There's got to be a better way.
Like most parents, I think a lot about what our kids are picking up from our home life. We have two teenagers now and for most of their lives, they have had the experience of having two parents who have busy careers with lots of travel, but always find ways to make our family life the unwavering top priority. It’s the life we chose together and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All four of us love new experiences, we love to travel, we love events and festivals and big dinners at our house with lots of friends. We’ve always taught our children that having a strong work ethic is one of the things that allows you to have those opportunities and I’m proud that our children have watched us work hard at careers that we love.
But I have to admit that the mechanics of all of that are at times grueling. My husband, Noah, and I run a nonstop dialogue about house tasks, groceries, holiday planning, dog care, school events, college applications - over time these crowd out the conversations about taking a trip, taking a class, taking a weekend away, taking a breath. More than once I have thought, “What good is it to have these careers if we are too busy to enjoy it all”. I know our kids also experience having two parents who are bone-tired, stressed out, and moving at a frenetic pace.
Believe me, this is not a play for sympathy points and there is no “poor us!” story here. We’ve made our choices. But my background is in operations and client service for demanding companies and instinctively I have thought for years that there has to be a better way to manage this complex network of home services than what I was experiencing. I should mention here that we have brought in lots of different people and services over the years to help us keep it all running. Au Pairs, personal assistants, house managers, meal delivery, service vendors, on demand task services. Some have been phenomenal and have become part of our family, others were disappointing, crazy expensive and sometimes downright offensive! In all of those experiences, there was always a lack of context for that new person coming into our home, there was certainly a lack of consistency in working with a broad range of vendors, and the sheer cognitive load of trying to problem solve issues was crushing.
The big a-ha moment came for me when I was flying back from college visits with my daughter. We were thrilled to have found a house in Madison Valley but it meant preparing for our fourth move in five years, two of those moves being international. I had my laptop open on the flight home alternating between a presentation for my job and working through all of the to-do’s for the move when I just felt weary and deflated. None of the move tasks would bring any kind of happiness, they are just requirements to getting to the good part (the new house).
Now I’m only half joking when I say that I now consider myself an expert in relocation so I knew what I was facing. My process background kicks in hard and I have created full moving plans with vendor sourcing lists, dependencies, timelines and checklists. It occurred to me that for a lot of these life phases – there is a certain amount of the work that could be handled by someone who already knows all the steps, who has experience figuring out the quirks and issues and could just run it or at least carry the bulk of the work. Hmmmmm, that could solve the cognitive load problem. Bring in the power of streamlining things with technology and we could drive consistency for household tasks and errands. But context? Context means having someone (maybe even a whole team?) who knows you, your house, your family. Knows you well enough to be thinking ten steps ahead for spring break and is already coming up with ideas for how you might want to spend it and where you can board your dogs. Someone who doesn’t focus on just the task that needs to be done, they focus on how it’s all working together for your family and they anticipate how to make things better.
Oh hell yeah. There is a better way.
So after a fateful breakfast with Danna Redmond, and months of customer surveys and feedback sessions, so begins HeyThrivy. We are incredibly excited to introduce our services to Seattle and will be expanding to the Bellevue/Eastside neighborhoods just as soon as we can.