- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Lynnette
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Shelley
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jessica L.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Fayth
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Gemma
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jenn D.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Annie
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Aramelle
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Jessica S.
- I Don’t Know How She Does It: Meagan
Up next in our popular series, “I Don’t Know How She Does It,” Reno Moms Blog contributor Fayth Ross takes a turn sharing how she balances her busy life. We hope you’re enjoying getting to know our contributors through this series as much as we are!
-Jenny & Annie
My Grandma had five children in six years. I remember asking her once, “How did you do it?” Her response was simple: “I just did.” Those three words of wisdom have helped me cope so often over the last nine years.
When I worried how I could go days on end without sleep, doubled up with emotional exhaustion when my son had a kidney surgery, or how I could move to another state with a two-year-old and say goodbye to my own family, or if I could physically make it through having to nurse sick kids and a husband with a man-cold while I felt awful myself, or how I’d handle having a three-month-old baby, two older kids, and a husband with major surgery…all of those worries ended up being relatively needless. I just did it. I just got through one step at a time. I have to consciously stop myself from worrying about how I’ll get through a stressful situation because I know I can and I will. Stressing beforehand doesn’t do anything to help, and only makes it worse.
When people ask how I manage now with three kids, my response echoes that of my grandmother: I just do. And don’t we all? I don’t think there’s a magic formula for doing as much as we do as moms. This isn’t to say I don’t admire the way so many women seem to do it effortlessly and with an amazing attitude, or that I’m not looking for tips and tricks to make the bustle easier; but we’re Moms. It’s what we do.
1. What’s your work schedule? I love my work schedule. I’m so fortunate to work in an environment where my employer values my contributions as well as strongly supports the time I have with my babies. I work three days a week: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays are family days: we go on play-dates, trips to Lake Tahoe or Wild Island, or just hang around the house baking, watching movies, and playing. I also have those days to squeeze in laundry, cook meals that make for good leftovers on work days, and basically manage our house so I don’t go crazy. This leaves weekends for family time or home improvement projects.
2. How do you handle childcare? We moved to Reno seven years ago to be close to my husband’s family. I’ve been so lucky: my mother-in-law tends the kids while I work. They love their special time with their German grandmother, “Omi”; I love the home and loving environment she provides, and it’s free! I recently started our baby in daycare, though, just twice a week as Omi is over 70 and asked for a bit of a break. I struggled with that, as none of our kids had to do daycare, but he’s right next to my place of work and he seems to be adjusting (other than the gazillion colds, ugh!)
3. Where do you work during the day? I work in an office. I need this. I need to be away from the house where I can’t run a tub of laundry or unload the dishwasher or be annoyed by my daughter’s messy room. I love having a day where I can fully concentrate and focus on just one thing for eight hours.
4. What do you like best about your current set-up? Working part-time is my absolute saving grace. I am obsessive compulsive and found I was running myself ragged trying to do everything with perfection. I ended up doing a whole lot of things, but none of them well. With working part-time, I focus on doing a few things really well. My days at work, I kick butt; my days at home, I try to be the best Mama I can be. The rest may fall to the wayside, but I’m okay with that. As long as I’m doing really well at a few things, I feel good about myself.
5. What do you find so-so/tricky/hilariously bad about your current set-up? What would you change if you had a magic wand? Particularly on my stay-at-home-Mom days, it feels like I’m a slave to the kitchen. Cook breakfast, do dishes, sweep, clean highchair. Repeat for lunch. Repeat for snack. Repeat for dinner. Repeat for dessert. There are days I load, run, and unload the dishwasher twice a day. And don’t get me wrong, I love to eat. But, if I had a magic wand, I’d make it so we were more like plants; we could all go stand outside for 10 minutes and soak up everything we needed to get us through the day. No dirty dishes, sweeping, or highchair cleaning required.
6. Do you have any time for yourself? I try. My husband is fantastic with encouraging me to do more for myself; I actually have to work at doing things for myself without the looming presence of chores-that-must-be-done overshadowing the fun. I’m a complete bookworm (find me on Goodreads!) and read at least an hour a day, but that’s generally at night before I pass out in bed. I go out with girlfriends about every three months. In the wintertime, I often curl up and crochet which really appeals to me because I’m being productive AND creative!
7. How do you and your husband fit marriage into the balance? My husband and I work at the same business (different departments), which we love. We have a 30-minute round-trip commute where we get to talk relatively uninterrupted. We have childcare taken care of while we’re at the office, so we often go on dates during lunch with the sitter-finding struggle out of the way. And nearly each day’s end finds us snuggling on the couch and visiting, watching movies, or doing our own thing (but next to each other) once the kiddos are in bed. We just celebrated 14 years of marriage and I think we’re off to a great start.
8. Do you ever wonder how other women manage the juggle? Have you talked to other women about it? I don’t wonder so much how other women manage the juggle; what I wonder is how they do it with a smile. I have friends who are perpetually cheerful and seem to do it all with ease, grace, and such a wonderful attitude. Life can be pretty overwhelming; keeping your head above water and doing it with a song in your heart is a skill I admire immensely. I do talk to other women about this all the time; perhaps that’s why so many of us find Pinterest addicting: tips and tricks for managing it all.
9. What advice would you give to other moms about how to balance work and life? Plan ahead and prioritize. For planning ahead: I plan out my menus once a week and buy all the groceries needed for each meal. On my days off, I try to make large portions that serve as lunches or leftovers for crazy work nights. I do at least one tub of laundry every day. The children and I bathe and make lunches the night before so part of the morning stress is lessened. For prioritizing: I remind myself constantly that my children will only be children once and what they will remember most: not that they lived in a clean house with an amazing menu, but that we had a lot of fun and I was there for them.