I have learned for most work-from-home moms, there is no work life balance. For real. It can’t exist because work and life are fighting for the same plane of existence.
I have been on all sides of the spectrum in this case. I have been a working mom with a child in daycare, a stay at home mom with no outside responsibilities and now a small business owner working from my home. The latter is the hardest thing I have ever done.
Trying to split time between your children and your business is next to impossible. 2 toddlers and a school ager leaves very little time for anything other than drowning in laundry, dishes, goldfish, Yo Gabba Gabba, dress up, homework and potty training.
In the beginning I was lost. My goal of doing work related things during nap time was a bust when my middle stopped napping and the baby transitioned to one nap a day. I would feel horrible ignoring the dishes and lunch clean up to write a blog or edit a session. Then I told myself I would work at night when the kids were in bed. Being a photographer and editing on tired eyes…that’s just stupid. 7 times out of 10 I would wake up the next morning and shake my head at the work I had done the night before. There had to be a better way.
After a year of trying to find this balance, I started making lists. What did I want, no, what did I need to accomplish that day? In the beginning the list were just business goals, but then I was so focused on business, that my parenting started to drift in a direction I didn’t like. I was getting a lot done, but mostly thanks to TV being a babysitter. The scale had started to lean toward photographer more than Mom. There had to be a better way.
When my youngest was about 8 months old, I did it. I put the need for balance aside and focused on priorities. Eureka! That was it. Balance is not possible. No matter how focused you are on one thing, something else has to suffer. So, I started making 2 lists. Mommyhood and Work. What was more important to accomplish that day; Editing a session due in 5 days, or encouraging my toddler to write his name for the first time? When I had my answer, that became my priority. I also learned to give myself permission to let the kids entertain themselves. They were at an age that 20 minutes with a sensory activity could be the 20 minutes I needed to finish my blog post. They weren’t mindlessly watching TV, but exploring and learning independence.
Striving for balance helped me realize I don’t need balance. Learning to prioritize helped me become a better business owner and a better mother. If you struggle with the same battles, I urge you to start making your lists. Assigning an order of importance to your daily goals isn’t just a task, it’s a necessity!