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Working Mom Wednesday: Meet Michelle

How old are your children?

Riley (9)  Ella (6)

What is your career?

Founder and Designer at Bella Tunno

How do you balance work & motherhood? 

Like an elephant and a mouse on a teeter-totter. I don’t believe that there is any such thing as balance when you are a working mom. Balance is an elusive quest to disappointment.  Instead, I see each day as a journey.  I want to make progress as a mom, as a business owner, as a wife and as a friend each day.  For me, that rarely looks balanced.  It’s the exact opposite…it’s identifying what’s most important at each moment and making the right decisions in that moment to make it count.

What advice do you have for other working moms?

1.  Make prioritized lists.  I use a Mac and have about 10 color-coded electronic post-its notes on my dashboard at any given time.  I categorize my lists and put the supporting to-dos in priority order.  I update my lists every night before my head hits the pillow and I review the lists for the first 10 minutes of every workday.  It’s my strategy for staying focused and prioritized.  The result is efficiency and peace of mind.

2. Outsource tasks that steal valuable time with your kids. For example, I do all my grocery shopping online, so that I can do it when the kids are in bed and pick it up before I get them off the bus.  It only takes 5 minutes to order from my pre-set online lists and 5 minutes to drive through and get my groceries.  That’s at least an hour of extra quality time per week that I get with my kids.

3. Put your phone and computer away during family time.  I used to have my computer on the counter at all times while home.  The thought in keeping my connections to work close was that I wouldn’t miss anything while I was having family time. Instead, the constant checking made me miss giving 100% of myself to my kids.  The true issue was that even though this was my ‘mom time’ I wasn’t 100% committed.  By truly keeping the two separate when I’m with the kids, I feel like I do both better.

4.  Separate the glass balls from the rubber balls.  Being a working mom is a juggling act.  Early in my career I heard someone say that the key to doing both jobs successfully is being able to separate the ‘glass balls’ from the ‘rubber balls.’  Glass balls are things like quality time with family, huge deadlines at work and making the dance recital.  Rubber balls are things like a spotless house, a covering every gray hair and responding to emails within the hour.

If the glass balls drop, you have a dangerous mess to clean up. If the rubber balls drop, they bounce.

5. Keep your true girlfriends close.  Don’t sacrifice those friendships.  You need them.

What is your favorite part of being a mom?

Impossible to pick one.  The giggles.  The times when you know it’s working, like when they show true compassion for each other,  The hilarious things they say as they figure out their world, seeing their true talents rise to the surface and watching the pride they feel in uncovering them, telling them stories at night, watching a bond so strong form between them that you realize they understand unconditional love, watching them sleep peacefully with smiles on their faces, having them grab my hand as we’re walking together, the unprompted acts of kindness and the quiet moments when we just know we know each other.

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