7AM to 7PM: Christy MacGregor Runs Colugo While Breastfeeding & Raising Four Kids

family smiling

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ted and Christy MacGregor

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 Colugo founders Ted Iobst and Christy MacGregor.

Imagine, if you can, working with your partner and parenting with them. Now add four kids. That’s exactly what Ted Iobst and Christy MacGregor are living every day as the founders of the baby gear brand Colugo. They're also busy raising their four children: Fritz and Lark (5-year-old twins), Win (2 years old), and Holland (8 months old),

When pregnant with their twins in 2015, they headed to a big box store, as most new parents do. “We just didn’t find a brand we felt connected to,” says MacGregor. “We felt overwhelmed by trying to pick the ‘right’ gear. And we left that first big box store fighting because we didn’t know what to do.”

They knew there had to be a better way, and the two were determined to find a brand that spoke directly to what they wanted: confidence in first-time parenting, and a better overall experience with the baby gear process. That means streamlining the number of products, explaining them well, and offering eye-catching designs (such as astrology and animal prints). The company offers strollers, babywearing carriers, fanny packs that double as stroller caddies, and more.

“There are other brands with only primary colors or the words ‘kid’ and ‘baby’ in the name, or brands that are pushing a gold-winged stroller on a catwalk,” says Iobst. “We thought, ‘where's the brand for this generation of parents?’

Adds MacGregor, “Your baby gear becomes your accessory, your carrier becomes part of your outfit, you’re pushing the stroller when you’re out and about. And we wanted our customers to feel like a fun part of parenting is the gear. We want parents to feel like themselves.”

The brand was initially positioned as a school project for Iobst, who was in business school at the time in 2016. “The idea wasn’t that we would also both work on it, full-time, all-in,” says MacGregor. 

Colugo officially launched in 2018. Says Iobst, “For the first year, Christy was working full-time, supporting our family as a lawyer," explains Iobst. She also took on the role of mom, as well as a Colugo copyeditor and collaborator on investor pitches. MacGregor came on full-time in 2019. 

Fast forward to the present day, and the Philadelphia-based pair are working full-time together on Colugo while managing their own household. As you can imagine, their life is hectic—but not unmanageable, they say, despite the challenges that come with parenting during a pandemic. 

Christy MacGregor

We go through our calendars first thing in the morning and [discuss] who has what. Is it internal, where it’s okay if there’s a kid in the background? Or do we need the door closed? We divide it up that way.

— Christy MacGregor

“We’ve been working from home since COVID-19 hit, so for two years we’ve been working from home with the goal of opening a Philly office soon,” says MacGregor. It would be easy to assume that they have a lot of help, running a start-up and having four kids, but MacGregor confesses they’ve been figuring it out between the two of them and grandparents. “We just got childcare four days a week [last] September,” she says. 

Living the definition of naptime warriors, they divide and conquer every day. “We do a trade-off," says MacGregor. "We go through our calendars first thing in the morning and [discuss] who has what. Is it internal, where it’s okay if there’s a kid in the background? Or do we need the door closed? We divide it up that way.” says MacGregor.

Having that flexibility in their own lives is important to them, and so when it came time to set policies for Colugo, the couple had a vision. “I came out of corporate law where you had to pretend you weren’t a parent," explains MacGregor. "We all just have to [see] people at home taking care of kids. It’s helpful in this world now where everyone is in the same boat.”

"We are committed to being a start-up that works for working parents because we know that it’s what we should do," she says. That means a 16-week maternity leave policy that begins from day one for full-time employees, no matter the employee’s gender or path to parenthood.  “We wanted to make sure that everyone feels supported from day one, and your decision and timeline on when you are having kids—you shouldn’t be stressed about how your employer is going to respond to that,” she says. 

Speaking from experience, the two also knew that hiring parents would be essential to not only their quality control—their employees truly know their products—but for overall productivity.

