Running a startup and raising twin 5th graders through a season of wildfires, literally and figuratively, requires Rhonda Collins to be more compassionate about what’s possible in a 24-hour period.
“I end up feeling the way I know a lot of working moms feel,” she says. “If I never slept, if I didn’t have a family and didn’t have anything else to do, there would still not be enough time in the day for me to do everything.”
It’s why Rhonda recently began starting her days by asking herself what the single most important thing is for her business and her family, rather than a to-do list.
“Sometimes it’s two things, or maybe it’s three things, but it’s not 137 things anymore,” she says.
“I feel like that’s all I can do,” she says, adding that she ends the day reminding herself she did her best. “These times are just super challenging.”
Rhonda’s instincts to pare things down to the essentials are what led her down an entrepreneurial path after “an incredibly satisfying career that really fed me” as a social change documentary filmmaker.
“I had my twins a little bit later in life, and so I had a long stretch of living fairly minimally,” she says, recalling the visceral reaction she had to the growing pile of brightly colored toys and baby gear that began accumulating in her living room.
“I was faced with having two small children and having to figure out, ‘I gotta sell this stuff, or I’ve got to give it away,'” she says.
Rhonda’s realization other parents shared the same challenge was the impetus to create ToyCycle, specifically as a service that places value on the time spent with our kids instead of sorting through an excess of outgrown toys and baby goods.
“I did not wait this long to have children so that I could then just work my ass off all day long, every day of the week and never see them, never actually have quality time with them,” she says.
Interestingly enough, 2020 dished up an abundance of time that would normally be limited with tweens or teenagers.
“I see them in the morning and then I go up and I check on what’s going on, and they show me an assignment they’re working on,” Rhonda says about their co-located work and school schedules. “Then we eat lunch together and they bring me down a smoothie that they just made.”
“I feel like we are much more bonded and together than we ever have been,” she says.
On Fridays they have movie nights huddled in a chair with popcorn. She also carves out one-on-one time, as challenging as it can be with twins.
“I feel best about myself and about my life when I just step out of my business self and say what I want and need to do,” Rhonda says. “Right now, it’s been time with my kids.”
“I feel connected, like life feels like it’s supposed to feel,” she says. “If I forget that for a few days, I just keep reminding myself of that.”
“Let’s just read together, let’s spend some time together, let’s hang out,” she says about her new definition of accomplishment. “That’s it.”