Sometimes, adulting can feel like one major juggling act. Trying to build yourself a successful career, cultivate a healthy home life, and raise kids can make it near impossible to find the time to stop and ponder how you really are. So, on a mission to find out what it’s like to be successful and have a thriving family all at the same time, we sat down with Sunday Somewhere founder, Dave Allison and his wife Marcia Leone (founder of Not So Mumsy), to get the real lowdown on how they manage a busy workload, marriage, and a growing family.
What did we learn? Work/life balance is hard. It most definitely means you’re not always going to have everything at once, and that patience really is the cornerstone of any relationship.
See below for the full interview with the power-duo.
How do you start your day?
DAVE ALLISON: Well we’re currently in the newborn trenches, so I start the day swaying, swaddling, and soothing my little darling. I’ve always been an early riser, usually to go to the gym or for a run, so it’s a little different. Then it’s off to the studio to work on new season designs and check in with overnight happenings on email with the Sunday Somewhere team in London.
MARCIA LEONE: If you asked me four months ago, it began with a 20-minute meditation. Now it starts with a 5.30 a.m. baby handover—I tend to the baby all night so hubby has one-on-one playtime for a couple of hours while Archie, our five-year-old, comes into bed with me for a sleep-in. It’s musical bed madness right now! Then it’s school drop-off and the juggle of a working mum begins.
Did you ever have a discussion early on about pursuing individual goals?
DA: We’ve always been extremely supportive of each other’s careers, but recognise as we grow our family we need to ebb and flow during busy times. Marcia has selflessly allowed me to focus on Sunday Somewhere for many years as we launched around the same time Archie was born. I used to joke that I had “two babies within the space of a few months.” Now Marcia’s career is taking off, we need to be more considered when planning our schedules. It’s not an easy juggle.
ML: I don’t think it was a specific conversation, but there was an understanding that I would take time out from my career to raise babies. I gave birth to our first child at the same time Dave was starting Sunday Somewhere. This meant lots of travel, including relocating to NYC for a while, so I was happy to support him as he focused on the business while I was a full-time mum. We never anticipated that having babies would lead me to a new career where I’m busier than ever, so it’s a real juggle now.
How do you segment your time between work, kids, marriage, and leisure?
DA: If I’ve been spending some time overseas and after the collection releases I make sure I spend some quality time with the family to re-connect. Marcia has always been a believer in weekly date nights. We haven’t had one since Poppy was born, but I’m chasing her up to get this back in the diary!
ML: I guess I work towards a loose schedule of sorts: Phones down after 8 p.m., family day on Sundays, date night once a week, and exercise three times a week. But the reality of what I do, and having kids, means we need to be a bit more flexible. My kids are always the priority, so that means working during naptime and before school pick-up, some days I don’t start work until 10 p.m.! It can be hard to separate work from home, but on the flip-side the nature of my work means I can say, “let’s pack up and go away for a week.”
Do you think that the motto “work/life balance” is relevant when you’re an entrepreneur?
DA: It’s relevant, but can be challenging. The reality is when you work for yourself you end up working more than 60-hour weeks so you don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else. It’s always important to make sure you have some regular down-time, too.
ML: I think when you love what you do it’s okay for the lines to blur a bit more. When your work is your passion and it doesn’t feel like work, you don’t feel you need so much of a break from it. In my case, work means sharing my life and style while I’m able to be at home with the kids, so it can be seen as the ultimate work/life balance, or the worst, depending on how you view it.
What’s some of the most significant lessons you’ve learnt from each other?
DA: My wife is a “goal smasher”. Each year she sets specific goals and achieves them in months.
ML: If there was a motto for Dave it would be “get shit done.” I’ve learned to procrastinate less, dream big and not to let fear hold me back.