By Meredith Munger
“Women today can have it all, but they can’t have it all at the same time.”
- Margaret Thatcher
I’m always jealous of women who have it all together. My son has some great friends at school – truly well-rounded, thoughtful and caring kids. So what a blessing it was to find out that one of his closest friends lives down the street in our new Scottsdale neighborhood. I soon learned why that kid is so good, and it’s no accident: His mother, Amy Alexander, is one of those truly great people.
I first really got to know Amy at the bus stop where she guides her children each morning, and she and the other moms catch up on the latest happenings in the school and neighborhood. Amy believes in strong moral character, and she’s not afraid to steer her kids clear of kids who will be bad influences. She’s one of the first people I call when I have concerns about kids, teachers and after-school activities because she cares about what our kids are doing. She’s also active in the community, and she shares that sense of community responsibility with her kids.
“I think it’s important for the kids to see me involved in their school, their sports, and the community but also that they see a successful female role model,” says Amy.
What’s really interesting about Amy is how she then sheds her mommy clothes at heads to work at her media buying firm, Innovative Media Partners. Run by two moms, Vires represents top clients including quick-service restaurants, grocery chains and home remodeling companies. Yet when I have called Amy to ask professional advice, she never hesitates or jumps off the phone.
By 3 pm she is back at the bus stop, in full mommy regalia, ready to shuttle her kids to all the after-school activities. Her husband works at full speed and frequently travels, so Amy knows she has to be the rock of the family.
Amy and I are fairly similar in those regards, but I am envious of one thing: She’s always relaxed. She’s not frantically texting and making business phone calls while whacking the kids to be quiet. Most other moms don’t even know she works, and I’m not entirely sure her kids do either – she’s that devoted to them and able to separate her work and personal life.
How is Amy able to juggle all this? I asked and she gave me her thoughts:
“I write everything down on a paper calendar – nothing digital,” explains Amy. “I get made fun of, but it centralizes all the information and keeps me focused.” Amy says if she wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about something, she writes it down.
Amy’s other tricks include:
- Amy deliberately created her career and business to give her the maximum flexibility to be a mom first. She has enough business to keep her busy six hours per day, and she hires staff to manage the extra.
- If she can’t handle the workload during the day, Amy sets aside time to do it at night or early in the morning. Otherwise, Amy feels the kids and work both suffer.
- Amy doesn’t expect perfect. If she and the kids are late to practice, so what? If activities overlap dinner, it’s okay to occasionally eat at a restaurant.
- Amy builds exercise into her daily schedule, usually a walk or gym workout in the morning. The workout relieves the stress before it happens.
- She’s patient. Amy has plenty of time and solid clients to build her business into a giant, so why go into high-growth mode now? As my mother once said, our kids will probably live with us for 15 short years or so. That leaves us 50 years or more to conquer the business world.
It’s good advice for the rest of us who struggle to be the best mom, best business person, best human being. Maybe the answer is slowing down is taking it one minute at a time.