You’re an entrepreneur, business woman, full time mom and wife. Tell us a little about yourself and your day-to-day schedule:
I am fortunate to be able to create my own schedule. But I homeschool, so I have activities that I schedule my work around. For many people work is the priority. For me, my children are my first priority then my business. I have two businesses. One is an online shopping site with my husband, ShopArea8.com and the second is a small food business, Two Chicks and a Spatula, that I started with a fellow homeschool mother. Both companies are not demanding. I have designed them that way to reduce overwhelm. My website business is a franchise, so it is managed by corporate. All I have to do is know my product and educate potential clients. My food business only operates once a month. We have a monthly menu of products that is produced and sold online through social media or special events and website under construction: bit.ly/TwoChicksandaSpatula
A typical day at home looks like this:
Wake up, clean any dishes in the sink, throw in a load of laundry. When the kids wake up I pop in a DVD or YouTube playlist about whatever subject we are focusing on. Prepare breakfast, clean up the breakfast mess. Pull out more materials for a homeschool lesson and help with activities. Check social media and emails. Pull out dinner items from freezer. Make lunch and clean up. After lunch, I have a few minutes to do something. I like to spend time in the yard to care for my small garden and flowers. Sometimes it is business related, a small project or some days it’s finally getting to pluck my eyebrows… My daughter takes a nap late afternoon. She still breastfeeds to sleep, so I use that time to either nap or read. When I say read, it is almost always business related. Prepare dinner and clean up again, yay! The evening is usually spent on picking up the house, folding laundry or preparing the materials for the next homeschool activities and trips while the kids watch movies. The kids are night owls. My daughter falls asleep around 10pm and my husband puts my son to sleep close to 11pm.
If I have a trip planned, then the night before is spent preparing lunch and snacks for the following day. The next morning I will pull out something to thaw for dinner or put something in the slow cooker. If I forget, we have pizza night.
Once a month, I clear my schedule for a 3 to 4 day period so that I can meet up to discuss business and cook with my partner for our monthly specials.
Monday we attend a parent run co-op in the afternoon.
Mondays in the summer are spent at home or a visit to the waterfalls and lakes in the Upstate.
Tuesdays in the summer I attend the Union County Arts Council meetings. Tuesdays the rest of the year are taking the kids to Montessori co-op.
Wednesdays in the summer are at Carowinds, the Library or a fun activity.
Wednesday and Thursday afternoons will be for Dance lessons beginning in the Fall.
Summer Thursday and Fridays are open for play dates or just relaxing.
Saturdays are our Farmer’s Market and Library mornings.
Sunday we watch movies at home.
Because you’re always so busy, how do you effectively manage your time? How do you juggle it all?
I’m continuously re-evaluating how things are working for me. I no longer have a problem saying “No” or cancelling an activity I had planned for the day. I also learned to work in increments, doing as much as I can, when I can. My due dates are long term goals, so I don’t stress myself out. I also learned to have a reasonable expectation of myself and what I can do after the kids are taken care of. That means that some days the clothes don’t get folded, the toys remain on the floor and the dishes in the sink. Some days, the kids get a free day full of cartoons and play time so that I don’t have to think about what they are learning.
What do you find has been one of the toughest challenges you’ve faced as a mom and how have you overcome it?
My biggest challenge was letting go of my self image as the go-getter, successful accountant and businesswoman. I prided myself on all the achievements I had accomplished, all of the degrees I’ve earned, my position as head of Budget and Grants for a Tribal Nation. What was I now that I was a stay-at-home mom? How would people know that I had a successful career? Once you leave your career behind, who are you? It took me a while to find the value in just focusing on my children and home. It took stressful days to realize that I could no longer begin a project like I was accustomed to, to “hit the ground running” – the only running I was doing was after the kids. Slow and steady was what I had to adjust to. It wasn’t an easy transition. I finally learned that life had changed and I need to change with it, and to not be so hard on myself.
This one is a little more personal, how do you practice self care? How do you find time during your day to take care of Lauren?
I won’t lie, I don’t always get to take a shower every day. I used to wear make up all the time, but no more unless it’s a special occasion. I used to get my nails done, but it’s not worth the stress of a toddler and a 5 year old running around the salon. I have cut my hair so that I have a “wash-and-go” style. My biggest routine is brushing my teeth and applying my facial routine – which I love because the product smells so good!
After talking to some other mothers and reading a few books including “The Fringe Hours,” I adjusted my personal time from almost none to scheduled “me” time. I have a babysitter to watch the kids twice a week, Tuesday and Sunday. Every Tuesday we have a family meeting on Skype. We share our week, our ups and downs, and what we learned. Right now we are reading Andy Shaw’s “A Bug Free Mind” together and discussing a chapter each week. Sunday’s are my free time. Sometimes I use this time to soak in the bathtub and do my nails, sometimes I paint or bead, sometimes I watch a movie with my husband – just us for a change. Being able to have my 3 hours on Sunday has made a big difference in my life.
What would you say to a new mom who has no guidance?
Forgive yourself often: Especially during the first few months when everything is new and the baby won’t let you move 3 inches away from them.
Find your Tribe: No one knows what you are going through better than someone that’s also going through it. Knowing that other people are experiencing the same thing is very helpful.
Use your Intuition: Trust your gut. From everything to the Doctor you choose, to walking out of the Dentist and never going back again. Listen to other people’s advice, but do what is right for your family.
Be realistic: You are only one person. You can only do so much. And yes, you may never pee alone again.
Use your tools: I learned how to baby wrap from YouTube and Pinterest tutorials. I learned about baby-led weaning from Mommy blogs. I learned about unschooling from talking to other mothers in my community.
Be Grateful: I know, it sounds cliche… But there are so many things that happen during the day that make me want to scream into a pillow. The slime that melted into my carpet, the diaper full of poop sitting in the middle of the living room, the kids bickering, the constant mess… In between are all the best moments. Listening to my son talking to my daughter saying “Do you know how much I love you?” or hearing the loud giggles upstairs because my husband is tickling them, watching their eyes light up when they learn something new… These moments could easily be drowned out because of the stressful moments that may come immediately after the best ones. So, be grateful for the wins.