By Yelena Sapin
Jessica Taylor switches between heels and tennis shoes several times throughout the day. Juggling her job as director of urban promotions for Alpha Media radio’s Louisville market, her philanthropy work as founder of the non-profit P.A.T.H. Foundation, and life as a single mom to 10-year-old daughter Kyersten, Jessica is always on the go. “I wear heels to work, but I throw on my Nikes as soon as I get in my car to run around with my daughter. And if I have a meeting, I slip on my heels again. My ‘In Her Shoes’ is one foot in a heel and the other in a tennis shoe!”
Up before 6am, Jessica goes for a run before she wakes up her daughter. A quick but healthy breakfast of Raisin Bran or oatmeal with fruit keeps her going as she simultaneously helps Kyersten get ready for school, catches a few glimpses of Good Morning America on TV, packs a lunch for herself and her daughter, and gets herself ready for work. While she’s doing all that, Jessica also starts a load of laundry, tidies up, and vacuums. “I have a burst of energy in the morning, so that’s when I like to do my cleaning.”
|Although time is often limited between work and other tasks, Jessica makes spending time with
her daughter the highest priority. Photos Sunni Wigginton
After dropping Kyersten at school, Jessica arrives at the office by 9am. Mornings are devoted to meetings with clients and radio station department heads about developing and planning promotions, concerts, and events. If she doesn’t have a lunch meeting scheduled, Jessica eats at her desk. “I pack the same lunch that I pack for my daughter. It’s usually a turkey wrap with veggie chips and an orange on the side. And I make sure to pack some raisins or walnuts as an extra snack as well.”
The day goes quickly, and before she knows it’s time to switch gears. Kyersten is in an after school program until 6pm, but Mondays and Thursdays Jessica tries to leave work at 5 to spend some time with her daughter before she heads to the school gym for cheerleading practice. During the 6-8pm window while her daughter is at cheerleading, Jessica does her grocery shopping, has meetings for P.A.T.H., or goes back to the office to catch up on work before returning to pick up her child.
On Tuesdays another parent gives Kyersten a ride to dance class, and Jessica picks her up at 6:30. Wednesdays she takes her daughter to a 7pm gymnastics class. Friday is a day with no extra activities, and Jessica has to make sure she’s at the school by 6pm. “If I’m late picking her up, it’s a dollar a minute!”
Jessica prepares meals for the week on Sundays so there’s something ready to heat up for those late weeknight dinners. “I’m a big Crock-Pot fanatic. And I love making lasagna, baked spaghetti, and baked salmon.” Rotisserie chicken and ready-to-eat meals from Trader Joe’s are another go-to when time is tight. After dinner Jessica helps her daughter finish homework and get ready for the next day. If time allows, they watch a favorite TV show together.
Once her daughter is in bed, Jessica finishes up household chores and any remaining work. She likes to get to bed by 11pm, but projects for work and P.A.T.H. sometime keep her up much later than she would like. When she does get a chance to unwind, she likes to take a shower, turn everything off,light a few candles, and sit down to write out her thoughts. “It helps me clear my mind. As I get older I realize that if I don’t get my mind together before I go to bed, I’m not going to sleep, I’m going to have a bad morning, and I’m going to react off emotions throughout the day.” (Jessica also blogs at BeingJT.com.)
Concerts or promotional events often require that Jessica work on Saturdays or Sundays. If possible, she tries to schedule her work and volunteer activities in the mornings so she can spend the afternoon with her daughter. “Thank goodness for my parents! They watch Kyersten on the weekends, but if it’s something she can go to, she’s always right there by my side. It’s very important for me to have time with my daughter.”
Jessica tries to keep her schedule open every other weekend to do something special with Kyersten, preferably out of town. She also loves to shop at local consignment and thrift stores and squeeze in a bike ride whenever she can. “I love riding my bike. It’s a whole other world, a feeling like I’m free — just me, my adrenaline, and the wind hitting my face.” But finding that balance between work, motherhood, and personal time is tough, she admits. “I’m a very competitive person, so I do everything at 110 percent. And that can be very exhausting.”