Before I had kids, I remember seeing the hashtag #worklifebalance on Instagram and being amazed at how some women seem to do it all. It didn’t take long after becoming a mom, for me to realize that there is no such thing as “work life balance.” Work, life, kids, marriage…it’s a constant juggling act and the more appropriate hashtag is truly #thejuggleisreal.
Whether you’re a mom of one or many, or you’re not a mom yet, running a business is hard work and so is parenting. If you’re not intentional about setting boundaries, it’s easy to get carried away with work, checking your phone at all hours and replying to client emails when your children (or hubby) should be your priority. Or on the flip side, it’s just as easy to get stuck in mom-mode and put your business on the back burner as you rush from pre-school pick up to gymnastics, to play dates and everything in between. At the end of the day, one extreme makes you feel like a bad mom and the other makes you feel like a bad business owner. I used to live that struggle on a regular basis and as our family grew, things only became more difficult.
My INSPIRE Mastermind group made vision boards last winter and as I desperately tried to find that “work life balance”, one of the quotes I pasted on my board read “Work Smarter, not Harder.” I’ve adopted that as a mantra and with the support of my wonderful business coach, INSPIRE Founder, Rhonda Hostetter, I was able to begin making the changes needed to do just that. I realized I had to set some boundaries so I could be a better mom, a more attentive wife and a more professional business owner.
If you’re in the midst of the struggle (or juggle) – trying to grow your business, start a family, raise children – you are not alone! But there is a way to make the juggle easier. Keep reading for my top three ways to work smarter not harder, and for ongoing business support or one-on-one coaching, be sure to contact INSPIRE Business Community today.
Invest in Childcare
As my business became busier and my two babies became demanding toddlers, I realized I needed help if I wanted to get any work done. Investing in reliable childcare was a game changer. I suddenly had time to sit and focus, uninterrupted. We decided to use Three Strands, a unique babysitting service because they offer multiple levels of help – you can have someone come and babysit or you can pay a bit more per hour to have a “Mother’s Helper” come and provide childcare plus help around the house. Our helper has been with us for months now and she handles our laundry, light housework, meal prep and I’ve recently had her place our weekly InstaCart order so that I know that every Wednesday our groceries will be delivered. Delegating these small household tasks to someone else has freed up so much of my time and it makes the transition from work to home a lot easier.
Set a Work Schedule
Whether you have kids or not, setting a schedule is one of the best ways to create some work life/home life boundaries. When I decided which days worked best for me to have childcare, I knew those days would be my “work days.” Those are the days I schedule my meetings, phone calls and do the majority of my design work and blogging. I also have some afternoons that my girls know are for work. If they wake up early from their naps or refuse to sleep at all, they are allowed to play quietly but they know they won’t have my full attention until I’m done working.
Creating a schedule and sticking to it has made it easier to commit to things and to say no to things. It’s also improved my relationship with my husband who used to say “you work all the time.” If you can relate, try setting some working days and non-working days. Don’t stress if things don’t work right away… It’s taken me a year to get into a routine that works for me and my family. You have to find what works best for you.
Join a CoWorking Space
Working from home can be a challenge, especially with little ones. For months I worked from the local coffee shop which was better than juggling kids and pets and all the things that happen at home, but it still didn’t offer the privacy of a personal office. When I found out INSPIRE Business Community was going to have a co-working space with private offices available for rent, I was immediately interested. It was the biggest incremental upgrade I’ve made for my business to date, but investing in an office space has been a dream (plus I’m not spending money on coffee shops twice a week!). Other benefits of a co-working space include access to a conference room for meetings, a safe place to leave your work things, a full kitchen so you can bring your own food, and last but not least… coworkers! If you’re ready to invest in your business and make the upgrade to a private office, click here for more information about Lancaster’s newest co-working space.
Running a business and raising kids will never be simple, but if you invest in yourself and set some boundaries, you’ll reap the benefits and so will your family! Remember mamas, #thejuggleisreal.