Like many other 21st century millennial moms, I work, I raise two toddlers (15 months apart!) and I try to maintain a portion of my life that is sane through spending quality time with myself, husband, friends and through travel. On top of that, I run my own public relations and marketing agency and I am a writer. Many people ask me, “How do you do it? Do you sleep?” The answer is: I’m crazy. Crazy dedicated to trying to live the life I want by visioning my goals regularly and by acknowledging the limitations of wearing the multiple hats I just mentioned above. I am not perfect, but I have learned a lot while running a business and a household. Here are five tips for survival that I am passing along to you fellow working moms and entrepreneurs with little ones:
- Make a #MommyBrainToolkit: My toolkit is in my car because I go on a lot of business meetings and often end up running out of the house without doing something (like eating or putting on makeup). My husband laughs but the struggle is real and I need to make sure I am covered, so I store the following lovely items in the car: my favorite lipstick, perfume, mints, protein bar, deodorant, lint brush, tampons, tissues, an iPhone charger and even an extra pair of shoes sometimes. If you are a commuter by train to the city, have the same toolkit in your desk drawer.
- Don’t Let Hubby of the Hook: Most of you have probably been reading about the mental load that burdens wives and mothers, but what are you all doing about it? My husband definitely chips in, but there are times when a gentle reminder is needed (screaming and name calling is fun too, but not the most productive, of course). I use our Google calendar to create recurring reminders for him and pop-up to-do items that we can divide and conquer together or that he can do solo. Remember to set up an email or notification alert that can be timed minutes, days or weeks before the due date.
- Printed Calendar on the Fridge: I have a great nanny and I like to give her advanced notice if I have a late-night in the city for work or if the typical schedule will change. Each month I print out a calendar (free) from the web and write down her schedule and when I will be home late. Place it on the fridge and it’s a daily reminder that your caregiver will appreciate.
- Don’t Define Quality Time: We put so much pressure on ourselves to be the “perfect parent” and it is exhausting. I used to feel guilty if all I had energy for after work was to sit on the couch and watch Sesame Street or Curious George with my kids—I figured I should have been doing something more intellectual or engaging with them. My kids were so happy though. Sometimes we do crafts after work or play games and sometimes we don’t. My kids just want to spend time with me and what we do does not have to always be a big production.
- WINE!!!: Happy hour isn’t like it used to be! I remember the days when we lived in the city and went to a hip bar at 6 pm for a drink, but now the power hour is around 7 or 8 pm in the comfort of our own kitchen while cooking dinner. Regardless, trying to wind down with a good glass of wine while kids are screaming in the background is the new normal. We buy our favorite wines by the case and get it delivered!