Mary Pendleton lives in San Francisco, CA with her partner Josh and their three children, Nolan 2, Lua 4, Talitha 8. After a successful run as a social retailer for 3+ years, she discovered her passion for social media. She is sharing how the dream job she “designed” led her to be flexible, efficient and somehow prepared for a lockdown.
1. State of mind during the lockdown?
The first few days of quarantine were so overwhelming! People kept sending me homeschool resources and I could barely wrap my mind around it all. As a type 9 on the enneagram chart, I am usually calm, cool and collected. Those first few days I had some major meltdowns though! The routine has helped all of us - I am truly taking things one hour at a time and using the mantra “we are safe at home” rather than thinking we’re stuck at home.
2. Have you been able to create a routine that works for you and your family?
My older kids both have zoom school meetings every morning at 9 am. That normalcy feels so good! My husband is managing most of the homeschooling, so around that time I lock myself in my bedroom and start working until 1 pm or so. After that, my youngest needs a nap - we’ve found that napping in the car is the most peaceful for him, so I pack my laptop and a to-go coffee and drive him around until he’s passed out. We usually park in Golden Gate Park and he naps for 2-3 hours while I work on my computer, tethered to my phone’s wifi. We’re home by 5 pm, and our normal evening routine gets started. This schedule somewhat mirrors our pre-quarantine life which has made all the difference in the world!
3. How are you able to work while having your three children at home?
For the past two years, I have been working from home while simultaneously caring for my toddler. I had just enrolled him in full-time daycare this January - and now we’re back to our old juggling ways! One of my best techniques for working with a little one is having a car-office. I can get a lot done in the peace and quiet of my driver’s seat while my son naps. Sometimes I’ll even park in a shady spot, and take a call while standing outside the car. I know not every kid is good at sleeping in their car seat, and it’s probably not ideal for their bodies, but it is really getting us through the quarantine.
4. What are some ways you’ve figured out to make your days go more smoothly?
Definitely setting the tone with the right music. When we’re eating breakfast I like to listen to Elizabeth Mitchell for quiet, happy kids music. In the afternoons we let loose with Stevie Wonder. And in the evenings you’ll hear me call out to Alexa to play either Mozart or Norah Jones out of desperation! But it works.
5. Do you ever deal with the so-called Mom Guilt?
Oh yeah, totally. Especially with my husband doing most of the homeschooling, and me locking myself in my bedroom to work - it’s easy to feel like I’m ignoring my kids. But I keep reminding myself that they’re in good hands with my husband and I have a responsibility to continue running my business!
6. How have your kids responded to the situation?
They’re hanging in there. Having three kids is nice because they are usually pretty entertained. (3 is exhausting in other ways for sure, but that’s one of the perks!)
7. Sweatpants, dressing up or both?
Black leggings, a real top, and perfume!
8. What worries you most about the COVID-19 pandemic?
I keep thinking about how this will affect us all for years to come. I don’t really let myself get too worried, to be honest (again, an enneagram 9 trait) - it’s a self-preservation technique I subconsciously use to keep myself calm!
9. What do you miss the most and what will be the first thing you will do when the “world allows” it?
Childcare! Hahaha. But really, I miss quiet time and independence. I also really miss working from my favorite co-working space, going to the movies, and shopping at my local boutiques. I’ve been to Target for groceries twice since the shutdown, and it’s just depressing!
10. Any advice for parents both working from home with children at home?
Take turns going outside by yourself! My kids really pour on the guilt when I try to go for a walk by myself, but even if each parent trades off days going outside alone, that will make all the difference.
Love, Mary Pendleton
FUN FACTS: I met Mary through Instagram few months after I started to jump in the momtrepreneur wagon. We call each other "Instagram Friend". We got to meet in person for the first time at the inspiring In Good Company conference for women and mothers. She has helped me so much to understand the Instagram ropes. Mary made me discover the phenomenal women and community behind The Collab SF - a co-working and workshops space for women in San Francisco. I am forever grateful for the Instagram community and the new friendships it brings!
Marjorie | Founder Choix