Kate Arends is an entrepreneur and a self-starter. She’s one of those people who loves managing multiple projects and having several balls in the air at the same time. Nearly a decade ago, Kate started writing essays about mental health and her own personal journey. Today, her popular blog, Wit & Delight, shares stories of designing a life well-lived. It’s a popular lifestyle brand that dives into fashion and personal style, interior design, careers, travel, entertaining, and health and well-being. She seamlessly writes about a range of topics with grace and punch. In addition, Kate hosts a weekly podcast and sells her prints and office products in various retail locations.
Wit & Delight’s is headquartered at Studio 125 in Minneapolis, MN. Kate has been a leader in the digital industry for more than 10 years, but recently has taken on a whole new “project.” After getting married in 2015, Kate and her husband Joe are now parents to two adorable little kiddos, August and Birdie. With this new family focus, Kate is juggling her busy schedule more than ever, and has become an inspiration and role model to many working moms.
Kate’s perspective on parenting is authentically “her.” She believes that spending quality time with her family is the core factor on how her life is being shaped. Kate is clear about the importance of self-time to thrive fuel her creativity. She doesn’t see it as a work-life balance, but as more of an integration of #worklife and #momlife.
As the mother of two active kids, a blogger and a full-time business owner, Kate knows how hard it is to find time for yourself. She is quick to explain that before kids, her “own” time may have been a bit of an afterthought. There was usually enough hours to tackle her to-do list, or at least make some good progress. With kids, a mom’s time is more precious than ever, with personal time being a rare luxury. Sometimes that means staying up or getting up early for an extra few hours to collect time you need for yourself.
Children give us the gift of surrender– to vulnerability, love, imperfection, and the illusion of control. And most of us are better people because of it.– Kate Arends
Kate recently launched the Wit and Delight podcast. (We love that as she is a mom, who says you can’t find the time start a new project!? Way to go!) Kate started the podcast to help herself and her readers find their own truths about what they’re experiencing in their own lives, to feel a little more comfortable in their own skin, and to “design a life well-lived,” which is Wit & Delight’s tagline and mantra. Podcast topics center around parenting with her husband and what they’ve learned about relationships and parenting. Kate talks about what makes sense for her and her husband, and she hopes that by sharing her stories, she can be inspiring to one individual, somewhere.
A small but powerful thing Kate does daily is to look for small #worklifemomlife wins. For example, she recently gave a shout out to Joe, because he is her partner in dual parenting. She knows it’s important to identify what works for them as a couple, as well as for her own self-care.
Kate explains that one of the best ways to manage your time is to find little things that you can hack and make life better. Here are a few of her mom-slash-businesswoman recommendations:
#WorkingMomHack 1: Multitask
Have a dance party in the kitchen. It’s a great time to bond with kids, move a little bit and play their favorite soundtracks. The kids are engaged, smiling – most of the time – and while the energy is high, Kate suggests using the time to load the dishwasher and clear off the dinner table. This allows daily family time and also shifts the focus from a chore to a something fun they can do together.
#WorkingMomHack 2: Keep your creativity
Kate explains that a great way to connect with toddlers is through coloring. She found that coloring at the breakfast table (or any rainy-day activity) can fuel creativity for at least 30 minutes. With the colors and paper on the table, Kate joins her kids and creates in her sketchpad. Because she has her tools right there, she is able to work on developing a new art print or on her #100daysofcreativity challenge. She may only get a few marks on the page, but she cherishes this special time with her kids. It feeds her creativity and isn’t time away from the kids.
#WorkingMomHack 3: Prioritize yourself
Kate finds that late evenings and more recently mornings can offer crucial moments she can make herself a priority. She says that this time can help get yourself centered , focus your thoughts, and work on be a better partner, mom and businessperson. Kate keeps her routines simple and uses checklists to make the most of her free moments. As a parent, the never-ending to do list can seem overwhelming, even when you have 60 minutes of unscheduled time. Kate uses checklists to prioritize and focus. Here’s example of her checklist to see how she takes advantage of “free” time. You can download it here.
#WorkingMomHack 4: Handle the hard times with grace
Kate picked up this hack from a friend, who, like Kate, also has two kiddos. Her friend is also a business owner and a mom. Kate was always impressed that her friend was positive, patient, and unfazed by the ups and downs around her. It’s a model that Kate reflects on and tries to embody the positive energy throughout the highs and the lows. Life with kids can be chaotic, so it’s important to take a breath, stay calm and try to handle the hard times with grace.
#WorkingMomHack 5: Design a life well-lived
When another human – even a mini human – enters your world, life becomes an adjustment. You experience a lack of sleep, stuff and activities crowding your space, and of course, a house full of extra love. It’s important to recognize this shift and understand how you want to design a life that meets your changing world. Subtle changes may be necessary. For example, Kate used to enjoy relaxing with a glass of wine while soaking in the tub. While this can still happen, it doesn’t happen often. Her new wine time is to enjoy a red while making dinner or spending time with husband Joe.
Kate’s working mom hacks have helped her become a better businessowner, partner and parent. She says her life is not about balance; it’s an integration of her work life and her mom life. They overlap, intersect, are messy, thrilling, exhausting, and beautiful, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. We can all take a page from that.