, we have a luxuriously flexible schedule that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Today is my day to wake up early. I push Eli off into the playroom, throw the baby in her high chair with some bits of banana, and get to makin’ coffee. Once I’ve got my morning fuel situation, Juniper and I camp out on some cozy cushions in the playroom, nursing while E plays with various toys. We let him watch a show of his choosing on Netflix at 7:30 while he eats breakfast — today it’s toast with peanut butter — and right about now my husband saunters downstairs.
Eli goes to pre-K which starts at 8:30. We’re lucky enough that it’s walking distance and my husband is out the door with both kids by 8:00 so that I can have 45 minutes of chill-out time, aka surfing Instagram and drinking coffee.
He usually stops for a bagels and a coffee for himself, and that adds to my alone time. Some days, this is the best part of my day. Some days, the baby falls asleep on the walk back, which means my husband and I get to eat our bagels together while we both hover over our laptops and start hacking into our email accounts. Other times, she arrives back home wide awake, and my husband will urgently have to use the bathroom…which I am pretty sure means he just wants ten minutes of his own alone time.
It’s usually in this pocket of the day when I feel panicked that we have to teach another child the alphabet, or whereabouts their toes and nose and ears are located on their body. She seems to have aged so much quicker than her brother, and I am certain he knew blue from green at one year old.
Our nanny, who I utterly adore, arrives at 9:30, and we typically end up chatting for 20 minutes about what we cooked for dinner, or what weird thing we saw on the internet the night before. Juniper is also thrilled to see her, and generally doesn’t fuss when she’s handed off.
Eventually I break away and head to my office, just a 30 block drive away. Traffic is always terrible at this hour, but it’s another chance for me to have alone time with complete silence. I usually come up with some of my best business ideas during this 20 minute drive, which I am frantically relaying to Siri in the notes section of my phone. I drive past a hospital each day on my route, and sometimes will see gruesome injuries running into the emergency room.
My office is in a large repurposed industrial building, called Industry City, with hundreds of small business, makers, manufacturers, and retailers in one beautiful space. My office is in the dead center of the third floor, where there is a large 12 x 8 foot gorgeous window looking directly in at my workspace.
I often forget that it’s there, until I whip out my breast pump. Recently, I was spotted by my new neighbor — a male — whilst hands-free pumping and listening to Jay Z loudly and dressing a small child-sized mannequin.
I’ll grab a coffee from the patisserie on the first floor; a stop I have made every morning for the better half of a year, and always have a chat with the barista, wondering the entire time if it’s uncomfortable for her that I know her name, but she doesn’t know mine. At this point it would be uncomfortable to introduce myself, right? She asks about the baby, who has come to work with me a few times before, and I tip her way too generously. One of my best attributes!
My Operations Director works remotely from her home in PA, and we both start our day at 10:00. We check in over iMessage and knock out any urgent emails or pressing matters from the night before. Our two Social Media Managers also work remotely, and I’ll occasionally have to check in with them, though they are both pretty self-sufficient.
I have a standing phone date with a good friend at 10:30. She’s on MST and calls on her way to her office. She’s also a business owner, and we chat for about 20 minutes about nothing in particular, but I like to think of it as a good brain dump.
My work day always varies. Since I’m the CEO of my own rapidly growing company, I wear multiple hats and am always juggling a dozen projects.
Some days I spend five hours just tackling emails, many of which are pitches from bloggers, app developers, or other small businesses looking to work together. We have a large network of people on our team including graphic designers, photographers, manufacturers, shipping and distribution, PR, and SEO, there’s usually something to discuss with each of them, daily, which eats up the better part of my afternoon.
Industry City has some really great lunch options, but I usually bring a greek yogurt for lunch. However, I will frequently make up any excuse — I’m cold, I’m in a bad mood, I might be getting my period, etc. — to go buy a $4 hot chocolate from the candy shop in our building.
I leave my office by 3:30 each day, about an hour after my husband picks up our son from school. When I get home Juniper FREAKS OUT at the sight of me, and demands to nurse immediately. I always feel guilty because it’s the only time of day where I feel like I’m neglecting my firstborn to tend to her.
Eli is usually playing or having a snack while watching a show, and likely doesn’t care that I’m home at all, but it bothers me immensely that I can’t shower him with the same level of affection as she receives when I walk in the door.
