The first time I met Kathryn Rossiter from the blog Becoming You was at a blogger get together where she boldly came up to me and introduced herself. Turns out we actually went to the same high school. I don’t remember this, but I also don’t remember some of the people in my own class, so no biggie. Then we bumped into each other many times after that, at many launches, getting to know each other a little more. Kathryn has three kids – Ben (6), Abi (3) and Becoming You (her blog, her baby!). She blogs to remind herself that she is more than ‘just someone’s mom’, which we can 100% identify with. Her husband, Brad, is Area Manager for Seattle Coffee Co and they met on a blind date! Kathryn loves God, chocolate, travelling, photography, blogging, good food, shabby chic interiors, beauty products, movies, wine, Amarula, spending time with her girlfriends and dancing to cheesy music. Here she shares her juggling act…
Describe a typical working day for you?
Usually the kids wake up around 6.30am (I know I’m one of the lucky few) they wander into our room or the kitchen. Ben is finally able to help himself to breakfast and depending on how helpful he is feeling will help his little sister too, which means a few more minutes in bed for me. I’m a terrible morning person – not in mood but in getting going! I’m working on getting to bed earlier but those quiet, dark hours late at night are so precious. After my cup of Rooibos I jump out of bed and then rush around madly making lunch boxes, packing school bags and remembering random things that need to be sent to school like Munchie Market money. My husband then takes my son to school at 7.30. I eat my breakfast in front of the computer checking my email and Facebook and scheduling a few social media posts for the day. Then I have a quick shower and get dressed and spend some time with my daughter before she goes to school at 9am. Between 9 and 12 (well more accurately between 9:30 and 11:45) I try to focus on my work – researching, and writing blog posts, replying to emails (a full-time job itself), social media writing for my other clients, a couple of business meetings, possibly a launch or event in town. One day a week I work a full day for a company at their offices as a Media Liaison – which is a fancy title for writing stuff on their newsletters, website and social media accounts. On this day I have set lifts arranged for the kids otherwise come 12’o clock I am back in the car to do the school run. There is usually a wait between collecting the two children which is when my iPad comes in handy – I check in on my email and social media sites during this time. After pick-up it’s back home to make lunches for the kids and then Abi goes down for a nap while Ben gets to watch a DVD or play on my iPad. I then frantically try to do some more work but find that these short spurts of time don’t lead to the most productive me – I’m usually side-tracked by some interesting online article instead of using the time wisely. The afternoons often involve a play date out or at our house, sometimes a walk in the neighbourhood or a visit to the gym. The evening routine begins around 5.30pm when my husband gets home. I’m super lucky that he likes cooking – because I don’t – and he often makes the meal provided I have done my part which is deciding and buying. We will chat about our days or if I’m on a deadline I’ll do a bit more work during this time. Then it’s family supper at the kitchen table, followed by showers for the kids and then bedtime. I’m trying to be better about story and prayer time with the kids but if I’m honest, by 7pm I’m all out of patience. After about 45 minutes they are usually asleep and I’m back in front of my computer doing work on my blog – sometimes it’s working on my blog layout, other times it’s writing a newsletter, admin, emailing, planning, editing. There is so much to do and it keeps me seriously busy – but I do love it. I am trying to keep my work evenings to just two or three a week and then on the other nights I love nothing more than watching a DVD with my husband. Some evenings I have an event to attend in town and I must be honest I do relish the opportunity to occasionally escape ‘suicide hour’ 😉
What does your job entail?
I tell people I have four jobs – I am a full-time mom of two, a blogger, a social media writer (part-time from home) and a media liaison (full-time for one day a week). The responsibilities of my most important job as a mom are numerous and too many to list here but for the other roles they mostly consist of writing and editing – for newsletters, websites, Facebook and Twitter. My blog has many other roles too.
Who looks after your children?
Thank goodness that both my kids are now in school even if it’s just a few hours. I now regard the 9 – 12 time slot as sacred. Until last year I had Abi at home with me aside from the two mornings she was at school. I have a domestic once a week on a Tuesday while I am at work so that there is someone at home in the afternoon when Abi gets dropped off. Ben has sport on this afternoon and then goes to granny. In the school holidays the domestic is also around but I try to arrange for eachgranny to pop by or take them out for a portion of the day on a Tuesday.
