This is an amazing time to rediscover what brings you peace and joy. It is vital to relearn what nurtures the spirit. Read, paint, walk outside, hit the park sites in your area, camp with kids, and teach the kids to hit the bed earlier! Now is your moment to press pause and place emphasis on what matters.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.
As a part of my series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Christina Garrett.
An Alabama resident, Christina Garrett is a productivity and organizational coach for busy professional women and mompreneurs across the globe. As a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of 5, she facilitates a community of multitasking women who are juggling faith, family, and business. She supports her community and clientele through 1:1 consulting, conferences, and VIP Reset Experiences — mini-retreats for busy women to press pause and refocus on their priorities.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?
Thank you so much for this opportunity! My journey of working with moms came out of a drive to find greater fulfillment, peace, and productivity in my motherhood journey. At the time, I was a mom of 3, ages 2 and under- a toddler son and a set of infant twins! To say that I was exhausted and frustrated with self was an understatement. On top of physical exhaustion came the reminder that I had a degree that I traded in for toddler-ized clothes and was feeling like a glorified diaper changer. I had a surreal moment that there must be more — that although I was a wife and mother, I knew I was so much more. I also knew that there were other women out there who were feeling like I was.
I started The Momathon Diaries online community as a way of telling my authentic story. I wanted women to normalize the feelings of loving motherhood, while not always liking it. I wanted them to know that it is okay to seek after healthy self-care, to work on their dreams, and to pursue well-balanced time management. The shifting of priorities encourages them to get more done by strategically doing less. I work with my clients now to help them streamline their schedules, communicate with their families, and use delegation as their superpower!
Now our community has gone global with thousands of women connecting to and being empowered by one another. They are creating new opportunities to practice self-care and take back control of their schedules. Even better, we gather and encourage each other at meetups, workshops, and summits to bring the power of online sisterhood into real life.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?
The most interesting story that has happened since we began building our community was in 2016 when my husband was walking across the street and was hit by an oncoming car. Miraculously, other than some bruises and soreness, he made it. I went live on Facebook the next day to celebrate how good God had been to our family and how I felt urged to pray for his safety that morning. Little did I know that we would be hit (literally) by chaos that same day.
Amazingly, out of all my Facebook videos and vlogs, this one about the power of being a hopeful, praying wife went viral, garnering over 9 million views. The video took me from being a small online community to having thousands of followers, many of whom were now sending me instant messages about their marriages, motherhood journeys, and morel. We were even highlighted on Fox News as a community interest story! Notwithstanding the temporary notoriety, I am most grateful I still have my husband!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
One of the highlights of the Momathon calendar year is our annual conference. Therein, ladies come from all over to “run away from home” and are refreshed in an epic women’s weekend. We do sessions focused on empowerment, business, home management, and how to get more done by strategically doing less!
Unfortunately, since COVID-19 has transformed how we can safely gather, we made the bold move to do a hybrid event. In our hybrid conference, we adjusted our normal number to provide an intimate experience for about 25 ladies at a beautiful 5-star resort. We will deliver the same content but will stream the sessions, concert and more to our ladies around the country/globe as well. It is definitely a new vibe for us. We are used to gathering in person and drawing energy from each other. However, when in unchartered territory, pivot with a plan! Many of our ladies are craving interaction and fellowship, and told me that they were coming — no matter what!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am so grateful to my father for his endless influence in my life. Although he has passed on, I can always remember him teaching me how a woman should be treated and appreciated by her husband. He also instilled in me the power of writing down my goals and putting the steps behind the vision to see it come to life.
I was always a little embarrassed having such an ENGAGED parent! He was most opinionated, bold, obnoxious. He actually ended up being the neighborhood father for all of our friends who didn’t have dads at home. My father was a minister and licensed, home improvement contractor. It took me years to deeply appreciate his calloused hands and shorts covered in paint. His teaching and influence gave me a strong foundation for choosing my own husband and for creating a family life I enjoyed.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?
The Garrett family was in the trenches before COVID-19. We have been a homeschooling family for eight years now. Authentically, I never had a plan to homeschool my kids, it seemed to be a better alternative given our hectic ministry schedule. For example, can you imagine getting home from a church event at 10 PM; then homework must be done. Late nights and early mornings would not work for our crew. Along with homeschooling, we have both operated both business and ministry.
One of our biggest challenges has been lack of community during the pandemic. Prior to this spring, our homeschool journey has been augmented by homeschool organization meet-ups, piano and art lessons, field trips, sports and more. My children are extremely outgoing and engage well with both children and adults. It has drawn on my patience and creativity to guide them towards positive resources, books, and activities that will excite them and keep them entertained without me having to hover over them! I have also focused on being content that they will be KIDS — loud, talkative, and busy. Our children will not know what to do with their imaginations and energy if I do not give them the opportunities to use them, so turn off the tech, moms, and let them wonder.
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
A big suggestion that I make to many tired mothers is to move up their children’s bedtime or to incorporate quiet time (in their rooms!) in at the end of the night. You can tell your children, “You can be awake, but you should be reading, drawing, or something restful during this time.”
Most importantly, in that we are all at home more often, it is inevitable that some light friction comes up amongst family members. As parents, we have to be committed to stepping in to address issues as they occur.
Another problem resulting from sheltering in place as a family is that is that the home always needs cleaning! This is already a problem when a family is not home all day every day! To remedy this, I made my older children (12, 10-year-old twins, and 5) in charge of cleaning specific spaces! They alternate kitchen days and the remaining children tidy the areas that get the most activity. Having assigned duties minimizes confusion and the kids are more committed to a clean home when they are the ones to do the work!
