You can find these shoes in…

Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. USA

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They belong to…

Krista Depeyrot, I am a DC native, 47 years old.

I am a Master Haircolorist and I co-own Salon Bisoux with my husband. We will soon celebrate 6 years of owning our own business. I am a mother of three boys-all teenagers. My husband and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage this year.

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What it’s like to walk in her shoes for a day…

Things have changed a lot over the years. If I was answering this when our children were young, it was much more frenzied trying to get everybody ready, take a shower with a baby carrier just outside the shower door, and running in every direction trying to make it to the salon we worked in downtown DC, rushing to make it home to take over for the au pair or nurse one of our boys. Things are smoother now having chosen to open our business only a mile from our home. The boys are older and capable of taking care of themselves in the mornings, and one of our boys is already at a university.

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I try to get up early enough to squeeze in a meditation, sit down and have coffee for a 10-15 minutes while going through emails and maybe have time for a workout or to walk the dogs. I may make breakfast for everybody, always pack our lunch for work, and often do my makeup in the car. I still go tearing out the door too close to my start time, but that is a challenge I am working on – trying to be early for things rather than feeling harried.

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My husband and I manage the business together. I am in charge of the financials, payroll, a lot of the staff planning, and projections/ordering etc. I make time for that in addition to taking clients throughout the week and it’s a balancing act. I take clients four days a week, between 8-16 a day coloring hair. I love touching base with our guests and doing hair.

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After work behind my chair, I wrap up things in the office and go home. Our boys are pretty self-sufficient. I check that chores were done, find out how their days were and finishing dinner. One of the things we figured out when we tried to find some work/life balance is that I cannot handle everything and maintain a sense of self. I felt martyred because too much fell on my shoulders. We have someone who comes in four hours a day four days a week to do laundry, clean up the morning dishes and do some food prep for dinner. We eat very clean and that requires a lot of home cooking. This gives me a little freedom to drive for any afternoon activities with the kids, focus on meal planning and generally to lighten the load. We try to eat together as a family if the evening activities allow for it. After dinner my husband takes over cleaning up the kitchen. We settle in sometimes reading, binge watching an occasional show, or hanging on the front porch if the weather is good. Sometimes we see friends, but less often than we would both like. I go to bed earlier than my husband, around 10, so I can start the day earlier. Somewhere in there I fit in about 5 workouts a week.

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Growing up in her shoes she was…

When I was born, my father was a counterintelligence officer in the Navy. My mom was a stay at home mother. They had just relocated to the DC area. They were not a great fit for each other and struggled in their marriage.
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By the time I was three, they had separated. They were loving parents and they prioritized my well-being, deciding that they did not want their marital strife to be taken out on me, or to put me in the middle. My mom ended up with custody. I saw my father every other weekend.
I remember hoping they would get back together and missing my father terribly, coming home after weekends with him and crying.
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My mom raised me “Dr Spock” all the way. I remember being the light of my parents’ eyes, but expectations were high. A premium value was put on integrity and honesty. I spent a lot of time alone after school because my mother was a single working mom. I was a latchkey kid after babysitters proved unreliable, going home on my own every day from the bus at the age of 8 on. I was not allowed to go play outside until after my mom got home, so I did not have a lot of friends until I was around 12.
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I have always had intense energy and been driven. A lot of that energy had no where to go, and I became an emotional eater when I was young.
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I can remember spending time with my dad, also often alone as he pursued his interest in sailing on the weekends. I would be left alone on the banks of West River Yacht club waiting for everybody to get back in with their sailboats, trying to find things to fill my time and often helping the adults out who were prepping lunch or things for the sailors. I also remember helping him a lot as he took care of fixing things, handing him tools or working in his workshop. I remember being alone a lot, and sometimes feeling quite lonely. I eventually had a step-sister and step-brother when my dad met the woman with whom he spent the rest of his life. I went from being an only child to a youngest in their household so it was an adjustment to suddenly be the “annoying one”. But I enjoyed the newfound sibling relationships.
I was a precocious child and was allowed to spend a lot of time with adults, even at my grandmothers cocktail parties where kids were not welcome. I was expected to handle myself. I took care of my homework without prompting. I was independent. I remember doing laundry, walking the dog, babysitting for neighbors, helping with chores, cleaning my room, cooking, being messy and not hanging up my towels. I started working after school and in the summers at 15 years old.

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Her biggest challenges day-to-day…

Balance. Fighting feeling guilty to take time to make myself “first”. Feeling like I need to do it all. Learning to allow things to drop off the “to-do” list for the day if I am exhausted or it is getting late.
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Feeling frustrated and lonely with a house full of guys playing video games or plugged into their screens.
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I think I care too much that our staff might interpret that I am not working if I take care of the management duties from the home office (would a male boss even care?! I wonder).
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Time is often the biggest challenge-valuing it, finding enough of it, using it wisely, running out of it.

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What are the advantages of being a woman in the 21st Century?

I have a lot of control over my world. I decide my hours, how much I would like to delegate to others.
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I feel equal in my marriage for the most part (although I do feel women still bear the brunt of child-rearing and household planning in addition to working).
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I feel respected by our children and valued.
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I have never felt put down for being a woman. If I get the impression someone feels that way I believe it’s their issue, being blind to reality or insecurity on their part, not a reflection of my being or who I am. I wonder sometimes if that was just the way I was raised-I never felt “less” for being a woman.
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I do realize we are more vulnerable physically on certain levels. We have to be aware of that vulnerability and take precautions not to put ourselves in positions to be taken advantage of.

One thing you should know if you’re going to walk in her shoes…

Guilt can play a big part.
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I remember being made feel guilty about my sexuality, or sexual curiosities and drive. “I hope you are not doing this or that” (fill in the blank). It was a way of asserting control with things that adults felt was out of their control, rather than speaking with openness so I could understand myself better. I even felt guilty about my parents not staying together. Even as an adult, when I had post-partum depression, I felt guilty for not being the mom I had hoped I could be at the time, or about the horrible thoughts running through my head. I think women often feel responsible for the things going wrong around them, and guilty for asking for help when they need it. We cannot be expected to know ourselves without being told it is ok to need others, to expect to create balance without help from those around us.
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Hey you, can you relate to Krista’s story? Do you have a favorite quote or thought? Share it in the comments

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How about YOUR shoes?

“This Krista story, it is unique, it is hers and it tells you something about being a woman in the 21st century.

If you identify as a woman, your story is just as important. CLICK HERE to get the questions and be part of our story, history and  Her-story.”

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