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? These are a few of my tips. For additional thoughts visit Part one in this essay series.
1.. I try to reserve some whitespace.
Don’t over commit yourself or jam pack your schedule leaving little to no blank space in your calendar. (Remember the stress-induced illness I admitted to having? That was when I didn’t follow this rule.)
I try not to over commit. I have been asked to be on a few boards and have declined every offer. I would love to have those prestigious accomplishments in my bio but I simply don’t have the time. I am not involved in weekly or monthly networking groups or clubs. I have one group that really gives me a return on my investment and meets every few months and that’s perfect for me. Every Sunday I am in church I think, “I should really look into singing with the worship team.” But then I remember. I have no time. And I drop it.
I am disappointed and a little embarrassed to say that I don’t regularly volunteer or do charity work outside of our business or girl scouts. As much as I want to give back, I recognize that raising two little people to be decent, hard-working, honest, kind human beings is the way I am giving back to my community right now. I have so many desires in my heart but I accept that those can wait. I don’t have time. Sure, I could make time. I could take time away from my kids, myself, my husband, my career and squeeze it in. But will I really come out ahead? Will the most important people in my life be served by that decision?
I’ve also freed myself from the pressure of feeling like my kids have to be involved in a gazillion time-consuming activities. It’s okay to focus on one or two things that they really invest in. Whitespace allows my girls the time and freedom to build tree houses, make forts with every sheet in my linen closet, and be creative. They have their whole lives to be a slave to a jam-packed calendar. My decision to minimize the after-school activities may be partly self-serving but it also makes it so my girls can be free to just be.
- I insist on a reasonable bedtime for my kids.
I’ve already talked about routines. The absolute most important routine in my day is the bedtime routine. It’s as sure as death and taxes. I work hard all day, tirelessly caring for and loving my girls. They need their rest and so do I. Bedtime begins at 7 p.m. for both girls and it’s lights out by 7:30. It’s a win, win. They are getting the proper night’s sleep that is so crucial for their development, and my husband and I get three hours of time to spend alone or together without kids. That still sets me up for my 8 hours of sleep (assuming a 6:30am wake-up time.) But the point is, I have enforced this since my girls were infants and it continues to this day. We are known for leaving social situations in order to be home for bedtime. It probably annoys some people, but it keeps me sane. I need to be off the mommy clock at 7:30 for my sanity.
- I cut the fat from the craziness.
Life is busy no matter how you slice it, but cutting even the smallest, seemingly insignificant things from our lives and making the slightest adjustments can make a world of difference.
What can you do to make your life easier?
These are my tried-and-true mom hacks.
The best investment I ever made was a mile-high stack of paper plates from Costco. I serve every meal I can on them. This saves me at least 10 minutes a day on washing dishes. That’s over an hour a week!
I use lists on my iPhone for everything from meal options or a running list of things we’re out of to my to-do list. When I have a thought or something I need to remember, I write it down to free my brain from having to store all that clutter. I used to waste so much time thinking about what gifts to buy for people. Now, every time I see something I think someone would like or when my mom mentions something like, “I really need a new tablecloth!” I jot every idea down for later use. Christmas is a breeze now because all year I write down toys that my kids fell in love with at a friend’s house or games that piqued their interest in the Walmart isle. By December, I have a whole list of awesome gifts to add to my Amazon cart.
I don’t really have time to sit and write a blog like this one. Most of the content was created on-the-go, from a thought I had in the shower, and I promptly wrote it into my iPhone when I got out.
I keep a big bucket in my car that goes in and out of the car when we do. It gets filled with toys, trash, school stuff so we carry one thing in every afternoon and it returns filled with lunches, backpacks, water bottles, etc. the next morning. That saves me so much time gathering things in the car and I avoid the need to clear out my car every few days. We have a rule: “What goes in the car, must come out!”
I make lots of meals in the crockpot (with a plastic liner so I don’t even have to clean the darn thing.)
Every little minute saved counts.
How do YOU do it? Share your secrets 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.