In honor of Mother’s Day month and for everyone who keeps asking me how I manage two little kids while growing a company, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite stress relievers.
Before I do, I must say that the way we work as a company and my luck in finding a supportive husband may have more to do with my sanity than any of these tips. Our company, which is by no means a “lifestyle” company, is set up with a fair amount of autonomy on where and when we work. We all work really hard and trust each other to get our jobs done, and respect each other’s personal priorities. As for my husband, there are so many cheesy things I could say here, but it really comes down to communication. With those caveats, here is my completely random collection of things that keep this mompreneur sane.
Headspace. I’ve been trying to meditate for years. I’ve had some success in workshops or on yoga retreats, but then I get back into the thick of things and I just can’t seem to make it happen. Then a few months ago, I heard about Headspace from several sources and started it in earnest in March. I’m totally hooked. I do it most every day, often right before bedtime, and literally crave it when I wake up early or have a few extra minutes during the day.
T-25. I used to workout. A lot. My single days afforded me time when I’d go to boot camp, run, and do yoga. Since becoming a mom, I’ve lost some of the necessary vanity to motivate workouts, but I recently realized how much I miss the stress relief. Last fall, I ran into multiple executive women who looked amazing and told me they’d recently started T-25 and loved its time efficient at-home workouts. So in February, I gave it a spin. I love it and my husband has gotten into it too. The 25 minute time box is what has made it sustainable – because I can fit it into my day and it really isn’t that hard to do, especially if you follow the modifier, which I do. While I haven’t been completely consistent, I’ve stuck with it more than anything else I’ve tried since becoming a mom.
Endless ABC. The wife of one of my colleagues is a kindergarten teacher and she recommended the Endless apps for the iPad/iPhone as helpful learning tools for my kids. My 2 year old is completely enthralled. He would play this letter matching game for hours if I let him, and by the way, his resulting knowledge of the alphabet is incredible. After reading a pretty comprehensive study on kids and screen time, I’ve come to believe that while 2D interaction with screens needs to be limited, 3D interaction with a screen and a parent isn’t so bad. So, sometimes I play it with my kids as a mindless way to engage with them when I’m mentally spent at the end of a workday. Truthfully, sometimes I let them play it on their own so I can get a little quiet time or a conversation with my husband. Those 10-20 minutes of quiet can make a big difference in an otherwise hectic day or night.
Personal Shopper. Some moms like shopping for clothes; not me! It takes way too much time and often I end up not even liking what I get. I don’t need any stress in the morning trying to find something to wear, and sorry, I’m not going for any of this “work uniform” crap. So, I let Keri Blair’s studio help me. A couple of times a year, Keri comes over to my house for an hour or two to figure out what should be tossed, stored, or tailored, and makes a list of what new items I need to get for the season. Then she shops. I go to her studio a few weeks later to choose what clothes, shoes, and jewelry I want from the things she assembled from a variety of stores. I buy what I like and she takes back the rest. By the way, this was particularly critical after doing T-25 for a while since none of my clothes fit.
Backup Childcare. One of my least favorite ways to start the workday is by picking up my phone and seeing a text that our nanny is sick. Then the negotiating with my husband begins on who can cover what times of the day and we start frantically trying to find childcare for the remaining time. I found a service last year that has really helped. We’ve probably called them on the morning-of 15-20 times over the year. The first 10 times we called, they had someone at our door by 8 or 8:30 who could stay the whole day and 9 of the 10 sitters were really great. Lately it has been a little less reliable, but they’ve been a huge help in piecing together coverage. I highly recommend having a reliable service like this on call.
Smoothies. I have two liquid beverages every morning: coffee and a smoothie. I’ve blogged before about my love of bulletproof coffee and I’ve continued that habit every day. Now, my husband and I both drink smoothies made with homemade kefir, berries, bananas, kale, collard greens, avocado, and whatever other vegetables we have around the house that need to be eaten. I didn’t think I’d like having a cold beverage in the morning, but now I’m totally hooked. I love starting my day off in a healthy way and don’t ride myself with guilt through the rest of the day about not eating enough vegetables.
Walks. I’ve blogged before about walking and problem solving, but walking is also just an easy way to get away and gain a little perspective. I love going on family walks after dinner in the summertime, but I also enjoy getting away, even for just 10-15 minutes, in the middle of the day. I can’t wait for the warm weather to get here for good, so I can get out more every day!