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It might not sound all that surprising but many parents once the maternity leave is in full swing start thinking about all of the amazing things they can do. Trying out their cookie recipes, making scarves, writing, recording podcasts… and those big business ideas.
The passion becomes big and bouncy, a million ideas start fluttering around. Many people start with a blog and move on from there. Making mental notes of 100 different topics and great opening lines. Researching tools and tricks to make money, and making it easy.
Finding a balance isn’t something that comes easy, and it might not be possible every single day. Working from home, and raising humans isn’t easy, but with some small tweaks and a big mug of coffee you might just be able to keep it all under control.
You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. It isn’t possible. And that doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. It means you have work, to be a parent, a partner and so many other things.
Spending quality time with your family, and letting your passion run wild with your business might not be something you can do each day. Think about it logically and being a parent is a full time job, and so is your job. That is where balance comes into play.
Being able to give 100% to the activities you need to do.
It is a work in progress, because babies and toddlers are in need of your attention, and slowly as they get older they will learn the difference between when you are free to play or when you are working.
There is something delicious and all consuming about new ideas and sometimes they just so happen to coincide with new humans arriving in the world. So when they say ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ you might be deep into creativity and inspiration mode. You are going to need to rest, but there is no harm in making notes and setting up things if you want to.
What works for one parent, might not work for the next. It really is personal.
Guilt over your business
You will almost certainly feel guilty from time to time. You’ll feel guilty you aren’t giving your first client the service you want to give. That dinner isn’t ready, or maybe it’s just a delicious array of freezer goods. You’ll feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your children.
Over time you will feel less guilty, because you should frame it that your work is something that is from passion, and earns an income (no matter how big or small), and that YOU need something just for YOU. Just keep reminding yourself, you’re creating a future.
Work whilst babies are sleeping
When the children are sleeping, if you have the energy this is prime working time. Those little snores are your queue to get some focus time in. To help you make the most of this time, consider a Pomodoro app. This will give you 15 or 25 minutes focused work time, and 5 minute breaks. Use the breaks to have a big glass of water.
This does mean that you won’t be sleeping when the baby sleeps though, so you will need to be careful with those late nights.
Baby > Business
You will never get moments back. Clients come and go, but the little moments like bath time, playtime, or a daily walk are completely irreplaceable. Sure, not every day is fun, and sometimes that walk is going to feel like you are wasting precious work time. If you have an office it is beneficial to spend time in the family and/or baby spaces when you aren’t working. This will help keep your work space separate from family. Try to play in the living room, twin nursery, or the pop-up ball pit that they love to play in. This helps you keep them mentally separated too.
Ensure that you have time for you and baby, or your bigger kids in the day. You won’t be feeling guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with them, and they won’t feel like it is business before them.
This will depend how small your children are. If you have a child that loves to sleep in the carrier, and you really wish you were typing right now, it’s time to employ dictation. Google docs lets you dictate right into the phone. Meaning if you pop an ear phone in, you can dictate, and pace or rock your little one to sleep. Some things dictation won’t pick up correctly, so you are going to need to circle back to it, or immediately correct it as you go. You might be surprised just how much you can get done in a short amount of time.
This is a great way to get down ideas in a pinch.
Tick Lists for business
A to-do list is going to be something that makes a big difference to your day, everyday. Each morning make a list of everything you need to do. Make sure that you put their worst tasks, or the biggest ones at the top of the list. So when the baby is asleep, you will be ‘eating the frog’ and tackling the bigger tasks immediately.
You have to be honest, what needs to get done right now, and what needs to be done this week? There will be a difference between the two. Try to make two different lists for business and home.
Don’t overload yourself, set 2-3 business goals, and 2-3 personal/home ones. There are some great applications that can help you manage your day to day tasks.
Here are a few highly recommended apps for helping to manage your daily task lists. Not all of them have mobile apps, and you will need to test them to see which works for you.
- Remember the Milk
- Google Tasks
If there are tasks that you are doing regularly, it is time to automate them. For social media:
Are all great options, Tailwind works particularly well for Pinterest and Instagram.
If you have spare cash, and you have a lot of admin, then outsourcing might be in your best interest. Even a few dollars a week can ease your workload and increase your output. There are many things that a general virtual assistant can help you with. Just try to consider what you will need longterm.
If you are the person in charge of making the dinner every evening, then it is time to fall in love with your crockpot. A slow cooker is going to make each meal time easy and stress free. You can load up the crockpot in the morning, and leave it. Come to the evening, add some extra seasoning, and serve. This is the set and forget that will keep your family nourished and save you countless hours in the evening.
You can get even further ahead of yourself by batch cooking once a month and reheating meals as you need.
There will be days that you had 3 hours of admin and work booked in, but your children are sick, tired, or just really want their mum. If there isn’t a deadline, or you can rearrange your day then do it. That isn’t to say that your business should come before or after your children, but just that being flexible will reduce the stress levels and any guilt.
Self-care is important
When you are doing a lot, you need to have space to kick back and take care of yourself. Yes, this is another thing that you can add to the list of ‘stuff’ you have to do. But this is the one that will keep you sane, clean and have an inner balance to match your outer one. Many people find solace and space in their work, which is great – but there needs to be an unplugged time for you. Where you aren’t wiping faces, and you aren’t sending invoices. It might be baking bread, it could be a nap on the couch – or just a nice stroll around the block. Whatever it is, ensure you have it.
Scheduling to help your business
Your to-do list is going to be the driving force of what gets done and when. But your schedule is the keeper of the information. Type-A people will already have a very well curated schedule, and it is probably amazing. However, not everyone is a type-A. Once you have your to-do list ready, it is time to edit and add to it. Designated time for activities can help your day flow better.
Look For Inspiration
In the age of the internet there are a lot of inspirational people sharing how they make parenting and business work together. Look through blogs and articles for tips and tricks that might be applicable to what you do. Seek support in the form of facebook groups. There are some amazing ones that are dedicated to ‘parentprenuers’, not only can you network but you can share dilemmas and seek advice from people who are in a similar situation.
There are many tools at your disposal, and it often pays to test a range of them.
How did I do?
If you liked this post, how about hang around and read some of my others. Find all my rants about motherhood in Mum Life, or if you’re looking for family holidays and days out inspiration, check out my Travel section.
If you like a bit of social media madness, pop over to my Facebook page where you’ll be able to have a laugh at what ridiculousness goes on in my house with three very small boys on a daily basis. Warning – there is often sarcasm, and usually swearing. There are also great travel reviews and some AWESOME giveaways. Feel free to join my Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee – Shits and Giggles Parenting Group too, where everyone shares their hilarious stories.
And if you want to work with me, feel free to give me a shout here or at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.