This is the first interview in a six part series on motherhood balance. Each week I’ll be profiling a talented and productive mama, who is achieving professional success while juggling a young family. We want to know how she is does it.
Kerri Sackville Kerri Sackville is a mother, blogger, author and columnist for Daily Life. Her blog, Life and Other Crises, explores a wide range of issues, from sex, parenting, friendship and marriage, to housework, PMS, and whether white chocolate is actually chocolate (which, of course, it is not.) She is the author of two books ‘When My Husband Does the Dishes …’ and ‘The Little Book of Anxiety’ and thinks it is hilarious that writing these two books qualifies her as a parenting expert of sorts. Kerri lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
What’s your typical day like?I am woken around 6.45am by my four year old prodding me and demanding ‘Spongebob and chocolate milk!’. I get the three kids to school/pre-school, come back home, sit and the computer and work. Towards the end of the day I’ll do laundry and clean up the breakfast dishes, or do a grocery shop. I leave to pick up the kids anywhere between 2.40pm and 4.40pm, depending on the schedule. Between the three of them there are after school activities four afternoons a week, so I get help three afternoons because I simply can’t be in three places at once. I usually eat with the kids as my husband gets home late, and pack them all off to bed by 9pm. I try to be asleep by 10.30pm.
Where do you work during the day? I have a home office which is meant to be all mine. Sadly, my kids also think it is theirs. Drives me mad.
Do you get dressed up to write or usually just lounge around in your PJs? I always get dressed properly. You never know who’s going to drop by. (Answer: nobody ever does.)
How do you find the time to write with three children? Getting help saved my sanity. I just wasn’t coping. My husband works about 70 hours a week so isn’t around to help, and the school day is ridiculously short. So three afternoons a week Gab The Super Nanny takes the kids to their after school activities, makes school lunches and helps with dinner. It means I can get in an extra couple of hours work, or catch up with emails, or just spend time with the kids who are home.
Do you use systems/processes/technology to manage your day/time? I have a yearly calendar on my wall so I can see with a glance what events I have lined up. Then I have weekly calendars on my desk so I can see what deadlines I have to meet. Then I keep a To Do list on my computer, and a To Buy list on my phone. I have a hopeless memory so if I don’t write things down immediately I forg… Sorry, what was I saying?
What do you find so-so/hairy/brilliant about your current set-up? Would you change anything? Hell yeah. I want a full time nannny, a full time cleaner, and a full time PA. Also, a separate, secret office that the kids don’t even know about. With a deadlocked door.
How does your husband contribute to managing the juggle/household/childcare? He drops my son to school most mornings, and reads to the four year old, but – except for Sundays – I’m pretty much a single parent.
How do you and your husband fit your marriage into the balance? My who? Oh yes. Husband. I remember him. We’re actually going away alone together in a few weeks. We do that at least once a year, and have weekends alone another couple of times. Hugely important for our relationship.
Do you have time for yourself? I make sure I do! I get twitchy if I don’t get time to read, even if it’s just 10 minutes while I’m eating breakfast in the morning and 15 minutes at night. And I don’t deal well with lack of sleep, so if I’m really exhausted I’ll have a nap during the day. And I always have a nap on weekends. But weekdays I do consider to be workdays.
How has anxiety affected achieving balance? Anxiety affects everything! Just read my book! I worry I’m not achieving enough in my career and I worry I’m not around enough for the kids. And because I’m an anxious person I get overwhelmed extremely easily. I have to keep highly organized and break the week and day into manageable sections or I start running around in circles flapping my arms.
Do you think the juggle is harder for women than for men? Do you think people talk openly about it? It depends on your circumstances. My husband and I have a very traditional set up – it’s not ideal, but it’s the way it is. So yes, the juggle is much harder for me than him (although he does works extraordinarily hard). Part of the reason I wrote my first book was to get people talking about how hard the juggle really is. And I think with the rise of bloggers and women’s websites, we are certainly doing that.
What advice would you give other mum’s about how to balance work and life?Firstly, get as much help as you can afford. If you can’t afford help, accept (or beg for) as much help as possible from family and friends. Secondly, take time out for yourself, even if it’s a half hour in front of your favourite TV show at the end of the day. And finally, don’t try to be perfect, because there is no perfect! Make the best decisions for you and your family and stuff what the rest of the world thinks.
You can follow Kerri on twitter here.
What is working for you? How do you manage being a mother? Leave a comment and tell us.