Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I have two boys, Henry (6) and Hunter (4). I will have been married for 10 (wowza) years this August to a wonderfully creative engineer, and we’re still madly in love. I love mini doxies, cupcakes, fresh flowers, emerald green and mid century design. I collect cake stands, vintage interior design books and visually compelling children’s books. I am constantly in search of ways to corral toys in a pretty manner. I grew up in Texas, then Seattle, then we just spent 5 years in Reno and we are back in Seattle. I have a BA in Business from the University of Washington, and am self taught in photography, graphic design and styling. I’m currently trying to learn how to garden, which is hard because I am missing my green thumb. Luckily the house we are renting has a gorgeous back yard. I want to create an outdoor party space this summer, so we are working hard at getting it ready.
Describe a typical day in your life.
4:30 – 5:00 am - Up and get my husband Ed ready for work. He gets to work super early so he can come home super early. It’s nice because usually he’s home before Henry gets home from school. I just make coffee -- very important that early in the morning -- and put his lunch together.
5:00 – 7:30 am - Posts and photo editing. If I am really ambitious I will prep for DIY and craft shoots for the day. I always want more blog posts, so that is usually what I am doing. I typically post the day of, though I wish I scheduled posts ahead of time. So if you see two or three one day, that was me being productive THAT day.
7:30 am - Like little tiny clocks, I hear squeaking and footsteps down the hall. I always get good morning hugs at the computer.
7:30 – 8:00 am - Breakfast. Always involves explaining to the four year old that he can’t have cookies/cupcakes/graham crackers for breakfast.
8:00 – 9:30 am - Morning routine: baths, chores, laundry, dishes. Ah, the joys of motherhood.
9:30 – 10:30 am - Exercise for Mom. I just started exercising again after a long hiatus. I was really good before and after Henry, but since Hunter (yes, four years) I just accepted that I was lucky in my size and got too busy with everything else. I can’t tell you how much more energy I have and how much better I feel. I have to schedule it in or I won’t do it.
10:30 – 11:30 am - Lunch and get ready for school. My older son Henry is in kindergarten now, so he gets ready for school four days a week.
11:45 am- Drop Henry off at the bus and either come home or go off on errands. When we are home, I do crafts with my younger son Hunter, or he colors. More laundry, chores, dishes. This is also when I do photo shoots. Hunter is my assistant and usually tells me what colors to do. I shoot in my dining room, which means the shoot ends at 3:45pm, when I have to go get Henry. The more organized and prepared I am, the better the shoot goes. I try to plan out all my set ups and styling on paper.
4:00 – 5:30 pm - Dinner prep, dinner, and clean up.
5:30 – 7:30 pm - Family time. We bribe the boys to put on pjs and brush their teeth around 7 with books. We offer to read a bigger pile the faster they get ready. Works. Every. Time.
7:30 pm - Bedtime. It usually takes until 8 for them to actually fall asleep. They share a room, so they are always whispering to each other.
8:00 pm - Ed and I are in bed, seriously. How exciting, right? You will probably think we are nuts, but we usually conk out by 9. I know I should use this time to work, but I usually only do once or twice a month.
Has your work schedule changed since you had kids?
I was a financial accountant before I had Henry, and it was a typical 8-4pm. I always knew I would be a SAHM. I got bit by the blogging bug a few years ago, and have been steadily increasing my workload ever since. Now that I do DIY content for three blogs, I have a monthly schedule. It usually means that I shoot a day or two before the due date. I don’t like cutting it so close, but if something comes up -- like something to do with the boys -- I let that win over DIYs. This is something I am constantly working on and trying to improve. There is never too much time to spend with the boys; I just want to be able to use my “work” time more effectively.
What type of childcare do you have?
I have family -- my MIL and FIL love to take the boys if I have pressing deadlines or a big shoot. They watch them once or twice a month if I need them to. I usually use the time to have alone mommy time and shoot during the week. My brother will always watch the boys too, but usually we handle it ourselves. We were alone when we lived in Reno, so I guess I am just used to it. I should probably ask for more help.
How do you juggle work/family/spouse/personal time balance?
I let things go that don’t matter, which usually means the laundry. It’s embarrassing, but I usually have a pile of clean (I do keep up on washing) laundry in front of my closet. I hate folding laundry, and it will be the last thing I do, ever. Sometimes I get crazy and fold it. I’m pretty pleased right now because I did actually fold and put away the laundry yesterday. I feel like a rock star.
What advice would you give to other moms about work/life balance?
Your kids are only young once, and eventually they will go to school. So get up early or stay up late and keep those special little daytime hours for them. As my boys get older, they play by themselves more, so I can squeeze a few moments in for work here and there during the day. Thank heaven for smart phones.
Getting garland to hang in the light of the window is a challenge. Sometimes you have to improvise; here I used two broom sticks to hold it up at just the right table height. One day I will own a backdrop, but right now I just don’t have the room.
What's a parenting rule you never break?
I always stop and look at the boys when they are asking me something, even if it is to say, just a minute. I make eye contact and it usually helps minimize the whining because they feel like they are being heard. Oh, and lots of kisses, hugs and cuddles. I will cry when the boys say they are too tough for that anymore, so I’m banking some extra along the way.
What's a parenting rule you always break?
No sugar. I have a crazy sweet tooth, so we always have treats in the house. I just found out recently that my oldest doesn’t like frosting. I am still in shock. How can this happen?
What's the hardest part of being a mom?
Not knowing what to do. Different challenges happen all the time and sometimes you just sit there for a moment going “wow, now what?” Luckily, there are lots of sources for information out there, but most of the time I just wing it.
What's the best part of being a mom?
The smiles and giggles and personalized drawings my kids make, especially "To: MOM," of Mom. That feeling you get when you get one of those, is just the best ever.
What do you like to do in your personal time?
My favorite thing to do is go to the bookstore. I could spend hours just looking around. I’m trying to shop more; I just don’t like it as much as I used to. I have to force myself to bring in new additions to my wardrobe because it is starting to show. I have to mentally tell myself to NOT look for props or craft supplies. It can take over if I am not careful. I have made a rule with myself that I won’t go to Joanns or Michaels on the weekends.
If you had an entire day off, how would you spend it?
I’d organize the house. I’m a wild woman. I am spring cleaning/organizing right now so it’s all I want to do. I try a little bit each day, and at this rate I will be organized right as the boys go off to college.
Thanks so much for sharing Jenny!