Malena Southworth is the founder of the branding and website design studio, Southworth Design Co. She and her husband, Mike, an American Airlines pilot and USMC Reservist, have been married for 16 years and live in Aledo with their three children, Dane, 10, Isla, 7, and Jude, 5, and their blue heeler pup, Lulu.
6AM Alarm goes off. I hit snooze … twice.
6:20AM Against my will, I roll out of bed, brush my teeth, and then head upstairs to wake the kids. Mike’s on a trip, so it’s a dance party wake-up! Still haven’t decided whom this benefits more, but it works. Dane dresses, brushes his teeth and heads down to get breakfast on his own. Isla resists a little and snuggles deeper into her blankets. I pick her up out of bed and walk her to the bathroom. Jude would prefer school to start at noon. Refusing to open his eyes, he gives a few grunts of displeasure at being woken at such an unseemly hour. Me too, kid. Me. Too.
6:45AM Dane is having cereal and a protein drink. I quickly make “flat eggs” for the littles (fried egg whites with salt and pepper). Lulu is awake now and constantly underfoot, hoping I drop something edible. I remember the kids need snacks, and Dane needs a packed lunch. Kids grab their own snacks. I pack a frozen PB sandwich, apple, carrots, granola bar and juice for Dane. Sounds healthy, but it’s practically the only things he’ll eat, much to my dismay. “Everyone have everything? Folders, water bottles, homework … why is no one wearing shoes? Socks and shoes, kids!”
6:55AM We finish breakfast in the dining room to watch for the bus. We do morning affirmations, say a prayer and roll on Thieves oil to keep the germs away. Quick hugs and kisses, and kiddos run out the door for the bus. Thank God for the bus!
7:05AM Clean up breakfast, let Lulu out, and get dressed. Even though I work from home, getting out of PJ’s helps me take myself more seriously. I’m fairly low maintenance, so BB cream, concealer, blush, mascara and lip balm.
7:30AM Start a load of laundry, let Lulu back in, make a cup of green tea and sit down to read my Bible and talk with God. The house is quiet. I love this time.
8:15AM Breakfast: two scrambled eggs with truffle salt, avocado, tomato … and another cup of tea.
8:30AM My workday starts. I say a quick prayer over my work and my clients, and then organize my tasks for the day.
9AM Mom calls. We talk multiple times a day. We laugh a lot. Our understanding: she reserves the right to say what she wants, and I reserve the right to not heed her advice, even though I usually do. It works!
9:15AM Gather images for branding project. Create inspiration board. Edit, omit and arrange images. Write design brief. Record a quick presentation. Twice. Trim video, upload to Google Drive and send link to client.
10:50AM Prep for client call. Pull up existing website, intake questionnaire and contact info.
11AM On the dot … call. Chat for 45 minutes about what they have versus what they want, and how I can help them get there.
11:45AM Promptly put together a proposal and send. Oh! Did I spellcheck?
12PM I remember I forgot the laundry. Rush laundry into dryer, praying that awful mildew smell hasn’t set in. Sniff. I think it’s okay.
12:15PM Mike calls. He just landed and is coming home! I take out chicken for dinner. Grab a glass of water, some fruit and get back to work.
1:30PM Mike’s home. I get hyper-focused in creative work and skip lunch often, so he grabbed Salsa Limon. Love that man! Quick lunch break.
2PM Check emails. Continue organizing web content to prepare for page layout design.
3:15PM Time for kids to come home. I am standing at the front door with Lulu, and the kids race to get first hugs. They realize dad’s home, forget all about me and shower him with hugs and kisses. He’s been gone for three days and was very missed.
3:30PM Snack, homework and chores.
4:15PM Kids play outside with friends on bikes and skateboards in the driveway. I marinate chicken for dinner.
5PM We all head to Body By Chop, the gym we belong to. I’m a little competitive, so I push myself to keep up with (read: beat) Mike at each station. Not smart. The kids watch and mimic exercises from across the open room. They’re a little competitive, too! We leave sweaty and exhausted.
6:15PM At home. I shower. Mike starts the grill and plays Frank Sinatra on vinyl. Our kids think the record player is the coolest thing ever. We trade off. I stir-fry veggies and make sure the kids are showering.
6:45PM The clean and mostly dressed kids set the table. Isla finishes dinner in minutes. “Boys, take a bite.” Never thought I’d have to remind anyone to eat. Yet we do … daily.
7:15PM With minor bickering, the kids clear their dishes and ask for a show. They pile on Mike while I load the dishwasher.
8PM Send kids up to brush teeth, potty and get in bed. We hear giggling.
8:10PM Once upstairs, kids scramble to their rooms. We visit each, say prayers and give kisses. Mike says, “Goodnight Neverland” on his way downstairs. I turn on their music.
8:30PM We finish cleaning the kitchen, and I finally fold laundry from the dryer. A small child creeps downstairs and is sent back up. We usually open a bottle of wine, but it’s Thursday, so we pop open champagne (obscure Failure to Launch reference). We find a movie we haven’t seen on Netflix and relax.
10:30PM In bed. Mike reads news on his phone. I check emails, proud of myself for going to sleep rather than working tonight. Trying to choose best things over good things. Sleep is definitely the best.