Motherhood means juggling a lot of balls and it certainly is challenging when you run your business/work/passion with it. One of the thing that always amazed me when I meet a woman who is a mother and also working or running a business is understanding how she does it all. so this series is for women to get inspired and to share any tips or strategies that can help each other.
So today I am interviewing Donna of the culinary trail www.theculinarytrail.com who is a mother and also running a food blog. Let’s see how she juggles her life.
Hi Donna. Tell us about yourself and your work
I am Donna and I hail from God’s own country, Kerala. I currently live in Bangalore with my husband and little daughter. Post marriage I realized my true passion lied in cooking and hence began blogging and discussing food at every given opportunity. My major inspiration to start off the blog was my husband who is a better food critic than I!
I started my food blog ‘The Culinary Trail’ a little more than five years ago, purely as a fun project to keep myself busy. I never expected anything to come of it, but it started getting recognition, publicity, and traffic pretty early on. So I began to take it seriously soon after starting. My passion has now led me to turn into a professional Freelance Recipe Developer and Food Content Developer.
When I am not blogging and cooking, I love to read books that are fun and exciting.
WHAT IS YOUR TYPICAL DAY LIKE FROM START TO FINISH / DESCRIBE YOUR WORK SCHEDULE?
It’s pretty typical. My day starts off just like most mums, waking up my little girl for school, preparing breakfast for the whole family and packing up snack boxes for school, out of which waking up my baby girl takes me the longest!!
Once my husband has left for office and I have dropped my daughter at school, I have a precious 3 hours all to myself which I make maximum utilization of. These 3 hours are spent preparing for my projects – ranging from testing recipes in my little kitchen for my blog, recipe development for products/ brands to writing articles for websites and finishing up home chores.
I truly believe a lot can be achieved in 3 hours if we plan our time well. Most of my work is done in the hours my daughter is away at school. But once I manage to disengage from work I go into mom/ wife mode and that lasts until bedtime. I make sure I spend quality time with my baby girl and husband when he gets back from work. If I have chores/ work left undone from morning, I finish up at night after my daughter is asleep.
HOW DO YOU JUGGLE MARRIAGE / BLOG / WORK / MOTHERHOOD?
It’s a balance in that some days I think I’m doing a mediocre job at both work and parenting — then other days I think I’m totally nailing it. That keeps me on my toes and forces me to examine where the weak links are in both roles. What can I do to carve out more quality time with each child or be more present? How can I be more organized so I feel like I’ve done a thorough job at work and stress less as a result. That helps give me a sense of balance.
That said, I don’t think I have much to complain. I have a supportive family. And since I chose to freelance and do projects from home, I don’t really take up too many assignments that might get in the way of spending time with family. I work at my own pace and I am happy. I am enjoying marriage, motherhood, blogging and work all at the same time. And it’s wonderful.
HOW DO YOU MAKE TIME FOR YOUR HUSBAND AND YOUR MARRIAGE?
Most of the time, post having kids couples forget to have a life of their own. My husband and I put our marriage first always because we believe if we have a happy marriage, then we can be good parents and give our daughter a safe and loving environment to grow up in.
We make sure we spend some quality time with each other after my husband gets back from work, discussing each others days [even if it means only 15 minutes!]. We talk and make decisions together, small or big, we take it together.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE HOUSEHOLD CHORES / COOKING?
I am not going to lie about this. I do have help. I have someone to help with daily chores like cleaning, washing vessels and also to help in cooking. So I get by quite well without much trouble. But it is important to plan the day/ week ahead so that things can run smoothly. It really wouldn’t be fair for me to complain about anything with this regard.
HOW MUCH TIME PER WEEK DO YOU DEDICATE TO YOUR SITE AND WORK?
As much as I would love to blog everyday, handling a home and work, spending time with family and keeping my energetic little girl engaged takes up most of my day. So I aim at blogging at least once a week. That said like I said before, I also do a bit of freelance writing/ work and so I keep aside close to 3 hours everyday for work related to my website and other freelance work; about 15 hours a week to be more precise. I don’t work on weekends unless very necessary, weekends are only for family.
WHAT TRICKS / TIPS / APPS DO YOU USE TO BETTER MANAGE YOUR TIME?
I try to plan my week/ day ahead. This has proven to be very helpful to make life easier. Planning would include – everyday meals, chores to be done everyday etc. Apps are not my thing, technology and I don’t go hand in hand! I have my little black book where I jot down things that need to be done and write them in order of priority. Prioritization is key to managing efficiently.
HOW DO USE YOUR NIGHT TIME AFTER YOUR DAUGHTER GOES TO SLEEP?
My daughter goes to bed early. I brought about this schedule so my husband and I can some spend quality time with each other. We mostly use this time catching up on each other’s days, or maybe even watching a DVD. There are also days when I just sit down to enjoy a book and sometimes finish up unfinished chores/ work.
HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF? HOW DO YOU FIND YOU’RE ME TIME?
For me ‘Me Time’ is all about doing something I enjoy. I love reading and ever since I had my daughter, I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have loved to. Now that my daughter is almost 4, I am slowly getting back to regularly reading books that I enjoy. Other than that, my little girl is my best buddy, she loves coming with me to the parlor, and accompanying me while I shop. And I enjoy having her around.
DO YOU THINK WOMEN CAN HAVE IT ALL? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE OTHER WOMEN TRYING TO JUGGLE IT ALL?
Oh, wow. That’s hard and giving advice implies that I’ve found the right way to juggle it all. And I haven’t. The one thing I’d say is to be kind to yourself – if some of the balls fall, remind yourself that they spend almost of the time in the air. And remember that knowing how to juggle at all is an impressive skill on it’s own. But yes I fully believe that women can achieve whatever they set foot on.
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