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How I do it

People sometimes say to me, “I don’t know how you do it all.” But the truth is, I am not much different than most women.

I am a mom of two little ones who are studying piano, playing soccer, dancing and involved in girl scouts which means I keep track of cleats, iron on patches, and harp on my kids to practice. I am also a wife and in some ways, caring for my husband tends to add even more things to my to-do list. And as amazing as my husband is in other areas of our life together, helping me with cooking, cleaning and other household responsibilities isn’t really his strong suit. As is true for many, many women, so much of the day-to-day stuff just falls on me. Right or wrong, I am the keeper of all things.

The birthday party present buyer. The family schedule maintainer. The meal planner. The activity transporter. The school picker upper. The kids clothes’ buyer. The toilet paper acquirer. The uniform washer. The lunch box preparer. I think most moms wonder what on earth would happen in their households if they just suddenly disappeared.

I also work. I am a business owner of three nanny agencies in three different cities and one drop-off play center, employing over 150 people. I spend my days in back-to-back Zoom calls, putting out fires, making major decisions and responding to hundreds of emails a day all while my phone is ringing off the hook.

And yet, I don’t shy away from taking on new projects, throwing a party, or hosting an event. I honestly have no idea what “downtime” is, much less what to do with it.
My life is no different than the millions of other moms who make it work by being total rockstars. I always say that women make the world go ’round.

Whether you work in the home as a stay-at-home-mom or out of the home as a working professional, being a mom is challenging work. Because it’s never really just one thing is it? Women juggle so much.

I. am. busy.

But I am also happy and generally, not completely frazzled. Of course, I have meltdown moments or stress-induced illness once in a while. But in general, I feel like I have learned some invaluable ways to organize my time and my life that truly keeps me sane.
So how do I do it? Here a five tips and hacks that I live by.

1. I make every effort to have a clean and tidy home.

I haven’t commissioned a scientific study on this or anything but I would bet a bunch of money that there is something that happens to us psychologically when we live in a messy environment. Everyone needs a sanctuary for their sanity and when our homes are messy and chaotic and disorganized, so are our minds. When my house is in order, my mind is in order. Spending 20 minutes picking up right after my kids go to bed ensures that I will wake up to a clean house. A fresh clean slate. So I can start the day more peacefully. When I think I don’t have time do clean my house, I make time. When the week is particularly busy and I can’t squeeze out even an hour to clean, I pay someone else to do it. When I can’t afford to pay someone else to do it, I stop buying food and gas and toilet paper and make room in my budget. (Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit on the last part.) But this is how important a clean house is to me. I know the power a clean house has on my overall outlook, my energy level and my sanity because when household tasks get neglected and the mess starts becoming out of control, I too feel out of control. Call me crazy. Or just try it. It just might change your life.

P.S. One of my favorite “mom hacks” in this department is to do a daily, “10 Minute Tidy.” The girls and I blast music and go as fast as we can to get the house in order. It must be somewhat fun for them because they never complain. “Throw this in the laundry room. Toss this in the trash. Add this to the Barbie bin in the playroom.” Once they complete a mini-task they come back for another and another and another and in no time at all, my house is spotless again.

2. I take time for myself.

This is really lame advice when I typically hear it. First of all, in most cases, on most days, there isn’t any time to take. And you can’t create time out of thin air. Or a free babysitter. And second of all, most moms I know, myself included, aren’t even exactly sure what we would do with that time if we did have it. Let’s be honest – interests and hobbies are way easier for childless people. So, you have to keep it simple here. If it’s too much pressure to force yourself to do Pilates or meditate or all these things that we “should” do…just think about what it is you actually like to do.

I recharge my batteries simply. A night out having dinner and conversation with girlfriends after I have put the kids to bed and my husband is home (no babysitter required) is one of my favorite pastimes. It doesn’t have to be a long night. Just a few hours. All my mom friends and I are ready for bed by 9pm anyway. I come home feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

I am also a massage addict. I love, love massage and get it wherever and whenever I can. Nothing fancy or over-the-top. There is a place down the road that is seriously life changing. I can get a 60-minute massage for $48. No membership or appointment required. I just walk in any time before 9pm. Me time. Ahhhh……

Once you take some time for yourself, even if it’s just a small sliver, the really important part is to do it with zero feelings of guilt. Not only have you absolutely earned this but you can also argue that you do it for everyone else, too. No mom can operate at full-speed all the time without it eventually affecting her patience level. When you recharge your batteries, you are making yourself a better person and mom. I also remind myself that I am modeling self-care for my daughters. It’s a win-win.

3. My world doesn’t revolve around my children and their desires.

Yea. This is a big one.

I once heard a mom say, “My kids won’t be happy with me if I leave them with a sitter.” Um, what? I am a firm believer in teaching children independence, self-reliance and humility. I know, for a fact, that being with my children 24/7 does not make me a better mother. It makes me lose my mind. It makes me short, impatient and moody. It makes me lose perspective.

