While no day is exactly the same, one piece of Becky Hillyard’s routine remains consistent—a morning workout. Hillyard, mother of three children and creator of the blog Cella Jane, values this time in her day because it’s an hour reserved for herself.
“Yes, you get all the health benefits and physical, positive things from [working out], but it’s more mental for me,” she says. “I need it just to clear my head, and shut my head off, because when I’m working out—that’s all I think about. Then I tend to think all day and all night long about work and stuff, so that’s why it has become so important to me.”
So important that even her family is accustomed to it.
“My kids, my husband—they all know mom’s working out early—that’s just part of the routine, like, ‘Where’s mom?’ ‘She’s working out, she’ll be back at breakfast,’” she says.
On a typical day, post-workout she’ll make breakfast, get the kids ready for school and the baby fed and ready for the day before she sits down behind the computer. This part of the morning is reserved for more administrative tasks, like sorting through her inbox, meeting with team members, reviewing upcoming deadlines and so on. While she acknowledges this part of the job isn’t glamorous, it’s work she enjoys.
She started Cella Jane about eight years ago and then moved to Kansas City 6 years ago for her husband’s job. Hillyard was inspired by her love of fashion, a healthy lifestyle and other blogs, like Sincerely Jules. The first piece of content she shared was a healthy taco recipe.
“For the longest time, it was just a hobby and something completely random where all my friends were like ‘What is she doing?’” she recalls. “I think once I moved to Kansas City I was forced to quit my other jobs, and it motivated me to take more time for the blog and focus a little bit more. I saw brands were interested, and it sort of just grew from there.”
Hillyard is currently in the process of building a home, so after lunch she will often meet with the project manager and contractor. While she describes it as a mini full-time job, she has found an opportunity to share the process with her followers. Events in Hillyard’s personal life often inform the content she posts.
“That’s made [building the home] so fun, to be able to share more home content,” she says. “I’ve always loved home content. And then obviously having a new baby this year—that’s what I plan content around— sharing a lot in my motherhood. It makes it real and relatable and fun for people to follow along.”
She has always wanted readers to visit Cella Jane for advice as they would a friend.
“Come to me as a friend, as in, ‘Oh, what baby carrier do you love? What shoes did you wear non-stop last year? I need them,’” she describes. “Things like that, everyday things you would ask maybe a friend or go to for advice, like ‘Hey, how did you get your baby from breast to bottle? I saw you had a problem with that.’”
Before picking the kids up from school, her late afternoons may include a photoshoot or virtual meetings with her manager or brands she’s partnering with. She will step away from work once the kids are home to make dinner, play and help with homework before they’re in bed around 8 p.m. She acknowledges it’s often difficult to achieve perfect mom/work/life balance.
“There’s never a good balance,” she says. “I’m always struggling, and I feel like the whole perfect mom balance is impossible to achieve. You always feel mom guilt, or you’re always working or always overwhelmed and that’s what I am. That’s the season of my life right now.”
When asked what advice she’d share with new moms, she says, “Savor it. Let it be what it is. Ignore everything else. All that matters is you loving your baby. Give yourself grace. Know that life will resume, but it will be even better than it was before. The days are long and hard, but the years are short and sweet. One day you’ll miss the days that felt impossible.”