Once I calm his sister, I always try to pry some details about his day at school, but usually just get a vague ‘I was soooo good today.’ Sometimes, if he’s in a generous mood, he’ll share a new song he learned, or who he sat next to at lunch.
Our nanny always sticks around for at least an hour, even after I’ve gotten home, mostly just chatting with me. Nate will come downstairs and check in with us. Some days he’ll need to work right up until five, but often he’s able to wrap up around 4:30. If it’s a nice afternoon or if Juniper is particularly cranky, he will take her for a short lap around the neighborhood while I help Eli with homework or build something with Legos — my favorite.
When Nate and the baby get back, I’ll put her in her high chair and start working on dinner for Eli; he eats before us, and we eat after both kids are in bed. I always imagined eating dinner around the table with my children, but being in Brooklyn doesn’t really allow for that luxury, especially since we converted our dining room in to a living room, and our living room into a playroom.
Thankfully, Eli is not a picky eater, so I can throw together dinners for him pretty easily. He’ll eat handfuls of raw spinach and cauliflower, but will not touch red pasta sauce or anything that has dressing. While he eats his dinner, I let him watch a show on Netflix and pack his lunch for the next day. I continue to keep the baby entertained in her highchair with snacks of her own.
We have a very small NYC style kitchen, where it’s physically impossible for two adults to be standing at a counter-space, so I cook 99% of the meals in our house alone, but am totally happy to do it. I love to cook and find it so therapeutic, and frankly my husband is not a very good cook.
We’re incredibly lucky that my mom also lives nearby. Very, very nearby – four blocks away nearby! I’m an only child and my parents have been divorced since I was 11, so when I was pregnant with our son, she moved here to be close to us and sees her grandchildren pretty much every single day. She works in Manhattan and every day, gets off the bus in front of our house around 6:00 pm. Both kids are always delighted to see her. We’ll all spend a few minutes in the playroom chatting, and wearing the kids out before we get ready for bedtime.
Bedtime in our house starts earlier than most. Because my kids aren’t great sleepers, they are cranky and miserable by 7:00. Often, my mom will help me get the kids bathed, while my husband is folding laundry, taking out the garbage, or loading the dishwasher.
Recently, Juniper has joined Eli for a bath, but depending on the kids’ moods, some days we’ll skip her bath and he’ll take a shower alone. Eli will choose his preference of who will read him a book: usually grandma, sometimes daddy, but rarely me. I’ll nurse and rock the baby to sleep. She’ll have days where bedtime can take less than ten minutes, and other days where after 45 minutes of nursing, I’ll have to call my husband in to take over patting her back while she flops around her crib restlessly.
My mom lets herself out, and Eli always hollers for me to get him a glass of water and an extra kiss and hug. Nate and I will reconvene downstairs for dinner around 7:30.
Unfortunately we don’t do a great job of disconnecting from our phones in the evening; I’m usually wrapping up emails that came in since I left the office, as a lot of our vendors and partners are located on the West Coast, and my husband enjoys a bit of downtime.
We’ll spend the next couple hours hunting for something funny to watch on Netflix — we’re currently binge-watching Friends — and head up to bed ourselves shamefully early, between 9:30 and 10 most nights.
Nate will be snoring before I’ve finished brushing my teeth, but Juniper typically wakes up around 10:30, so I stay awake waiting to comfort her back to sleep so I can get a solid two or three hour stretch of sleep myself.
Eli was a terrible sleeper as an infant, and I remember we swore that we would exhaust all possible means to get Juniper to be a better sleeper. Spoiler alert: She’s MUCH worse than he was.
It’s somewhere in the 2:00 am wake up that I’m resentful that my husband is able to sleep through her blood-curdling screams, or when our son is yelling at the top of his lungs for someone to change the music playing in his room, which of course wakes up his sister. I feel as though I haven’t slept in years, and most nights and mornings, the only thing that gets me out of bed is knowing that I have delicious coffee to look forward to when the sun comes up.
Amy, you’re such a treat! I love your honesty about your 2:00 am resentment, I love how you recognize your need for alone time and brain dumps with friends, and I love that your mom moved to be close to you and her grandkids. I’m sending you wishes for sleep, or at least more than a two to three hour stretch!
I wonder how many of you out there feel like you haven’t slept in years? Did any of you ever crack the code to your light sleepers? I’m sure Amy and maybe a few others out there could use some hard-earned expertise from the trenches!