7 A.M. to 7 P.M.: Carried With Love's Ariel Taylor on the Need for Self-Care

Ariel Taylor laying on a bed

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ariel Taylor

Parents don’t work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.—we work 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., from the moment our kids wake up until they go to sleep. This is an unfiltered look at a few days in the life of Ariel Taylor, BSW, RSW, a fertility therapist and the founder of the virtual private practice, Carried With Love.

Ariel Taylor, 31, knows a thing or two about balance. The mom of three and fertility therapist has a lot on her plate. First, there's raising her kids, biological daughter Scarlett (8), stepdaughters Alexis (9) and Addison (14), and the family's pup, Cali. "The greatest challenge is the mental energy it takes to manage a household, especially a blended household," says Taylor. "Juggling everyone's schedules and activities, making sure the favorite foods are in the house, remembering who wears what size of clothes and who needs more toothpaste...it can feel a little overwhelming."

Then, she's supporting her patients and followers through her virtual private practice, Carried With Love, and her Instagram account @Carried.With.Love, where she documents her journey as a surrogate. Right now, the Canadian therapist is carrying her fifth and last surrogate baby for a close friend who's experiencing infertility. She's carried four other surrogate baby boys and donated eggs six times, which has resulted in four babies. She's raw and real on her Instagram, sharing inspiring quotes and cute kiddo pics, as well as videos of her getting hormone injections and hooked up to all kinds of machines in the hospital.

Luckily, she's got partner Brandon by her side. The two have been together for five years and got engaged in 2020. They take on the joyful challenge of parenting a blended family side by side. "I am extremely fortunate that I have a partner who tackles our household like a team," Taylor says. "I truly couldn’t be the parent, business owner, or person I am without his endless support and collaborative approach to our family."

She says her parenting philosophy is based on acceptance and appreciation of their differences, something she learned from her mother. It's also those beliefs that inspire her surrogacy journey and therapy practice. Her website drives this home, emphasizing how her goal is to support families through the ups and downs of fertility, including pregnancy loss, difficult diagnoses, and more.

It's this heavy work that makes taking time for self-care so necessary. "Having time to decompress and refill my own cup is necessary in order to be present for my clients," she says. She does this by scheduling dedicated free time so she can prioritize sleep, nutrition, and exercise—and spend time with her partner and children. "I refuse to feel guilty for taking time for myself and honoring my own boundaries," she says. "I believe that my time is valuable and I owe it to myself to radically redefine what it means to be successful. For me, that is not working myself to the bone or running on empty."

It's why she believes so passionately that hustle culture needs to end. "There is beauty in the simplicity and working hard and being successful and it doesn’t have to come at the detriment of the self," she concludes. Here's how Taylor does just that over the course of three days.

Ariel Taylor's daughter with their dog

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ariel Taylor


7:30 a.m. This is a pretty typical work day. Our morning starts the minute Scarlett comes crashing into my room ready to start the day. My fiancé Brandon and I switch every other day who gets up so the other person can sleep in until 9 a.m. and today was my morning for wake-ups. We took our dog Cali out for a morning walk and I packed Scarlett’s lunch and made her breakfast while she showered and got dressed. Thankfully as my daughter gets older, she is able to get herself ready which makes our mornings very easy and stress-free.

9 a.m. Once Scarlett is on the school bus, I spend the first hour of my day easing into the workday. I make myself a coffee, turn on "The Office" and answer some emails at my dining room table.

10 a.m. I head up to my home office and get my work day started. I love being able to make my own schedule and my commute is a single flight of stairs. On rare occasions, I will do an early appointment but I almost never start work before 10 a.m. It gives me time to wake up and get myself going before jumping into work. My virtual counseling sessions are an hour long and I usually spend about 15 minutes on either side doing prep and charting.

1 p.m. I had two clients this morning and by this time, I was ready for lunch. Brandon was in between his own appointments so we actually got to make lunch together. If we are not busy, we try to spend as much quality time together as we can during the day. Usually, we will watch a TV show or just sit together while we catch up on emails.

