Two years ago I appeared on the Josh Hall Web Design show chatting all about motherhood and business, spilling the tea on how “I do it all”. It feels a little surreal even now, and I cringe a little when thinking about it because It was my first interview and it pales in comparison to what I know now. So here is an UPDATED refreshed version of candidly spilling the beans on motherhood and business! My hope here is that after reading this post you’ll feel seen and less overwhelmed because you’ve learned mindset shifts for managing motherhood and business which will allow you to approach the challenge with useful tools and confidence. So let’s get right into it.
Balance is an illusion and sacrifice is only what you make of it
You’ve color-coordinated your calendar. You’ve carved out exactly 2 hours of undivided attention to your children every day between 4-6 and there is no wavering from that. You’ve also carved out, 8 hours of intentional work, 1 hour to work out, 2 hours to meal prep, 1 hour of housework, 1 hour a week for date night, 1 hour for budgeting and running the kids to extracurriculars… Should I keep going?
I’ve been here. Stressed beyond my max feeling like my multi-color gel pens are going to be the difference between feeling overwhelmed and having “it all together”. “If I plan just a little more If I am just more intentional, I will finally have some… balance.”
You get a week in and realize the color vomited all over this paper that was supposed to provide you with clarity and balance is actually an unrealistic anxiety-inducing cluster fuck that you would rather not look at again, and you wonder why you even wasted your time doing it.
What if the idea of “Balance”, the thing we are all told we need, is actually creating more chaos? Does it leave you feeling like this?
What if balance is an illusion? What even is balance? Is it equally divided time? Is it fitting in all of our responsibilities on all days? I would say balance is subjective, and often times it’s the pursuit of balance that drives us further away from it.
Sacrifice is only what you make of it
When we strive for balance we are typically doing it in an effort to serve all areas of our life consistently so one does not become sacrificial to the other. We often view sacrifice as having a negative impact on whatever is on the sacrificial end. However that is not the case, and what is being sacrificed will change at any given moment. Let me redefine sacrifice for you.
Sacrifice – an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.
Whatever is not important at a given moment in your schedule is inevitably being sacrificed. While you are working, you are sacrificing time with your kids. When you are with your kids, you are sacrificing time in your business. Sacrifice is necessary and inevitable when you are prioritizing your time and to-do list. When we understand this, we can ditch mom’s guilt and stress. Sacrifice is a necessity and not something we should fight against with an idealistic goal of balance. Most importantly, you should never feel guilty for pursuing your dreams.
As you grow you need to pivot your expectations and your mindset
Does this sound familiar? I was admittedly the mom who said I would never have my child in daycare. I wanted to do it all. I had an idealistic idea of how I would manage my time with both a business and a toddler. As my business and my task list grew I has to pivot my expectations and let go of a mindset that was holding me back. I can’t do it all and neither can you.
Sometimes we hold onto ideas that only feed our idealistic vision but don’t serve us in our current reality.
I enrolled my kiddo into 2 days a week of school and it served me more than the idea of doing it all did. She loved interacting with other kids during the day and honestly has way more fun there than she would be watching Mom work all day. I was able to pour more time into my business and serve my clients with more energy and value. Pivot your expectations to match your reality and needs and you’ll experience exponential growth.
My practical tips for working with the kids at home
Two days a week I work with my toddler at home with me. And those days are more challenging than when I have dedicated time to flow into my work. Here are the things that help me on these days plan and get things done without losing my mind! BONUS: If you are an ADHD mom like me you’ll find these tips extra helpful!
Flexibly plan out your week
Seriously ditch the paper calendar it isn’t serving you. You cannot be as flexible with a paper calendar as you can be with a digital planner like Google Calendar. You need to be able to move tasks around when needed without the anxiety of running your beautifully color-coded planner. I LOVE and swear by Google Tasks with Google Calendar. I have been using Google Calendar for over a year and it keeps me on track and so organized.
Stand up at your counter to avoid the up and down [Seriously you will drive yourself insane]
Stand in a centralized location where your kiddos can access you. You can reach what you need easily and you can tend to those “Can I have a snack?” requests for the 3rd time. You will only frustrate yourself getting your children settled and cozying up in your office chair for some intentional work, only for it to last 5 minutes. Save the intentional cozy work time for days that you have childcare or help on hand.
Don’t make work a big deal, don’t announce it, just do.
I used to tell my toddler “Okay mommy has to work” [as if she understand fully, silly me] and hope that it would buy me 30 minutes of interruption. Now I don’t tell her I have to work. I just work. If she asks I explain what I am doing. I still tend to all of her needs but I also ask her to be patient if I need an extra moment before directing my attention. It doesn’t need to be announced, just make it the norm and do you. You will be surprised by the amount of independent play your kiddo initiate when you let them do their thing.
Carve out intentional time for play for yourself and your kiddo
Play is so important for YOU and your kiddo. No matter how busy your schedule is, try and fit in some really exciting playtime. The kind that leaves you exhausted and fulfilled. Take a trip to the park, the splash pad, the pool, and our even outback. We know this to be true for our kids but we often overlook this for ourselves. What is play to you? Reading a book? Binge-watching a show? Getting your nails done? Redecorating or doing a craft? Do things FOR YOU that you also consider play. You’ll feel more fulfilled, energized, and just a little closer to that thing called “balance”.
So there it is an UPDATED refreshed version of candidly spilling the beans on motherhood and business! My hope here is that after reading this post you’ll feel seen and less overwhelmed because you’ve learned mindset shifts and tools for managing motherhood and business which will allow you to approach the challenge with useful tools and clarity!