Ivanka Trump’s a busy woman.
In addition to serving as a top adviser to her father, President Donald Trump, she’s also the mother of three children age five and younger. She opened up about motherhood and the impossibility of work-life balance Monday at a luncheon honoring small business owners as part of National Small Business Week.
“I have, personally, thrown balance out the window. I don’t even strive for it anymore because I don’t like to intentionally set myself up for failure. I did that, probably the first two years of my daughter’s life, but I’ve actually chilled out a bit on this front,” she said, speaking on a panel at the US Institute of Peace alongside Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon.
“I think that balance implies a scale, which inevitably tips in one direction. And the challenge with children, so often, the levers are outside of your control,” she said.
The first daughter said she makes spending individual time with each of her three young children, ages 1, 3, and 5, a priority, and will not make work-related plans after getting home from a trip.
Case in point: she spent some quality time with son Theodore, 1, at Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy near her Washington home just after returning from a trip to Berlin, Germany, last week.
“This whole experience over the last several months I’ve been throwing myself into with the hope that I can have a positive impact. So there’s no way to really plan for balance,” she said, adding that acceptance is “an essential survival skill.”
Trump said she focuses on spending quality time with her children, “since I don’t have an enormous quantity of time to spend with them.”
Her social media feeds are peppered with images out and about and at home with her brood.
Since moving to Washington in January, she’s made time for visits to the National Zoo, the International Spy Museum and the National Museum of American History, among other local spots.
She brought Joseph, 3, to a monster truck rally in Baltimore, Maryland.
And she toted daughter Arabella, 5, to the Supreme Court to hear arguments. Trump and her daughter are also planning to take a coding class together this summer.
“The best moment of the day!” she posted alongside an image in a living room with Theodore.
Trump, who was previously an executive vice president for development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization and also started her own eponymous apparel and accessories brand, said she has tried to stop feeling that sense of guilt over not being there:
“I call it the overwhelm. It’s the overwhelm. You mentioned this sense of guilt, and I think that exists both personally and professionally, and what I’ve tried to do is just be present in the moment. Because those first few years were rough for me. I was in the office, I felt guilty about not being at home, I was at home, I felt guilty about not being in the office. And the only time I was at peace was when I was lying awake at 3 o’clock in the morning. My children were sleeping, obviously I couldn’t be returning phone calls and I could just think and breathe.”
“Now, I think a lot more about just being present, just being really focused and enjoying what it is I’m doing and executing on that, you know, either in this new role or when I’m at home, really being present with my kids.”