Well I sure hope I can do this topic justice. Finding balance with mom life and business is the number one thing that I see mom’s and soon to be moms also running a business struggle with or battle or just don’t know what to do about. Here is the thing. I’m gonna throw this out early. 1) I am not an expert in the area by any means. I feel the guilt on both sides and I have a constant internal battle of where my priorities are. 2) what works for me, may not work for you and that is totally fine! You find that groove and run with it. 3) I don’t think there is one right way to go, you want to put your kids in full time daycare and run with that business GREAT. You prefer having your kids at home with you and working when you can, Thats awesome. Know that they both come with trade offs and whichever you prefer to do, is what you think is best for your family. Nobody gets to judge you on that decision and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.
I’ll start by explaining my situation and the decisions we have made as a family. I am married to a very handsome and very busy pilot. He flies for United Airlines and is also quite busy working for the Navy as a reservist. This is not an unusual situation there are plenty of women in similar lifestyles. What I will tell you, is that this means he is gone ALOT and his schedule is very random, BUT when he is home he is home. Because of this, among other things, we decided that I would pursue working from home to be available for our girls. Not only that, but I WANTED to be home with our girls. I love being home with them. I love being the one raising them. And I love that I get to soak up as much of these early years as I can. Also, because I work from home, that means when the hubs is off work, we can run off and explore, travel, and connect as a family. Now I will say this. It is HARD to pursue your dreams when you are also chasing toddlers around your house. Also, mom guilt creeps in real fast if you are on your computer all day or connecting with people on social media when you should be playing with you kids. I NEVER want my kids to draw a picture of me at school someday and all they can think of is me sitting at a computer or my phone glued to my face. So here are a few of things that I keep in place to make sure I am pushing the needle forward on my business but still being an available mom to our kids.
Set Clear Boundaries for Work and Play
This one may seem obvious but you would be surprised how easy it is to let the lines become blurred. If I don’t set clear boundaries for myself, I have a hard time turning my brain off. So a long time ago I had to tell myself, when I’m working, I’m working and when I’m playing, I’m playing. This might mean that I go radio silent on Instagram while I’m connecting with my family or traveling. Don’t worry you all get to hear about it later. It also means that I try not to be on Instagram or working at all on the weekends (aside from sessions). Having clear boundaries tells me, ok right now I need to focus on the task that I’m doing and I will play later. OR I get to fully enjoy the playing that we are doing knowing that there is a time and place for me to get the work done.
Take Advantage of Nap Time
I am not a late night worker. Night time is my time and when my husband his home it is our time. So I don’t work at night. Some people will stay up late doing all the things for their business but that doesn’t work for me. Also I really like my sleep. So nap time it is. Yep I have toddlers and yes they nap. Well sometimes Keelin fights it but either way she has to have some quiet time (doctors orders). It is SUPER tempting to use that time to just revel in the silence or binge watch some show I can’t watch in front of them and honestly sometimes I do. Sometimes that is self-care in my world and we are all better for it. However, taking advantage of that uninterrupted time to work is beautiful. In the mornings when my brain wants to be working but I’m busy with the girls, I remind myself that nap time is my time and I can be present now and work later. I guess its a little like compartmentalizing or or batch working. (If you don’t know about batching working you need to get on that ish). Naps should give you a couple of hours worth of work time and if you use it right you can get a lot done. I will warn you though, if you are in the middle of a project or task when they wake up it can be jarring. At least is for me. I’m not great with this transition so if you have an idea to help with that leave it in the comments!
Scheduling and Calendaring
This one helps a TON! As a big picture person I get overwhelmed with the small steps it takes to move forward. I often feel like I’m just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere and a lot of that is because I was lacking direction and focus. I guess this is where we can throw goal setting in as well. When I say scheduling and calendaring, I’m talking about putting in your planner when exactly you are going to work on certain aspects of your business. You can calendar out for the year with big launches and things you want to work toward. Think more short term on what needs to be accomplished for the month and then bring it all the way back to each day of the week and what you will do to make things happen. I’m talking setting aside time for things like; checking email, curating your Social Media posting, time to engage in your social media, back end work for you biz like blogging, accounting, managing clients, editing galleries etc. Once you have it all mapped out and have set aside time for the things, you won’t wake up each morning frazzled wondering what you should do that day and feeling like you never move forward. When you are batch working in 2 hour chunks (aka nap time) you have to really focus those blocks of time to be sure that its used effectively. Some people are very rigid to their schedules and calendars BUT when you are home with kiddos and you have a crazy inconsistent schedule like mine, it is really important to also be flexible. Ill get to this soon.
Runaway When You Can
Ok, don’t actually run away. I know, I know, I said I want to be home blah blah blah. Occasionally, and I really mean I don’t do this often, we are talking like once a month, I will take off for the day and hit a coffee shop by myself while my husband watches the kids. This gives me the whole day to really get through a lot of work uninterrupted without guilt. Some people like to hire the occasional babysitter to have these days or are lucky enough to have a mom or mother-in-law near by that you can let the kids have some one-on-one time while you work. I think its great and its valuable. Again, I don’t get to do this very often but when I do I really appreciate the time to focus and a break from the girls isn’t so bad either.
Flexibility is KEY
Guys, I honestly think this is one of the keys to a happy life, but that is just my humble opinion. Life as a working from home mom means sometimes you have a sick kid that throws your schedule. Sometimes it means you are going adventuring instead of working (at least in my world it does). Sometimes it is just that your kids are having an off day and you need to be super present with them even though you had calendared time for editing. Sometimes it means that you are all deep cleaning the house for the day and Marie Kondoing closets instead of checking emails. ITS OKAY!!! Life is spontaneous and its ok for your business to be the same. Others may argue that this is poor advice but I will tell you it goes back to your priorities. What are your priorities? Is it pushing the needle forward if that means ignore the needs of your littles? Or is it to be the best mom you can while also pursuing your dreams and showing your kids they can do this too? If the task you had planned for that day gets foiled, no worries, move it to a new time slot. You can still get it done. It just might not be today.
Having kids at home full time and running your own business is hard. It is. If you are already running a business and thinking about adding kids, know that things may change a bit for you. Your priorities may shift, your time becomes more valuable, but its the best job in the world. Being a mom is a true gift and having the opportunity to have a job that you love at the same time is magical. These early years go fast and the season will fly by. And as Wendy Laurel told me, “you may have to be patient with yourself.” It doesn’t mean you have to give everything up. It doesn’t mean you have to quit. It just means you adjust. You find your groove. And you kick ass at being a mom and an entrepreneur.