These methods help any mother to have more peace and productivity at home.
Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?
My biggest work-related challenge is centered around being busier than normal! Now in the midst of the pandemic, I have more clients than ever. Priority management is so vital for all busy moms, and I am not exempt. On a daily basis, I plan out my week to include time with my family, cleaning, client calls and time for self-care. There will be days when one child needs something more than usual or my husband wants to go on a spontaneous date. Preparation early in the week gives me flexibility and eliminates procrastination.
In conjunction with the needs of my family, I am also spending more time consulting and speaking on virtual summits and podcasts. Now more than ever, professional women and mompreneurs are looking to regulate crazy schedules and handle both home management and work. Because the Momathon community mission is to maximize women’s effectiveness both at home and at work, my calendar has been booked by women who are trying to streamline their schedules. I rely on the priority management principles to keep our home running smoothly (most days!).
Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?
As a work-at-home-mom, I have had to be diligent about turning off my computer and phone, especially social media, at a certain time every night! In the past, I have gotten absorbed into working but have not always been productive. However, now, by utilizing priority management, I am able to do what is more fruitful in my business versus simply being busy.
It is also my aim to awaken earlier and finish earlier so that I can focus on family at the later parts of the evening.
I also ask myself two questions: What am I paid to do? What can I delegate?
Each woman has a list of things that will directly grow her business. She should focus on contacting potential clients, follow up, sending invoices, and delegate what she can! A prosperous life is made up of multiple facets: faith and family first and then building businesses and careers second. It empowers me to know that I have the time to do the most important items on my agenda. It is up to me to regulate those hours and eliminate the irrelevant.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?
In addition to the two vital questions listed above, I implore moms to honor their family’s natural biorhythms. Are they trying to wake their children early when their bodies are saying sleep in? Are the moms putting off work until the last thing in the evening when they are most brilliant in the morning? One of the benefits of homeschooling is that each family can determine what works best for them! Embracing flexibility and flow is paramount. Traditional school forces everyone to be on the same itinerary. Now is the time to listen to the family’s heartbeats and tune them to what works for them as individuals.
I also encourage busy moms to look at the bigger picture. The pandemic is not our forever. Therefore, consider “Respect and Relationship over Education” every day. Respect and the love that comes from a strong family dynamic will go much further than just this 2020 school year. In the same way, hurtful comments, anger, and frustrations during homeschool/virtual school can last beyond the pandemic as well. Let’s commit to healthy and open communication and building strong relationships with our children. Amazing children come from homes where they feel loved and supported, not based on where they went to school.
Take the pressure off to be perfect and focus on respect and relationship.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?
In order to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, I emphasize the power of self-care to my family! Everyone needs time alone, even the kids! Because we are a big family in a smaller space, I allow my children to go somewhere in the house by themselves. They can collect their thoughts, breathe without anyone talking to them, and come back when they feel up to it. My husband or I will go and check on them if they are missing for too long, but breathing space is healthy and restorative.
This habit helps them to remember no matter how much you LOVE someone, you do not have to be around them 24/7 to express that. Everyone needs a break. I also teach this by taking quiet time for myself. When I can swing it, Mom is in the Starbucks drive-through or eating ice cream in the Dairy Queen parking lot.
Run away, moms, and help your kids snatch a few moments of quiet as well. It makes a monumental difference.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective, can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
#1) The COVID-19 crisis has presented numerous opportunities to serve the local community. Our church has been hosting a weekly food drive in partnership with the food bank. We have given away hundreds of baskets of food to support those who are momentarily struggling.
#2) There has been more doors opened for parents to spend close knit time with their children. While it was unexpected, there were many parents who were working long hours and only saw their children for a minimal amount of time. This pandemic time has allowed for more time to spend at home.
#3) Time for brainstorming and creativity has blossomed! The initial plan for 2020 may have changed, but there are open doors and windows everywhere. Necessity is the mother of invention. I have heard of so many businesses being started and organizations making amazing shifts during this time. Now is the time for creativity that is birthed through quiet time, reflection, and planning.
#4) Families are now connecting in new and exciting ways. Often, parents have been able to see certain areas that need nurturing and improvement during this time. The need to slow down and take time off from every day life means a more rested and in tune family. Perhaps I am only speaking about myself, but I was exhausted from being on the go all the time. Rest is needed.
#5) This is an amazing time to rediscover what brings you peace and joy. It is vital to relearn what nurtures the spirit. Read, paint, walk outside, hit the park sites in your area, camp with kids, and teach the kids to hit the bed earlier! Now is your moment to press pause and place emphasis on what matters.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Feeling anxious is almost always a by-product of wanting to be more in control of our external circumstances. Since we cannot control what is going on with the pandemic, the economy and a host of other matters, why don’t we step into what we CAN control? I can manage myself, my home, my goals, and my vision for the future.
I would recommend the sage advice of counting one’s blessings in specific! What is going well? How have an individual been fortunate during this hectic time? It may not be all of what we would choose, but it is hopeful that the needs have been met by one means or another.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” — Brian Tracy
I have spent many days wishing and hoping for a different result when it was actually in my hands to transform my life. While I believe that God sends blessings our way, I also affirm that faith and effort go hand in hand. If we do not plant seeds in our gardens, we will not get a harvest. This quote helped me to get to work and start planting!
How can our readers follow you online?
They can find me on both Facebook & Instagram @ The Momathon Diaries (@themomathondiaries) and at my website. www.runningamomathon.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!