April 17, 2014

Finding the Time

When I decided to shift to my niche on my personal blog,  I asked read­ers to leave a ques­tion for me to answer in a blog post. It’s my way of encour­ag­ing a dis­cus­sion and exchange of ideas and tips. The first question/comment comes from Jea­nine aka Nat­u­ral­Momma. Here is what she had to say:

Hi Kristina!

I have a ques­tion. How do you find enough time in your day for home­school­ing and writ­ing and meals and …?

I am mak­ing a bit of a switch, myself, in that I am want­ing to write more, work one-on-one with clients less all in an effort to (1)live my pur­pose and (2)take my biz to the next level.

But as I have begun to spend more time writ­ing mini-books and blog posts and reports and email follow-up mes­sages, my son has begun to hate my computer!

Jea­nine

My imme­di­ate response to Jea­nine was a short reply which read, “You are not alone”. I stand by that still. You are not alone no mat­ter how it feels. Before becom­ing a work-at-home mom, I worked full time as an  Eng­lish teacher (9th grade) and for my daughter’s first year, I was also fin­ish­ing grad school. I was a wreck.  I left the house at 7:30 am and returned home most nights after 9:00 pm. On the nights that I was home ear­lier she was in bed by 5:30–6:00 EVERY NIGHT! I kid you not. I barely saw her and I was miserable.

After mak­ing the tran­si­tion to WAHM I thought that life would get eas­ier. I thought that I would have more time for her, but when you work from home it is even harder to draw bound­aries at times. I was work­ing 40–50 hour weeks try­ing to build a web design and con­sult­ing busi­ness and that left VERY lit­tle time for any­thing else. And again I was miserable.

Then I tried to restruc­ture my life accord­ing to worked for so many oth­ers. It wasn’t until I took Michele Dortch’s “Get Your Groove Back eClass*” that I was able to put things into per­spec­tive. Michele runs The Inte­grated Mother blog and net­work and is also a fellow Moms of Hue writer. She pro­vides so many tips to help work­ing moms of all kinds fig­ure it out. But for me it was the eClass that allowed me to focus on what I wanted and what I needed to do to make my life work.

The bot­tom line is this, you have to de­fine what “get­ting it all done” means for you and not for any­one else. As much as I wanted to be super­mom, I learned that my house is not always going to be neat and that din­ner will some­times have to be cereal and fruit in a bowl. My daugh­ter, who will be four in April, HATES my com­puter, but she has to learn that Mommy has to work.

The biggest step that I made in the last 6–8 months is that I set a sched­ule. I sent an email to cur­rent clients out­lin­ing my EXACT sched­ule. Because my hus­band is off from his job Sunday-Tuesday, Sun­day and Mon­day are our week­ends. I do not work unless it is an emer­gency. Here are my office hours and the mes­sage I send all clients:

Sun­day and Mon­day
Closed
Tues­day
By Appoint­ment Only
Wednesday-Saturday
9am-10pm; 1pm-5pm

Please direct all busi­ness related calls to my busi­ness line. Voice­mail and Call For­ward­ing are acti­vated on this line. And as always, you can reach me by email.

I try not to work while she is awake and I am home alone. My hus­band sched­ule affords me that (he begins work­ing at 3pm). If I need to do so, I have spe­cial activ­i­ties for her just for those times. For instance, she gets to watch Wall-E on my  portable Blu-Ray player in her room. This is a treat for her because she does not have a TV in her room and NEVER gets to use the portable player. At other times I allow her to paint alone (makes her feel like a big girl) or play a game on my lap­top. Don’t get me wrong, she still man­ages to need me the most while I’m in the midst of a call with a client, but I also inform my clients that I work from home and that every day is “Take Your Daugh­ter to Work Day” for us.

