How prioritizing self-care helps this family business run smoothly

Chris and Laura Patrick with their children Finley, Camilla and Isabel. Photo by Jessica Turner

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Уhen Laura Patrick left at home with one child, her husband’s job as a culinary director at Abacus works well for their family.

But five years later, when they had two more in two years, his classes began to affect her. Aside from the late evenings, work required Chris Patrick to work every Saturday, no matter what.

“I couldn’t do five nights a week alone anymore,” says Laura. “It got to the point where it was very stressful for me and the lifestyle was no longer appropriate.”

The youngest Isabel was born in 2019 and then they decided to combine their talents to start a business that will allow their family to be together at night and on weekends.

Chris, 42, is a culinary genius; Laura, 33, is a digital marketing enthusiast and “absolute extrovert.”

They launched Bright Box Foods at the end of 2019. The service provides dishes prepared by chefs, which are delivered to homes. They come chilled and can be warmed if needed. This is not a dining set and is not Schwann’s. They have found their own niche, providing home-cooked meals for busy families accustomed to restaurant-style dinners.

“I’ve always been super entrepreneurial, even as a child, and I’ve always wanted to run my own business,” says Laura.

Their moment was lucky, as the company was just beginning when the pandemic struck, creating an unprecedented demand for home-cooked food.

“My goals are to help deal with stress.”

The early pandemic also created unprecedented concern for Laura, as did many others.

“Only the stress and anxiety of the pandemic and the children at home was a bad place for me,” she said. “So I told myself in 2020 that as soon as it’s safe to go out again, I’ll make it a priority to go out and start playing sports again.

She joined the gym as soon as she was fully vaccinated.

“Just to feel better and have more energy. “I’m not trying to lose weight or anything,” she said. “My goals are to help deal with stress.”

This has led her to a strict self-care regime that includes taking time for herself every day, which she says makes their home and business more harmonious.

For more than two years, Bright Box Foods is still just the two of them. Chris buys, prepares and cooks all the dishes for the customers, and Laura is turned to the customers. She is involved in business, including payment, planning and marketing. Both deliver and have Friday and Saturday weekends. Chris starts cooking on Sunday afternoon, and Monday-Thursday are nailed.

The Patrick family’s three children attend three different schools. “I didn’t plan it that way,” she said.

The smallest is in the pre-K in Casa de Paz Montessori. Finley, 5, attends kindergarten at PL Prep, Sam Houston’s Ofa Lawn Personalized Learning Preparatory School. And 10-year-old Camilla visits Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard, a campus in West Dallas that was renamed last year by an internationally renowned artist who was Laura’s uncle.

Between running a business and driving children, this is her self-care routine.

Take time for 30 minutes of exercise each day. She does high-intensity interval training or Pilates at Edge Fitness five days a week.

Eating foods that are “healthy”, by which she means at least eating something green and some protein every day. “I’m an anti-diet,” she says. “If you’re trying to work on your mental health, don’t follow a diet.” She also appreciates attractive plates and snacks. “I love a good cheese board,” she says.

Giving away a Nespresso machine adds a little happiness to her life. Laura says she starts each day with two servings of espresso, which she drinks in the car while taking the children to school. Sometimes there is a third around 13:00. Once, when Laura admitted that she was addicted to coffee, her sister said, “Caffeine is self-care.”

A friend referred her to Go Easy, a Bishop Arts boutique that oversees products such as legal cannabis for healthcare customers. Laura usually eats CBD chocolate from Go Easy to sleep better. “It’s delicious and it actually works,” she says.

Laura’s extroverted personality means that she should prioritize time with friends. She talks to her sister on the phone every day. “If I don’t have a relationship with the people I love, I’ll notice the difference in my day,” she said. “I will not perform well for my children and this is my priority № 1 above all.”

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