Panelist Preview with Kelsey Lents
I met Kelsey through a mutual contact at a networking event. This guy, let's call him 'the connector' heard what I was doing with The Maternity Planner, and told me that I had to meet his friend Kelsey. We met for coffee and within minutes I felt like we were kindred spirits. Kelsey and I both value motherhood and cultivating our independence, we both want to make the lives of women, mothers and parents better, and we both refuse to accept the status quo.
I'm so excited about the launch of her childcare and coworking space (the first of it's kind), Two Birds and was thrilled when Kelsey offered to host and co-sponsor our next event Designing The Work-Life That Works For Your Life - because that's what Two Birds helps parents do!
Also - if you're looking to learn more about Two Birds you can tour the space before and after the panel discussion on May 7th, see program here.
Who's Kelsey? How would you describe yourself and what you do professionally?
I’ve recently realized I don’t feel like an imposter when I answer that question by saying adventurous, first and foremost. I used to think that only applied to my personal life where it was easy to see how much I loved travel, exploring places, people, food. But I’m starting to understand just how pervasive that trait is. Looking back on my career, I’ve switched industries, jobs, cities. I certainly didn’t predict ending up founding a company, but the newness of each day, where you have to learn something different and out of your comfort zone is completely addictive. Starting and running Two Birds is the first time I haven’t been thinking about my next career jump. That said, my husband can always find me curled up reading for hours in the middle of the night, deep in my escape worlds. Everyone deserves those!
Professionally, I am the founder and CEO of Two Birds, which is the first company in the US to provide fully licensed childcare alongside coworking space for parents.
How did you design your work-life to work for your life? What’s one way it totally works and one challenge?
I love this one since Two Birds’ mission is, above all, to make work-life work for more parents. I started the company to let parents control how integrated their personal and professional spheres are – and to not feel like they have to apologize for whatever that looks like.
I work 12-15 hour days. Heads down, focused work where I’m not also trying to watch my son out of the corner of my eye. And I don’t feel guilty – because I still get to take coffee breaks, walk downstairs, and watch my son build a bird feeder with his teachers, or walk to the park with him and his classmates during my lunch break. I’m about to have a second child, and I’ll get to nurse him throughout the day and hang out not just with him, but with other working moms while doing it. I pinch myself sometimes because that feels like such a luxury. But it shouldn’t – it should be what we all expect.
What’s your working mom hack?
I call it green juice. It’s spinach, avocado, milk, apple and banana and takes about 30 seconds to cram everything into a blender. My 2 year old thinks it’s some magical drink; little does he know he’s drinking liquified salad. I now have to make double portions because I’ve taken to eating his leftovers. On crazy days, it’s an amazing breakfast to throw in bottles for both of us and take on the road.
How do you retain your sense of self in motherhood?
Honestly, work is a big part of that. Feeling like I didn’t have to sacrifice my career goals to be a good mom has allowed me retain a lot of my pre-motherhood identity.
Additionally, I’m a big believer in going out even after kids. When my son was an infant, we took him everywhere – restaurants, bars, flights, road trips. I took him to Comic Con to meet Stan Lee when he was 7 days old. It made me realize that he could be happily integrated into parts of my life, and that my own world and identity didn’t need to cease to exist. Now, with a two year old, my husband and I make sure we do one meal out each weekend - brunch, dinner, etc. We feel like we’re still making time for each other, but our son gets to be a part of that and experience firsthand how important our relationship is not just with him but with each other.
What do you do (guilt-free) for yourself?
Sleep in on the weekend!
My husband travels Mon-Thurs every week so we have a standing agreement that he’s on solo baby duty Saturday and Sunday mornings. There’s nothing better than waking up at 6am and burrowing back under the covers. These days I often don’t even use those hours to sleep since I love having time to just read and drink coffee while my husband takes my son for a walk.
Given your experience what is one thing you wish you could’ve known before embarking on your journey to motherhood?
There’s this little human in the world who was born loving you unconditionally – that is insanely powerful. The amount of pure joy your child has just from being around you makes it so easy to be present and engaged and just wholly focused on them. Until my son was born, it was hard to turn off all the other switches in my brain. But when he’s giggling or hugging you, everything else just fades away momentarily.
What are you into these days?
The Podcast, How I built this
Keep in touch with Kelsey and Two Birds DC
Linkedin: Two Birds