You have several little ones running around your house. You wake up in the morning, get everyone breakfast, play, and connect. You want to check your emails, write a blog post, fill orders from your shop, but how can you do this when your kids are constantly demanding your attention, especially in the younger crowd?
As I write this article, I have my two year old nursing in my lap.
I constantly struggle with balance. When I get an idea for a venture, which is frequently, I must run with it right. this. second. But that isn’t always possible without sacrificing the happiness of my children. Sometimes I am so focused on my work that by the end of the day, I look back and think, “Did I even play with them today? Did I look at them? Really look at them? Did we laugh?” And I honestly can’t remember. A whole day wasted without really noticing my kids. It feels like a tragedy.
Some days I have deadlines and they just sit on a tablet or in front of the TV for a large portion of the day. I don’t have a choice in these moments, especially when I don’t have anyone else to take them to play for awhile. Mama guilt is real and usually sets in at this point. These days I vow to do better, plan better, and prioritize better.
Here is my list of continuously evolving ways to balance motherhood and running a business from home.
Evaluate what your priorities will be each day.
I like to do this the night before while lying in bed with sleeping kids. What would I like to achieve tomorrow? Writing a blog post, doing a fun activity with my kids, or cleaning up the house? I write it down.
Let go of expectations.
If I expect to complete xyz in this amount of time, then it is almost always a guarantee of frustration and NOT completing whatever it is, especially if I want to complete it while my kids are awake. I am the sole caregiver during the day, so I can’t ask someone to take them out for me while I get a job done. When I want to work on a blog post while they are awake, then my expectation is that I will be interrupted. By accepting and embracing the interruptions, then my frustration is always less.
Give your child focused attention upon them first waking up.
If I want to get work done in the morning, then my best bet to accomplishing that is to give my kids my undivided attention first. They will feel more secure going off and playing for a 10 to 30 minute interval (or sometimes a 30 second interval), so that I can get a task done.
Managing your time is essential. This one is intertwined with evaluating your priorities. Assess (even write down) how much time you spend doing various activities in a day. Just keep a log going. Is there anywhere that you could cut time? I know social media can be a time suck, especially if you have intentions of just going online to post your most recent work, then you realize you have been scrolling through your feed for the past 30 minutes.
Turn “off” your work each day.
This one is a hard one for me because my computer is just waiting right there. “Oh, kids are distracted!” And I dash off to try and get in some typing (I’m writing a novel, so the typing is never-ending). It can be hard to shut off work, even in my head. I have to make a conscious effort to bring myself into this moment, right now, and be fully present with my kids. Not always, but sometimes.
Flexibility is an imperative life skill. It is freeing to allow yourself to be spontaneous, to take trips, and to step away from your work for a whole day because you would rather go camping (or watch movies all day). Being flexible means that you can toss out that perfectly curated list of things to do at any given moment. And you should do that, frequently.
If you have some like-minded mama friends that also work from home, you could work out a trade of them taking the kids for an hour while you work, in exchange for you taking their kids out for an hour so they can work too.
Include your kids.
This one isn’t always possible, but including our kids in our passions will set the ultimate example of pursuing our interests. My son was watching me build a website the other day, and wanted to build one himself. So we did some simple page building about light. He included some videos about the sun, images of light, and what the word light meant to him. It was eye-opening how easily he could learn what I’m doing if I just took the time to give him the tools. Our kids are more capable than we sometimes give them credit for.
“People very often say to me, “How did you do it? How did you raise a baby and write a book?” and the answer is, I didn’t do housework for four years! I’m not Superwoman, and living in squalor, that was the answer.”
Finding balance in any aspect of our lives is a tricky feat, but the good news is that finding balance is a flexible thing. If you don’t like the current arrangement, then change it.
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