I’ve been working from home pretty much since AG was born, even though at that point my businesses were more hobbies. Over the past three years, both my blog and business have grown substantially. During that time we also had another baby, which made juggling working from home even more challenging.
Right now, I’m working about 6 hours a day, 4 days a week and about 3 hours a day for the other two. I work once on the weekend, usually waking up before everyone else or while AG is at gymnastics. During busy seasons my hours are longer and slower seasons, shorter. All in all, I’m pretty busy each day with work and two littles at home. Many days are chaotic but most are pretty productive. I feel like we’ve finally found a routine that works well and has brought me the balance I had been searching for over the past three years.
One of the questions I get asked the most on here is “how do you do it all?” Every time I hear that question, I laugh. The answer is… I don’t.
I don’t think there is such a thing as the perfect balance. Nor do I think there is such a thing as being able to do it all. I think you do the best you can each day. Some days things will go as planned and you’ll feel accomplished. Other days will be chaotic and you may not cross one thing off your to do list, especially when there are littles needing you on a daily basis. That is life. Being able understand and accept that is the first key to being a successful work from home mom.
Like I mentioned above, balance is something I had been searching for while staying home. Last fall, I felt like I was drowning. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get work done, dinner made, the house cleaned and so on. What happened way too much throughout 2015 was that my work interfered with my family time. I wasn’t the wife or mom I wanted to be. So, my goal for 2016 was to reevaluate everything on my plate and figure out a way to make it to where I was still contributing to our family while keeping them my number one priority.
It’s been about four months since I made big changes towards a better work/ life balance. Here are some things I do on a daily basis that help me create that balance.
Schedule– Make a schedule. This is where my planners come into play. I have a planner for my everyday life, a planner for my blog and a planner for work. For work (SMWL) I have an order calendar. On the monthly section, I have when orders need to ship. On the daily section, I have the orders I need to complete each day. When my daily max is filled, I push my production time out in order to not increase my daily workload. For blogging, I have a list of idea posts for the month and a tentative schedule for when I’d like to get them out. You can read about how I use my everyday life planner here.
Daily To Do List– After checking my planners to see what I have going on that day, I make a to do list every morning. I try to focus on one thing for the house, three blog tasks and then whatever else I have going on. What I like about make a list in my planner each day is that I can go back at the end of the week and try to tackle the things I wasn’t able to get done.
Be Flexible– This really should be number one. I think the one thing that was a big hinderance in the beginning with me, was expecting to be able to do it all. The expectations I had for myself were far from realistic. I had way too many things on my to do list. Never said no to others and tried way to hard to make everyone happy. I was so hard on myself when things didn’t go as planned each day. One of the biggest changes I’ve made over the past four months is flexibility. I have half the number of tasks on my to do list, give myself one entire day off a week and a few half days where I don’t do anything having to do with work. I’m realistic with the time I have in this season of life that I am in. Once the kids are in school, I know I’ll be singing a different tune and will really miss these toddler days!
Get Dressed– This is important for me. On the days I don’t take some time in the morning to brush my teeth, change out of my pajamas and attempt to get a tad put together, I’m less productive. I like to get my workout out of the way in the morning so that I can shower and get dressed for the rest of the day.
Off Time– Take a break. Turn off social media, shut off email notifications, etc. Set specific hours and time aside where your business cannot interfere with your family life. This is harder to do when your work is home with you, but it is a must in order to have balance.
Have Fun– One of the best things about working from home is being home with my kids. I try to plan something fun with them each day and a playdate at least once a week. They are the reason I do what I do and I don’t want to miss out on these precious years.
Ask for Help– There are days I’m still overwhelmed, moments where I feel stuck and question what I’m doing trying to build a business from home. In those moments I have learned to ask for help. I have friends who have come over to watch my kids while I shipped orders, my mom comes one morning on the weekend to give me some uninterrupted work time. I really am not someone who likes to ask for help, but again….you can’t do it all.
Find Support– One of the things I miss the most about teaching is the women I worked with, the relationships I built and the adult conversations I was able to have. With blogging, I’ve made some amazing friends that are kind of like my co-workers in this WAH life. One of my best blogging friends, Emily and I touch base every day with each other. We go over our top three for the day and pretty much talk all day about progress and crazy kids. Having her support on a daily basis has made such a positive difference in my day.
Knowing what you need to do and want to do is the start of creating balance. From there, make a list of how much time you have to get things done without it taking away from your family. After that, see what you can pencil in to those hours. Start small with your list and expectations. Do your best each day without being hard on yourself when things don’t go as planned. Most importantly, give yourself grace.
This post is part of a blog hop from Blogs & Business. For lots of other tips on balancing motherhood, work and real life, check out these participating blogs:
The Art of Better | Being Mrs. Beer | Women Winning Online | Mommy My Way | xo -Ava | Kori at Home | Ma Bell Vie | Stellar Mama | The Jessie K | This Kenyan Traveler | Blue Eyed Babies | HebrewDawn | Leah With Love | Fighting for Fitness | Tot Tot Goose | Nuture Her Nature | Blogihealth | A Cotton Kandi Life | The Bipolar Mama | Simple Acres | Dawn P Darnell | A Kreative Whim | Scarlett Ballantyne | My Unfiltered Chaos | The Big Red Patch House | The Mother Blog | Diary of a New Mommy