Moms Who Make It Work * Brooke McLay

by Camille on September 20, 2010

I first started reading Brooke’s blog when it was called “Conversations with a Cupcake”. I was hooked on her witty writing style, and creative photoshop skills. And of course, fell in love with the delicious meals and treats she was whipping up. Her blog has since evolved into what thousands of bloggers know as “Cheeky Kitchen“. Read one post of hers and you’ll be addicted to everything about her. I am so thrilled that she has agreed to participate in being featured – especially since she is right in the thick of publishing her first cookbook!! Can not wait!

Your name and hometown:
Brooke McLay, Colorado Springs, Colorado
 
Blog(s) / Website (s):

www.babble.com (daily contributor)
www.sheknows.com (daily food columnist)

How many kids?
4 Fantastic kiddos, ages 12, 10, and 7-year-old twins.

Besides being a mother, what else consumes your time?:
Other than motherhood which is number one, number one, number one, and cooking up fantastic kitchen treats, and writing my daily articles for Babble and She Knows, the biggest thing consuming my time right now is putting the finishing touched on the first of my two cookbooks.  Writing a book is such a fulfillment of a dream for me, but it takes a massive amount of time and focus.  So, lots of afternoons, I find myself dialing my sisters to see what’s up at their houses and gossiping the hours away.  I love sisters.  I love family.  I especially love when sisters and family make cookbook writing tremendously more exciting with fancy phone conversations. 

What is the biggest challenge you’re faced with right now?
The biggest challenge for me right now is the biggest challenge I’ve faced since becoming a mama twelve years ago–balance and time wrangling.  There is always too much to do, and so I am constantly trying to be aware of the best ways to focus my time and energy to bless my main priorities…my husband and children.  Everything else is so secondary to that.  So, while there may be some stress with deadlines and due dates, I always try to have faith in the time I’ve been given.  Trusting that, when I put the right things first, all the other things will fall into place in the time I have left.

With so much demanded of you, how do you “Make it Work”
I make it work by faith.  That may seem a strange answer.  Maybe I can explain.
 
Several months ago, I attended a getaway with several very well known bloggers.  While there, I met and talked with many of those women, and every one of them said the same thing: they were harried and stressed and didn’t know how to find a good way to be a wife and mom and a working gal.  There’s got to be a better way, I thought.  There has to be some way for us all to find and feel peace.   I set to work for the next several months, trying to piece together an answer to The Great Mommy-Time Conundrum. 
 
One evening, while folding laundry and feeling exhausted beyond measure, I had a very clear realization that I was wearing myself out because I was putting all the wrong things first.  I was spending so much time frantically trying to meet writing deadlines and fold clothes and tidy the bathrooms that I wasn’t spending time fully giving myself to that which truly replenishes me.  I realized, under this feeling of hectic, frantic, rat-race running was a deep belief that I literally did not have enough time to do everything I was supposed to do.  I was being driven by fear.  For me to “make it work,” I needed to change the force that was driving me.  Rather than work harder and faster to accomplish everything I thought I should accomplish, I needed to BELIEVE that tending to my most important priorities, would  actually allow me to create enough time to properly accomplish all the other things. 
 
Do you mind if I wax biblical for a moment?  While studying out the principles of time and faith, I happened upon Ecclesiastes, Ch. 3.  You know, the Beatles song.
 
“To everything there is a season…a time to laugh, a time to cry…”
 
If you turn to that chapter in the King James Bible, it’s actually written like this:  “to everything there is a season, with the “is” being italicized.”  In other words, the scripture seemed to scream at me from the page: there actually IS time to do everything.  Of course, it also means we have different seasons in our life.  But, for me the lesson wasn’t about what a season was.  It was about that italicized “IS.”  And, what that “IS” was saying was this: if I allowed faith to motivate me, rather than fear, I would literally be able to create enough time to accomplish everything I needed to accomplish.  In other words, by giving my time freely to my most important job–motherhood and family–two things would happen.  First, I would be re-energized because I’d no longer be wasting so much time worrying about all the things I wasn’t doing right as a mother & wife.  Second, In having faith that there IS time to accomplish everything put on my plate in this season of my life, time would actually be created for me.  Time would be literally extended.  It would be slowed.  My ability to work, remember, organize, discern, write, study, fold, shower, and clean would be accelerated.  With faith, my capability to accomplish would fit perfectly in the time I had each day.
 
