Balance is important for every single person! Especially as a parent, when you are pulled in multiple directions. Add on also working from home, and dealing with a chronic disease, and you might feel like you want to pull your hair out some days. Welcome to my life! It’s chaotic, a giant mess, always a rush, but filled with so much love! I’ve been a stay at home/work from home mom for about 7 years now and while it’s not easy, I also wouldn’t trade it for the world. It gives me balance, a career for myself, allows my family to be debt free and have a wonderful life, plus I never miss a moment. It does take some figuring out, so I’d love to offer a few tips. Now of course keep in mind, what works for me and my family, might not work for you. Sometimes you have to try a few different things.
The Secret To Balance
I first learned how important balance was 9 years ago when I decided to finish my college degree, with a newborn. At first, it wasn’t so bad as he slept a lot. Plus, I got him on a good sleep schedule early on. I’m a planner, so for me, I needed something to allow me to balance Mom Life and being a full time student. So imagine my surprise when I learned I was pregnant with baby number 2. Not part of the plan, but definitely such a beautiful blessing!! My oldest two kids are 16 months apart. One huge key to balance is knowing what you can, and can’t handle. Because I know that about myself, I decided to take 2 semesters off from college. I was bummed BUT I knew if I exhausted myself, I wouldn’t be able to be a Mom, or a student. Know yourself, know what you can handle, and know when something is just too much. Notice I didn’t quit, I’m very big on not quitting at things as we want to set an example for our kids. I took some time off, and still was able to graduate early!
After I finished college, I decided to get certified to be a personal trainer, and then a certified sports nutritionist. The key for me, was balance! With 2 young kids, it was hard, but not impossible. I had a few days where I did house work while they napped, and the rest of the week I used that time for school work and studying. Also, when they went to bed at night. I didn’t watch TV for about 2 years, but it allowed me to accomplish my goals. Plus, the TV was there when I finished. Sometimes we need to be willing to make a short term sacrifice for a long term goal.
When I decided to work in marketing from home almost 4 years ago, I found myself struggling for that balance again. Now I had 3 kids, a thriving fitness business, a spouse who worked full time and went to college, plus I began having serious health issues. This time around, the balance was VERY hard. I had to have a little chat with myself and decide what was most important to me. It was being around for my kids. I knew it would be exhausting and hard to find balance, but my kids are worth it. The life I want them to have is worth it. The short amount of time my kids are little, it’s worth it not to miss out! One of the keys to finding balance is deciding how badly you want it to work. My dreams of a wonderful future with my family, is much more important to me then a little TV time, relax time, reading or the other things I was doing in the evenings when my kids went to bed. I knew what worked best for me was devoting a few hours and giving my self a schedule and a list. I blocked off about an hour/ hour and half 3 evenings a week once my kids went to bed. Yes, I was a little tired, but that set schedule and time allowed me to hit my goals.
My schedule did not stay the same. The thing with balance is sometimes you have to try a few different things to see what works for you. As my business grew, I needed more normal hours and not evenings. My kids were 5, 3 and 1 so not very quiet during the day. My husband was off work and school on Wednesday, so I switched to that being my work day. I worked that entire day and found it made things less stressful for me. I did lose time with my husband as that was his only day off, but it was only for about 6 months! By the time summer came around, my income was great and I was able to transition to a few hours in the morning and evening again. I also hit the income goal I needed, so less stress on me and my family. As you can see, a short term sacrifice can pay off big time!
Now, my kids are in school during the day so my work schedule is a little easier on me. For those parents like me with kids gone, make sure you treat those hours you have alone as work hours. I do enjoy going for a walk and having lunch with friends, but I also make sure I have plenty of time to get my work accomplished. I don’t turn on the TV, do laundry, clean the house etc. I treat my at home job, the same as if I worked outside the home for set hours. I also don’t make excuses, that aren’t REAL. I always see people make crazy excuses and my first thought is, “would that fly in a 9-5 job with a boss, or would they laugh at you and fire you?” That is so helpful for me! I respect myself too much to make silly excuses. Now, being in the hospital, having pneumonia, having surgery, those are all things that you would be excused from at a job outside the home. Being tired, wanting to relax, going to the gym, catching up on tv shows and housework….those are not things you could say to a boss as an excuse for not working. It may sound silly, but this mindset was very helpful for me. The great thing is an at home job gives you flexibility, but you have to EARN it. You can’t take off for weeks, when your business is in the baby stage. Once its solid and at a place that is steady, then you have earned that flexibility. But in the beginning, you have to put in the work consistently, find balance to make it happen, not make excuses and treat it as a real job.
You will notice a few things from these tips. You have to decide how much you want to succeed. I can give all the tips and help in the world, but if people don’t want it bad enough, they will make an excuse. The hard truth is we all have the same 24 hours in a day. Some of us are busier than others, but right now, someone MUCH busier than you is chasing their dreams. Why? Because they want it more than you do. Have that discussion with yourself, your family, friends, support team. Figure out if this truly matters, and if it does, you CAN find a way. I’m living proof of that. In the past 4 years, my life has gotten MUCH busier. My kids are all in after school activities, my husband is in an accelerated program to be a Nurse Practitioner, I’ve had multiple hospital visits and procedures, my business has grown like crazy, yet through everything I have found a way. The reason being, because this is very important to me. It allows my kids to do those activities, for me to not miss a moment, and my husband to chase his dreams, while we stay debt and stress free. This week, my kids and husband have fall break and we have so many fun activities planned. I get to be there with my family making memories. I have no stress or fear of being able to afford things. I don’t worry about putting something on a credit card (We don’t have any actually ha!) or paying a bill. We just get to have fun together!! And that right there, is why I worked hard and found a way to balance! It’s worth the hard work to never miss a moment!!!