Today I felt invincible. I had a ton to do, and accomplished it all -- with style, finesse, and that certain "I don't know how she does it," possessed by super women everywhere.
It started in yoga this morning. I nailed a headstand (been working on it for months), and some tricky twists. I even got kudos on my flying crow arm balance from the instructor.
Following yoga, I got myself and the kids ready for the day in record time, with minimal fuss. At the bus stop, my fellow super-mom even complemented my put-together appearance.
When the babysitter showed up sick, I made her tea and sent her home. Undaunted, I called in the reinforcements (To the iPhone -- "Hi Mom!"), so I could go out as my alter-ego to save the world, one well designed project for non-profit services at a time.
I came home, did laundry, answered some emails, and then headed out again to take Simon to therapy at KKI. I was able to give a glowing report to the therapist about Simon's "homework" progress, and watched as she used a robotic virtual-reality simulation machine type thingy (yes, I believe that is it's technical term) to get Simon to practice weight bearing exercises on his left arm. Total super hero stuff, and he was awesome.
We came home, helped Olivia study vocabulary, played outside on the swings, and made a fantastic Chicken Parmesan for dinner. After dinner, kids bathed and put to bed, work finished, and blog post written!
However, like any good super hero, I have my dark secrets. I'll share them with you here (and hope you will share yours with me).
Om Secret: Yoga. It is the one thing I do only for myself, and it makes me look and feel better. The endorphin rush lasts all day, and pushing myself physically with tangible results is satisfying in the midst of uncertainty and stress. The fact that the studio I go to has early morning classes with good instructors is a bonus, too. ('cause if I don't go in the morning, something will ALWAYS get in the way later in the day)
Morning secret: I get Olivia's clothes out the night before, and Brian gets Simon dressed most mornings. The kids pretty much eat the same thing for breakfast every day, so there is no need to think about it, and the coffee pot is programmable.
Looking put-together secret: My closet is essentially filled with the adult version of Garanimals (you remember, the coordinating sets of clothes for kids? Hippo tops go with hippo bottoms.. giraffe skirt with giraffe blouse?) Anyway, I have a wardrobe of neutral colors (a lot of black -- well, I am a designer), and some "pops" of color. When I need to get dressed, pull out a neutral outfit and choose pop of color depending on mood (today was magenta). My make-up is also totally neutral in tones (no need to match lipstick and eyeshadow!), and I grew my hair long specifically so I can pull it into a ponytail in case of emergencies. Add funky but also mostly neutral colored accessories. Complete with groovy colorful handbag. Done.
Childcare secret: It takes a village. I have a part-time nanny (carefully selected through sittercity.com -- another secret!), but I'm also fortunate enough to live close to family who actually like to watch the kids (yes, I know how lucky I am here)! My mom is especially helpful (as she was this morning), and always has the important things on hand (like juice boxes and Teletubbies) in case of emergencies.
Work secret: I love my work (both teaching and design), and I generally work with people that love what they do, too. Mutual appreciation makes inspiration easier and late nights more bearable.
My other work secret is my iPhone. Before it, I had never been a big cell phone user. Too much of a pain. However, now, being able to easily answer emails, take calls and check up on things while I'm out (like at a therapy appointment), keeps me in the loop all day and helps me address any issues immediately. Another super gadget for navigating to client meetings is my Garmin. I'd be lost without it.
Laundry/chores secret: Just do it in between everything else. Save sorting and folding laundry for when your favorite TV show is on. Make your daughter help put the laundry away (to earn marbles, of course). Listen to audiobooks when you clean -- you can catch up on book club and eradicate dust bunnies at the same time! Totally super.
Dinner secret: two words -- Trader Joes. That and/or cooking "big" on the weekend and saving dinners for throughout the week ahead.
So... maybe I'm not exactly super. Like all the smart women (and men) I know, I've developed tactics and built support systems that work for me; gradually refining how I navigate through the day, the week, the month. Maybe that is the not-so-secret secret: you figure out what works for you, and then you keep at it.
But, I do know one more pretty-super secret. It is as sure an antidote for cryptonite as can be found on this planet. An ancient bit of wisdom passed down through generations of super women....