Part of their own personal prioritization is making time for themselves.  “We’ve learned what’s most impactful in terms of helping us each clear our heads and have some time alone,” says MacGregor. For her, that means getting up around 5:30 a.m. to pump and then heading outside for a walk. She says her brain works best early in the morning. Iobst, who is getting back into running, will block an hour on his calendar to get outside. “I really think separate time and fresh air is key,” she says. 

Here’s how they schedule check-ins, manage school drop-off, and work around their infant’s sleep schedule, according to MacGregor.


Thursday

5 a.m. my alarm goes off and my hand shoots out to turn it off. We still have Holland, our 8-month-old, sleeping in our room in her crib so I’m highly motivated to stop the noise before it wakes her. I slip on my L.L. Bean slippers and sneak downstairs to pump and start the coffee that Ted set up the night before (bless him).

I’ve always been a morning person. While I pump and drink coffee, I respond to emails (which I schedule to send at a more reasonable hour) and make a to-do list in the Notes app on my computer. I have a daily and weekly list, which I also divide into personal and professional. I put literally everything on the list, including some things I’ve already done but forgot to record, so I get the satisfaction of crossing things out.

6 a.m. I’m out the door for a walk or a run. We recently moved from center city Philadelphia to a neighborhood with hiking trails and big old trees. I like to pretend I’m in Vermont.

7 a.m. I’m back and all of the kids are up. I check with Ted to see when Holland woke up.  It was 6:30 a.m. today, which is not too bad. He gave her a bottle and now he’s making the kids’ lunches. I was on top of it this week and made a big batch of Kodiak Cakes pancakes on Sunday to reheat for breakfast. The kids put frozen berries, maple syrup and sprinkles on them. At least they have some protein, right? 

7:45 a.m. I’m off to do school drop-off for Fritz and Lark, our 5-year-old twins, and Win, our 2-year-old. We listen to the “Encanto” soundtrack. Sometimes Win is a little emotional at school drop-off, but today, his favorite teacher greets us at the door. He waves and says, “See you later!” I feel simultaneously full of joy and gutted. I wave back.

8:15 a.m. While I was out, Ted fed Holland breakfast and handed her off to our babysitter, who comes four days a week. She started this fall and it’s the first time since COVID-19 hit that we’ve had consistent childcare. It feels like a miracle. 

9 a.m. I’ve eaten my oatmeal and refilled and reheated my coffee. I put it in the microwave directly from the carafe—I like very hot coffee. I jump back into responding to emails and scan my calendar. My mornings are filled with one-on-one check-ins and internal meetings where each team shares what’s top of mind. 

Most of Team Colugo works remotely so it’s super helpful to have this insight so we can share ideas and inspiration and problem solve. I am so inspired by the people I work with and we always take time to catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives, too.

10:30 a.m. Holland joins me for my call. I nurse her twice a day and otherwise pump. I’ve combo-fed all my babies, and supplementing with formula really takes the pressure off. We’re using Bobbie formula this time, and we’re all big fans.

family walking with stroller and kids

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ted and Christy MacGregor

11:45 a.m. I pick up Win from school. His school is focusing on a different set of community helpers each week, and this week is healthcare workers. Win could not be more thrilled and we’re all getting check-ups at home. 

We’re very lucky that our kids’ schools have stayed open. Four of the six of us got COVID-19 over the holidays and we’re very grateful to be healthy and back in a routine. I’m always thinking about how Colugo can better support parents right now when it suddenly feels like we’re back in March 2020.

12:15 p.m. Win asks me to stay in his eye line while he’s eating lunch and playing with his babysitter. He’s still adjusting after a year-and-a-half of me and Ted being with him all of the time. I eat lunch, usually leftovers from dinner. Today it’s homemade chicken noodle soup and some pretzels.

1 p.m. I “whoosh” Win upstairs for a nap (aka hold him like he’s an airplane while saying, “Whoosh, whoosh!”). Then Ted and I have a check-in. Working from home together and co-parenting four kids means we have a lot of time under the same roof, but we don’t actually get to talk very much because we’re pulled in different directions. We figured out that we needed to schedule check-ins to make the time. We’re very dependent on our Google calendars. 

