Rachel and I met through our participation in a women's networking group, or at least that's what we call it. It's not so much networking as incredibly supportive working women from all walks of life who get it. We've been meeting since the spring, and it's become one of my favorite things. Here's how Rachel is having it all.
Briefly describe your life and what you think makes it unique.
I am a work-at-home mother of 5 year-old twins living in Needham, MA. I run my own event planning and mission consulting business that I started in 2008 as a result of becoming a mother. I always envisioned myself going back to work full time but when my children arrived, my feelings and plans changed. I wanted to be with my twins, take them to classes and playgroups, and I still do. So for me, the flexibility that comes with working for yourself is extremely important and allows me to have a bit of both the working world and stay-at-home mother world. I am involved in my community, my children's school, our synagogue and various Jewish organizations where I volunteer and help organize events. I am also an avid runner and currently training for my 10th marathon and also running the BAA 1/2 marathon with the Dana Farber Cancer Institute awhile leading Team Ari, a group of 18 of runners united by a love for Ari Goldwasser and his family, and united by a commitment to raise money for Dana Farber so other kids like Ari can be treated and cured. I am constantly seeking the balance between my work, my kids school and their activities and the general day-to-day schedules and to-do lists.
My schedule is unique in that I work during the school hours, then transition into my children's schedules and return to work in the evening. I somehow manage, although not always in a good way, to transition from work mode to children mode several times a day. It has also been very important to me to keep up and stay involved in my extra curriculum activities during motherhood.
What are some of your favorite tips and strategies for coping with the chaos?
I am a big list maker. I am constantly making to-do lists and have several planners with me at all times. This helps me plan, organize and prioritize what needs to get done hourly, daily, weekly and monthly. The lists serve as a guide for me and helps me plan my days and weeks. I also set aside time to exercise every day. For me, exercise has become a type of therapy and allows me time to think, be alone and release tension and stress.
Please share a moment where it all broke down, and how you got through it.
I feel that there are moments each day when it all breaks down whether it be with the kids, my work or myself. During these times I try my best to stay calm and if all else fails, I allow for ipad or computer time! But on a more serious note, I let it ride its course. I am learning that no matter how much you plan, things happen. Accidents happen, kids get tired and hungry and plans get changed. I am not someone who deals well with change and chaos but I remember "this too shall pass" and it always does.
Do you have any balance role models? Anything you try to avoid because it wouldn't work for you?
Until I became a mother, I never knew how much of a 24-7 job it was. The non-stop, ongoing role of mother was not apparent to me until my son and daughter were born. Now I appreciate and admire my own mother more than ever. As a mother of 3, she shuffled us all from school to a million activities for many years. She was a stay-at-home mother but one that was very active and is still active in her community and with various organizations. Somehow she made it all work and was there for her 3 children. The one thing that has become important to me is my career and to keep it moving forward while also raising my children.
Think back to your 18th birthday. How is your life different from how you expected it to be then?
When I was 18, the focus was on college life-how to adjust to living away from home, making new friends and having fun. I wanted to be an interior decorator and spend time abroad in Israel. Now 22 years later, I am decorating my children's lives to the best of my ability while trying to advance my career and business. Back then, I would not believe that I would become a mother of twins, running my own business and living the daily routine of a running a family. All of this was so far from my mind and did not relate to me but now I so thankful for all that life has brought me-a wonderful family, community and career.
Relate to what Rachel is saying? Leave her some love in the comments. Read other posts from The Having It All Project here. Want to participate? Send me an email at email@example.com.