Hi, I am an OCD constantly stressed full-time working mom to a VERY busy toddler but haayyy....at least my closet has its act together!
How’s that for a title, eh? Pretty much sums this whole blog post up! No need to read further!
But if we’re going to get specific, and boy do I love to get specific (who doesn’t love a detail, right?) I get asked a lot how I “balance it all” so I’m doing a breakdown of an average day in the life.
First and foremost, I NEED SLEEP. I was pretty much worthless the first 6 months after Joss was born until she started sleeping through the night because I need my 7-8 hours every night to function properly. I will say, there’s some weird hormonal, or perhaps other-worldly energy you get after giving birth that helps you survive on sleep in 3-hour increments, but by the time I headed back to work from maternity leave, that superpower had dried up entirely. (Added bonus: my hair started falling out in clumps 12 weeks postpartum, too! Nothing says welcome back to work like a bunch of bald spots!)
So now that Joss sleeps through the night, we put her to bed around 8:30 so she’ll sleep in until 8:30. And for the most part, she totally does, and it’s awesome. I think God knew I couldn’t handle an early riser so he gave me a two-year-old preteen. All the praise for this miracle.
So at 8:30 a.m., instead of getting up to an alarm, I wake up to the sound of Joss making squawks and dinosaur noises on the monitor or now we're in the "Oh, Hi!" phase (she just says it randomly.) It’s adorable and puts me in a good mood first thing. Baby noises > blaring iPhone alarm.
SIDE NOTE: I’m one of those crazy OCD people who can’t function with mess or clutter. So every night when I get home from work around 11 p.m., I tidy up the house and wipe down the countertops in the kitchen if necessary to make sure everything looks good in the morning. It takes 5 minutes and makes my mornings so much smoother when I don't wake up to a mess.
I cannot STAND to wake up to a mess. I have three teenagers in the house, and they respect this need for cleanliness. I like to joke “don’t mess up my morning coffee!” because when I get Joss changed and we sit down to drink our morning java (whole milk only for her, of course) I want to be able to enjoy it without spending 20 minutes straightening decorative pillows. Does it take 20 minutes? Maybe…I told you I’m crazy.
Let's talk organization!!!
Long before the Marie Kondo movement, I lived by the creed if you don't use it, donate it. I literally get rid of everything I don't either 1) constantly use 2) haven't worn in a year or 3) doesn't have extreme sentimental value.
For my closest, I use these chic black velvet hangers you can usually find at Marshalls, Home Goods or Bed, Bath & Beyond (basically any home store). They're a bit expensive, but I think it makes your closest SO MUCH NEATER and streamlines your stuff. Plus the velvet grips fabric so no more shirts hanging off the hanger!
Then, I organize by color, starting from light to dark. All shirts on tops, pants on bottom (also by color) and dresses/long sweaters hang on the long rack
I've been asked a few times how I store my boots and while I should probably hang them with clips, I don't have the space on my racks so instead, I line them up on the top shelf. I keep the boxes for my nicer shoes and store them in there, which means I can display other shoes right on top using minimal space, and the box labels let me know which shoes are inside!
For accessories, I bought cute coat hangers at Home Depot/Lowes (I can't remember which one) to hang undergarments, scarves, purses and long necklaces. That way my stuff doesn't get all smashed in a drawer or box and the jewelry is easy to grab without getting tangled! For earrings I looked FOREVER before I found this cheap metal holder at Michaels (the craft store) and it has room for all my earrings! It makes getting dressed so much easier because I can see all my options instead of digging through a jewelry box. I highly recommend taking a few hours to organize all your stuff like this because you'll save a bunch of time in the long run...not to mention your sanity!
