Controlled Chaos & a Little Wine: Interview with Bulldog Solution Owner Kortney Peagram

Welcome to day 31 and OUR LAST DAY of Bulldog’s Mommy Blog Project! For the month of May, I wanted to feature 31 women who continue to touch my life through their kindness, friendship, humor, passion, and determination. Each of these women had some great secrets as they opened their doors and let me into their "mommy world". Their stories brought us back to the realization that we all go through struggles, make mistakes, and sometimes need to "fake it until we make it" as parents. Join me now as I not only celebrate these mothers, but let you into my own "mommy world". 

Today we get to wrap everything up with my interview. It was only fair that I also put myself through the process, so my project manager, Diana Mekarski interviewed me. I felt like I just rambled on and on. She was fiercely taking notes and I didn’t see the end product until yesterday, as we were editing it. So, bare with some of my ranting and I hope you enjoy seeing motherhood from my perspective.

Before we learn about my chaotic life as a small business owner, professor, mother, and wife, let’s learn about the parenting tip of the day.

Parenting Tip of the Day: Take care of YOU first. As mothers, we are taught not to be selfish. When we don’t take care of ourselves, it shows up in other parts of our lives and we end up not giving it our all as mothers. Here are some tips for you to be the best you (and mom) you can be:

  • Create a sustainable schedule. Examine your daily schedule and tasks. Take some time to look it over and see if your daily tasks make sense. Getting to bed early, or just rearranging some of your schedule may make life easier to manage.
  • Have standards and know when to say “NO”. As women, it is difficult to say “no”, as mothers, it can sometimes seem impossible. Take a step back and look at the situation instead of reflexively saying “yes”.
  • Exercise, you’ll feel better ! We easily find excuses not to exercise: it takes too long to get ready…the gym is too far…it’s too hot…it’s too cold…I’m BUSY! Exercise is not an immediate reward, and it is so much easier to just grab our favorite junk food or a glass of wine. Exercise gives us time to process our day and relieve some of that long-term stress we have built up inside.

For more info or tips click on our website: Parent Coaching

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Name: Kortney Peagram
Location: Chicago, IL
Mommy Title: BATMAN!- When in doubt just be Batman
Favorite Social Media Site: Twitter/Facebook
Mommy Status: Married
Number of kids: 1
Age: 15 months
Gender: Girl, but sometimes I am convinced she thinks she’s a boy.

Walk me through a day in your household.
Owning a small business can make personal life a chaotic, crazy mess. Here’s mine:

THE MORNING RUSH HOUR: I wake up when my daughter wakes up. She has this special calling. It sounds like she is saying “JOE! JOE! JOE!” (my husband’s name- I must yell it too much!), followed by some gibberish. We get up around 7:30-8:00am. We go into my bathroom and brush our teeth. Then I give her a bottle of milk and put some cereal on the lower shelve of our pantry. She picks at the cereal, drinks her milk, and plays with our dog. This gives me an opportunity to empty the dishwasher and prep her breakfast. Then I clean the kitchen and living room (it’s all one open area). I make an effort to not look at emails or text until I start work. By this time it's 8:45am, I got 15 minutes to shower and get ready before my babysitter shows up. I plot my daughter down in my bathroom while I shower. I put toys in the second and third drawer of our bathroom so she opens it up and plays with her toys. More often though, she plays with my makeup. I jump in the shower and take a 5 minute shower. If she is fussy, she showers with me, as time is of the essence. I throw clothes on, put some mascara on, and voilà I am ready for the day.

HARD AT WORK: On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, I have my 2 full-time staff work from my house. It is easier since I don’t have full babysitting coverage on those days, and we typically don’t have bully programs or teacher trainings. So the doorbell rings at 9am and it is either my babysitter, or one of my staff. The staff sets up on my kitchen counter, and the sitter feeds my daughter breakfast right by their side. It is a pretty big counter. I then run to my room, make my bed, and go through my calendar for the day. By 9:15-9:30am my home office opens and we are working on programs, sales, marketing, trainings, and all that fun stuff. My sitter will take my daughter to an activity or the park for a few hours. We have time then to just knock out work. They come back from their morning adventures and she takes her nap.

