conceptual motion licensed
How to Do It All
by Paige L. Austin

You wake up to your alarm at 6:30 a.m. after three hours of sleep, your head spinning with everything that needs to get done. Chores, deadlines, errands, school projects pass in front of your mind’s eye while you brush your teeth and check your email on your phone. You walk out of your bedroom with a full laundry basket and let the dog out back, drop the clothes by the garage door, and grab a protein drink from the fridge while you feed the cats meowing after you, put away clean dishes while you mentally prepare for your first staff meeting of the morning. You put the laundry into the washer on your way to your home office. The floor needs to be vacuumed today. You sit down at your desk and turn on both computers. It’s 6:45 a.m.

The kids wake up at 7 a.m., and by then you’ve cleared out your inbox and have a plan, detailed and soothing in an Excel spreadsheet you maintain for just this purpose. You pause your work life to help your husband get the boys ready for school, grabbing the older one’s bag while you chase the one-year-old around the living room to get a shirt on him. He is half-naked and shrieking-gleeful about it. His joy is the highlight of your morning at 7:15 a.m.

You have 20 minutes of complete silence while your husband takes the boys to school. You wash your face and get dressed properly, play a mindless level of Soda Crush in defiance of the day ahead, take a deep breath, and jump back into the fray.

You make a doctor’s appointment while moving between your bathroom and your office. You order groceries while you wait for your meeting to start.

It’s 7:59 a.m.

PHOTO: Spinning plates by Conceptual Motion, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As a working mother, I feel very keenly the pressure to succeed at everything, to “do it all.” The truth, of course, is that it’s an impossible task and only sets you up to fail over and over again—but that doesn’t stop me or any other working mother I know from trying anyway, often to the point of utter exhaustion. The above is taken right from a typical start to my day.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paige L. Austin is a professional magazine editor with a Master’s degree in writing and publishing who has recently returned to the creative writing fold. Visit her on Instagram and at