2 p.m. This afternoon, I was recording a podcast interview to discuss third-party reproduction. Being able to talk about a topic I am passionate about is such a pleasure and I have been a guest on quite a few podcasts over the last couple of years.

3 p.m. I had two more clients this afternoon, which means that Brandon does the bus pickup, homework time, and dinner prep. Being a working mom can be a challenge, but I have been able to prioritize my career with the help of such a supportive partner. Knowing that when I’m finished work, dinner will be ready and homework will be done is such a huge weight off my shoulders.

6 p.m. I open my office door to the smell of dinner cooking. I head downstairs to spend some time with Scarlett and we eat together as a family. Sometimes our evenings can be a little hectic but tonight was pleasantly calm.

7:30 p.m. On most nights, we are heading to activities and Monday is dance class. I am the vice president of Scarlett’s non-profit dance studio so while she is in her dance class, I head into the studio to get some emails and paperwork done. Volunteering in our community is important to me and I am so grateful to be involved in her activities.

8:30 p.m. After a long day it is finally bedtime for Scarlett. Monday night is the only night a week she gets to stay up a little later because of dance. Lately, I have been doing “talk time” with Scarlett before bed where I will crawl up into her bunk and talk about her day. We both look forward to it and it’s a great way to get that quality time together. We have a very specific bedtime routine and Brandon and I make it a priority to always tuck our kids together every night. We each have a bedtime song that we sing, we read her story and then we think of a dream to have that night.

9 p.m. I would love to say that my day ends after her bedtime but it usually doesn’t. Today I am getting caught up on charting and article writing while Brandon goes to his own dance practice for the Dad’s Dance at our year-end recital. It makes me so happy that he is always available to do these types of things for the kids.

10 p.m. I am finished working, Brandon is home, and we finally get to snuggle up on the couch with a movie and our dog (who loves to get in on the snuggles). I like to cross-stitch in the evenings to unwind and I am currently working on a project for my mom. Making time for my hobbies is important to me and a soothing and calming activity before bed is a perfect way to end the evening.


7:30 a.m. I always book a day off during the week and this week, it's today! I call it my self-care day. Scarlett wakes up and comes in for a morning snuggle before the day starts. My favorite sound on my sleep-in day is the click of the door shutting after Brandon wakes up to get her ready for the day and I drift back off to sleep.

9 a.m. After Scarlett is dropped off at the bus, Brandon climbs back into bed to wake me up. I feel so fortunate to be marrying my best friend and spending our mornings waking up slowly is my favorite. We head down to our basement which we turned into a workout room last year and do our workout together. Exercise is really important for my mental health and I always feel better afterward. We aren’t always perfect at prioritizing exercise but we try the best we can.

10:30 a.m. After a shower and some breakfast, I head out for some “me” time. Today I have a massage booked and an eyelash fill. Having a day off midweek is a great way for me to break up the week and have some time to relax. If I don’t have errands to run, I allow myself downtime to do whatever I want. Sometimes it's TV or a good book or my guilty pleasure, Animal Crossing. The important thing is scheduling this time for myself and I refuse to feel guilty for it. Prioritizing my needs allows me to feel refreshed and more present with my family and my clients.

2 p.m. After my appointments, I grab some Starbucks, put in my AirPods, and head to the mall to pick up some new shoes for the kids. I don’t love crowds and noise makes me anxious so I can often be found with headphones in. I love listening to podcasts and am currently listening to "The Office Ladies." I always tell my clients to find time for things they love even if it's while doing other things. Podcasts are a great way to add some laughter and lightness to the day.

3:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, Scarlett has cheer practice so I pick her and her friend up from school and stop through the Mcdonald's drive-thru for cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, and mango smoothies. Life is about balance and Mcdonald's is certainly part of that balance. The girls have about an hour to play before we leave for practice so they usually head to the basement and practice their tumbling. I use this time to put some laundry away and answer some emails.

