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:
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!
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
By Appointment Only
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