After reading Ecclesiastes, I decided to try it out.  I decided to replace my fear of being a bad, busy, over-scheduled mother, with faith that I had the minutes I needed for each day.  I began to believe that I did, in fact, have time to “make it work”, so long as I making my main priorities my actual priorities.  It’s been absolutely remarkable to see the result–the flow and flowering of time, the gentle blanketing of peace.  When I have faith that there is time…time to listen to my children, time to read with them, time to sit down and help them with homework, time to head outside and play Capture the flag, time to call my husband and tell him I love him, time to snuggle with him at midnight…the minutes of the day seem to be literally slowed down.  I accomplish more of what I should accomplish.  I complete more of what I must complete.  I believe that I have time to do all that is placed on my plate.  And ,that belief has, indeed, made it brilliantly possible.

If you had a full day to yourself, free of daily responsibilities, what would you spend it doing? Where?
I would fly with my hubby & kids to Peru and work with the children at The Villa La Paz Center for Destitute Children (http://www.villalapazfoundation.org/).  We’ve got a family service trip scheduled there for next year, and not a single one of us can wait for the opportunity to arrive.  Even if it was only for one day, I think our entire family would agree that it would be a remarkable way to spend 24 hours.

What would be your advice to other mothers trying to “Make It Work”?
Have faith.  Cherish this season.  You have time.  Hug your babies.  Color on the kitchen table.  Breathe. Taste. Savor. Believe. Possibilities and wonderment await.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steph September 20, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Isn’t she about the sweetest lady in the world?

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2 Emily September 21, 2010 at 12:08 am

Wow, I absolutely love her comments on a time and a season. I think I’m going to have to try that out!

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3 Tauna Egan September 21, 2010 at 5:49 am

She sounds absolutely delightful.
I’m off to color the kitchen table.

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4 Vanessa September 21, 2010 at 8:36 am

Ooooh I love her!! I am glad you featured her!!

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5 Camille September 21, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Isn’t she awesome? Imagine my surprise when I put 2 and 2 together one day, and realized we went to high school together! :) (of course, I’m the older out of the two) :)

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6 Ashley September 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

I have been reading her blog for a while and I absolutely love it. She inspires me. Thanks for spotlighting her!

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7 Melissa Darr September 21, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Oh i follow her everyday! Love her and her blog very inspiring!

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8 Shaina September 22, 2010 at 9:04 am

Brooke, you are my favorite, my absolute favorite. Wonderful choice, Camille!

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9 Kim September 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

Brooke is one of my very favorite people in the blog world – Even though we’ve chatted on the phone and sent numerous emails, I can’t wait to meet her at some point in person. She is as genuine as they come. She’s full of energy, ideas, creativity. But even more importantly, she loves her family and children with all her heart and relishes in the joy of being a mother. Thank you Camille for featuring her! She is definitely a mom who “makes it work”.

Kim Christopherson

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10 Deirdre September 25, 2010 at 9:12 am

Wow!

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11 Brooke September 25, 2010 at 10:23 pm

Dear Everyone,

Thank you so much. Thank you for kind words and tender sentiments. And, grand and glorious hugs to Camille for offering me the opportunity to join her here at MIWM! Thank you! Thank you! Happy week to us all!

~Brooke

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12 Amy September 27, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Her site is beautiful and witty. I started reading it back in the Conversations with a Cupcake days too. She seems like an amazing woman. Wishing her best of luck on her cookbook.

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13 Jennifer (Savor) October 18, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I am touched and blessed to have you – you really have touched my soul Brooke.

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