Women can do anything — but not everything. As the largest online career community for women, we at Fairygodboss realize that balance is a myth, and that picking what to prioritize when everything feels important on a day-to-day basis isn't always easy. In the #MakingTime series, women share with us how, for one day, they chose to spend their most precious resource: time.
Who: Daniela Jensen
What: VP of Strategy at Premama Wellness; Mom to Cameron (9) and Lila (7) and Step-Mom to Riley (18), Wilson (16) and Ian (14); wife to Chris (sincere and doting husband); brand builder; runner; entrepreneur
Where: Barrington, Rhode Island
Alarm goes off at 5:30am.
Thank goodness it’s for Chris. Today is his morning to work out, which means another 20 minutes under the covers for me! I roll over and snuggle in as I start thinking about what the day holds. Which of our kids needs to be where? And when? With five — well, now four at home, since Riley is a freshmen at college this year — orchestrating their schedules is quite literally a full-time job in itself.
Cameron and Ian have travel soccer (of course at the same time, but in field locations across town). Does Lila have play practice or tennis lessons? Better check the calendar. I roll out of bed, slide on cozy slippers and head downstairs to the kitchen. Hanging on the wall is an oversized blotter calendar – the big paper ones your parents (and my parents!) had from Staples. Each daily box is quite literally over-scheduled with activities. For a pretty tech-savvy gal, this analog format serves us best.
Chris to Minnesota. 10 a.m. flight.
Cameron / Ian Travel Soccer: 4 p.m.
Lila Last Tennis Session: 3:30 p.m. – group carpool
I breath a sigh of relief. it’s not my turn to drive the rowdy five-kid carpool to tennis lessons. I boil water for matcha (a gift from the gods) and quickly scroll through email on my phone. I’m expecting revised die lines from our packaging partners in China. Don’t see it at first glance, but notice a message about our affiliate marketing program that needs my attention. I tell Siri to remind me at 11:00 a.m. to address this. I’ll often tell Siri to remind me of things throughout the day, or I’ll text myself and leave it as unread. I start making school + work lunches.
Boys are heading out to the bus stop and girls are awake, milling around the kitchen as they ponder what to have for breakfast. Chris returns from the YMCA and we do the proverbial baton hand off. He picks up from where I left off in the kitchen – finishing lunches, cleaning up from breakfast and emptying the dish washer, while I head upstairs to shower and get dressed. We trade off once more when he heads up to shower. I'll do the final morning push to get everyone out the door.
Lila is teary. She doesn’t want to go to school. Mondays are always hard for her after a weekend of family fun. Plus, we went ghosting last night (it’s like ding dong ditch, except you leave candy on the doorstep of friends' houses) so she’s probably overtired. She whines that her day is sooo boring and long, and that she hates leaving home. Why does each day of second grade have to take that long? I find a pen on the counter. I draw a wave on the palm of her hand with a heart underneath, for the strength of the ocean and all my love. I close her fist and squeeze it tightly. She’s never been one for school. In these moments, I’m reminded that although she just turned 7, she’s still my baby. (Side note: I’m laughing at myself even writing that, as I would have argued a few years back, as a mom of much smaller people, that 7 was practically an adult!).
I walk Lila to her elementary school at the end of our street. We talk about finding the good in her day instead of all the things she isn’t looking forward to. We take the trail through the wooded path that leads to the side of her school. She’s pulled herself together, but asks if I can take her to tennis lessons today, rather than riding with the carpool of other kids in town. I fold like a cheap tent and tell her that since it’s the last lesson, I’ll bring her. I hustle home, noticing the trees are fully peaking in autumn colors. I get the below text from Dan, President at Premama and add my name to the 9:45 a.m. Orange Theory exercise class.
My company, Premama, is a vitamin company that focuses on maternity wellness. We create supplements designed to support women at every stage of motherhood, from preparing your body for pregnancy on through postpartum. Right now, we’re doing an eight-week “health and wellness challenge” in the office. For me, self care is the hardest thing to fit into my schedule, so I was elated to commit to something like this — giving each of us the chance to make time for workouts during office hours three times a week during the eight-week challenge.
I toss work-out clothes into my work bag and see the pen I used to write on Lila’s hand still on the counter. I call Cam over and quickly draw the same wave and heart on Cameron's hand. She saw me do this for Lila and gives me a big open-hearted smile. As Chris comes to say goodbye, I take his hand and do the same. Cam and I squeeze him and then rush to the car, pick up her girlfriend, and head to school. As the girls exit the car in the drop off line, Cam throws up her hands in the shape of a heart. Something she’s done since kindergarten. As I wait for the cars in front of me to exit, I put on the rest of a "How I Built This" podcast. It makes the 30-minute morning commute into Providence more tolerable.
