Kaylee Baggerly is the lovable, honest to goodness, south-Austin mom-blogger behind Balancing By Design. She’s warm with an endearing sense of humor. Kaylee shares our goal at South Austin Moms of making mom life easier by bringing you the best brands and products for you and your little ones and I believe you’ll love getting to know her. After you’re done reading here head on over to read more on her site because she’s full of tips, mom hacks and wisdom!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?
I’m not originally from any one place. I grew up between Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and Houston. I went to college in Washington, DC where I met my husband and we moved to Austin about 5 years ago to be closer to my family. We started our time in Austin downtown and moved to the south Austin suburbs about 3 years ago.
Child(ren) and Age(s)?
One daughter – Adelaide: age 14 months.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I’m left handed.
What is your favorite thing about living here?
I love being able to have access to a thriving downtown, relax and explore the outdoors, take small day trips to vineyards and cute town squares and be able to come home all in the same day.
What do you love to do with your family around town?
We love going on hikes and walks around the green belt and parks, visiting vineyards in Dripping Springs and Wimberley, enjoying the free splash pads, water parks and swimming holes, and dining on delicious, ever expanding cuisine! Our regular weekend family traditions include a morning walk around our neighborhood greenbelt or park, a trip to Summer Moon coffee with breakfast tacos, an hour at Half Price books during story time, and brunch at Waterloo, Hayes City Store or Docs.
Tell us about your business and how it came to be, what you love about it, what makes it unique, what your goal is, etc…
Right after my husband and I got married, we decided to buy a house and try to HGTV-style flip it on our own. It took us a year, but we did it! My friends and family always asked us how we were able to do that and also travel while working 50+ hours a week and paying off student loans. As a result, I always had a small inclining to share some of the hacks and trips and tricks we learned. Fast forward a couple of years and we had our little girl, Adelaide. I quickly realized that our life was going to change and was fortunate to take a very extensive maternity leave to start to figure it out.
During those 8ish months off on maternity leave, I got a lot of questions from my network about how I was going to find balance in all the things I loved: home renovation and décor, sprinting thru promotions in a fast paced career, being the best momma, friend, wife and sister possible, work out every day, paying off even more student loans, and still “have it all.” I started to write down all my answers and eventually, I started my business of interior design shortly into my maternity leave. My original goals were to help other new mommas and women find their style and create a space of their own that fit their life, their sense of beauty, and budget.
And then things expanded once I went back to work. I realized that my real story wasn’t just about balancing my home renovation budget – it was about balancing the “real stuff:” how to be a working momma. My job had always been my focus in my world and now that Adelaide was in it, I needed – and wanted – to shift that focus. To build on that, my husband was just finishing his MBA and starting at a new job where he still travels Monday – Thursday every week. So, for most of the week, I’m doing this working momma, semi-single parent thing myself. It means lots of work outs while meal prepping Whole30 dishes; a longer time-period before I fit back into my pre-prego clothes; outsourcing where we can and asking for a lot of help from my family and friends. I’ve learnt that being a working momma is a unique experience in and of itself. And my balance is not now about “having it all;” it’s about having some of it all at different times, and choosing what is the most important thing in the current moment and being okay with letting the other things be less of a priority – at least for a time.
Fast forward a few more months to today. My blog has grown tremendously since I started it 11 months ago. I am now sponsored by and collaborate and partner with some fantastic brands and companies who I believe truly help a momma out and are good for our babies. I use Instagram and my website www.balancingbydesign.com to share my experiences of what’s worked to find my balance of a new normal. I focus on healthy living (I gained and lost ~60ish lbs during and after pregnancy), being a working momma who still tries to look cute even if I’m covered in spit up, and balancing all of that with my hobby of functional, affordable home design. My most recent and requested series is my “Working Momma Diaries,” where I share a lot about the brands, products, and every day hacks that help me and my friends find our new balance. I talk about a baby go-live checklist, a downloadable baby registry with links and quantities of each item to buy, a working momma’s guide to planning a baptism, and quick toddler snacks. I also am really excited about some fun things planned for the holidays!
My goals are to continue to grow my Balancing By Design community to include even more new mommas looking for and sharing their success stories of how they balance their own lives – by their own design. I aim to continue to find products and brands that make a working momma’s life easier and also help keep us true to ourselves as wives and friends. My overall goal is to find a way to do this full time. I love the community I have worked to build through it so far and look forward to getting to know all of you, too!
Are you involved in anything else within the community?
Once I got into my maternity leave, I realized I needed to re-define what community and being “involved in community” meant. I think it is important to be honest with yourself on what you need to do, what you want to do and what you should do – they are three very distinct things. I’ve become very honest with myself about finding the joy in all of these aspects of my community. Community is about building each other up – it’s important to surround yourself with people who do just that and sometimes that means making changes and being honest about the time and energy you can invest in others; I’ve learnt the more I can focus my investments in others, the stronger and more beautiful that community has become.
I realized early on in my blogging career that not everything you see on Instragm is real-life; not all of it is what someone looks like or is wearing right at that moment. Not every smile was from just 1 photo- some took hours to get that look! So, for me, I became intentional about focusing on building deeper relationships and finding people who I can share what the “reality” of being a working momma is like. As such, I’ve been intentional with building relationships within the Balancing by Design community online and getting to know my tribe. I also spend my extra time getting to know the brands I work with and focusing on my church community and building relationships with my mom friends via neighborhood mom’s nights, daycare events and play dates.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
My mom friends and church have been foundational in encouraging me to pursue my business. One of my dearest friends and her husband own the photography company, Happened by Chance, and they do all of our lifestyle and advertising photos (go check them out!!). They have helped me navigate the nuances of starting a business – while still working a full time job! My tribe helps by exploring and sharing products and brands that work best. Finally, my husband has also been instrumental in my success – he HATES photos but has even expanded his limit of 10 per week to 15 (ha!!).
Pics in this Meet A Mom brought to you by Happened By Chance photography.