A Day in the Life …
One of our readers emailed goop about “finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom,” which got me thinking about the other extremely busy working mothers I know and what their days might be like. I asked some friends how they do the mothers’ special—everything all at once. I learned a lot and got some good tips. And, because some of you have asked what one of my days looks like, I’ve included a random one of my more manic days from last November.
Gwyneth’s Day on November 4th, 2010
When I got downstairs this morning at the crack of whenever, the coffee machine said “ERROR 8” and wouldn’t let me make the cup I had been dreaming about. This begs the question: Is it odd to dream yourself to sleep thinking about the next morning’s coffee? Not a good beginning. Got Apple all fed and dressed in her uniform and ready to go but no sign nor sight of Moses at 8am and we have to be out of the house by 8:20. I went up to rouse the little man from slumber and he quite happily got up and crawled into my arms. We got downstairs and I made him a quick breakfast of eggs and toast followed by a spoonful of lemon flavored flax oil that I try to remember to give them every morning. Getting everyone into the car on time was a challenge; we’re going through a phase where no one seems to be responding to me (“Time to put on your shoes” … No response.) It is the school Christmas toy drive deadline today so before jumping into the car, we pack up and finish decorating the shoe boxes with toys, toothbrushes, hats, scarves, books, etc., to donate. Once the kids really understand that the toys go to children around the world who will not be as fortunate as they are this year, they very sweetly take trips to the playroom adding their own toys and books to the boxes. Somehow managed to get to school just as the old-fashioned bell rang. Moses was a bit teary today so I hung around and watched him through the window. Periodically he would check to make sure I was still there.
When all was well I dodged off as fast as possible but was still late to my 9am workout. Did dance aerobics for 45 minutes then all of the butt lifts and the like. Rushed upstairs to have a shower, doing my post workout stretch while the conditioner was doing its magic on my hair to combine activities/save time. Dressed quickly and rushed downstairs. On a less manic day, this would be my couple of hours in the office to work on goop, come up with ideas, write/edit and go over scheduling, travel, whatever else I have going but I have no time so I just pop the old cabeza in to see if there are any deadlines or fires that need putting out. When I am given the all clear I rush out the door, and headed to rehearse with a band to prepare for the Country Music Awards which are just a week away. I’ve never performed live before so I’m preparing for this as if it were the Superbowl, which, in its own way, it is. I’ve been having voice lessons with my teacher, Carrie Grant, every day and rehearsing with an amazing London-based band. This will be my fourth and shortest rehearsal of the week, as the day is so full, but I am excited to get in there and see everyone. Had to do my vocal exercises/warmups in the car, sooo not a good look. Fellow drivers looked on a bit bewildered. Rehearsed with the band from 11:30 to 12:30 and then scooted back out to the car and had kind of a big interview on the phone while trying to subtly check/reply to well-overdue email.
Got home and had a fitting with super stylist Elizabeth Saltzman for the upcoming Nashville trip (what to wear, what to wear?) from 1-2. This is my 4th fitting out of 5 for this trip. We tried on myriad dresses and outfits, and I had b.o. by the end of it from wrestling with all of those dresses. I have six looks I need to choose for the trip; there’s the radio press conference upon arrival, the red carpet for the Country Strong premier, press interviews, a Sony Music VIP dinner, the red carpet for the CMA’s, and the outfit for my performance. We managed to finalize all of the looks for the (very nerve wracking) trip. At 2pm I head into my office with a nice cup of tea for two hours of phone interviews. I am doing lots of these this week, but today’s session is only two hours. I call country radio station after country radio station speaking to some of the nicest and friendliest DJ’s on the planet. Thursday is the one day of the week that I do not pick my kids up after school. They go straight to an activity and I am able to really maximize work stuff. I always feel a bit guilty (obviously) about it, but it means I can focus fully on them when they get home instead of trying to do two things at once.
At 4pm, my weekly owners’ and managers’ call takes place for the Tracy Anderson Method. I basically listen and try to learn. Kiddies burst through the door and play in my office while I finish up, just drawing and hanging out and of course playing Plants vs Zombies on the iPad, their obsession that I have to limit like crazy! What up, gamers. Then downstairs to make cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale. It is “Bonfire night: in the UK tomorrow and the bake sale is to celebrate and raise money for charity. We decide on vanilla cupcakes with pink icing and green icing (from Tate’s Bakeshop cookbook with the icing from American Desserts cookbook). At 6:30pm we all get in the bath and it’s hair washing night for the kids (every other night—never popular). Then back downstairs to check on cupcakes and have a visit from an auntie and uncle. The kids indulge in a super sugary cupcake before bed but I don’t feel too bad because they had a brown rice stir fry for dinner with baked sweet potato on the side. It’s all about balance! It’s my night to lay with Mosey so I tuck Apple in, say a prayer and go into Mosey’s room for a story, foot massage, and quiet time. As soon as all was quiet, I rushed downstairs to grab a blazer and some blush and flung myself in the car for girls night. Lovely dinner and great conversation. 11:29pm now, exhausted and ready to do it all again tomorrow!
Gwyneth’s time saving tips:
Schedule your time well. When I know what I am doing from hour to hour I get more done. Write it all in the day’s calendar, what you want to accomplish and in what time frame.
Focus on the task at hand. Be thorough.
I cook a lot, especially on the weekends, so I like to plan a rough menu for the whole weekend and get the food in on Friday. Obviously stores and websites that deliver make this a dream. In London I use Ocado. Also James Knight, my favorite fishmonger, will deliver. Having all of the ingredients means I’m prepared even when I don’t think I am.
I always lay the kids uniforms and school things out the night before once they are asleep. When it’s quiet I can check the “kid list” for show and tell items to bring in, consent forms, ballet kit, etc, so that the morning is less of a scramble.
The school run is a great time to return calls (in whichever direction that the kids are not in the car) so don’t forget your hands-free device.