Prioritize. The family’s nanny helps Beverly and Jules with their homework and takes them shopping for school supplies, but Staples handles the twins’ meals herself. “I really care about what they eat,” she said in an e-mail. “Not that I don’t care about homework, but they’ll always remember the taste of home, and I want them to be open to new tastes and flavors.”

Take the kids to “real” restaurants. When the family goes out to eat, they often go to restaurants that do not hand out crayons and puzzle place mats. The twins eat burgers at Volt or pizza and vegetables at Graffiato. The key to a successful restaurant visit, Staples said, is knowing your kids’ limits. Don’t take them out when they are overly tired or hungry.

Save weekends for the kids. Because weekdays are filled with school, work and homework, Staples and her husband, Jonathan, like to keep their weekends open to plan full-day activities with their children. In addition to birthday parties and play dates, they make day trips to Baltimore or Washington to visit museums and try new restaurants.

Go out with your partner. Staples and her husband frequently go out for a drink or dessert on weeknights, leaving the twins with a babysitter. It gives them a chance to reconnect after a busy day. “I don’t like to call it a date,” Staples said in an e-mail. “Dates are such a time commitment, and it feels like it should be for special occasions. Instead we go out a couple times a week. It’s part of our day.”

Make time for yourself. Staples gets up about 45 minutes before she wakes Beverly and Jules, so she can have a quiet cup of coffee and time to look at the newspaper. Starting the day that way puts her in a better mood, she said.

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A typical day in Hilda Staples’s life

— Mari-Jane Williams