Who does the cooking and the cleaning?
I’m a pretty organised person and my husband is a clean-freak so together we manage to keep things pretty tidy at home, but for the bigger cleaning like mopping, windows, ironing, bathrooms etc I rely on the domestic once a week. Truth be told I’d love it to be more often as it’s divine coming home to a clean home but our budget doesn’t allow for that at the moment.
What do you like the most about your current set-up?
Finding work opportunities that I can do from home has been great. I love being able to see my kids during the day – I’ve been so blessed to watch them grow up and be their constant caregiver. Being able to lift on school outings and have the occasional coffee catch up with a friend while still earning is great.
What do you find the most difficult about your current set-up?
The juggling! School holidays are HECTIC. There are some days when I have a freak out about all the different responsibilities I have and how to keep everyone happy. I definitely could do with more time but this will come in a few years so I just have to manage the time I have for now… easier said than done hence the very many late nights. I do often wonder if a full-time job with set hours and only one boss to report to might be easier?
When do you spend the most time with your children?
I’m around them a lot but quality time happens more often in the early evenings and on weekends. I try to switch off the computer on weekends although sometimes if I’m under pressure my husband will take them out for a few hours so I can catch up.
Do you have any family rituals?
I love building memories and traditions into our lives. We have supper together as a family every night, on Fridays we often have family movie night or a pizza evening. Saturdays we try do a fun family outing to somewhere new. Sunday mornings we go to church as a family and then to Seattle for a drink afterwards (my daughter even calls it ‘church’). We are trying to do more family lunches with our extended families on Sundays, and in the evenings we make pancakes and watch the nature program on TV. Once every few months we go away as a family and once a year we do a longer family getaway down the Garden Route. We have lots of traditions around Christmas time.
How do you and your husband make time for each other?
Date nights are scheduled in our calendar for the whole year but very rarely do they actually happen… mostly due to a lack of affordable babysitting. We tend to ‘save’ our granny options for events or birthdays where kids can’t go. We probably get out together once every two months! In between, we do have date nights at home where we buy sushi and champagne and watch a movie. We watch series together about once or twice a week but sometimes if there is stuff to discuss we will talk instead.
Do you find any time for yourself?
Tricky one this! I don’t get much time alone that I don’t use for work. If I’m feeling stressed out I’ll take a bath. I love getting treated to the odd massage or beauty treatment – a blogger perk. I try to see friends but I don’t get this right as often as I’d like. This tends to be at night or the occasional Saturday afternoon when hubby takes the kids. My mornings are so precious that I don’t have coffee dates too often but as my husband has recently reminded me – it’s more important to build relationships than a business.
Do you look at other working parents and wonder how they do it?
All the time! I feel like I’m drowning in the busyness of life and often wonder how other moms manage to look like they are coping so well (that’s why I’m so intrigued by this series). I do sometimes think I need to drop one of the roles, but you can’t give up kids and equally I love my blog and I need the money the jobs pay. So. Hard! I am fortunate to belong to a ‘book’ club – which is mostly about the chatting and catching up than the books considering not many of us moms have the time to read anymore – we’re hoping to change that, give us a few years. I’ve also recently had a meeting with a friend who is a mom and entrepreneur too and we’re hoping to do this more often to encourage and keep each other on the right track. I think more moms should be honest about what’s really going on ‘behind the scenes’ and ask for help or support when they need it. Even amongst friends (sometimes mostly amongst them) we tend to only show the ‘front’ and don’t get onto a deeper level of sharing the realities of our lives. I know I need to do this more and stop pretending like I’ve got it all together.
What advice do you have for other moms on how to juggle all these important roles?
Pray! I know I need to do this more in order to cope. Another key is to ask for help and get it – something I’m working on. I find being organised, keeping my Google calendar updated and my important emails highlighted helps me, as does having defined times when I am working and when I am ‘mommying’. I’m learning not to do too many things at once and to avoid rushing, both are so stressful. Something else I am teaching myself at the moment is that I am doing the best I can and that I can’t do more than is humanly possible so to take each step at a time while managing the expectations of others.