7 AM to 7 PM: How Chriselle Lim Balances Running a Business With Motherhood

Chriselle Lim and daughter

Karla Ticas

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 day in the life of digital content creator and Bümo cofounder Chriselle Lim.

Chriselle Lim is a pioneer of fashion blogging and influencing. Before YouTube became the behemoth platform it is today, the Los Angeles-based digital content creator was shooting videos. As a college student, she offered styling advice for other young women “looking for inexpensive ways to look expensive."

Then Instagram exploded in 2012. “My following migrated from YouTube to Instagram, and it just massively grew," she says. "I also had my blog The Chriselle Factor. I was just pumping out content for millennial women who just wanted to look and feel better on a budget."

Fast forward 10 years and 1.3 million Instagram followers later, and Lim has added motherhood to her resume. Much of her time is devoted to her kids: Chloe, 6, and Colette, almost 3. “Once I became a mother, everything changed for me," she says. "Not necessarily my interest in fashion, but what I prioritized."

Despite having the flexibility of running her own business from home, Lim felt like she didn't have any good childcare options. She didn't want her daughter to be out of the house all day at daycare, nor did she want to hire a nanny.

"My struggle six years ago, once I became a mom, was the lack of options for working mothers," she shares. "I was on a mission to find a place where I could actually do both—continue my career but also be a present, full-time mom."

Once I became a mother, everything changed for me. Not necessarily my interest in fashion, but what I prioritized.

She sought out to fill the void and Bümo was born. Her mission: offer reliable, licensed, and education-based childcare, as well as a workspace for parents—all under one roof.

"Bümo means 'parent' in Korean," she shares. "I'm of Korean heritage, and it was the easiest name that I could think of. The idea behind Bümo is to bring childcare to the workplace, whether it be a corporate office, corporate buildings, shopping centers—anywhere that parents are.”

Lim and her co-founder, Joan Nguyen, had planned to open BümoWork's first physical location in the spring of 2020. The idea was to offer a co-working space for parents on one side and a licensed childcare center across the hall. It was set to feature a curriculum created by Nguyen, who has a background in education. But like many other businesses, it was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They quickly pivoted to launching an online learning platform called BümoBrain. BümoBrain provided immediate resources and digital classes for parents homeschooling their children during the early days of the pandemic.

"I hate saying it was an overnight sensation because nothing is really an overnight success," Lim shares. "But that's the closest thing that I could actually call BümoBrain. When we launched our first few classes, they were completely sold out." According to Lim, thousands of families from all around the world were put on a waitlist to join their community. In late May 2021, Lim and the team finally opened its first physical location of BümoWork in L.A

Lim also hosts the Being Bümo, a weekly podcast for "modern parents." On it, she discusses everything from picking a sperm donor to dealing with toddler tantrums and talking to your kids about race. She invites celebrities, doctors, and inspiring women to be her guests.

She also engages with her massive social media following daily with skincare, fashion, and wellness tips. Below, she shares how she switches gears at work, squeezes in a skincare routine, and makes time to nurture her daughters.

Chriselle Lim and her daughters

Karla Ticas

Monday

7 a.m. I’ve been up since 5:30 a.m. because that is my alone time. It gives me just enough time to do what I need to do, which is exercise. [I do it] sometimes—not all the time. I'll [also] read a book and journal.

By 7 a.m., the girls are up, and I go straight into "mom mode," getting them dressed for the day. My mom is currently living with us, and she will have some sort of breakfast for the girls ready, which I'm so grateful for.

8 a.m. I just throw on a sweatshirt and jeans, put on basic skincare (sunscreen!) but no makeup, and I am out the door. I always pack my bag the night before so I'm not scrambling to get it together.

8:30 a.m. My oldest is in kindergarten. Thankfully, they have opened back up, so we drop her off first thing in the morning. Then, me and my little one, Colette, do our long commute to BümoWork at Century City. That is my home office, I guess you could say.

I usually work out of one of the cubicles [there]. I drop off Colette on the childcare side. It's literally down the hallway, [about] ten steps away from the co-working side.

10 a.m. I plug into email and get work done—conference calls, interviews, all of that—for the Bümo brands.

