Arden Prucha, formerly a single mom, waitress and teacher, met her husband Paul 10 years ago when she was his server at Reata in Fort Worth. Paul is a local musician who works in construction, and Arden now owns her own photography business. The couple lives in Fort Worth with their five children: one boy — Pierson, 13 — and four girls — Parker, 7; Eden, 5; Lake, 3; and Gwen, 19 months.
6:30AM My alarm goes off to wake up Pierson for cross-country. He gets ready, fixes himself breakfast and finishes up some homework.
6:50AM My last snooze goes off. Sigh. I head downstairs and pack Pierson a middle school-friendly lunch in a “cool” paper sack.
7AM I wake up our oldest daughter, Parker, to get ready for school. We head downstairs with our pre-chosen school clothes and turn on Good Morning America.
7:05AM I make four lunches for the girls. Even though making lunches is such a daunting task, it’s the highlight of my morning ritual. I know I am sending them with healthy food, and they know Mommy took the time to prepare their meals for them.
7:23AM Coffee! I finally brew some coffee. If I brew it any earlier, it sits there and gets cold while I am in mommy mode.
7:32AM I fill up our first grader’s water bottle, then we pack up her backpack and comb her hair and top her off with a bow.
7:35AM My dad, “Baba,” arrives to take Parker and a neighborhood buddy to school. It truly takes a village.
7:40AM A moment of peace and quiet. I answer an email or two, peruse Facebook, chat with my photographer friends in a group message and see what kind of local and national news stories are making the rounds.
7:50AM My son’s father picks him up for school. (Seriously, we are talking about a village of helpers.)
8:10AM The three little girls (Eden, Lake and Gwen) causally wake up and eat a breakfast consisting of microwave pancakes — because these days, that is how I roll. I would love to do full-on hearty breakfasts every day, but that isn’t realistic right now. I remind myself that most days their lunch is awesome and healthy.
8:15AM My alarm goes off to give Lake her Coumadin. She has a severe heart defect called Ebstein’s anomaly and takes blood thinners to reduce her chances for another stroke or blood clot. She has endured three open-heart surgeries and has at least one more in the future.
8:45AM We get into hustle mode to get ready for preschool. This takes a lot of redirecting and herding. The 3-year-old loves to play and isn’t focused, and the 19-month-old enjoys running away from me as I try to get her dressed. Our 5-year-old has finally matured enough to get dressed on her own, and boy do I love seeing her funky outfit choices. Since my girls were small, I have been OK with them choosing their clothing for most occasions. It’s a battle I don’t want to fight … so they get some freedom with their style.
9:15AM Hair time. It’s like a factory line of detangling their bedheads.
9:20AM We shove lunches into backpacks and skip to the Suburban. Buckling children is one thing I won’t ever miss once they are older.
9:30AM We are almost late to preschool, but we arrive and greet the head of the school, as we do every day, because Lake adores her.
10AM I meet with wedding clients at Brewed to go over their wedding schedule, give them advice and ask them about any concerns (while sipping a chai tea).
11:30AM Time to head home and knock out some work. My husband texts me that he is coming home for lunch, so I make a yummy salad for the two of us. We eat, chat and discuss our scheduling needs and upcoming events.
12:40PM Finally, I’m able to sit down to edit photos, email, complete some phone calls and upload galleries for clients. This is one of the most important segments of my day as a business owner.
1:30PM Group text with the middle school mamas about who is picking up today — it’s me!
2PM Alarm goes off to pack up laundry and hangers for the laundry service that cleans, folds and hangs our kiddos’ clothes. Then I get back in the car to pick up the elementary and preschool kiddos.
3:30PM We are home! “Backpacks, folders and wash your hands!” is our little chant to remind them how to unpack their bags and get as germ-free as possible.
4:15PM Time to snag the middle school boys. I scoot all four girls out the door to get buckled in the ’Burb. At the school, our 13-year-old and his two neighbor buddies crawl into our already packed car, and home we go again.
4:45PM “Do your homework!” I gripe as I pack my bags for a photo shoot. My husband arrives home, and I go in for a quick smooch before running out the door to photograph a family. Meanwhile, Paul makes dinner for the kids.
6:30PM I run to the grocery to grab some quick necessities to make it through breakfast and lunch.
7PM At home, I cook a HelloFresh meal for the two of us while drinking a nice glass of chardonnay. Usually our son helps us eat our food too and of course Gwen crawls on my lap for a few bites.
7:45PM I give all the girls a bath with Disney tunes, quick scrub-a-dubs and play time. (Sipping more wine.)
8:15PM Jammies, a bedtime prayer, and kisses goodnight for the girls. Pierson heads to bed after homework, playing and Xbox-ing.
9:30PM After a quick shower, I snuggle up in bed with my husband to catch up on The Walking Dead.
10:30PM Time to try to sleep. My mind never turns off. I think about what I have this week and what I haven’t accomplished on my to-do list. I check Instagram one last time, say a prayer thanking God for all his blessings and kiss my fella good night. Finally, some shut-eye.
3:14AM The 1-year-old wakes up for some milk and snuggle time. I sleepily grab her from her crib and bring her in bed with me to snuggle as we both doze off for the rest of the night. 6:30am is coming too quickly.