I left teach­ing because I wanted to focus on my daugh­ter and because I wanted to build a busi­ness on my terms. While I can com­pro­mise every now and again, my work hours are pretty much set in stone. You wouldn’t try to get the oil changed on you car after the garage is closed, right? It’s not dif­fer­ent. If it’s a prob­lem for a client, then I refer them to some­one else. I would rather lose a client than lose my mind!

For house duties these are some things that help:

(1) Weekly Meal menus: plan ahead

(2) Crock­pot: espe­cially in the cold weather. We eat a lot of soup, stews, and chili. But works well for Pot roast, oat­meal and more.

(3) Counter-top elec­tric roaster:  Cuts roast­ing time by almost 1 hour for a full chicken. Less energy used than the oven. Eas­ier to clean.

(4) Home­school Fun Bas­ket: edu­ca­tional supplies/activities that daugh­ter does n0t play with daily. Handy for emer­gency distraction.

(5) Music: take 10 min­utes and dance like crazy with your child. Gives him atten­tion and allows for you to get some exer­cise and stress-relief.

(6) Include your child in as many house­hold activ­i­ties as pos­si­ble. My daugh­ter loves shoot­ing bas­kets with dirty clothes into the washer. She puts the sil­ver­ware away when the dish­washer is clean. She feeds the dog.

(7) I give my daugh­ter a damp cloth and she dust the wooden fur­ni­ture. She’s been doing it since she was 2.

Jea­nine, I hope this helps. There is no exact sci­ence; trial by fire is the only method that I know of for fig­ur­ing this out. Don’t be so hard on your­self. Just take things day-by-day and it will work out.

*this article was originally posted on Mom on the Rise.
image: Flickr/lrargerich
Kristina Daniele

Kristina Daniele

Kristina, Founder and Oz of We of Hue is one of many doing it across hues-homeschooling, wifing, mothering, and business building. She is a web designer and social media consultant with a love of building communities on line. She looks forward to intelligent conversation that is eye-opening and statement-making.

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Happy Spring

by Adiaha Ruane

Spring is a joyous occasion. I enjoy the coming of warm weather, the feeling of regeneration and rejuvenation. I usually get a boost of energy and a swirl of ideas and for me this feels like the new year. I generally start diets and new habits around this time of year and oddly enough, I am pretty successful with the goals and aspirations begun now. This Spring more than anything else in this world, I am challenged to change my self perception.

I typically describe myself as a poor little black girl from Brooklyn.  Don’t see the humor in that statement? Neither do I, not really. So why then, do I stick to this self-description? I really don’t know anybody else to be. Which is strange because deep in the recesses of my mind, I want to be so much more. So this Spring, I am re-writing my mental “About Me” section and giving myself a new mission statement. I am cleaning house so to speak.

I have decided to be a naturally beautiful, confident, ambitious, supportive, organized and active blogging mother. Yeah, yeah that’s the ticket! I like that so much better and It will take me so much further! I was really feeling in a rut and getting a bit down about being me and having me be a poor black girl. I want to be wealthy if not financially in spirit. I also want to be Black. I am joining Lori Tharps in her campaign to get everyone to capitalize the B from now on. We are a noun right.

Do you need to update your “About Me” tab? Has it been a while since you took stock of the latest and greatest you? I’d love to hear about some of the new projects you all have and are starting this Spring. More thatn that I’d love to support you in each endeavor as well.

Peace. Love. Light.

adiaha

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Circumstances, schmircumstances

by Michele Dortch

Some days, I wake up with my heart so heavy from the challenges of the day prior that I just want to curl up in my bed and pray that God miraculously changes things during my five minute prayer. Truth be told, I do that first part a lot – curl back into bed and pray. But God doesn’t always follow through in the ways I expect. In fact, I figured out recently that I should probably stop praying for patience because God kept making me wait (hence teaching me patience – no fair!).

