To all the women out there who have taken calls while a little one pulls your hair, who have wiped smoothie off the floor while writing an email, who balance sales and sippy cups, who have dragged themselves out of a nice warm bed before the kids are awake to hustle for a client: I see you.
I have a message for you. You are incredible.
You are giving your children so much more than a roof over their heads. You are giving them a mom who loves herself, who believes in herself. You are giving them a role model. You are showing them that no matter what the circumstance, a person always has the option to chase their dreams. You are proving to them that hard work pays off. You are teaching them that self discipline, focus, and perseverance can build great things. You are learning everyday. Learning about people, the world, successes and adversity, and all of that, every lesson, gives you one more thing you can pass on to your child.
Working moms get a lot of flack in our world of double standards. Anybody who gives you that judgemental tone (you know the one) is simply not looking at the whole picture.
A mom who does not feel stifled, who feels fulfilled and accomplished, is the best kind of mom.
By following your path, by doing something you love, you are giving your kid a better mom.
Just last night I found myself confronted with a question posed by a hater which both pissed me off and totally inspired me at the same time.
“Don’t you feel bad that your son has to fight for your attention? Aren’t you worried he’ll think he’s not as important as whatever “work” you’re doing?”
My son knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I love him, that I’m ALWAYS watching out for him, and that when he wants to play, I shut the laptop and we play.
I know this because I see it. And that’s all that matters for us.
I’m happier. My son is happier. My husband is happier. All because I found something I love to do.
Finding the balance is still hard. Even though I love it, it’s still hard. Every #mompreneur has found their own ways to handle their situation and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Making it work, in whatever way you can, is the right way.
Every #mompreneur has their own way to find balance. Its not about a right or wrong way. Making it work, however you can, is the best way.
— Olivia Derby (@OliviaRDerby) April 15, 2016
When you’re struggling to “make it work”, be open to trying something new.
Sometimes you will get frustrated
And that’s ok. When you’re coworkers consist of cats that sits on your keyboard and a 2 year old demanding to be held, eventually you’re going to lose your cool. When it happens, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself, give that baby a big hug, put your work down, and just play.
In these moments, I sometimes find that the root of my frustration stems from being dragged along with someone else’s schedule. Even if it’s my son’s schedule, I’m annoyed and upset that I can’t do what I want, when I want.
So, I compromise. I drop everything and play with my son, but we do something that makes us both feel good. Usually that means going outside, getting out the paints, or turning up some music and hosting a dance party in the living room.
More people get it than you realize
When I went back to work after having my son, my boss was completely unyielding when it came to the sounds of a crying baby. As my son grew, my boss became even less tolerant of his ambient noises until he refused to even speak to me on the phone if little one was anywhere to be heard. This was difficult, and stressful. However, he was the only one it bothered.
Call after call with clients, coworkers, vendors and more went over smoothly despite the occasional giggle or squeal from my son playing in the background. In fact, the noises were almost guaranteed to spark a conversation about life, family, and children. Those conversations caused something really amazing to happen. Over the sound of a two year old happily entertaining himself, I forged strong and real personal bonds with people.
Everyone with children knows what it’s like to multitask. They all respect parents who have gone (and are going) through the same trials they have.
It’s not your kids vs. your clients. It’s your kids and your clients. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re doing what you do to make your life better. If you’ve got someone who is making you feel guilty about your position, they aren’t a good client/vendor/partner for you.
Find Balance with the magic list
I have a secret. I’ve tried 8 million to do lists and planners and apps for managing myself and I could not find one that made me anymore productive.
I tried to-do list apps and never looked at them. I tried setting reminders on my phone for things and ended up ignoring them, I even got myself a nice little Filofax and become obsessed with the #filofaxlove Instagram feed. Turns out, you can spend a shit ton of money and waste a lot of time planning and still not get anything done. Who knew right?
At the end of the day, I just don’t have the time for anything that doesn’t work. Eventually I found a system that works for me, and my productivity skyrocketed. That’s a story for another time, but the point is this. Find a way to prioritize your to-dos and hold yourself accountable. Find it, use it, and stick to it.
Do it everyday
Routines are important to productivity and efficiency. Develop routines for your most common processes and do them the same way everyday. Once you’ve trained yourself to execute a routine, your day feels less chaotic, more deliberate, and you can focus on optimizing that routine.
Bonus points in this category for automating processes. Check out ifttt.com for quick and easy ways to automate common activities.
Get up earlier
Seriously, I hate when people tell me this. I sleep like 3 hours a night, I DO NOT want to drag my ass out of bed before my son is tearing down the curtains or trying to eat the cat.
But……it does help. Getting up before the kids means you’ve got a little extra “me time” and once you get a taste of that, it’s hard to give up. Try it once and you’ll see what I mean.
Schedule some quiet time
Being on top of things all the time is unrealistic. We all need time to cast aside responsibility, get off the clock, and recharge. All too often we put ourselves last, after our kids, after the housework, after our jobs. Don’t let your ambition drive you to burnout. Carve out time for yourself and make it a priority.
There is another benefit of quiet time. And I literally mean “quiet time”. By turning off the TV, closing Spotify, and sitting in total silence, the creative side of myself starts to wake up. There are very few moments of true silence that occur in my household, but when they do….I take advantage.
Tell me your story. How do you balance the kids and your job without losing your mind? I’m looking for other #mompreneurs to feature in my coming series debuting in May. If you want to share a little excerpt from your life, email me at [email protected] and tell me how you do it all.