Keeping Time: Kate Pascoe Squires - The Grace Tales

Keeping Time: Kate Pascoe Squires

Do you ever wonder how the women behind successful businesses do it? I certainly do. How do they run a mini empire, organise the household, get the kids out of the house with packed lunch box in hand (wearing fresh clothes or uniforms, not last night’s PJs), keep on top of an exploding inbox, arrive on time for meetings (without sticky finger stains on clothing) and be punctual for school pick up? These wonder women probably walk the dog morning and night too, barely breaking a sweat.

Well lucky for us, some of Australia’s most successful working mothers were happy to share their time management strategies with The Grace Tales. It turns out that, while they are seriously well organised, they’re also partial to granting themselves a leave pass, serving toast for dinner, skipping the kids weekly swimming lesson and cancelling an engagement if it means less stress on the family. I think it takes great strength to know when to let go, shrug your shoulders, and say, 'ok, so it won’t happen today, big deal', reschedule and move on.

My daughter Olivia is almost three years old and I’m only just easing up on myself now. Three years of worrying and stress later! Yes we run a pretty tight ship at home but I try to care a little less if something slips or doesn’t go according to plan. Well, aside from the time I was so focused on work I forgot to pick her up from nursery. But she happily joined another class – none the wiser I was 45 minutes late.

This is the first of our 'Keeping Time' series which we will be running over the next few weeks. You'll discover that the reality is, the women we profile are just like the rest of us and can also feel overwhelmed by the great juggling act that is our lives. BUT they have developed amazing strategies to cope with the mounting pressures.

So be prepared to take notes from the experts (they love a ‘to-do’ list) – it’s time to start laminating weekly schedules, setting the alarm for the crack of dawn, doing housework after the children are tucked in bed at night, switching your phone to flight mode, and most importantly, asking for help.


Co-founder Kate & Kate, mother to Harry (5 years old) and Helena (3 years old)

What are your tips for keeping the household running on time?
Get up earlier than your kids if you can! The hour before they wake is such valuable time. It’s so peaceful. I find it to be the most productive time of the day. I don’t always take this opportunity (hello, I love my sleep!), but when I do, everyone’s day seems to run so much more efficiently.

Do you work to a tight schedule?
I do but I try not to enforce that on my kids. I pack my days to the brim, but I always try to give them space to just be. I walk my five-year-old son Harry to school every day and he rides his bike. I treasure this time and even though we need to arrive by 9am, I make sure we have time to dawdle on the way. Same with my three-year-old, Helena. Even though she has lots going on, we leave lots of space around activities. Pulling my kids from pillar to post is not my idea of fun – nor theirs!

What do you do personally to make the daily juggle easier?
I always tidy the house at night and prepare for the next day’s activities. Uniforms out, swimming bags ready to go, lunches prepped… you get the idea. Everything is on the kitchen table ready to go. That way, even if things get a bit crazy in the morning, it’s not a huge stretch to get everyone out the door. I also try to get the house in some kind of acceptable state before the school run. I work from home, so when I return, I want to get straight into it – not start packing the dishwasher or making beds. I sometimes like to give myself a leave pass too… that means that washing stays dirty for the day or the kids eat toast for dinner. At the end of the day, you can’t do everything, everyday – I’m just realising this and it’s quite freeing when you let go. It gives me the motivation to get back into it the next day.


Do do the children help out?
I’m definitely working on this. Harry can get himself dressed now, so I lay his clothes out the night before so he can get himself sorted before breakfast. He also takes the rubbish out for me and helps clean up (sometimes). I’m finding it’s the little things … like both kids can brush their own teeth now, so they take care of that before heading out in the mornings. Any job that’s off my list is a good one!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the juggling act?
Yes, ALL the time! But then I take a breath and think, would I want it any other way? The answer is always no. I thrive on the juggle!


Photography: Julie Adams Words: Georgia Macmillan