This week we have been training our new staff in Chattanooga, getting ready to open our fourth Puckett's and our sixth restaurant. For those of you that don't know me that well, my official title is Director of Operations of A. Marshall Family Foods which is the parent company of all of our restaurants, venues, etc. (Puckett's, Puckett's Boat House, Puckett's Trolley, Homestead Manor.. and beyond!). It's a catch-all position. I represent our family business in our ever-expanding communities; keep tabs on the political climate and how it effects our industry; coach and train our management teams; regulate quality and standards of our operations, food, and service; consult with our marketing and PR teams; function as HR for the company; answer lots of emails; drive a whole lot. I'm also a mom of a lively toddler that is growing way too fast. And I write this blog, you know.. for fun in my spare time. I am telling you these things not to make myself sound awesome. Pretty much every restaurant owner I've ever met do all of these things, usually on their own. I'm telling you these things because as a result of the juggling, I get asked the Big Question by other women all the time.
"How do you do it all??"
Here's the big secret, the answer to the question that exhausted moms and overworked women around the world want to know. Ready?
I don't. I do not do it all. I'm sorry, I know that's a boring answer, but it's true. I have a reputation for being Type A and organized, and I admit that I enjoy that reputation. But my husband will be the first to tell you that I do not have it all together. We love to look at other people's lives on the surface and edit out all the messy parts, while being hyper-aware of how messy our own lives are. I cut corners, all the time. I leave dishes to "soak" in the sink overnight and they stay there the entire next day. Clothes remain in the dryer until I get to them. And yes, I turn the dryer back on three or four times to knock out some of the wrinkles they've acquired after being in there for a couple of days. I don't always make Hattie clean up her toys, and I don't do it for her unless I have company coming. I get up at 5:15, earlier if I'm traveling to Chattanooga, and am asleep by 10:00pm. I'm exhausted all of the time just like all of you are.
In an attempt to recover from your disappointment and be somewhat helpful, I'll share a few of the things that keep me on track and help me get through the day.
- Childcare - We have invested in a full time school that is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm. We love the staff and the teachers. We didn't get it right the first time. The first one wasn't the right fit even though it was more affordable. We have decided to make sacrifices elsewhere in order to have peace of mind and a place that she loves to be.
- Google Calendar - my life is on it and it's shared with my co-workers so that they know when I'm not available and what I'm doing. I set alerts and reminders for when I need to be places, and when I need to leave places.
- An organized email inbox + a few secret Gmail tools (read about those here.)
- A paper planner. I don't really use it for my calendar since I live by Google Calendar. But I am definitely more intentional with my to do list when I write it down. I've used digital to do lists and note taking apps, but I always go back to paper. My sister found me this awesome and affordable planner at Target, also available to order online at Blue Sky.
- Accept help when offered, and ask for it when needed. I've learned not to be too proud to take up someone's offer for a meal, for a babysitter, to take something off my hands at work. I can't do it alone.
Lastly, I am incredibly fortunate to have an amazing partner in life. My husband is helpful around the house, takes Hattie to school most mornings, and keeps me in line when I start to spiral. I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am. Thank you T for being awesome.
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