I get asked quite frequently, “How do you manage everything?” As I have mentioned before, balance is a mythical word to me. If I am ahead on work it usually means my house is a mess and dinner is not made. If my house is perfectly together, it usually means I am behind on work. Working from home is always a give and take, a push and a pull, and usually there is no such thing as balance. HOWEVER, it might help some of you to shed some light on how I have found a way to make it work for our family. It is different for everyone, but for now in this phase of our life, this is what works.
6:30 AM – Feed Max and snuggle closely (he falls back asleep), get up, get myself dressed. If I am dressed, I can face the day with more energy. Its a necessary mental trick. Then I give myself a pep talk in the mirror… Jk. Gabe is already up and he wakes up little Gabriel for school and gets him going. He gets himself ready and packs himself a snack (such an independent 4 year old thanks to some consistent practice!)
7:00 AM – The boys leave for school/work. Veronica wakes up and we have breakfast together.
7:15 AM- Pull out the Melissa & Doug toys, puzzles, and books for Veronica. She loves to read and cuddle on the couch so this is usually when I catch up and answer emails.
8:00 – Max wakes up and Veronica dotes on him for a long while and I let them have time together.
8:30 – Feed Max and do my ten minute morning prayer at the same time. (Another game changer for the day)
8:45 – Go over blog post written the night before, publish, and post to social media. Schedule social media posts, answer more emails. Veronica watches one of her favorite shows during this time. Max is chilling next to me. Sometimes he will fall asleep for a nap.
9:30 – I use the chunk of the morning to either run errands (Store, post office, etc. ), OR playdates with other friends. Veronica does so much better behavior wise if I give her that uninterrupted time.
11:00 – Picking up around the house, clean, and address any other messy situation. Change diapers, etc. V attempts to help and creates bigger messes. Max will chill or nap in his Mamaroo.
11:45 – Leave to pick up Gabriel from school.
12:15 – Feed the kids lunch, talk about Gabriel’s day, take them outside, or encourage them to play inside. I am usually feeding Max again as well.
1:00 pm – Put all three kids down for a nap (this is the miracle of the current situation).
During this time is my main chunk of work time. I am at my desk planning out ideas, sending emails, photo editing, writing, photo shooting, etc. This is when the majority of my productivity happens and I am most creative. I used to be a morning person but since I would rather be focused on the kids when they are awake, this is second best.
4 pm – Kids wake up, and eat snack, construct buildings, build forts, draw endless amounts of faces… That sort of thing. I pick up around the house because if you have little ones you know how by mid-day it can look like someone shook it upside down. More diaper changes.
5:00 – I start to make dinner if it is not a crockpot dinner. This is the low point of the day when kids are not their best and everyone is hungry. This is when all my creativity as a mother has to come out to distract them until daddy comes home. I have done desperate things at this time;)…
5:30 – Gabe comes home and its everyone’s favorite moment. We all compete for his attention as he tries to catch his breath from a long day at work. He usually takes a minute to unwind. I shoot him some food. He then takes over parenting duty. (Its a team sport over here;)) He usually takes them for a walk or to the park while I finish dinner and get it on the table.
6:00 – We all sit down and eat and it is never short of an entertaining experience.
6:45- Gabe and I tag team the kitchen and the kids.
7:00 – Everyone chills. Kids play, Gabe catches up on the news, Max eats (again), and maybe a family stroll. I also will head out to work at a cafe if there are projects due and Gabe manages bed time. (I couldn’t accomplish much without him!)
8:00 – Bedtime routine tackled by both Gabe and I. (Feed Max again during this time.) Books, prayers, and hugs.
8:30 – I go to work again. I prepare the post for the next day, prepare any projects due, and do another round of social media. I have been using this time to develop content for The Brand Market as well.
9:30 – I try to cut off by this point so Gabe and I can have some time together to unwind. So important and we both look forward to it. Its necessary and valued!
11 – Crash hard.
This is the rough breakdown of our day with variations of course. Our schedule changes almost every few months based on the phases my children are in. Even right now, I am posting in the afternoon due to a difficult morning with my feisty 2 yr. old;) If there is a heavy work load, I call for re-inforcements! I have no problem hiring a babysitter when I need a catch up morning. This happens about every other week, and I have a wonderful gal who comes to stay with Veronica and Max if I have a photoshoot or a meeting. Looking forward, due to the new business and managing IHOD, I will most likely hire help to manage emails since this is the thing that takes the majority of my time to keep up with.
I often reach burn out and have days where Veronica watches too much tv or we eat out one too many times in a week, but I have learned not to feel guilty and just remind myself that supermom is not a person I am willing to chase. The only mother I compare myself to is my own mother, because I would love to be half the woman she is.
At the end of the day, I just want my husband and children to be most loved and tended to…over my emails and laundry. I fail at this over and over but it will always be my main goal and motivation. If they can associate home with happiness and love, than I have succeeded in balancing many hats. I am not looking to be the most successful blogger, designer, entrepreneur, etc. I measure success by the tone of our household, and how we are all treating each other. If I am on edge, the kids pick up on it and respond the same. If I am offering a warm voice and warm meals, everyone is happy. So if this means giving up some big opportunities so as not to stretch myself too thin or take too much time away, I am okay with that. At the end of my life, I am not going to be asked if I was on Martha Stewart or not (wink wink), but I know I will be accountable for the well being of my family and how much love I put into my role as a mother and a wife.
So there you have it! How do you try to manage your day? Tips? I will always take them!