Yeah right, you say, don’t drop the ball?!? As a working mom of two very active boys, I will tell you what has worked for me and how I survive each day. At the end of 2010, I celebrated my 1st year as a small business owner. Exciting? Yes! Exhausting? Yes! Losing my mind? Yes!!!
I was a stay-at-home mother to Aiden (4.5 years) and Jake (1 year) and I felt this pressure to do it all. I wanted to have all the crafts lined up for the week, the meals planned out and prepared, everything organized all neatly on the fridge calendar. I also wanted to have something for myself and as my business started picking up, I was losing my mind.
I started staying up till 1:30-2am at night trying to get all my work done and waking up at 7am completely exhausted. It wasn’t working; I had to make a choice to hold off on the business till Jake was in elementary school or find a preschool for Jake so I could work from home a few hours a couple times a week. And so I did…ahhh.
Jake went to preschool Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9 to 1pm. It helped a ton and I felt like I was back on my “A” game! Then 2011-2012 hit, my business took off. Such a huge blessing, I was loving every minute of it! I was meant to be a working mom, I was meant to specialize in newborn & baby portraiture. This was what I wanted and it felt great! More clients meant more time shooting, editing, marketing, etc.
Fast forward to Spring 2012 and I was back at square one; I was up till wee hours of the morning working late. I still carried around the guilt of sending Jake to preschool full-time but I found myself getting aggravated with the kids easily. I found myself running to the office to work as soon as my husband pulled in the driveway. I found myself working Saturday’s, missing Aiden’s football games, birthday parties, school events. I was getting frustrated because the kids wanted to play board games, puzzles, color…couldn’t they see I had to finish this session before the end of the day? Ugh, I felt terrible!
I had to get things under control and I realized, I can’t do it all on my own. I LOVE being a mom, love snuggling, playing cards, coloring, crafts, cooking with them so I was determined to find a balance for us all. I am so glad to write this blog post today because I have met so many moms in my same situation who feel this guilt to do it all; I’ve been there! Here are a few working mom tips that have helped me this past year. I am finally feeling like I got this…most days anyways 🙂
Have a Set Work Schedule
We decided that Jake will attend school full-time, and this past August he did just that. Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 3pm, he now goes to school the same time Aiden does. Voila–I now have business hours! I no longer work weekends, unless I choose to. This has been amazing, a huge stress reliever!!! Have a set working schedule and stick to it!!! Once 2:30 rolls around, I pick the kids up and we have mommy-kiddo time. I have now found my separation and for me, I feel that I am a better mom, wife, business owner and friend because of it.
Learn to Say “No”
I’m sure you hear this all the time, but it’s so true. Just say no…say it out loud, “NO.” Feels good, right?
Ask for Help
We have a busy schedule, very busy. I have quickly learned that in order to run a full-time business I must delegate tasks. Time for deep cleaning, mowing the lawn, ironing clothes is just not in the cards. We found an amazing cleaning service and she comes twice a month. All business clothes and shirts go off to the dry cleaners for ironing and cleaning. We budget this in and it is worth every penny. Carpooling is another stress-reliever; switch your days with a friend.
Pack Lunches on Sunday
Every Sunday night I make five snack bags (we have to pack Aiden’s snacks & lunches). In the morning, I just pull them out and in the book bag they go!
Organize the Pantry & Fridge- the Kid-Friendly Way
This was definitely time consuming but really worth it. I have all the juice boxes, milk boxes in the bottom of the fridge. This way if they ask for something to drink, I can say, “Sure, get it yourself.” The pantry organization makes a huge difference. I grabbed three plastic containers from Target and zip-lock snack bags. I divide out all their snacks in these little snack bags. Place on the bottom shelf and now they can grab and go. This also helps control what they snack on.
Give Yourself the Day Off!
Having the weekends off to spend with the kids, go out to dinner with friends or have a date night is essential to not losing your mind!
Run.Walk. Zumba….anything. Somedays it is so hard to go when you have so much to do but it is a huge stress reliever and feels so great once you are done. For me, time is a huge factor. At this point in my career/mommy-life I don’t have time for a two to three hour workout day so I love to run. Also, The Training Yard in Atlantic Beach has coed classes for strength training that are 25-30 minutes and kicks your butt!
I don’t think I have everything figured out but I do know I feel like I am 100% “all-in,” whether it be with my clients or being just being a mom. I am loving this amazing roller coaster ride and hopefully my tips today have helped you in some way. We are still a busy, wild house but I wouldn’t change it for the world.