We focus on Colugo today, planning how to roll out our Refreshed Collection of like-new products. We’re excited to offer a more sustainable option for buying baby gear at our best possible price point.

1:30 p.m. We have a call with Nikki and Brie Bella, who we brought on as strategic advisors and investors last year. Rob, our head of product, shares updates on their new collection, which will launch later this year. I leave the call feeling energized and excited.

2 p.m.  I get more coffee and a handful of M&Ms and jump into some creative work. We’re relaunching our podcast, Today We Tried. This season, we’re focusing on the fourth trimester, and I’m sharing my [postpartum] experience with Holland. Our goal is to create a go-to resource for people in the fourth trimester and to create space for more honest conversations about this wild, hard, and wonderful time. I record some voiceover in a cedar closet on the third floor of our house and send the audio on to Zac, our producer, for his edits.

3 p.m. Ted leaves to pick up Fritz and Lark from school and I nurse Holland, who took a great second nap. Win also wakes up and needs a snack and a snuggle. When he gets back with the twins, Ted gets his headphones and goes for a walk-and-talk for his next call. He’s trying to get better about getting outside, but the days get busy.

3:30 p.m. I answer questions from our Customer Experience team, which is made up of parents who use and love our products. We’re available by text, phone, email, and on social media and we respond as quickly as we can. As parents, we get that you need your questions answered quickly!

5 p.m. I scan my to-do list and realize that I didn’t call to make Holland’s 9-month appointment. I debate handing that task off to Ted and decide to do it. I send him an email, which is how he builds his to-do list. 

At dinner, we do 'roses, thorns, and buds,' which is something good, something bad, and something you’re looking forward to.

5:30 p.m. Ted makes dinner every night. Tonight, it’s spaghetti and meatballs, which our kids recently announced was their favorite meal ever. He’s also making green beans, which are his favorite vegetable. I’m not a huge fan, but I’m happy he’s cooking. 

6 p.m. Win always insists on walking his babysitter to her car and I have to go with him. I try to wrap my jacket around him because he refuses to put it on on his own. We wave goodbye to her and then run back inside for dinner.

6:15 p.m. Dinner is over—it doesn’t last long with 4 kiddos—and it’s time for dessert. Somehow, they still have Halloween candy left. At dinner, we do “roses, thorns, and buds,” which is something good, something bad, and something you’re looking forward to. 

6:30 p.m. I take Fritz, Lark, and Win upstairs to start bedtime. Ted stays downstairs with Holland to start cleaning up the kitchen. Everyone gets a book. Right now, I’m re-reading the first Harry Potter book to Fritz and Lark, and Win is very into Curious George. They put on pajamas and I brush their teeth.

I’m making this seem a lot calmer than it is.  There is lots of running in circles and debates over who gets the first book and sleeping arrangements.

6:45 p.m. Ted comes up to give Holland her bedtime bottle. She sleeps in a travel crib with a SlumberPod over it. I am obsessed with the SlumberPod. It’s a little tent that goes over her crib and keeps it dark for her so I don’t have to worry about blackout shades. 

7 p.m. Everyone is in bed. Ted and I come back downstairs. He does the dishes while I pump and log back into work. I respond to emails and check on Colugo’s Instagram.

7:30 p.m. Ted is back to work. I pick up toys, which involves tossing them into big bins in our family room. I highly recommend lots of containers if you want to feel organized for very little effort. 

8:00 p.m. I have my go-to treat: hot chocolate and popcorn, and I scan The New York Times website to see what happened today. At this point, I’m starting to wind down and I mindlessly scroll TikTok or listen to an audiobook. I love Hail Mary and anything by Liane Moriarty.

9:30 p.m. I peek in to check on each kiddo and head to bed. Ted usually joins about an hour later after he’s swept the first floor. He loves to sweep, and I love that he loves it. 