12 p.m. I hop back over to the childcare side, and I usually step out with Colette for lunch. [Having] lunch with her [has] been really nice, honestly, because I never got that time with my oldest. Back then, Chloe was in daycare, and I couldn't interfere with her schedule. Once they're there, they're there.

It is really important for me—[when it comes to] work—that I am able to integrate my life with my kids’ lives. And if I want to go to lunch with Colette, I can. We go to a cafe right next to BümoWork and get our usual dishes.

1:30 p.m. During the day, I'm wearing my co-founder, CMO hat for Bümo. After that, I'll put on my content creator hat. I really try to time block, because I don't do well mixing these two different roles that I have to play. It's a different side of my brain that I have to activate, and I have a very hard time doing both at the same time.

We always try to do all the business stuff in the morning. In the afternoon, we try to focus on anything creative.

4:30 p.m. We commute back home. Colette usually naps in the car. She's a big girl—she’s almost three—and refuses to nap. But she will always nap in the car, usually for an hour. When I get home, we go straight into dinner mode.

6 p.m. We eat dinner, and I start doing homework with my oldest daughter. She has a lot of homework now that she’s in kindergarten. (I’m not kidding.)

7 p.m. Soon, both girls will take a bath. Between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m., [it's] lights off, [and they're] in bed.

I try to unwind by 9:30 p.m. I do my showers in the evening because I don't like to feel rushed. Showers are a luxury for me. When I do them in the morning, I feel like I have to just get it done, and I don't get to enjoy it. I really like to take my time.

There is just not enough time in the day. Tonight I have at least two hours of work after they go to sleep. Luckily, I am a night owl. I turn in close to 1 a.m.

Chriselle Lim tea party with daughter

Karla Ticas

Tuesday

7 a.m. Despite my late bedtime last night, I manage to get in a Peloton class during my "me time" this morning. I just like starting the day off by myself. I've been really intentional about doing that, especially during the pandemic. Everything gets really muddy and mixed up when you’re doing it at home.

8:30 a.m. After dropping Chloe off at school, I drive my hour-long commute to BümoWork with Colette.

10:30 a.m. Conference call with my Bümo co-founder. We've taught over 30,000 BümoBrain classes to date, and it's hasn't even been a year yet. We are focused on ages one through seven years old. We're always discussing how children learn best—in what setting, the topic, and how the teachers can be more engaging.

12:45 p.m. After lunch, there’s a "parent and me" class on the childcare side of BümoWork that is led by a teacher. Colette and I usually do the class together. I try to do it at least every other day with her.

For older kids, there is a STEM lab. There is mindfulness and movement. So, there are a lot of different classes. Colette is really into music, so we do the music class together.

1:30 p.m I check back into work. It’s my creative time, and today I’m recording my parenting podcast, Being Bümo.

7 p.m. I know bedtime will be a struggle tonight. On the warmer days, especially, my older daughter is like, "It's still bright," and I’m like, "It's 8 p.m! Just because it's bright doesn't mean that it's not nighttime." She gets confused.

After the kids go to bed, I do my skincare routine. I like putting on a candle and some light music. After that, I’m really big on reading, especially since quarantine. So I read for at least 30 minutes.

I am trying to be more intentional with my turn-down time. It's important for me to relax. I can't have a screen anywhere around me when I have my turn-down time. I prefer nothing to be digital when I'm trying to unwind.

Some people scroll [through Instagram] because that's their way of unwinding and not thinking about work, but I can't do that. Because when I scroll, I’m thinking of ways that I could be more creative. I'm always getting inspired by other people, as well as their content.

I find that Instagram doesn't really help me unwind; whereas [for] my partner, it's his time to catch up. It actually helps him take his mind off of work. But for me, it’s quite the opposite because it is my work.

Since my mom has been living with us, she's really gotten into puzzles. It's such a "retired lifestyle" situation, but I've been doing it with her, and I actually really love it.

There’s something about having your mind completely focused on just that one thing and trying to get it done. You kind of go into this zone. I’ll be in bed by 11 p.m. tonight, with another busy day tomorrow.

Chriselle Lim playing with daughter

Karla Ticas

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