Although balancing motherhood and running a business has been something I’ve dealt with since I started my own business, going through it again with a newborn is a new ball game. I may give the impression I have it all down but that is far from the truth.
When I started my own business my first born Nikolas, was 3 years old. Like any active 3 year old he wanted my constant attention which made getting work done a challenge. I felt a lot of guilt – when I worked I thought I should be spending time with him, yet when I was playing with him, I thought of all the work piling up. Being a mother and running a business is tough especially when both are full time jobs. There’s no recipe for the perfect balance (at least on my book that is!) but there are tips and steps one can take to get priorities in place and get work done. Going through it for a second time with a newborn, has taught me a few things:
Unlike in a traditional work environment, working from home while taking care of your kids is challenging. Having a daily routing can be a life saver. Your time is precious and you can’t afford to waste any of it. Get organized! I don’t mean just organizing your computer files, or prioritizing your to-do list. Although very important, I find putting some sort of order in your own life and family daily routine also is a life saver.
The first month after we brought home John was the hardest. I constantly felt tired – the lack of sleep nearly killed me. My time was spent by nursing, bathing and comforting baby (he was very colicky for almost 2 1/2 months). Things got easier with time – as they should! We now have a daily routine and somehow worked baby’s schedule to fit ours just perfectly. Our family’s routine is simple but works for us. Aaron takes care of John in the wee hours of the morning – for an hour or so before he heads out to work, which gives me just enough time to catch up on my sleep and start my day rested.
Most of women I know have a hard time delegating work – or sharing the load so to speak. This is a hard one for me. I struggle dealing with imperfection and saying “no” to potential clients but deep down I know my business will be better with it and might even possibly grow through ways I hadn’t thought it would before. For example, instead of having my hands in all aspects of running my business, I ask Aaron to help out with a few things, such as bookkeeping (a task I dread doing). This allows me to spend some time in doing what I love best, developing new products. I also have a wonderful assistant who lands a hand whenever I need her to – she is also a mom so working part time helps her as well as gives her a little freedom outside the home. During the months of summer, when Nikolas is home from school I hire a babysitter to come over and do some fun activities with him. During this time I tend to run errands or catch up on work.
Whenever a girlfriend of mine would tell me this, I would laugh. I didn’t think I needed to take time away from my family, my babies. After all they are my fuel – well, for the most part. Like any WFHM you can’t be at the top of your game if you lack sleep and are overwhelmed with all the things needed to be accomplished in a day. Instead, cut yourself some slack and remember, you’ll serve your family better when you are collected and in control. I force myself to have a downtime for half an hour or so during the day – when baby’s napping. The world will be just fine when I return. I am also learning to not feel guilty if Nikolas watches a whole hour of TV. I know it will do good to all of us if mama comes back refreshed and full of energy.
I used to think multitasking was crucial in being a mom and running a business. Over the years it has proved to be untrue. When I focus on one task at a time I swear I get so much more done. I’ve also learned to make lists and prioritize them. Scratching items off the list makes me feel accomplished. When I feel distracted by checking my facebook page, email, twitter and other social media sites, I simply try to switch all that off and focus on giving my family my full attention. It’s amazing how much I can get done if I limit my time in those sites.
I am always doodling ideas for my next project in hopes that one day I will see it finalized (oh, the thought of it!!) That day could be soon or it might never come. I am learning to make peace with such thoughts. The thought of my babies growing up so fast is a bitter sweet feeling in that it comforts me to know I will be able to work more in the future but at the same time makes me sad to see my time with them as babies is passing by so quickly.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share on being a working mom? I’d love to hear what works for you.
image source – here.