A cornerstone part of the PowerSheets proven process? It can be used by any woman, in any season of life. When we changed the name of our company two years ago, it was to create a platform to tell more stories of women cultivating what matters in their own lives, right where they are. And boy, do we love talking to the Cultivate community!
Whether it's on Instagram, in the PowerSheets Facebook Group or in individual emails, we get fired up hearing about your goal progress and coaching you. But we've also realized the need for more voices. More wisdom from fellow Cultivators who have walked the path ahead of us. That is why I'm thrilled for today's post and the kick-off of a brand new monthly blog series: introducing the Ask A Cultivator series!
We're kicking off the series today by hearing from Natascha Trapp. Natascha is a wife, mom to four, and the Head of School for a local classical university-model school, and she's going to answer some of the questions we recently received about finding the seemingly-elusive balance we often hear talked about in our spheres. Natascha will also be sharing more of her story and what she's learned at our Making Things Happen Conference next month. We can't wait for our attendees to learn from her!
Tell us more about yourself: I am a wife to my amazing husband, Jon Trapp, and mom to four beautiful children—Neely, JW, Noa, and Justus. Jon is a lawyer, and I spend my days (aside from being mom) as the Head of School to an amazing school of families like us who are intentional about more time and more influence in the lives of their children for greater impact in God’s Kingdom.
Do you have a morning routine? What does it look like? My morning routine has changed so much over the last several years and even months! This is what works for me and my family now—in this season of life, where we are this month, this week. On Monday and Wednesday mornings, my four children and I head to my school campus, where I lead the faculty and staff and they attend classes with their campus teachers and classmates. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I attempt to wake up before everyone else, so that I can have some quiet time for myself, and to prepare to teach my children. These days look very much like traditional homeschool days for my family, and I choose to wake up with the mission to stay in front of things—and the little people. My husband usually makes breakfast for our family. When the kids wake up, we do a devotional and eat together as a family. After breakfast, we pray and worship, and our homeschool day begins!
Do you have an evening routine? What does it look like? My evening routine is centered on getting the children to bed by 7:45 pm so my husband and I can have intentional time together. Dinner is served by 6:30, and the children are in PJs with brushed teeth by 7:15 pm. (No, we don't bathe our children every night!). My husband does storytime with our older two children (they are 6 and 7 years old), and I read to our younger children (ages 2 and 3). Jon and the older two children read pretty great books (almost the entire Chronicles of Narnia series, The Wishing Spell, The Little House on the Prairie, and more). The littles and I opt for multiple stories each night!
Your job gives you a front row seat to watching families prepare students for transitions (like back to school). What advice would you offer someone who is trying to prepare well? One area of advice that I am working through in my own life right now is this: put the first things first, and let go of what doesn't fit. In thinking of the big picture, I ask myself one question: what is most important, and does my day/week/month reflect that? When the answer is no, I know that my priorities are not in order. When I choose to start my day with what matters most to me—my faith—I find I am most successful and centered. Another piece of advice is to set realistic expectations for yourself. I have struggled most of life with over-ambition and perfectionism, but I've slowly learned I can only do so many things in one day, one month, one season. I need to set realistic expectations, focus on them, and work to achieve them, then move to the next thing.
Speaking of seasons of transition, I'm sure this is a busy one for you and your team! In a busy season, how do you prioritize self-care? To be very transparent, I am not the best at this. I have to work to make myself a priority, and there are seasons when I have done a better job of it. In this busy season of raising four kids, pouring into my marriage, and running a school, I have chosen to be content with getting a shower before everyone gets up. When I am blessed with the opportunity to get a pedicure, I am over-the-moon happy!
How do you handle the stress of all the to-dos on your list–the ones from work that you just can’t delegate or not do? I just plow through it—with the help of Jesus and some caffeine! When the stress is heavy and there is a lot going on, I go back to my why. I remind myself it's about more than getting the work done; it's about hard work and perseverance and knowing the Lord will give me what I need to endure the stress and handle the task at hand. Your "why" might look different than mine, and that's good! It means you're focusing on the things that matter most to you!
Part of our PowerSheets Prep Work encourages women to think through the things they are saying YES and NO to in the year ahead. What are some of the things on your YES list? YES to date night with my hottie once a week. YES to spending more one-on-one time with each of the kids. YES to teaching my kids on home days and not being distracted by my phone, email, text, etc. YES to using my PowerSheets more regularly! YES to read at least one book a month. YES to more frequent quiet time with Jesus.
Alternatively, what is something you've said NO to recently? NO to multiple extra-curricular activities for my children in one season! We give our children the opportunity to all do the same activity together or to choose different ones and participate in different seasons. I don’t want to be the mom that spends a majority of the evening in the car transporting kids from one practice or lesson to the next. We prioritize intentional time together and talking with our children, and we've found it hard to do that in the hassle of getting from one activity to the next.
How do you decide what to say no to? Again, for the sake of transparency, I am not the best at this, but when I do say no, it is normally because there is no way for me to feasibly accomplish the task at hand while still completing something else that is more important. For me, it is a matter of prioritizing.
Speaking of using your PowerSheets, what are some goals you have for the year ahead? I am currently working on making sure that my home days are about my family—namely our children—first, and not being distracted by emails or phone calls. The main reason I invested time in co-founding a University Model School was to have more time with my children. They are growing so fast, and before I know it, they will be well on their own. It is essential to my husband and me that we are intentional about knowing each of them intimately and shepherding their hearts towards Christ. This takes time, but we know that it is and will be worth it.
How do you unite on goals with your spouse or significant other? Our vision for our family is aligned most of the time. The times when it isn't aligned, my husband and I sit down and have a conversation about our thoughts. Sometimes it goes well, where one person voices a concern and the other listens and responds, and sometimes it does not. But grace abounds, and we learn for next time. I highly recommend writing a mission statement as a family. My husband and I tried this a few years ago, and it is instrumental in helping us think through issues that arise with our children, how we shepherd our resources, and where we spend our time. In writing a mission statement, you and your spouse draft a statement that answers key questions about the ways you’d like to see your family operate and what your end goals are all areas of life. The process alone of writing a mission statement is enlightening and facilitates discussion surrounding topics that are important to both of you. It is important to be proactive in discussing these topics so that when (not if) issues arise, we have an understanding of each other’s expectations.
Anything else you think would be helpful for fellow Cultivators? Recently, I went through a season where it became very obvious the plan I had mapped out for the current school year was not going to happen. Factors completely outside of my control influenced my plans, and the Lord showed me that we live this life to glorify Him. It isn’t about me or my plan, and that His plan is so much more perfect and awesome than ours. When I accepted this fact and pivoted, not only did I experience peace, but I was able to move forward with joy. You can control how you respond to obstacles in your life.
What questions do you have for future fellow Cultivators? Any suggestions on women you'd like to see in our monthly column? Feel free to leave a comment! We love hearing from you!