I pull into the parking lot of Orange Theory just before 9 a.m. I text my mom to see if she can cover me after school with pick ups since I offered to take Lila to tennis. Thank god for her. My parents moved to Rhode Island when they retired and live just a stones throw down the road, in a cute little beach cottage by the sea. She and my dad are a regular part of our lives and, in truth, a driving factor in us keeping our family afloat. While sitting in the car, I open my computer, steal a Wi-Fi signal from the Whole Foods next door, and answer 30 minutes of emails before meeting Dan for a workout. After the class, we stand outside in the fresh air trying to catch our breath. He debriefs me on Venture Capital meetings he had in NY last Thursday and Friday. We banter about budgets, ideal capital partners, and the value we think they can add to the business.
I land at my desk. Didn’t have time to wait for showers at OT before getting into the office. Gross, but true. Maybe I would feel bad if we weren’t in challenge mode, but probably not. I bomb through the first portion of the scribbled "to-do" list in my notebook while trying not to notice the little number in the corner of my inbox rising.
Sadly, there’s a direct correlation between the number of unread emails I have and my blood pressure. Gulp. I remind myself, they’ll all still be there tonight. Too often, I (you? we?) get caught up in our inboxes. I learned a hack from a podcast (probably while sitting in traffic) where Ashton Kutcher told Arianna Huffington of "The Thrive Global Podcast,” that to be more productive, he makes to-do lists and focuses on that before he gets into his inbox. I’m paraphrasing here, but it was something like emails being "everyone else's to-do list for you,” and you can get sucked into inefficiency. I see truth in that.
Shortly, I join a conference call with our PR team to review press opportunities and pitches. I address emails about our affiliate program and can finally turn off the reminder that keeps buzzing on my phone. I get through a few more tasks and team discussions on 2019 plans. I hound our suppliers for ingredient verifications needed for Project Verified Non-GMO and USDA Organic certifications.
Run (literally) out of the office. Good thing I’m still in workout clothes – ha! I get to the car and see this text from Chris. I smile, feeling lucky. I join my call and listen to a pitch about Paid Social and SEM marketing capabilities. Curious to hear if they have any thoughts or insights beyond what we’re already doing. It's more or less the same.
Pick Lila up from school and take her to tennis lessons. I'm feeling slightly frazzled by my unaddressed inbox, but try to focus on listening to how her day was. I can hear my phone buzzing in my bag. We stop in the Denny’s drive thru on the way to the indoor courts the next town over. The speaker on the other end says they don’t have milkshakes. Really? I swear I saw them on the sign? Apparently they are called Frosty’s. Who knew?
I get Lila off and take 30 minutes in the parking lot of tennis to answer a few texts pertaining to work and an email on my phone. My team is comprised of ninjas: one that focuses on a consumer affairs and the other on brand management. They have a solid handle on the day to day tasks but were looking for input on customer relations feedback and an outbound email approval. I suggest a few changes. Things seem to be rocking and rolling at the office. I head home to take Cameron to soccer. Lila’s taking the tennis carpool home and Ian has a ride. Onward and upward.
Back at home, I flip open my computer and leave it on the kitchen counter. I pop on email while ordering take out for dinner. Meal planning isn’t my strength. Especially when my husband is traveling. My mom is still here and god bless her soul, happens to be folding laundry and laughing with the kids about how they bombarded us with water balloons when we ‘ghosted’ their house the night before. She hangs with them while I run out to get Cameron and Ian. And pick up takeout. After dinner it’s help with Homework. Showers. Bedtime.
It's 8:30, and the house is quiet.
The girls are sound asleep, the boys are watching TV, and I’m at my desk at home. Our orange tabby cat is circling at my feet. I catch up on the day's activity for the next two hours, send some emails about marketing budgets, forecasts, international sales, amazon inventory, and try to hurdle a few product development tasks.
At 10 p.m., the boys say goodnight and begrudgingly head upstairs. The perks of having google Wi-Fi? No more arguing about bedtimes. The internet (which means their phones and our Apple TV) goes dark at 10. They think this is so unfair. I think this is genius. As I am making my "to-do" list for tomorrow (thank you, Ashton Kutcher), I add: Document Day for Fairygodboss.
Keep at it, ladies.
Interested in contributing to Fairygodboss' #MakingTime series? Email [email protected] with "#MakingTime" in the subject line.