STILL WORKING...WITH A TOUCH OF FAMILY TIME: The first sitter leaves and I got about 2 hours of no coverage. Then my mom comes in and she tackles my Love Monster, who is eager to eat lunch and play some more. My staff and I break for lunch so my mom can access the kitchen. We take a walk or grab something to eat. Then it’s back to work. It can be a little chaotic with my daughter in the living room, but my mom is SUPER GRANDMA and we are able to make do. My husband is home by 4:30pm and he tags in. Grandma heads home. My husband does snack and typically takes my daughter on some sort of errand. My team and I work until 7pm. Then my husband comes home and I take a break from work. I either clean or feed my daughter dinner. My husband does bath time and I tidy up. After that, my husband reads to her (as much as he can since she has the attention span of a peanut), then he puts her to bed. As he is doing that, I switch over to teaching my online class until 9 or 10pm. I pour myself a glass of wine, and start chatting with my students. My husband starts dinner and we listen to music. We eat at about 10pm then we head to bed.

So...that is a typical day in one BIG rant!

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What is your favorite room in the house and why?
My kitchen/living room: it’s where all the magic happens.

What is your favorite time of the day with your kids?
I would say the mornings. She takes her blankie and cuddles with me for no more than 2 minutes before she up and running around the house, but I get that one cuddle for the day.

What is a unique family tradition?
On Sundays, we have family days. We try to do something together as a family. We stay in our PJ’s all day, do something fun, or go to the Farmer’s Market. During our family days, there are no phones or work allowed. It is my one day off, so I take advantage of it.

What do you do when you are overwhelmed?
I drink wine! I call Val (day 30 Mommy Blog Project Interview) and I just say ALL the stuff in my head.  She is the BEST!

What is the best “uh-oh” story?
It was really early in the morning and we had so many errands to do. We came home and I was looking forward to a family nap. My husband took this opportunity to get his haircut, so I let him go. I laid my daughter down in a t-shirt and diaper and jumped into my comfy bed. I was half asleep. I could hear her fuss and I was just annoyed. Why is she not sleeping? When her cries shifted into more serious cries, I knew something was not right. I got up and was hit with a nasty smell in our hallway. I opened her door and just stared at her. She had taken her diaper off and spread her feces all over. Every bar on her crib was covered in poo. All her stuffed animals were covered. Cookie Monster was now Poopy Monster. The walls around her crib had feces painted ALL over them. It was on her face and in her mouth. She had spread it all over her sheets and managed to also get it into her ears. It was the first time in my life that I just stood there. I thought for a second, just close the door and walk away. I had no clue what to do or where to start. I immediately called my husband but he did not answer. I was standing there and with no idea of what to touch first. So, I tried to clean off her hands, but she kept fussing and would grab the poop and spread it some more. I threw her in the bath. I just turned on the shower and sprayed her until there was no more poop. I told myself, one thing at a time. I took a deep breath and I got a hard-core cleaning products. I started attacking her crib with some massive cleaning. I threw away her sheets and clothes. I then put all her Sesame Street friends in the washing machine. I spent 45 minutes cleaning EVERY INCH of her room. She was SO mad at me. I would not let her in her room. After I power cleaned, we sat on the floor and I just cried. I could not be mad at her, but all I could smell was poop. I tried washing out her mouth, but then I realized I was also covered in poop. It was the first time in a year I took a 45 minute shower.