When a girlfriend is over and we are talking, I don’t let my kids constantly interrupt our conversation.

I don’t have to say yes every time or even most of the time that my kids ask me to play with them.

My kids had every good country song memorized by the time they were three years old. If I don’t want to listen to the Elena of Avalor or the Moana soundtrack for the 10th time – I don’t! It’s okay to say, “It’s mommy’s turn” and turn on the songs that make me happy and relaxed and don’t make me feel like I want to gouge my eyeballs out.

I have enough on my plate so I don’t make special meals for picky eaters. The crusts stay on. Apples remain in act, unsliced with the skin on. If they don’t like what is served and choose not to eat it, they go hungry. But let me tell you-my children rarely, if ever, starve. Why? Because this is what was established from the beginning and therefore they learned to not only eat but to enjoy raw kale, salmon and steamed artichokes. By not allowing my kids to dictate mealtimes and have finicky habits, I have made my life a whole heck of a lot easier and as a bonus, I have given them the ability to enjoy a full range of incredible foods.

Of course, my world revolves around my children figuratively. I love them more than life itself and would do anything for them- including teaching them the cold hard reality that the world does not revolve around them or exist to meet their every need, lest they receive a rude awakening when they enter adulthood. I love them too much to cripple them in that way.

4. We live by routines. Routinely.

I make sure we have so much predictability in our lives. I figure out a system that works and then I stick to that system until our situations or schedules must change and we come up with a new routine. We have morning routines and nighttime routines. We eat dinner at the same time every single night. Not because I am some kind of domestic goddess (I am not!) but because this is just how it has to be for everyone’s well-being (and once again, my sanity.)

I am always amazed by children. I think we underestimate them all the time. When my oldest started Kindergarten we had a talk on the way home the very first day. (After a long talk about her whole day, of course.) And that talk consisted of us outlining our new “after-school routine.” I envisioned what an organized afternoon would look like- how we could accomplish everything we needed to do, together. As a team. My five-year-old and me. We determined we would first put our shoes in the shoe basket when we got home. Then, she would put her lunch box on the kitchen counter near the sink (where I would remember to empty and wash it), and she would put the water bottle in the sink. She would then wash her hands and put her backpack up on the hook in her room. After a snack, we determined she would immediately do her homework, to get it over with, and start piano practice. Even after implementing her routine she still has at least 3 solid hours to run around, play outside, and spend time with the family before her 7:30 bedtime. The first few days required some coaxing and reminding. It was rocky. But by day 5 she was effortlessly going through each step, totally independently and my life was instantly easier. She still does. Every. Single. Day. Without being asked.

5. I give myself grace.

I don’t have it all figured out. I still wrestle with being resentful when it comes to feeling like I am always the one that does more than my share. I am learning how to ask for help when I need it, and accept that help without guilt. I have days when I stress-eat old Valentine’s Day candy on the couch in my pajamas while the kids are screaming and my house is a total disaster and I have zero energy to move much less do any of the above suggestions.

I have moments when I beat myself up for falling short of being the mom I know my children deserve. I don’t practice what I preach 100% of the time. My life isn’t perfect.
But relatively speaking, I live a life of peace and order and I think anyone can add more sanity to their lives by trying to implement even one of the aforementioned habits. Life IS sometimes unavoidably crazy, but it doesn’t have to make YOU crazy.

RELATED: Work-life balance, accepting help, and imperfection

How do YOU do it? Share your secrets in the comments below!

 


Rosalind Prather is a third-generation small business owner and nationally recognized entrepreneur who opened her first business at the age of 23. She Co-Founded Trusting Connections Nanny Agency in Tucson, Arizona and helped grow the small, two-woman operation to become one of the fastest growing nanny agencies in the country and oversaw the company’s expansion into the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas and Phoenix, Arizona markets. Prather also co-owns, Timeless Play, a unique, drop-off play experience for kids ages 1-12 in Tucson.

Trusting Connections has been the recipient of numerous awards including “Service Firm of the Year” and “Best in Industry” and Rosalind was recently awarded the “Rising Star of the Year” award by Inside Tucson Business. She has made appearances on KGUN 9 News and News 4 KVOA in Tucson as a local childcare expert and is also a talented business coach that has helped numerous small businesses flourish.

Above all, Rosalind is the proud mother of two girls and has a deep understanding of the joys and struggles of family life and parenting. As a successful “momtrepreneur,” Rosalind is very passionate about sharing her insights with women to inspire them to believe that being a mom and a business owner is a beautiful possibility.

For additional information we invite you to visit the Trusting Connections website or blog. Follow Trusting Connections on Instagram: @TCNannies or Facebook @Trusting.connections.agency.

Or visit our Timeless Play website. Follow Timeless Play on Instagram: @timelessplaytucson. Like us on Facebook: @timelessplaytucson.  

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