As promised in a recent post, I wanted to start starting more about my personal life over here. You see, I am pretty proud of my ability to leave home at home, and work at work. In fact, my husband will randomly exclaim that he has absolutely no idea what I’m currently working on … It’s not that I’m not excited about my job, it’s just that home life is my focus when I’m not working.
But with all of that said, I’d be lying if I said I never think about work when I’m doing “home” stuff. If you’re self-employed (or really, if you have a job), you know that it’s on your mind even when you aren’t working. And, when I’m working, I’m constantly thinking about my baby girl. For me, it’s been all about finding a balance, and I thought I’d share a bit of how I live and work intentionally:
- We hired a nanny: Before having Al, I figured I’d be able to work during naps. BAHAHAHAHA!! I was so very wrong. You see, babies hate sleeping. Even a good sleeper isn’t always consistent. And, even if she was napping, I still had mom things to be doing: folding cloth diapers, washing her bottles, cooking, showering, housework. I knew I needed help. Now, we have a nanny come to the house 3 days a week. As soon as she arrives, I head into the studio, and I now have solid chunks of work time that aren’t interrupted by baby. As a little bonus, I can usually sneak some work in each morning during her first nap.
- Squash the guilt: I can get overwhelmed really easily. I think I’m strong, but me being overwhelmed means I have 8,000 things on my mind, personal stuff, and business stuff. It gets heavy. If my inbox is overwhelming me, I take a chunk of time to go through it. After my surgery, we were pretty stressed about medical bills. Instead of avoiding them (which I wish I could do), we figured out a plan that worked for our family, and we’re working through it. A tough email to write, or call to make? Just do it! I think the overwhelming part of anything is the realization … once you start to process your way through the problem, it becomes easier.
- Deleting social media from my phone: This was a big one. If my computer was being slow, I’d pull up Facebook. If I was giving Al a bottle or nursing, I’d be looking through Feedly. It took me a while, but one day I looked at myself, and realized I was out of control with the phone. I left Instagram (since it’s a phone only app), but it’s very rare that I scroll through the feed anymore. I just have way better (and more important) things to do with my time.
- Cut back on expenses: With a new baby, there are new expenses. We were planning on breastfeeding her (free), but my boobs had other plans. I do still breastfeed, but we have to supplement. Her organic formula is expensive, and because of that (and other items), our ideal budget before baby isn’t exactly perfect. We’ve learned to save … to cut a lot of random spending. This helps me feel in control of our money, which makes me feel like I’m doing an okay job!
- Plan fun trips or purchases: Even though we’re cutting back, and I’m working less, we are still making money. Because of this, it’s so important that we give ourselves little treats every now and then. Before baby, we’d do an impromptu trip to the coast for the weekend. Money wasn’t an issue. Now, we just plan in advance and save for a trip like that. Again, it’s empowering, and makes me feel like my hard work is paying off.
- Working smarter: This is a big one. I have strict calendars now. I have strict to-do lists now. I can’t answer my phone when friends & family call at 2:00 in the afternoon. Work is work time, and home is home time. Keeping this strict division has really made me happy.
- Be picky: This year, I turned down anyone who didn’t inspire me. That makes me sound like a jerk, but it’s true. If a business owner approached me, and I wasn’t inspired by their craft, I kindly turned them down. Each and every person on my 2014 has inspired me tremendously! I think I’m creating better work.
It’s very much still a work in progress. Some days I go to bed feeling happy and accomplished. Other days I go to bed feeling like I didn’t even scratch the surface for the day. There are always emails in my inbox, and my to-do list always has a few items I couldn’t quite finish.
I am totally one of those assholes who says, “I have no idea what I did with all of my free time before kids!”. It’s true though! I feel like I could smack my past self for all of the tasks I left undone. This morning, I had to stop my breast pump, because Alba had an extension cord in her mouth. I cannot make this stuff up. (And equal parts, #bestmomever).
So, what do you do? How do you find balance in your life? What have you changed since starting your business in order to maintain a division between work and home? Any tips for momming and creating?