Batman

Which celebrity mom is most like you and why?
BATMAN!!! This is a weird story between my staff! Last year, we had a bunch of interns and on the final evaluations, they all shared the same comments: "Kortney is intense". My project manager sat me down and said, “You know, this is not a bad thing. You are passionate about your work and expect only the best. So, it might come off as intense, but you get it done. You are like Batman!” That stuck with me. When I want to be brave and take risks I think like BATMAN! It kind is a joke in our office. Since I work side by side with my project manager, I would say she is my Robin. When I get nervous about presenting to principals or being on TV, she texts me things like: "You can do it, Batman!" She made me realize we need a few alter egos to be able to make it in this world.

What is your favorite website or blog?
Tween Us. I LOVE her blog. It educational with a touch of reality, humor, and love. I highly recommend adding it to your bookmarks.

What advice would you give your younger self?
I could write a book on that one! If I could go back in time I would slap myself and say, "what ARE you doing? Take yourself more seriously. Believe in yourself! You are smart and big things await you. Don’t doubt yourself and stop listening to what other people have to say about your life choices. People will judge and put you down. Ignore them. Admit to yourself that you are different and be proud. More importantly be a HONEY BADGER and don’t give a SH*T about what people think about you. STOP trying to please everyone!” 

What is your go to outfit?
I am obsessed with Lululemon. It’s all I wear; it pulls all my not so flattering stuff together. I won’t lie: I am a little chubby and I can’t seem to get that baby weight off, so I resort to Lulu! With a tank top and leggings or yoga pants you can’t go wrong!

What is something you are pretending to know about but have no clue?
I have no clue about parenting my little Love Monster. But honestly though, I think most importantly, I tend to pretend to be a good wife. I wish I was better. I truly have the most amazing and supportive husband. But, when we finish our work day, all I want to talk about is Bulldog. I pretend to listen to him and capture every other word, but in reality I am not present. I am mostly in my head stressing about work. I need to let go and embrace those conversations and learn from him. I need to stop for a moment and REALLY listen.

What have you learned from your kids?
To take risks! My Love Monster will throw herself off the couch with no fear, she will jump on the dog, or climb onto our coach. She is fearless and I need to do that more. Being a business owner is often scary, but she has taught me to just make that leap.

If you could ask the universe one question what would it be? 
Will I ever see my brother Jason again? I lost my brother to violence and I wonder if I will ever have a chance to see him again. Every day I miss him. I dedicate my work to him, but it is not enough. I want to hug him one more time. Smell him and tell him that he was the most amazing little brother a girl could ask for.

What is the looming task on your to do list?
Planning my grad party! I defended my dissertation almost a year ago, but never celebrated my Doctorate. So this year, I decided to walk at graduation.  Diana Mekarski is also graduating with her Masters. I am so proud of her and I want to do a dual celebration. We are so busy right now: we still need to book my courtyard, plan for food and drinks, and send out the invites.

Closing thoughts, mantra, or advice:
Parenthood is HARD. Being a mom, you play all these roles and you constantly think you're failing. You are your worst critic. So stop…and learn about being in the moment. Your kid will be fine if you do your best and you are just present. Don’t groom them to be a mini you’s. They are their own person! Believe in them and when they hurt, hug them. Show them love. Show them empathy.  Admit to your failures and learn from them. Don’t blame other people or hold onto grudges. It makes you a negative person. Be real and love life. You only have one life to live, so embrace it! In the end it does not matter how much money you make or how much you have, it is about the impact you leave on this world. Make a difference!

I loved this Mommy Blog Project and I learned a great deal from these amazing women. Each one of them has a story to share and I was eagerly listening to how they manage their lives, kids, careers, and relationships. We all need to be a little more silly and laugh at ourselves.

On Tuesday, we’ll be posting about our blog highlights followed by a day of behind the scenes of the Mommy Blog Project. Join us in our final moments of this project as we highlight and thank all these women as well as share with you the mishaps, frustrations, hours of work, and all the late night laughs spent on creating this project!  

Until Next Time...
Kortney Peagram
Be Strong*Be Brave*Be a Bulldog

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