How do you do it all?

I can’t even count how many times people have asked me this question.  How do you do it all?  There are many assumptions built into that questions.  “All” gets defined differently by different people.  Some assume that I have an organic garden that I farm myself, chickens in the backyard in a coop, homeschooled children, an immaculate house, give birth in the fog in the woods while also running a business.

I work hard at juggling lots of balls, but just to clear the fog… none of the most common assumptions are true.  Not even one.

First of all, I didn’t give birth in the woods and don’t want to – now or ever.

We eat real food, but we buy it at the grocery store.

The breadmaker gives birth to a loaf of bread every few days.

My idea of cooking is opening various cans of food, dumping them in a pot and using spices to be sure the result doesn’t taste disgusting. It usually burns.  Jimmy likes to eat more than burned canned food, so he took over the stove not too long after we got married.

I have an amazing friend who is literally the only reason there isn’t pink stuff growing in my toilet and a mushroom farm in the closet.

No pets allowed.  Period.  Not even fish. We have pondered a worm farm under the sink.  So far, all attempts at worm survival have failed.

We eat take-out more than I care to admit.

My kids are in school.  If I could add one more thing to our plate, we would homeschool our oldest son, a brilliant kid who loves math and science and thinks history, English, and vocabulary are a complete waste of time.  Why do our kids have to suffer through getting D’s in subjects they aren’t mature enough to care about?  Why can’t school be about teaching kids the things they love and molding them towards a broader understanding of life as they gradually grow up?   Andrew would be learning about electronics and building robots.  He would be analyzing meteorological models and shadowing the weatherman. He’d be building an eBay business around Pokemon cards and creating modular video games so kids can customize their Mario gaming experience.

If I could figure out how to homeschool him without dropping some other gigantic ball we are juggling, I would.  As I’m sitting here preparing for a week of travel covering a different major city every single day next week, I’m also pondering how to creatively drop a ball. We all have “grass is greener” syndrome about something… this is mine.

Jenn is the Founder and CEO of Cotton Babies. She holds an Executive MBA from Washington University. She was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Emerging Category for the Central Midwest Region in 2011. Among many other awards, she recently received a 2017 YWCA Leader of Distinction Award for Entrepreneurship. Jenn holds many patents on various inventions in a number of different countries and is listed as one of 50 Missourians You Should Know. She is particularly fascinated by languages, chickens, and children (she has four) when she’s not reading economics journals. Jenn offers mentorship to product developers at any stage in the journey from idea to shelf.