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A Friday in the Life of Donna Nguyen-Pham

This Mansfield mom balances three kids and two jobs

Donna Nguyen-Pham is an accountant manager for XL Wholesale Packaging Supply Inc. and designs children’s clothing through her Etsy shop, SydneyJadeCo. She is married to her high school sweetheart and partner of 25 years, Dung, a radiology director for Arlington Memorial Hospital. Together they live in Mansfield with their three children, Jayden, 11, Mason, 5, and Sydney, 5.

4:45AM Wake up. Dung and I recently started training together. Life is so busy that it’s hard to find time to workout without throwing off our schedules. It’s been a lot of fun to push each other while doing something that our bodies need. We start with cardio, and then finish with 30 minutes of weight training. I feel exhausted, yet accomplished. It puts us in the best mood to start the day.

6:15AM Back home. Time to get the kids ready for school.

6:40AM Take Mason to his Daulton Dasher group to run laps with his classmates. Every Friday, these kids meet up early in the morning to go running outdoors before school starts—it’s such a great program to encourage kids to practice healthy lifestyles. Mason even signed up for a 5K marathon at school. We’re so proud of the little man he’s becoming that to support him, the whole family entered to join him in the marathon.

7AM Back home. Jayden mostly gets himself ready, but Sydney still lets me help her in the morning. She’s in kindergarten and, like many little girls, obsessed with unicorns. Anything unicorn-related will start her day off happy. So, unicorn cereal it is. I don’t follow any formal diet, but I’m a creature of habit when it comes to meals. For breakfast, I have coffee and Kombucha.

7:30AM Jayden heads out to catch his bus, while Sydney and I load into the car to drop her off at her and Mason’s school, Anna May Daulton. It’s a 5-minute drive, but we fill the car ride with conversation about the weather and what we’ll do this weekend.

7:35AM Start the commute to work. I love the ride—I think of it as my quiet time , but usually I turn up the speakers and blast some EDM Music on XM. (Mommy can be cool too, you know!)

8AM Arrive at work and pour another cup of coffee. I run on coffee all day. Sip and answer my emails.

12PM Lunch consists of a big salad with chicken. I’m always stocked up on healthy snacks—like nuts, dried fruit, jerky and granola bars—not because I’m obsessive about my diet, but to be a lifestyle. And God knows my kids can eat!

1PM The rest of the afternoon is spent calling on customers. I’ve been with the company going on 18 years, so I care deeply about my clients and like to keep in touch and know their needs.

4:30PM Leave work to pick up the kids from their afterschool Quest program. It takes me an hour in traffic, so I call my mom and my sister to catch up on our daily lives. There’s a six-hour time different between us, so we treasure these moments to share with each other.

5:30PM Pick up my three kids. On our drive to Sydney’s hip-hop dance class, they fight to tell me about their days at school. I’m not a dance mom, but Sydney has been dancing for the last three years and I spend most weekdays at the studio. Disclaimer: she’s not very good at it. But she loves it, so I love watching her learn routines and practice and interact with other kids. All the cute leotards and tutus make it easier, too. Jayden and Mason pass the time by FaceTiming their cousins to talk about Fortnite. 

6:30PM Home again. I love Fridays because I don’t have to worry about cooking; I just enjoy whatever the kids choose. My boys love well-balanced meals, like rice, salmon, veggies and sushi. Sydney likes chicken nuggets and mac & cheese. Tonight, Dung, the kids and I have ramen noodles. We’re all big fans of ramen. It’s super easy to make—just add some meat with the noodles, and voila.

7PM Dung and I review schoolwork with the kids before the weekend “officially” starts. As parents, we sometimes live through our children. My husband and I were born into families where English was a language that we had to teach ourselves, so it’s very important to give our kids plenty of guidance and support their educations. Once their schoolwork is done, we bond and reward them with motivational words.

9:30PM Kids get ready for bed, and I get to put in some “me time.” Of all the roles I play, I love being Mom the most. It’s the most rewarding and fulfilling job and my children make me extremely happy. But, raising a family is not the only thing I love to do. I head to my sewing room—my personal little escape—and work on some pieces for my handmade kids clothing line, SydneyJadeCo. It fills my heart with so much joy to see so many cute little babies around the world wear my pieces. I don’t know how I’ve gotten so lucky in life to have such sweet customers and such a sweet family, but I am taking it all in and living (and loving) my best life.

12AM Lights out.