The Health Diaries

On Breakfast Tacos, Shake Shack, and Pumping at Work

A CEO explains how her job makes her a better mom to four kids

Katia Beauchamp

There are many ways to live a healthy life. The Health Diaries is a weekly series about the habits that keep notable people living well.

WWhen Katia Beauchamp co-founded Birchbox in 2010, she was a subscription box pioneer. Through her company, she sent beauty samples to people all over the world, each of whom paid a small fee to try the industry’s newest products. Her business took off — fast.

Now, nine years later, Beauchamp is faced with reimagining the subscription model her company was built on. Birchbox still has over 1 million subscribers and the company now offers men’s and women’s products, has experimented with brick-and-mortars, and does numerous pop-up shops across the U.S.

This week, Beauchamp, a working mom of four and a former finance and real estate professional, talks to Elemental about how she’s rethinking Birchbox’s future every day. She also shares her thoughts on living a balanced life, pumping at work, the glory of Shake Shack, and why breakfast is the best meal of the day.

I have a small baby so this is a bit of a unique time for me in terms of having a morning routine. I’m still waking up multiple times every night, so that’s pushed my schedule back. Usually, I get up around 6:30 a.m. and I don’t look at my phone. That’s a conscious choice. At that point, the baby is still sleeping. I have a 19-month-old, so I feed him once I wake up. I make him a bottle, make my own coffee, and then I spend time with him until my older kids wake up. Then [my youngest] wakes up; I feed her. Then the nanny comes so I can get ready for work. I only look at my phone after all of this happens.

I typically have about 20 minutes to get ready and get out the door, and that includes a shower. I don’t wash my hair during the week, or I wash it at night. I put on light makeup: I use concealer under my eyes and a bit of gel on my brows. Then I put on a cream blush. I’m also a big believer in layering your moisturizer; you want something watery and then something that feels heavy, with a cream or oil base. I use three layers of moisturizer every day.

For breakfast, I eat a lot of egg tacos. I grew up in El Paso, Texas. The tacos are usually simple: just eggs, avocado, and hot sauce. Sometimes I’ll also pick on what my kids are eating for breakfast. I never skip breakfast, though. It’s my favorite meal of the day.

After I get ready, I take my two oldest kids, who are twins, to school. I walk them there and then I’m at work by about 8:45 or 9 a.m. My day really starts then. It’s usually a lot of meetings, internal and external, and I’m also still pumping, which punctuates my schedule. I often order lunch because my schedule is too busy for me to go out, which can mean I’m eating a great salad, empanadas, tacos, pizza, pad thai, or something else entirely.

I’m half Greek and I think I’m very Mediterranean about food overall. I believe in everything in moderation. I’m not a dieter. I don’t focus on withholding but I do pay attention to which foods make me feel good and give me energy. I care a lot about delicious food, too; you will never see me supplement a bar for a meal. For me, delicious food can mean Shake Shack or an amazing salad. I like both. I live for food.

I really focus on getting home every day by 6:30 p.m. I want to see my kids for an hour or so before bedtime. My husband and I cook most evenings after I get home. Our dinners are simple: just a simple protein and roasted veggies.

After dinner, we do a little more work. I also clean my skin in the evenings with an oil cleanser. To use it, you put the product on dry hands with a dry base and then use water to take the oil and makeup off. I love it. It doesn’t strip your skin and it’s the best mild way to remove dirt. Then we fall hard into a fast slumber around 11 p.m., until the baby needs to eat.

My workouts involve walking around New York City while pushing my kids in strollers. Honestly, my exercise comes from just existing with them. I also like spinning (I have a Peloton) and I love SoulCycle, too. I had some health issues that put me in the hospital over the summer and I started doing Pilates then. I wasn’t physical for 100 days so Pilates has helped me get back into the groove.

I like to think about work-life balance over a long period of time. Trying to find balance is a long game and I don’t judge it on a daily basis. During some weeks, I won’t see my family as much. But during other weeks, I won’t have evening commitments so I can spend time every day with my family, or I can leave early on a Friday or duck out midday to go to the kids’ school programs.

Because I have multiple children, I spend a lot of time exploring and defining boundaries. I need to notice when it’s too much; for example, when I have a few weeks in a row of too many evening commitments, I find that I’m unhappy, which is unproductive all around.

I think a big part of my work-life balance is talking to people about the decisions I’m making. It’s about not being ashamed to say, “I’m not coming to this because I can’t be out three nights in a row.” I want to be present for my family and for me, and it comes down to being nice to myself.

For me, deciding to work — and having a separate identity from being a mother — is a big part of what makes me happy. Being able to say that and celebrate that is part of the balance I’m talking about. I love to work because then I come home and I’m a happy part of my family.

To me, living a healthy life means feeling energized. You know you’re unhealthy when you sleep a lot but you still feel depleted. Being healthy means having the energy to do hard things. It’s psychological and it’s physical. In my life, health is that feeling of ambition, where everything feels possible. It’s having the energy to tackle challenges that require stamina and hard thinking.

I write essays, test products & produce content marketing for brands. I’m also a career coach for freelancers and the co-host of The Writers’ Co-op podcast.

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