But this post isn’t about my faith or what I do to get myself out of bed. Instead, it’s about how the circumstances we face change what we believe and as a result, how we act and eventually what we receive. It’s a classic theory that I first discovered when reading Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book in 1986 (If you do the math, I was 14 then. My dad was breeding over-achievers, what I can say?). Covey described his theory as the “See Do Get” model for change and suggested that no matter what the circumstances, if you change what you see, it will change what you do and the results you get.

There are moments in motherhood, and life, when circumstances feel so difficult that there is little we can do to change it. I know this feeling all too well. In 2009, I felt like a hamster in its wheel – running toward a non-existent finish line. Depleted, I’d jump off the wheel, crumple in my bed and swear I’d just run harder tomorrow for certainly there was a prize at the finish, right? But by year’s end, I was exhausted. Drained to the point that I almost decided to change my game plan and life’s goals as I thought, “Maybe I’m aiming too high.”

But my dreams are powerful. They’re so wrapped up into my soul that there really is no stopping them from coming to life once I move out of the way. And for me, that move came when these words were spoken to me last week:

“Don’t let circumstances affect your vision. Do let your vision affect your circumstances.”

Ouch! Those words stung my heart because I knew that I had spent the better part of 2009 lamenting over circumstances and as a result, I acted differently. For example, I run a small business and in response to the down economy, last year I spent more time finding ways to cut operating expenses, than I did finding ways to increase revenue. The result – operating expenses are ridiculously low, but so is business revenue. I fell into the classic trap of allowing my circumstances to affect the vision I had for my business.

In the last week, things have turned as I shift my focus from my circumstances to my vision. What a difference. It’s like seeing a corner of blue sky poke out of ominous grey clouds. My circumstances will change. Life has taught me that even the most difficult of circumstances are usually temporary, they just feel permanent when you’re going through them.

So I say, “Circumstances, schmircumstances,” and move along pursuing my vision. Whether I get there in the next year or the next decade, I will have lived a far better life dwelling on my positive vision rather than on negative circumstances.

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Let’s get it on

by Michele Dortch

2009 is coming to an end and I’m glad for it. It was a tumultuous year filled with the kind of up and down roller coaster ride that is both exhilarating and sickening.

When I began 2009, I was filled with anticipation of a consciously complacent year. The time felt right to slow the blinding pace of my career and focus more on raising my family. I wasn’t completely opting out of work, but I was definitely making a decision to off ramp my career.

I remember that when I made that choice, I wondered if I could really do it. I’m an ambitious, independent woman who likes to earn her keep and I’m accustomed to keeping very busy. Off ramping would mean relying on my husband’s income more and changing my work focus from my career to my children (because we all know being a mom takes some serious work!). It was a scary thought and I wasn’t sure I was up for it.

So I tentatively off ramped, still working my tail off to earn money and maintaining the same frenetic pace of the year prior. I wasn’t keeping my personal resolution to slow down my work-life. But lucky for me, the recession had other plans and decided to not only off ramp my career, but bring it to a screeching, definitive halt.

That dry spell lasted months and I felt like a farmer. Planting seeds, patiently watching my crops and wondering when in the heck they’d germinate. It’s only recently that the seeds I’ve been planting have finally begun to break the surface of what seemed like dead, dry dirt. It takes everything in me not to over-water or over-tend to them as I eagerly anticipate fruit.

Now hours away from the New Year, I’m feeling a bit worn by the events of 2009. It’s been a year that has tested my patience, my resolve, and my willingness to live in the discomfort of the unknown. At the same time, it was a year of tremendous growth as I discovered new ways of being that had little to do with what I was doing. That’s big for me because I’ve always been a doer.

Despite the struggles, 2009 was a good year and I’m happy to say good-bye to it in the words of Christina Aguilera, “I wanna say thank you. ‘Cause it makes me that much stronger. Makes me work a little bit harder. It makes me that much wiser…Made me learn a little bit faster. Made my skin a little bit thicker. Makes me that much smarter. So thanks for making me a fighter.”

And to 2010, “Let’s get it on.”

(image credit: Flickr/Jsome1)

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