And ladies, don't let your husband's side of the closet drive you crazy, either! I convinced my husband to let me give away all his mismatched plastic hangers when we met (let's be honest, he was smart enough to know he didn't have much of a choice) and viola! His closest is super streamlined, and he can easily find his t-shirts instead of trying to rummage through a drawer or throw them on a shelf! I bought these black wicker baskets to throw all his knickknacks in that were thrown all over the place, so now it's nice and neat...just like I like it :)
okay now back to my day
After an hour or so of relaxing, playing and trying to get Joss to eat (no easy task, btw) I typically do some laundry, a few household chores and then get us ready to go to the gym.
I tell my mom friends this all the time: a gym with a daycare is the BEST SELF CARE you can give yourself. I get an entire hour to workout alone, and she gets an hour to play with new kids and new toys!
Initially, this was not easy, I’ll admit. I found myself googling “how to bring a baby to the gym” because at six months old, you can start bringing them with you, but I had no idea how! Do I bring her in a stroller? Do I bring her in her carseat? Ah!! After reading a few mom blog (ha, hello!) I decided to just carry her in and hand her over. My gym has a special section just for crawlers, so she could safely play away from the older kids.
The first few months of bringing Joss to the gym went something like this:
- Joss cries getting into car
- Joss cries being handed over to daycare employee
- Joss cries enough for them to come get me 15 minutes into a set…
- Mom cries with exasperation
But I had some incredible friends at the gym who SWORE it would get better, and just when I felt like giving up, they would tell me one more time, one more day. And sure enough, by 8 months or so she was a champ! Now she looks forward to it and gets soooo excited when I tell her “we’re going to play at the gym!” She doesn’t even look at me twice when I hand her over.
After the gym, we head home and I feed us both while continuing to fold laundry and maybe empty the dishwasher. I meal prep once a week for the entire week so I can grab lunch and dinner pretty quickly and save a TON of time, money and calories that way! Because my husband works overnights, I wait until noon or so to wake him up to watch the baby while I start to get ready for work. We’re really blessed in that we don’t have to pay for childcare with our schedules. It can be tough to find time to relax with the constant work-baby handoff, but we know it’ll be worth it in a few more years when Joss is in school and Dan can retire from the police department.
I get ready for work while looking for story ideas for the day. Honestly, that’s one of the most stressful parts of my job. Every day, we have to find 3-4 viable story ideas for a newscast that airs at 10 no matter what. So you HAVE to deliver. The great part about being in Austin so long means I have a lot of great sources and people who trust me, so I’m always looking for the next big exclusive or lead story.
On the way to work I am OBSESSED with podcasts. Holy smokes – they are a sanity-saver! I live 30 minutes from the news station so I consider the time in the car a valuable opportunity to learn something new in a podcast. Some of my favorites include “Fat Mascara" for all things beauty, “The Skinny Confidential” for health, fitness, and blogger tips and for fun,
“Watch What Crappens” because it’s a HILARIOUS take on all the Bravo shows. Sometimes I watch Bravo just to listen to the Crappens podcast the next day. I get the best laughs, I probably look like a crazy person stuck in traffic in Mopac.
KVUE recently launched a podcast that I’m obsessed with called “Off the Airwaves.” I got to be on one about my insane experience trying to find a man stuck in a tree. If you haven’t subscribed, do it! It’s free entertainment and makes Austin traffic SO MUCH more tolerable.
Once I get to work – it’s hit the ground running. After our editorial meeting, I start making phone calls, race out the door to get my interviews, log my sound, post to social and write my web script. It’s non-stop from the moment I get to work to the moment I finish my live shot at 10! I never, ever get bored and 99% of the time I’m praying for more time instead of watching the clock wishing it would move faster. How many jobs do that? Not many. I dig it.
On the way home, I always always always call my husband. It’s our time to catch up and touch base, plus it means we can go over our days on my drive home so that by the time I get home, we can just quietly snuggle in bed while watching our favorite shows (Dateline, House Hunters, Shameless & 48 Hours). Washing my face and getting into bed is also my favorite part of the day. The beginning and the ends are what help keep my sanity!
So that’s a typical day in my life. I’d love to hear any time-saving tips you may have or ways to streamline my mornings to be more efficient. Being a working mom is a constant balancing act!