In 1991, makeup artist Bobbi Brown launched her own cosmetics line with only 10 lipsticks. Today, she oversees a global company, Bobbi Brown Professional Cosmetics, and her products are sold at more than 300 stores around the world. But she still lives by the rule she followed when starting her business -- "Keep it simple, real, and approachable," which could also describe her philosophy for raising her sons, Dylan, 11, Dakota, 9, and Duke, 3, with her husband, attorney and real estate developer Steven Plofker, in suburban New Jersey.
Sharing Parenting Chores: I work Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, and I usually get into the office between 8:00 and 8:30 and leave around 4:30. When I'm home, I pick the boys up from school and hang out with them. However, on the days that I work, I have an amazing couple who look after the kids in the afternoons. My husband also does his part in watching them and taking them to and from school and their activities.
Favorite Family Rituals: We eat dinner together as often as we can. We usually all end up in my bed watching TV from 8 to 9. We're a sports family: We try to go to as many New Jersey Nets games together as possible.
Sanity-Saving Tips: At home, I've got a closet that I keep stocked with gifts. That way, I always have something to bring if I'm visiting someone's house. I also keep a supply of gift certificates for local toy and book stores since my kids go to a lot of birthday parties. Another thing I do is buy the older boys the same socks and black gloves so we don't have to worry about matching them.
Lessons Learned: As a working mom, you always feel you're shortchanging somebody or something -- your family, work, sometimes both. To hold on to a piece of yourself, pick one thing that matters to you and focus on it. For me, it's exercise. That's why I work out -- either on the treadmill or by doing Pilates, Lotte Berk movements, or yoga -- every morning before I take my kids to school.
Nutrition Musts: I eat three meals and two snacks a day to keep my energy up. Breakfast usually consists of either egg whites or oatmeal and a Starbucks low-fat cappuccino. Most of the time, lunch is a salad with some sort of protein or sushi and lots of water. In the afternoon, I have a Balance Bar or a protein shake. I also take multivitamins with added C and E -- when I remember.
Beauty Basics: I always carry the Face Palette from my collection. It has six compartments and holds concealer, foundation, blush, and three lipsticks. With that, you can look put together in two minutes.
Diaper Bag Redefined: I use a Kate Spade backpack as a diaper bag. I always carry bandannas, which I use as bibs -- they're cuter and larger than regular bibs, and they're easier to change than a shirt.
Caring About All Kids: I'm involved with the Fresh Air Fund, which treats disadvantaged New York City children to summer vacations in the country. Cities can be stifling, and I love knowing that I can help get kids my sons' ages outside to run around and play.
Copyright © 2001. Reprinted with permission from the September 2001 issue of Child magazine.