Mahra Fox Pailet is a stay-at-home mother living in the Janmar neighborhood of North Dallas. She and her husband Kevin, regional senior vice president at an employee benefits and insurance company, have three children: Isabella (Bella), 16, Lyle-Ethan, 6, and Miller, 5.
6AM The alarm goes off. I’ll take snooze for 15, Alex …
6:15AM I’m up and convince myself that I’m fully refreshed and ready to tackle Monday. Kevin is away on business and I’m on my own.
6:30AM Three packed lunches and two cups of coffee later, I wake my two youngest. Lyle-Ethan dresses himself. Miller requires higher maintenance and I dress her in bed. I’m hoping she grows out of this before middle school.
6:40AM Breakfast. I remind Bella to put her book away and focus on eating. I know I’m fortunate to have a reader, but I don’t want a late start and its drama.
7:08AM Everyone is in the car but not in seats. Miller has a new game of hiding behind the third row that I don’t mind playing at any time other than morning carpool. Get. In. Your. Seat. Now.
7:12AM Finally, we’re off to two different schools, each located nowhere near the other but both the best fit for our kids, so we schlep.
8:10AM Grocery store. Every Monday, I stock the fridge like I’m feeding the cast of 19 Kids and Counting, and every Sunday it looks post-apocalyptic — nothing but empty containers, a half-rotten tomato and jerky-fied lunch meat. Who is eating all our food?
9:15AM Unpack groceries and push myself to do a 40-minute run/walk on my treadmill — best $65 ever spent with Craigslist. Downton Abbey on the DVR is a great distraction. I really don’t like exercise.
10AM Done. Still 10 minutes left in Downton, so I watch while deleting the mass emails that came in overnight and starring for later those I need to answer or act upon.
10:15AM Fast shower, moisturizer, sunscreen, quick ponytail. I’m back into black yoga pants, black tee and black wrap. Evidently, I’m the Johnny Cash of suburban motherhood.
10:30AM I put dinner in a Crock-Pot and decide to assemble some freeze-ahead Crock-Pot meals for our future dining pleasure. Current-day me likes knowing a healthy, homemade dinner is just a Ziploc freezer bag away; what’s left of my late-’80s-club-kid former self dies a little more somewhere inside of me. I laugh and indulge in a trip down memory lane as I prep.
10:50AM On to today’s priorities of collecting children’s clothing and art supplies for Vogel Alcove and feminine hygiene and personal care products for Jewish Family Services. For years, I resolved to complete a daily, tangible act of service and blog about it. I’m finally making it happen and grateful for Kevin’s support of my crazy plan.
11:35AM I have a meeting regarding a local food bank I’m hoping to help refurbish. I’m anxious to move forward, but planning and procedure prevail. That’s OK. I’m overcommitted and welcome the time this buys me.
12:30PM Dry cleaner, pharmacy, cobbler, Goodwill drop-off and a return at NorthPark Center. I respond to phone calls and schedule appointments as I go, thanks to Bluetooth, a gift from the multitasker Gods.
1:30PM I check and answer emails and touch base with the builder/BFF helping me remodel our kitchen. I remove myself from gala committee at one school. I’d like to be more involved, but I’m struggling to fulfill prior commitments. The best I can do right now is volunteer lunch monitor.
2:42PM Racing to 3pm pickup. I should have left earlier, but I have magical thinking when it comes to commuting: I’ll make every light, avoid every school zone and arrive in time to slip into the coveted first-in-line spot.
4:05PM Yay! No extracurricular activities on Monday. Off to the backyard for 30 minutes of play.
5PM Quick game of Candyland with kids. I jump online to check a Meal Train schedule, make dinner reservations for date night and confirm a parent association meeting.
6PM Dinner 9-1-1. Lyle-Ethan battles a feeding disorder that requires sensitivity and care when confronting food. He is hysterical, refusing to sit near the food on our plates. After patient negotiation, we finish in relative peace. Bella returns to homework and Miller and Ethan watch Disney Jr.
7PM Lyle-Ethan and Miller are bathed, brushed and ready for a story, but first, a video message from Kevin to the kids. He’s wonderful about sending videos and FaceTime-ing. Lots of kisses and “Do you know how much I love you’s?” before they settle into bed.
7:30PM Bella finally gets my undivided attention. It’s her first year at this school and we’re so proud of the great adjustment she’s made. I love hearing about her day. I remind myself to look into her learner’s permit tomorrow.
8PM I finish answering emails, compile tomorrow’s action items and do some online shopping for the kids using a 25-percent-off coupon I found on retailmenot.com. Don’t all moms hate paying full retail?
9:30PM Kevin calls and we spend half an hour catching up on the day. Everything about our conversation reminds me why I love and respect him so much. He casually mentions he committed to host a politician in our home. I’ll have to change out of my yoga pants for this, right?
10PM I get into a hot bath with readings for an upcoming class, part of a two-year leadership education program. I don’t know when else I’ll get it done. I’m hoping the steam helps the dense material penetrate.
11:45PM After my nightly ritual of counting my blessings (thanks, Oprah), my head is a mash-up of essays on collaborative leadership and tomorrow’s to-do’s. I drift off to sleep.
Published April 2015