Friday

5 a.m. I woke up before my alarm today because I have too much running through my head. I know I’ll feel better after some coffee and writing a list so I grab an extra sweater and go downstairs. Our house is 100-plus years old and very drafty. 

5:15 a.m. I owe our team copy for this month’s emails and I need to draft posts for the launch of our blog. I’m feeling inspired to write so I skip my run. I also review two vendor contracts and get a jump on my to-do list for the day.

7 a.m. Ted and the kids are downstairs. We don’t have childcare on Fridays so amidst the morning chaos, Ted and I open our calendars on our phones to divide up the day. We’ve become pretty good at not double booking ourselves. We’re very open with the team about when we’re on and offline. We want everyone at Colugo to be comfortable being their full selves at work and we try to lead by example. 

7:30 a.m. Ted handles school drop-off and they get out the door earlier than usual. I clean up from breakfast and play peek-a-boo with Holland, which is a big hit. Babies are an excellent audience. 

9 a.m. I put Holland down for her first nap and jump back into work. I don’t think anyone gets more done than a parent working during naptime. I review and edit our social posts for the week and edit a podcast script.

10 a.m. Ted and I risked it and scheduled a call with a new vendor. Of course, Holland is up early from her nap. Ted steps out to get her up, and I nurse her while strategically angling the camera. 

11:45 a.m. After getting some work done while Ted played with Holland, I pick Win up from school and we stop at a local bakery called Midnight Bakery for cupcakes for a Friday treat. My kids all have big sweet tooths that they 100 percent got from me. I get Ted a coffee, which is his treat of choice.

12:30 p.m. We’re home and Ted is feeding Holland lunch. She loves “butter carrots,” which are just boiled carrots mashed with butter. Sometimes I add some cinnamon. Ted’s also made Win’s lunch, which is leftovers from dinner. We all eat lunch together. Working from home can be very challenging, but I feel very lucky to have this time with them while they’re little.

1 p.m. Ted gets Holland and Win ready for their naps and I set up to create some content. Today, we’re making how-to videos about our Compact stroller for our YouTube channel. I hunt for our tripod, which Fritz loves to use as a sword, and find it in a bin. By the time Ted gets down, I’m ready to go. We switch off who is in front of the camera. 

2 p.m. Holland is up an hour early from her nap so I put on a Colugo Carrier and get her. I’m a pro at transferring her from her crib to the carrier. I add the Carrier Cozy since it’s chilly and we go outside. Within 5 minutes, Holland is back to sleep and I’m happy to get the time outside.

3:30 p.m. I’ve nursed Holland and got Win up from his nap. Ted is back from picking up Fritz and Lark from school. Ted has one more call and then our weekend will officially start.

4:30 p.m. After some time outside, Fritz and Lark want to watch a movie and Win wants to watch “Danny,” as Daniel Tiger is known in our house. I keep an eye on Holland and answer some questions from our Customer Experience team on my phone. Ted goes to pick up a make-at-home pizza kit from a local pizzeria.

mom with kid in stroller

Verywell / Photo Illustration by Christian Alzate / Ted and Christy MacGregor

5:30 p.m. The pizzas are cooking and I have a tequila, neat. We cajole the kids to help set the table and realize that we didn’t do baths. I take Fritz and Lark upstairs to get quick baths before dinner. Win has eczema and hates the bath so I save him until I’m fortified with some pizza.

6 p.m. Pizza is a complicated meal in our house. Lark likes pepperoni. Win likes cheese. Fritz likes only meat and peppers, no sauce or cheese. So far, Holland isn’t picky. We end the meal with cupcakes. I run Win and Holland up for a bath. 

7 p.m. Everyone is in bed and Ted and I head downstairs. I pump while he cleans up. When I’m done, he pauses the cleanup so we can watch a show together. Right now, it’s Season 2 of Cheer. Most of the TV he likes is too dark for me, but we both loved Schitt’s Creek so we’re thinking of re-watching that next. This is as close as we get to a date night right now and we look forward to it all week.




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