Hello, awesome readers!
If you’ve been following along, you know that this is post #2 of the multi-tasking vs. wearing many hats series.
As humans, we’re curious cats. Yes, cats are curious too but in a different way. While cats instinctively want to catch a beam of light before it disappears into a wall, our human curiosity has the capacity to take us beyond where we are today. Perhaps like cats, the instinct is to feel like “we’ve won”; achieved a goal or taken our current selves to a higher place … whatever that higher place means to you personally.
While giving us a means for understanding, our curiosity is also a way for us to connect with other humans. It helps us feel less alone in our circumstances as we glimpse into the lives of others to see how they deal with something that we may be struggling with.
And that’s exactly what I’m giving you today … a glimpse into the life of a mother that has managed to tame time and a to-do list that’s longer than her arm. I know this because I’ve seen her arm in person. I met Jillian – the owner of said arm – at the Fearless Women’s Summit in Miami this past January. We were already connected on Instagram and even spoke on the phone before we met in person.
Jillian is fierce. Jillian has the presence of a demi-god that you immediately want to be best friends with. Jillian has a generous heart with a backstory that has shaped her into the woman she is today. That backstory is filled with drugs and bad decisions and questions. Yet instead of letting herself be defined by feelings of guilt and regret, she uses it as a catalyst for empowerment. Empowering herself, but also empowering others as she shares her story with people who need to hear it – both through her speaking and her book, My Ugly Truth: Life After Abuse.
And now, if someone could cue in the drum roll, I give you a glimpse into Jillian’s life as she tackles her many hats.
If you were to go into my closet, you would find an area with a selection of different hats. I have baseball, fedora, bowler, panama, boater, cowboy, cloche, homburg, and bucket hats. When the seasons change, you will find me switching back and forth rapidly between the varieties of headgear in my closet.
As a working, stay-at-home mother (WAHM), I also wear many hats throughout the week and on my very busy days. I have learned over the years that “multi-tasking” and “wearing many hats” are two different concepts in my household, although some people think they’re the same.
Let me explain what a day in my life looks like. Yes, I am married, and I stay at home mom. You may think I have this perfect little life, knowing I don’t have to work the typical 8-5 job. In reality, my job is 24 hours a day. Sometimes, I am basically like a single mom. You see, my husband is active duty, Army military. We live 71 miles from his military base, and he has to report to work every day at 6:30 am. I also have three kids. My daughter is away at college in New Orleans, which is approximately eight hours away from where we live. I also have two boys. One is 14 and attends the local public school and the baby is six and attends a Catholic school 36 minutes away from our house.
Now, we all know that schools start at different times and I don’t have the luxury of having a nanny to help us out. Back home in Louisiana, I had that luxury, but since moving to Texas, I have not found anyone that could multi-task to keep up with the lifestyle I live. So, let’s start my day.
I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. I rise and begin my scheduled, creature-of-habit routine that I created to make things a bit easier. You see, multi-tasking and trying to do many things at once wasn’t working for me. That’s when I realized I had to create a schedule in order to switch up my hats throughout the day while remaining focused on one task at a time.
I begin by meditating, reading my affirmations, making coffee, and praying. We will call this hat the “conscious hat.” If I cannot get my mindset on track in the morning, I would be wearing the crazy “mad hat!”
At 6:00 a.m. I take off the “conscious hat” and throw on the “Baby Lonnie” hat. This hat requires me to be super jolly, positive, and focused. I wake up the little one, rub his back, and provide the love he needs to start his day off right. I allow him 15 minutes to get up and then I go right back into the kitchen to make his lunch for the day. The shower is turned on at 6:30 a.m. and he has to be done by 6:40 a.m., brush his teeth, and prepare for our journey into Austin to his school. Praise God, I spoke out and asked our new neighbors across the street to provide transportation for my 14-year-old high schooler. Otherwise, he would be riding the school bus while his brother gets driven to school.
Every morning, the little one listens to Kids Place Live on Sirius Radio. Most days, we stop at Shipley Do-nuts to get him ham and cheese kolaches to eat while we drive, saving time on breakfast. I also made a smart choice midway through the school year to save an additional 15 minutes by dropping him off in the car line at school.
As soon as he is dropped off, the “Baby Lonnie hat” is removed. I put on the “adoration hat” and pull up to the church next to the school, where I sit with the Lord and pray for 30 minutes to an hour at times. I need this opportunity to balance out the rapid morning I’ve created.
I keep the “adoration hat” on until I return home around 9:00 a.m. That’s when the “writer hat” is put on. I check my emails and create content for my brand, writing for two hours at most. By 11:00 a.m. I switch to the “housekeeper hat” to scan the house, pick things up, start laundry, take-out food to defrost for dinner, and do the chores that are required to keep a tidy home. This is the least favorite of all my hats throughout the day.
By 12:15 p.m. it’s time for “exercise hat.” I wear this one for an hour. When that hat comes off, my “CEO hat” is put on and I spend approximately two hours focused on my business by making calls, following up on messages, and checking emails for my invention and brand.
At 2:15 p.m. the “CEO” and “Jillian” hats may vary on the ride back into town to pick up the little one from school. Sometimes they are transferred back and forth as I drive, spending time as Jillian the friend, wife, or daughter on some calls and immediately changing to CEO if business calls come in.
Once my youngest is back in the car, the “Baby Lonnie” hat returns and Kid Place Live is blaring on the radio again during the ride home. At 4:00 p.m. we pick up my older son at his high school and the “Matt hat” is put on. Boy, does the little one hate this because he loves to be the center of attention! At home, the “homework hat” comes out until the assignments are completed, and then I don the “chef hat” to prepare for dinner.
From 5:45 to 7:00 p.m. it’s time for “extracurricular hat.” At 7:00 p.m. “the wife hat” means my husband is home and I pay him attention while we catch up from the day and eat dinner. “Get ready for bed hat” comes out by 8:00 p.m. as we begin to settle in for the night and I finally get to take a bath, hide in my closet talking on my phone to a friend, or just unwind from the day. By 9:00 p.m. I’m wearing “sleepy hat” and pray I fall asleep soon, but chances are this won’t always happen. Then the schedule starts all over when the alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.
Some may ask, “Jillian how do you manage being a wife, mom, friend, CEO, author, chauffeur, counselor, namaste, chef, daughter, sister, and child of God?” I respond with, “Well, I had to stop multi-tasking and instead started switching up my hats throughout the day.”
You see, when you are multi-tasking, you are just rapidly moving through the motions of doing. You are not actually being in the time and place you need to be. I started to become so overwhelmed with my life when I was multi-tasking, I decided I needed to create a schedule for myself so my anxiety would not flare up and the “mad hat” would never have to appear. I realized I am not a computer; I am an emotional human being and I could not process my day while wearing multiple hats all at once. My brain is just not wired that way for productivity.
You see, my career and being a mom is very important to me. I know my kids need me – even the 19-year-old daughter that I didn’t mention very much, which I should have. She is on the schedule, too, as we text and talk at least twice a day. My goal in life was to create a legacy and life for my family that is safe and loving. I also wanted to show them what success looks like so that they could model this pattern of behavior.
I believe these are simple life skills that need to be taught in order for any project to run productively. I see my role in life as being the ultimate project manager and it’s important to focus on one project at a time. This encourages me to prioritize and set clear expectations for myself. Developing this habit allows my scheduled day to shift with ease and prevents wasted time and interruptions from pouring into my busy life.
Author, Entrepreneur, Inventor
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