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Two Minutes With Holly Mason featured in the Dallas Business Journal

November 6, 2007

It is estimated that 26 million mothers, more than 72 percent of all moms in the United States today, work full or part time. Among these hard-working ladies is Holly Mason, principal and owner of MasonBaronet, a 14-person marketing firm located in Dallas, and mother of a feisty four-year-old named Mia. To help strike that perfect balance between career and motherhood, Holly has developed some quick tips that she shares with others looking to combat the constant pressures of being a boss, a mom, a wife and a friend:


Become the queen of routine


Mason recommends moms establish a routine schedule for the whole family. It’s not because she’s one of those high-strung type A personalities (although, admittedly, she is very organized), but she believes this schedule is a necessity for controlling the chaos that can easily ensue in a working mom’s life. To do this, she suggests simple steps such as laying out school clothes and packing lunches the night before and grocery shopping on Sundays with an eye towards what will be served each evening that week. Additionally, keep one family calendar in a central location with upcoming appointments and events so everyone in the clan can plan their days as needed.


 “An established routine helps everyone save time and tempers,” says Mason. “In my case, my husband always takes my daughter to school, and I make time in my schedule to pick her up each afternoon. Not only does it allow me to plan my day accordingly, but my daughter is more calm and focused because she has the stability of a schedule.”


This schedule is also something Mason recommends business owners and employees stick to. As a business owner, a routine schedule allows her employees to know when they can expect her in the office. Conversely, Mason expects the same schedule of her employees (some of whom work flex time to care for their children). The routine schedule leads to one less variable that people have to anticipate in their day and a better atmosphere for all involved.


Take advantage of technology


Wireless devices like Blackberries and laptops have gotten a bad rap lately as overused and addictive, but Mason recommends technology as another tool in a mom’s arsenal to keeping it all under control. “Because technology has advanced, I am able to accomplish things like taking my daughter to a doctor’s appointment while still checking in on crucial projects at the office.” 


But she also warns parents not to overdo it, and encourages moms to set specific times for checking e-mails at home like after the kids have gone to bed or before they get up in the morning. Adding to this point, she encourages parents to make the most of the time they are spending with their children by not constantly responding to text messages or taking cell phone calls.


Additionally, Mason advises parents take advantage of simple solutions like online bill pay. “I set up all of my accounts to have the monies automatically withdrawn, and now I’m not plagued with constant worry of late or unpaid bills. Even better, I know my child won’t be sitting outside of dance class because I forgot to pay that month’s tuition.”


The power of pre-purchase


As any parent can attest, it seems like there’s always a birthday or special occasion popping up on the calendar. And with these various celebrations comes the stress of finding, wrapping and delivering a card and gift. Mason’s simple solution is to go shopping once and keep a variety of gender-neutral cards, gift cards and gift bags on hand. That way when the special day arrives, moms don’t have to spend precious time chasing down presents all over town.


Know when to say “no”


For busy moms like Holly Mason, another key to living a balanced life is knowing when to say no and feeling okay with that decision. This “no” can be as simple as declining a post-work happy hour in favor of spending a few more hours with the kids, or saying “no” to constantly trying to keep a Martha Stewart–clean house.


“I’ve learned to live with a little clutter and to let go of some of the little things at work,” says Mason. “I’ve also helped delegate some activities like yard work and house work, by hiring someone to take that over. That way, I’m not faced with the nagging guilt of taking care of these things, and I have more time to spend with my daughter.”


Make time for me


Lastly, Mason tells busy moms to keep their sanity by finding a little slice of “me” time, no matter how brief. She advises moms use this time for healthy activities like exercise or even just a moment to quiet the mind. To do this, she recommends moms take advantage of friends and family who offer to watch the children from time to time, or that they identify fifteen minutes over the course of the day where they can just shut the door, shut their eyes and relax. The end result is a refocused, refreshed mom who can go right back to balancing the daily traffic of work, kids and friends.


Holly Mason lives in Dallas with her husband and daughter. At 33, she has already purchased her own company and increased its sales by 50 percent – and all while fulfilling the motherly duties of making cupcakes from scratch for her daughter’s class.


November 6, 2007

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