Dear ETR: "How does someone like me fit anything else into a day?"

“I’ve recently started reading your newsletter. Some of your advice sounds great – but help me here. I already get up most mornings at 6.00 a.m. I’m at work by 8.30 a.m. In that time, I’ve taken the dog for a walk, done a load of washing and hung it out, packed lunch for my husband (who leaves at 7.00 a.m.) and children, and then gotten myself and my kids out the door and off for the day. There’s no time at work for me to be working on my own personal goals. You can imagine what it’s like at the other end of the day… not much time left there either!

“I have many goals and lots of things I want to do to further my life financially and otherwise – but how does someone like me fit anything else into a day?

“Realistic advice greatly appreciated!!!”

Anna Power

Sydney, Australia

Dear Anna,

You are the woman every man secretly hopes his wife or girlfriend will turn into. You earn a living, take good care of your family, and do it all before you think about yourself.

I could tell you to get up at 5:00 or 5:30, but I’m going to put that in the What-Kind-of-Male-Chauvanist-Is-He box.

Instead, here’s what I recommend.

Explain to your family that you have dreams too. Remind them that they’ve been benefiting from your selflessness for many years now. Tell them it’s time for them to square the deal.

In the old days, a good man worked eight to 12 hours a day and the wife took care of the home front. Today, we have thrown that model in the dustbin. Women are often expected to contribute to the family’s income. And when they do, that means the man of the family has to kick in around the house.

You work full-time. Your husband does too. You should be splitting the family work 50-50. That means he should be doing the work you do – walking the dog, making meals, and washing clothes – as often as you do. Switch weeks or days, but get him to take on his share of the load.

And your kids – what kind of message are you sending to them? Do you want your daughters to grow up thinking they have to defer their dreams? Do you want your boys to become full-grown men who expect their wives to work 40 to 60 hours a week and pick up their underwear too?

Even in the old days, children were expected to work. All seven of my brothers and sisters had regular chores – daily and weekend chores – that were mandatory. We were taught to be proud of that work. Our parents were kind enough to teach us that working for the family was a good and honorable thing.

My daily job was cleaning the dishes after dinner. My weekend job was scouring the sinks and toilets and bathtub. Nobody could clean a kitchen or bathroom better than I could.

We ironed our own clothes. We made our own lunches. We helped out!

MaryEllen Tribby, ETR’s CEO and Publisher is a working mom. How does she do it? “I get up at 4:45 Monday through Friday, and sleep in on the weekends until 7:00,” she says. “I pack school lunches the night before while my husband does the dishes. We split all household duties. For example, I usually do the grocery shopping and he does the cooking. My nine-year-old and seven-year-old pick up their rooms and have very specific jobs around the house. My kids have wanted a dog for years, and we’ll finally get one this year because the two older ones will be able to help out. If we had gotten one sooner, my husband and I would have ended up taking full care of the dog, and that was just not an option for us.”

If Mary Ellen can do it – while running a multimillion-dollar business, you can do it too. So get that family of yours into gear. Give them the opportunity to have their wife/mother get some free time every morning to achieve her dreams.

Your life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s a one-time show and you are the star. Act like the star you are and your family will enjoy your glow.

– Michael Masterson

[Ed. Note: Trying to accomplish your goals and take care of all your everyday responsibilities may seem impossible. But you can do it just by putting a few simple strategies to work.

Send your questions to Include your full name, your hometown and state, and the ETR team may answer you in an upcoming issue.] [Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]