How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents, with Kirstie Kirkham and Dr.

“How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents”, with Kirstie Kirkham and Dr. Ely Weinschneider

Success is just doing your best every day. I think it’s putting everything you’ve got into everything you do and making sure you’re maintaining a healthy balance between it all — whether it’s work or your family. If you’ve put in that effort to keep your head above water and survive the day, that’s a successful day!

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview inspirational business leader, wife, and mother of two — Kirstie Kirkham. Kirstie founded self tan empire MineTan in 2013 after spotting a serious gap in the market for an innovative leader in the industry. She made it her mission to develop a world-first 1 Hour Tan Formula with no orange tones and a touch-dry, zero-transfer finish, enriched it with moisturizing antioxidants, oils and other skin loving ingredients. Also, realizing there was more to offer customers than just the dark, darker or super dark tans, she expanded the range to give more customers the option of customizing their tan according to their desired skin finish bringing in Color Base Tans, Coconut Water Tans, Ultra Dark Tans, Fitness Tans, Luxe Oil Tanning Treatmentsthe list goes on and is continuously expanding. Today, MineTan is the tan of choice for millions of self tan lovers around the world, stocked in leading retail chains in the US, Australia, UK and Europe, as well as online at . Kirstie recently relocated to Tennessee to open the US MineTan HQ with her husband (and business partner) Cameron and their twin girls, Zoe and Mila.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

Both of my parents are entrepreneurs and owned their own businesses while I was growing up. So, from a very young age, I saw firsthand how much hard work went into running a business, but also could see how rewarding it could be. My mum actually owned a business in the beauty industry as well. When I was a teenager, I would love to go to beauty trade shows with my mum and help out which is where I got my start in the workforce and in the beauty industry.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

Australia is well known for the quintessential beach bronze look, but many don’t realize how harsh our sun’s rays actually are! So, sun safety was always very important to us Aussies growing up… but that being said we all still love a tan! There were some self tanners available, but I found none of them ticked all the boxes. I was looking for a tan that had that natural-looking Aussie bronze that I wouldn’t have to sleep in while it developed — I couldn’t believe it didn’t already exist! So I did my research, spoke to all the self tanners and professional beauty contacts in my network and decided it was up to me to make the perfect tanner.

That’s how MineTan, the world’s first 1 hour tanning brand was born! It didn’t happen overnight — I started selling the first products from home back in 2013. Today, we tan millions of bodies each year all around the world.

I’m so lucky to have a global team that works very effectively together to achieve our wider goals and grow the company to a global operation without too many growing pains. Which is what allows me to focus on family life when I can trust the team to look after the best interests of the brand.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

Well, I feel like I’ve done a whole day’s work before I even get to the office most days — getting the girls ready for their day. It’s a negotiation to do anything with them!

Then when I get to work it’s a bit of everything just to keep everything running as smooth as possible in the business. No office attire for me… I’ll be in my comfiest fitness gear every day ready for whatever I may have to jump into! My day can go from helping out the customer service team to helping customers directly, packing orders and keeping the production line running smoothly and sometimes I’m even off to appearances like QVC.

I generally make it home every night to be home for dinner and bedtime with my girls. Then once they’re asleep, either the laptop comes back out or I’m passed out on the lounge!

Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I think not being able to spend quality time with your children affects all aspects of their life and development — such as their interpersonal and communication skills, along with their emotional intelligence. Children learn from example and from having parents’ guide them as they grow into little people, so not dedicating time to that can really deprive them of developing skills they need.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

While it’s important for their growth and your relationship with them, I think it’s really beneficial for both sides. As an individual and as a parent, making time to spend quality time with your children can really put things into perspective for you and teach you a lot.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

It definitely is more valuable to create quality time with your children over just quantity. As I said, I love dinner and bedtime with them each night as well as a family breakfast every weekend as this is such a crucial one-on-one (or in my case with twins, two-on-one!) face time with them. I always switch off from work at this time and my team knows I’m really not available at these times.

We also like to spend a lot of time actually interacting with them ourselves — talking, playing and educating. We don’t give them electronics and they almost never watch television. We play with them with old-school toys and really communicate with them rather than always letting them have a screen or device in front of them.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention?

1. Dedicating time to actually switching off from business for a time frame that you can manage, whether it’s a daily or weekly goal. Personally, I always switch off from the moment I get home until they go to bed each night.

2. Planning out family trips. Whether it’s a staycation, a trip away to see extended family or just a day trip to a place that you don’t usually go.

3. Find hobbies! Find regular activities for the kids or for the whole family to take part in, and introduce into your routine. For example, my girls recently took up gymnastics and it’s great for my husband and I to be able to take them regularly.

4. Create a special ritual you have with them, such as bedtime every night which is so important to me. As well as having weekly family breakfasts every weekend.

5. Even if you’re super busy, allow your kids to help where they can! Often my kids love helping with “adult” things, such as running errands, and it’s a great way to teach them about responsibilities and earning money.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

I think a good parent is a loving, engaged parent. There are so many parenting strategies that suit the parents and suit the children differently, but overall, I think that as long as a child knows they are loved and that they can rely on and trust their parents, then the parents are doing a great job.

How do you inspire your children to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I think my husband and I show the girls how we hard we work towards big achievements and we really share that journey with them so they can see how we can achieve these things. We focus on inspiring them to dream big through the way we communicate with them and by shifting their perspective on things. For example, we try to teach them that the word “can’t” doesn’t actually exist, when they say or think they can’t do something. We focus on teaching them that if they try, they really can do anything.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success is just doing your best every day. I think it’s putting everything you’ve got into everything you do and making sure you’re maintaining a healthy balance between it all — whether it’s work or your family. If you’ve put in that effort to keep your head above water and survive the day, that’s a successful day!

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

I would say the most valuable education and inspiration in evolving as a parent is being able to draw from your own experience as well as your friends, family, and community. I talk a lot with my mum about parenting of course, while I also engage with a lot of other mothers and childcare or educational professionals who all have a lot of ideas and values to offer.

Can you please give us your favorite parenting/life lesson quote and share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” — Peggy O’Mara.

I think how you communicate with your children sets a benchmark for their overall development and their relationship with themselves. If you teach them to be kind to themselves, they’ll be kind to others. If you teach them to be understanding or appreciative of themselves, they’ll feel and show that with others as well.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!

Thank you!

How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents, with Kirstie Kirkham and Dr. was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.