Christine Faulhaber is the President and CEO of her namesake PR and marketing agency, Faulhaber Communications. What began as a one-woman shop 16-years ago has grown to team of 25 with clients such as Charlotte Tilbury, Ted Baker, Genesis Motors, The Big Feastival and Monogram. Her bio says she “unwinds through international workcations and being an at-home saucier.” It’s telling of her juggle that allows her to enjoy her roles at work and at home as a single mom to Jack, 8-years old, and Zoë, 6-years old, with plenty of gusto instead of unnecessary guilt.
“I know people like to identify themselves with one thing. I would define myself as an entrepreneur because my instinct is to make things happen. If I had to choose, I admit I’m not a mom first. Having said that, I don’t want to be boxed in. I’m a lot of things and I don’t think I have to choose. I can have a girls’ trip, fab kid time, family events, a romantic weekend away and go to work—I can have all those things in moderation. I’ve never felt like I had to completely give up one thing for another.
When the kids were born, I’m fortunate I had a nanny and supportive husband because I never took time off. It never occurred to me to do anything else. I even managed to breast feed both of them for 2 months. I never wanted to put that pressure on myself to breastfeed for a year; as a business owner, I couldn’t take a maternity leave so that just wasn’t realistic for me.
I’ve been known to say I don’t believe in work-life balance. I call it work-life integration because I don’t shut one off and then turn the other one on. I feel that I produce my life in a way that works in harmony. Instead of thinking I can take a whole day off, I find time throughout the day to find pleasure. I’ll call my boyfriend or I might leave the office for an hour to get a pedicure. Work, play, travel, parenting…I mesh it altogether so I feel like I’ve done all I can in every part of my life.
I’ve been out of my marriage now for a few years and juggle work with my kids and my boyfriend. I always arrange my day so I can make the daycare pick-up and I’m very fortunate that my childrens’ dad is very involved. We collaborate and co-parent quite well. I plan our joint calendar on Outlook up to 3 months in advance. It articulates exactly where we’re going to be and who is with the kids. I know it sounds OCD, but it really respects everyone’s time and lets me see in advance how to schedule in my work events that are often after school or at night. Most importantly it’s great for the kids. They know exactly when they’re with mom and when they’re with dad and there’s never any surprises.
I admit that when I had kids during my mid-30s, I mourned my single-minded life and had to adjust. Now I’m so much better at multi-tasking and productivity. Then when my marriage ended, I had to reassess and ask myself again: How is my life going to look like now? Where do I need help and who can help me? At first, I didn’t have the clarity to see that it’s not going to be one person but a bunch of people. And now I’m confident about being a single mom because I reacted appropriately and found all the help that I needed. Life changes inspire me to strategize and produce my life like I do at work.
I do believe my intensity is influencing the kids in a good way. Zoë, without any prompting, says she’s going to take over mama’s business and Jack is very aware of what’s in his piggy bank and watching it grow. As we all know, kids are like sponges and I feel like all those things I gave up, like breastfeeding for a whole year and going back to work right away, are going to pay-off because both of them are watching me work hard and be rewarded for it, financially and personally.
And I’m not saying all this because I feel guilty about my decisions. I don’t think mom guilt should be the norm nor is it necessary. When I do feel a twinge of guilt, I keep myself from being trapped by it. I leave work early, pick-up the kids and we do something fun together. Really, what’s the value in what guilt is doing to us? It’s robbing us of so many better and wonderful things we could be doing for ourselves and our families.”
Christine has ranked in the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs for the last few years and one of the titles that fires up her business spirit is Great CEO’s and How They Are Made by John Wilson.
“I only have one Chanel Bag. When I bought it, it was a big splurge for me. Around every five years, I buy something big—and useful—to reward myself. And a gorgeous bag makes a statement, especially when you’re in a business that’s all about making a good impression.”
These smart and stylish Ferragamo loafers help her transition from the boardroom to the playground with ease.“They were an investment but they work when I’m dressed casually or dressed up. I’m always on the go and moving fast… I’m never sure where I’m going to be and these fit the bill wherever I am.”
Christine’s client roster has buzzy names in style and beauty including Dermalogica skincare. For years she’s been hooked on their sun care — SFP 50 Protection Sport — and their Multi-Vitamin Power Recovery Mask. “I use it whenever I need pick me up, like during or after a work trip or when I’m really busy and need to look refreshed. I put it under my eyes and on my laugh lines.”
The cookbook that streamline’s her own diet: It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow. The cookbook that streamlines her time in the kitchen with her kids: The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches On The Planet by Laura Fuentes. “Jack loves to cook and we the made kitchen sink muffins last night. Once I posted one of her recipes and Laura was so nice to comment back.”
Every world traveller has their addictions and for Christine it’s a cupboard full of salts that’s she’s collected from abroad. This is only a sample of what she has on standby.
Christine confesses that she uses scent a lot in her life. “Here, a treasured Tom Dixon candle from Klaus and a favourite essential oil in Deep Sleep — a mix of lavender, bergamot, sandalwood and neroli that she puts on her wrists — not to help her snooze, but a relaxing scent just for everyday.