Written by Dawn Kroeger

In celebration of Mother’s Day and support of moms who work outside the home, I’ve come up with five simple tips to simplify and improve quality of life for you and your family.

  1. Hire a cleaning person to keep your home in tip-top shape, but not one that requires you actually pick up the house before they come and clean
  2. Hire a full-time nanny to help out, especially at dreaded bath and bed time
  3. Have all food delivered by a grocery service and make sure it is healthy and balanced – NO TRANSFAT!
  4. Sign up for one of those online style services that just sends you clothes that match your personality
  5. Hire a trainer to come and shake you out of bed at 4:30 a.m. and drive you to the gym

Excellent. Once those items are complete, your life will be smooth sailing and stress-free. Oh, wait. What? You can’t afford all of that? You can’t find a trainer who makes wakeup calls? Yeah, me neither.

Like most women I have many roles in life – wife, sister, daughter, friend, team member, employee, 424959_10150520067426637_1617488211_nmentor, volunteer, and mother. While I am not defined by any single role, the most challenging and rewarding is that of mother. I don’t have a cleaning person, or a nanny. Laundry piles up and sometimes my kids end up on the bus accidently when they are supposed to be picked up from school. I try hard to plan the healthiest meals I can for my family but sometimes they eat Ramen noodles and McDonalds drive through.

Yet, I am a fantastic mom. I know this is boastful, but I am. I have been blessed to grow up both personally and professionally with extraordinary role models. I have learned so much by watching and understanding what makes a balanced, healthy, successful working mom.

My mo400516_10151015465666637_198613670_nm: While my mom, Jo, worked my entire life, most of it full-time, it never felt like she wasn’t there. She was always present. She practiced lines for school musicals, was there for sporting events, field trips, class parties, and even after a full week of work, would plan fun weekend road trips to the beach, zoo, or to visit friends. We always had clean clothes (she was better at this than I am) and she balanced our lives with focus and fun. I recall several fish stick dinners on the run, but this was part of the fun! Her actions taught me not to feel guilty over a fish stick dinner here and there – these quick fix meals allowed us to embrace life and spend more time on family bike rides and playground adventures. In turn, I don’t feel bad when I ignore my messy house, or surprise my kids with ice cream for dinner on the way to the children’s garden after work.  After all, spring is here – who needs clean socks? She must have been overwhelmed with balancing it all, at some point, like each mom is, but in true rock star mom fashion, we never knew if that was the case. We just knew she loved us, worked hard, and provided a fun and balanced life for us. My dad helped too, but this is not about dads today. You get your honor next month!

My grandmother: My grandma Mary worked full-time while raising six children. Let’s just say, maybe I am a great mom because I have two children. Most days three would push me over the edge into medium mom mode. But somehow, Mary got it done. She too, like my mom, worked full-time yet planned weekend trips to the beach for her brood each Sunday. I’ve seen pictures. The joy on the faces of the kids, the relaxed looks on Grandma and Grandpa. Clearly, she knew the importance of balance and it shows in the six hard-working children she raised.

Mother of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®: Mary Ellen Sheets, the founder of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®, has led by example and been an important influence in my life and career. As a single mom, leaving her secure job with the State of Michigan, she invested $350 in an old truck and took over the business her two young sons started. Her drive, faith, and commitment to supporting her family through entrepreneurship is inspiring. Mary Ellen’s stories of the early days of working hard, not having much money at the time, but donating her first $1000 profit to charity is a remarkably generous and humbling act. Knowing Mary Ellen and understanding the deep love she has for her children, and seeing the pride on her face when she talks about how far the business has come, is humbling. It was not always easy. I can only imagine the stress and heartache as she worked hard, as a single mom, to grow the business and conversely, the joy of watching this labor of love become the family business which provides for her children and now grandchildren. It is an honor to know Mary Ellen and her commitment first and foremost to her children as she worked to make TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® what it is today is something all moms can both appreciate and use as a source of inspiration.

On Mother’s Day, I reflect on the many moms who have influenced my life and I aspire to be as positive of an influence in my daughters’ lives. My Mother’s Day wish for all moms is to be blessed with strong, encouraging, role models who teach the importance of balancing work and career so you, too, can boast being a fantastic mom. Oh, and I wish you all the ability to provide your children with clean socks, even if it means picking up an extra pack at the grocery store when time doesn’t permit doing a load of laundry.

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