Work-Life Balance: Tina Serrao

May 19, 2016 , In: Balance , With: No Comments

We all know and love BeaverTails – those beautifully decadent pastries that are basically impossible to resist.  Tina Serrao is the Creative Director at BeaverTails and basically the reason why you can’t pass a stand or shop without wanting to eat one.  She let’s us in on why it’s a good thing to work with your husband, why Saturday mornings are sacred and if work-life balance is really possible.

Tina Serrao BeaverTails Creative Director

A little bit about me…

I am a native Montrealer.

I strongly dislike winter and anything cold other than ice cream.

I have a Bachelors of Fine Arts, majoring in Photography. I have always loved design, fashion, art and architecture.

Together with my husband (Pino Di Ioia) and my brother–in-law (Anthony Di Ioia) we own and operate BeaverTails Pastry. My role in the company is Creative Director. I joke and say that I have the most fun job in the company. I am always looking for ways to make sure we stay on brand message and keep our approach fresh and authentic

When I grow up I would like to be Jenna Lyons (creative director of J.Crew).

I am obsessed with being organized.

I have 3 awesome kids; a 10-year-old son named Kai, a 7-year-old daughter named Lucca and a 5-year-old named Max.

I have been married for 18 years and I’m not sure how my husband puts up with me! (lol)

Tina Serrao BeaverTails Creative Director

What’s your work schedule?

Since my last little person started pre-school a few years ago I have worked really hard to organize my work schedule so that I can be there after school to pick the kids up, do homework and take them to activities. I get back on my computer to tie up daily loose ends after the kids go to bed.

How do you handle childcare?

Since all three of my kids are in school until 3pm childcare is not a big issue anymore. We have been graced with a nanny who has been with us for 8 years. She is a part of our family and is a super patient, better me. She helps us out Monday to Friday from 3-7pm. This allows for me to pick up and drop off kids at activities, while someone is at home getting homework started or drawing a bath and just helping with the overall juggling that happens during those witching hours.

Tina Serrao BeaverTails Creative Director

When do you typically hang out with your children?

My time with the kids is after school. I love ‘pick up’ time with them. The car ride home is usually the time when all the chatter comes out about the day and we have no outside interruptions for a whole 15 minutes. Once I get them through the door it all falls apart for activities, homework and general chaos.

What do you like best about your current setup?

I love that if I am effective with my scheduling I can get my job done and squeeze in time for volunteering at the school or to taking the kids to an appointment.

What do you find tricky or difficult about your current setup?

The opposite of the question above is also so true. Because I work for myself and control my own schedule it is easy to take on too much. I have a tendency to do this and the end result is never good.

Do you have any family rituals?

Saturday mornings are off limits for the most part. We spend all week rushing to school and work and then to activities. So Saturday mornings are lazy time. You can stay in your pajamas until noon, have a long breakfast and make pancakes or bacon and there is definitely time to enjoy a second latte.

Tina Serrao BeaverTails Creative Director

How do you and your husband fit marriage into the balance?

My husband and I work together. We have been working together for 18 years. Most women I know tell me they could never work with their spouse, but I don’t think I could ever not work with him!

When things are really busy at home and we cannot seem to get a minute in together we will grab a quick lunch to catch up.

It has also become our ritual to have dinner after the kids have gone to bed a couple of times a week. This gives us time to chat without interruptions, enjoy a glass of wine (or 2…) and unwind.

Do you have any time for yourself?

Ha-ha, that is funny! I have a couple of small windows of time that I consider my time. I chat for a few minutes in the car every morning with a good friend that I don’t get to see as often as we would like. She is my daily check in and always in for a good laugh.

I do my best to squeeze in a manicure and it is my guilty pleasure. I even love a quick trip to the grocery store!! I usually pick up my ingredients for dinner daily when I leave the office and head to school to pick up the kids. For some reason it gives me a few minutes to clear my head and get ready for the next task ahead.

How do you handle household chores?

I am a crazy, compulsive organizer!! I am always clearing out a closet, organizing and tidying up. If my surroundings are messy or not clean I feel very unsettled. We do have someone who cleans our house twice week and this guarantees that on a busy week the house may not be organized… but at least it is clean.

Do you ever wonder how other women manage and do you ever talk about it with your friends?

My friends and I talk about the lack of balance continuously. I think for the most part we are all just hanging on and doing our best. We know that schedules are always changing and that we will all somehow survive!

Tina Serrao BeaverTails Creative Director

What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life?

Wine. Lots and lots of wine! Jokes aside, I am not good at dispensing advice. I just know what works for me; I try and remind myself to not over schedule the kids and not to book too many nights out a week. I try and take time to be with my husband and close friends. They are the ones that are going to help keep me sane through all of this.

What role does your partner play in helping you achieve balance?

I am very lucky because my husband is very involved. He is the morning drop-off guy, the math homework guy and the guy with all the jokes. He keeps me caffeinated and loves to make dinner as often as he can.

Are you good or bad at asking for help and do you think that is a help or hindrance?

I am bad at asking for help, for sure. I never want to bother anyone.

Are there any areas of your life that you feel suffer and that you would like to work on more?


Is work-life balance possible?

Nope, I think you have to do your best every day and just keep your fingers crossed that it all works out.

Thanks Tina!


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Michelle Little

Writer & Photographer

Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy. Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.

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