Running a business and raising our tiny humans takes a lot of energy, time and focus.
They are equally important, they both need your attention, but sometimes finding that *perfect* balance can be tough.
When you’re hard-working and take your business seriously, it can often feel like you have to choose between ‘CEO’ and ‘Mommmmmmmmmy’.
This is something I’ve certainly felt guilty about since starting my business in 2016. I’ve hustled, worked 18-hour days and eventually burnt myself out.
There’s nothing I love more than hearing what works for other Mom’s in online business, whether it be a strategy, a book recommendation, or just knowing I’m not alone.
So I reached out to some of my friends, who also have successful online businesses and go by the name of “Mom” and asked them how they balance working from home and raising their little ones…
1 | Set Boundaries
“Two things that are hard but incredibly amazing: raising children and building a business. Doing them together – at the same time – mind-blowingly insane. But there are definitely tips and tricks to help make things more manageable.
The most impactful thing that has helped me balance the two isn’t around systems, automation or planning…
It’s setting boundaries with myself, my family, and my clients.
I can’t be available 100% for everyone at all times, but I also can’t be on 50% either because then I wouldn’t be effective. It comes down to setting boundaries and expectations and communicating them.
For example, my time between 5 pm and 8 pm is strictly family time.
I don’t respond to emails, I don’t set appointments, I simply don’t do business during that time.
I reserve two nights a week between 8-9pm for work – but ONLY if it is a priority or a client can’t make a workday appointment that week…which happens sometimes!
My boundaries have to make sense for the life I am creating, one that allows me to spend extra quality time with my son while still having enough time to do quality work for my clients.”
2 | Ask For Help & Schedule Mommy Time
“I highly recommend a few things.
One, if you are anything like me, it’s hard to work while your child is home.
I highly recommend asking your partner, grandparent or caregivers to leave and go to the park with your child.
Those 2 to 3 hours of quiet guarantee that you will get WAY more done while the home is quiet.
My second tip is to schedule “no work” times that you are JUST with your child/family. I got into the habit of always partially working… and it wasn’t nice for anyone.
So now I am either working or having a “mommy Kieran day”.
It means no phone, no working and just playing and being together.”
3 | Set A Flexible Work Schedule
“One of the best tips for balancing work and family is really trying to differentiate between my working and off-work hours.
My kids understand that sometimes Mummy needs to be on her phone and computer for work, and so when I am NOT working I have started making a concentrated effort to have the phone and computer away and have it be just family time.
Then I feel less guilty when later I NEED to be doing those things.
I also try to set specific times for work evenings so that I know I am still managing to get quality time in with my husband as well.
I will work 2-3 nights a week which isn’t perfect, but it allows me to have more time in the day when my kids need me!”
4 | Use Time Blocking To Stay Healthy(ish)
“As a work-at-home-mom, you’re probably already familiar with the concept of time-blocking.
If you’re not, here’s a quick overview: time-blocking means to assess your week…or month…or year…as a whole and to block out specific time to accomplish a task.
Typically this practice is applied to work blocks and scheduling set time to focus on things like marketing, accounting, book-keeping, creating, customer service and, of course, working directly with our clients.
But time-blocking is also a really effective tool to utilize for pretty much every other area in life, especially when it comes to feeding your family a home-cooked-ish meal.
(Home-cooked-ish = a tasty, healthy and filling meal prepared at home but requires little time and effort)
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for utilizing meal delivery services like Hello Fresh or ordering take-out if it fits into your lifestyle. Although these conveniences are amazing – because who actually has time to cook a big meal multiple times a week – sometimes, the expense doesn’t align with our financial priorities.
That’s where time-blocking comes into play.
Just like you’d time-block your work priorities, you can also do the same for creating those home-cooked-ish meals for your family.
At the beginning of each week, take a few minutes and look at your calendar.
- Block 30-60 minutes to grocery shop.
- Block 1 hour 1-2x/week to prep, cook and clean.
Next: Take note of when you’ll eat at home when you’ll probably eat out, assess what you already have in your pantry or freezer and create an outline of what meals you’ll want to cook for the week and build your grocery list from there.
Strategize: How can you make your life easier by doing all of the hard work at once?
Can you wash and chop all of your veggies at the beginning of the week?
Can you prepare 1 protein source and use that in multiple meals throughout the week?
How can you make the most efficient use of your time in the kitchen?
If the oven is already on, can you bake multiple things at once? If the kitchen is already a mess, you might as well make a bigger mess by cooking more so that only one clean-up is required.
By spending 1% of your week planning and another 1% shopping + cooking + cleaning you’ll find that you can create some pretty amazing home-cooked-ish meals for your family while saving money and time.”
5 | Fit Your Business Into Your Lifestyle
“When my son started school last September I had a work-life balance crisis.
I’d been riding the ‘hustle train’ for far too long and was heading for burn out.
All of a sudden I found myself trying to cram an 8-hour workday into just 4 hours.
When I took a step back to look at my business model and systems, I realized that if being available for my son was a top priority, my business needed to fit into my lifestyle.
I can be a little stubborn when it comes to strategy and following the rules, so deciding to quit planning my business in 90-day blocks was a big deal.
Instead, I started planning my business around his school terms.
(Here in the UK we have a shorter summer break, and additional breaks every 5-7 weeks)
And, I set myself a couple of non-negotiable rules:
- I will not run a live launch immediately after a week off because I don’t want to put pressure on myself to promote something when I’m having mummy-son time
- I ask for support during busier seasons in my business and try to avoid feeling guilty for needing childcare just because I work from home.
Adjusting my business model and running my business around my son has allowed me to be available for the school plays, sports events, and pickups.
It has also given me a flexible working schedule and enabled me to prioritize my marketing efforts.”