I'm a Mom and Proud to Be a Black Female Business Owner: Here's How I Schedule My Day
I came to New York to work as a model. I had great success but knew I needed a steadier income. I chose the fitness industry as my next direction, and I spent more than 12 years running a top gym. My husband, Ngo, is a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champ and a trainer, so having our own gym made sense. We opened Iconoclast Fitness in 2018, and I'm proud to be a Black female business owner. I'm someone who's drunk in love with her kids—and also tired as hell. But mothering begins with mothering yourself, so I try to give myself grace.
Amara and Chioma wake up, eat breakfast. This is often the only time Ngo gets with them, so I hang back. Which is hard, because Amara is a clinger—she has serious separation anxiety from me. If I want "alone time," I have to set her up with some crackers and run to the next room.
Ngo goes to our gym. It's like WeWork for trainers—they rent the space from us to see clients, and Ngo also sees clients there. He's at the gym from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends. Honestly, it's hard. We never get a break, no ma'am. He's all in at the gym, I'm all in at home. I also do the billing and scheduling, which I try to squeeze in during the day. (Try is the operative word.)
Time for Amara's "nap," which she rarely takes. I put her in the crib and let her and her stuffies sort it out.
My friend Sarah arrives. She has a 7-year-old son she's home with, so we're mom tribing it two days a week. It's been so nice. I get to talk about something other than Daniel Tiger, and she never asks me for snacks. We had a nanny before the pandemic, but she has a son at home too.
Chioma, a kindergartner, has his first class, before he goes on "brain break": He'll grab a toy, play on the iPad, watch Netflix. (Anything with dinosaurs!) I finally eat breakfast or hop onto the Peloton. It's sweat therapy for me, and it's the one thing I make sure I do.
I get Amara and we all go to the park. While they play, I'll answer gym emails, order cleaning supplies—but often I just relax. Multitasking doesn't work for me. I'm a Virgo, I love a list. But now I'm like, screw the list. Nobody's going to die if I don't get this email out.
Chioma has his next session. Amara clings to my leg, literally. It drives me nuts. I walk around the apartment with a hand on her back, dragging her. I'm sweating even talking about it.
Lunch! I meal prep so at lunch I can just heat stuff up. They're not cheffy meals—we're talking hot dogs, meatloaf. Amara is picky, so if she wants an ice-pop and puffs, that's fine by me.
Chioma has another lesson, and Amara takes a nap. (A real one this time.) I do client intake, social media, and website inquiries. I'll Zoom with a client, and it's chaos: Chi barging in, me doing hand signals to say, "Get out … " It's a lot.
I get Amara out of her crib, and the three of us run errands: Target, Trader Joe's, the pizza place. Sometimes we just need to get out of the house.
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
Ngo comes home. We eat dinner, put Amara to bed. Finally, I have help! We have no family nearby, and the days are long. In the height of quarantine, I really leaned on Chioma. It was like, "Okay, you grab her stuffed animal, I'll use the bathroom, and we'll meet in the living room—go!" Thank God he knows where his granola bars are and can wipe his own butt.
9 p.m.–11 p.m.
Chioma goes down for the night. Ngo and I live for these hours. We're still figuring out how to stay connected amid all this time crunch. We text during the day, and in the evening we watch an episode of something—lately, Curb Your Enthusiasm—and unwind. (A little tequila helps.) For a while, I'd tackle unfinished work before bed, but it made me bitter—I'm not staying up until the wee hours making sure we have enough treadmill lube. I want to be with my husband. It's never enough time, but we do what we can.
This article originally appeared in Parents magazine's April 2021 issue as "Welcome to My World." Want more from the magazine? Sign up for a monthly print subscription here