5:00 p.m. Nothing makes me happier than watching my daughter do something she loves, and cheer is no exception. This is her fourth year as a competitive cheerleader and I never miss the chance to watch a practice. I am grateful to have the flexibility to prioritize being involved in her extracurricular activities and I would never take it for granted.

7 p.m. After arriving home from practice, I start getting Scarlett ready for bed. Usually, this means a snack and a shower before settling in for “talk time.” Scarlett has recently taken a liking to Bob Ross videos so we spent about 10 minutes watching that snuggled up in my bed. Brandon spends the afternoon and evening with our middle daughter on Wednesdays, so he isn’t home for bedtime. He always calls to sing her bedtime song and say goodnight.

8 p.m. Once Scarlett is asleep and Brandon gets home, we put on Netflix and I work on my cross stitch. It might seem simple and maybe a little boring but our downtime in the evenings feels so recharging—especially when we haven’t seen each other most of the day. When we are together, it just feels like home. We are both homebodies and during the week really like our quiet time before we head to bed.

Ariel Taylor and her family

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ariel Taylor


8 a.m. Today is going to be a busy day—I'm sure most parents will understand this balancing act. The day starts off with a quick trip to the chiropractor. Taking care of my body is important, especially while I'm pregnant. My chiropractor is a valued member of my healthcare team. After an adjustment, some acupuncture, and a quick stop on the way home for a latte, I start my work day.

9 a.m. This was one of those days I started a bit earlier than usual since I have four clients to see. I purposely booked them all back to back in the morning so I can finish the day early. I set my office up to be a cozy environment and the perks of working from home mean that I can always wear my slippers. The time in between clients allows for a snack break and a chance to reset before the next client. The nature of my job can get heavy sometimes and it’s part of the reason I don’t see more than five clients a day as part of my work/life boundaries.

2 p.m. Now I begin the second part of my job, content creation. When I started my Instagram account, I had no idea how much work truly went into creating content. Now I regularly set aside time to do so. I am fortunate to have a platform to educate and inform about assisted reproduction while also authentically documenting my life and my experience through surrogacy. Instagram really feels like my second full-time job so I spent this afternoon making posts and Reels, reaching out to brands, managing emails and invoices, and engaging with my audience by responding to messages and comments. At this point, I still do all of this myself and I don’t currently hire any outside help to manage my Instagram.

4 p.m. I have to run out for some errands and pick up some supplies for the dance studio. As the VP, I help put together our year-end recital and plan some of our final events. I put a podcast on in my van and head out to pick everything up.

5 p.m. Brandon is just getting home from picking up our middle daughter Alexis from school. Scarlett is at her dad’s house, so we get some one-on-one time with Alexis which we always look forward to. We head out to grab some dinner just the three of us. In a blended family, we try our hardest to have individual time with each of the kids and make sure they have the opportunity for an evening to be all about them.

6 p.m. We head home for some downtime before bed. Tonight we brought down all of the blankets and pillows and piled them on the couch for a movie night—something the kids always look forward to. We picked up some snacks and treats earlier and ordered movie theatre popcorn right to our door.

7:30 p.m. We keep a really consistent bedtime routine every single night so even when the kids are here for only a few days at a time, they know exactly what to expect. I thrive on routine and I know our kids do as well. We read to our kids every single night—lately, they have even been reading to us! It’s really helped their confidence and we enjoy spending quality time together at the end of the night. We sing our songs and think of a dream and say our goodnights.

8:00 p.m. Friday night of a kid weekend is when we get everything organized. We unpack the backpacks, sort through homework, and make sure any clothes the kids wore get into the wash so they are clean when they go back to their other homes. These are some of the unique challenges that come with a blended family. I always block off kid weekends so I can spend as much time with them as possible. This weekend, we are looking forward to a fun and busy weekend. The house gets messy and loud but honestly, I like it that way sometimes.

By Riyana Straetker
Riyana has held editorial staff positions at POPSUGAR, Parents Magazine, and ELLE. As the senior editor for Verywell Family, she wants to combine her editorial experience and parenting background to create a digital community for every kind of parent at every stage.