How to Deal in the Midst of Working and Throes of Motherhood

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This, my friends, is the most commonly asked question from working mother to working mother –

How do you balance it all?

What I’ve learned, so far anyway, is that you really can’t. All you can do is take it moment by moment, day by day, week by week, and pray for the best.

But some moments, days and weeks just simply don’t work. Part of what makes it all so hard to balance is that when us mommas try to make priority lists, we can’t seem to find the bottom. Everything might as well be written with the number “1” next to it, because it’s all IMPORTANT.

Trying to put kids before work, or work before kids, or self before work or husband before kids, or anything in between, simply just isn’t possible. Throw in friends’ celebrations of insta fame, family phone calls about which tea to buy and delivering too-small diapers to the local shelter, and you miss the mark on everything, it seems.

Yet somehow, we find a way. Each night, we go to bed, our kids and our husbands and our selves fed (pretty much), clean (pretty much), and loved (a lot).

But, I ask again, HOW?

The day to day balance of it all not only takes practice, but discipline. And a whole lot of self-awareness, I’m coming to realize. And that’s not easy stuff. Realizing that you set yourself up for a small disaster that morning is not an easy thing to swallow, and neither is knowing that you ate that donut when you should have had an egg.

Pay for that later.

I’m not saying, in any way, that I have this down. Not even a little. But I have managed to stay pretty much afloat, and for that, I can only attribute success to God. However, I have been able to figure out and enact some “protocol” if you will, that has helped be balance motherhood and working, so I thought I’d share.

First, I always assume that things are going to go according to plan.

If I don’t, then I end up taking too much time, energy and resources out of the rest of my day to plan for something that may or may not happen. For example, if the plan is to drop Joey off at daycare at 8:15 and not pick him up until 5:30 to go straight home, then I don’t pack an extra set of clothes for him, my sling, or any snacks.

But what if the plan goes awry? Well, I’ll get to that.

Second, I give myself as much “me” time as I think I need.

Whether it’s none, 15 minutes or two hours, I always give myself that grace. Sometimes I’m excited to get right to work, so I don’t take much downtime, if any. Other days, I need a moment alone with coffee, or I have the urge to write, or I am worried about a friend that needs to vent. I take that time, no questions, no apologies. It keeps me human, sane and healthy.

But what if there really is NO TIME? Well, I’ll get to that.

Third, I never schedule things day-of.

I try, really hard, to not make last minute plans. UNLESS it’s something I really, really want to do. But so long as I keep my schedule as it stood that morning when I woke up, I know that I can accomplish everything, be on time and not rush to finish.

But what if that’s not possible? Well, I’ll get to that.

I have found that these three things have kept most of my days smooth and fairly stress free.

But what about all the “but what if”s?

My friends, the Type A in me can not, would not, will not, leave those alone.

So I made a flowchart.

This flowchart (made prettier for you, mine is on a post-it note in my Jeep), has helped me through almost every balancing decision I’ve needed to make this last year.

Disclaimer – please don’t use this flowchart for life and death situations. This is really meant for the everyday balancing act. Trust me when I say, this will not get you out of a speeding ticket, missed family dinner or escaped pets running down the road. Sorry.

Let's Be Honest

Let’s start this new blog fresh.

Let’s start it with brutal honesty, and real life talk.

Being a business owner is effing hard. 

My husband showed me a chart the other day he saw on Facebook, and I almost fell over from the sheer overwhelmingness that someone else felt the way I do. I made my own version for your enjoyment:

But, being a business owner is not all we have in our lives. As entrepreneurs, leaders and bosses, we still have a life. Like, a real life with husbands and families and dirty kitchens and pregnant bellies that move (weird) and furniture we can’t really afford on backorder.

Real life. Outside of the office. 

Sometimes I feel like that’s not even a real thing. Like being at work is one life and coming home is another. And wouldn’t it be great if we could differentiate the two that clearly? I mean, I wish I could compartmentalize Olivia Pope style. She’s so freaking good at it, it’s not fair. Ya ya, she’s a tv character, but still.

So there’s work, and life, and work life. 

Work is stressful. And wonderful. It has its ups and downs and we work dang hard to keep up with the emails and orders and phone calls and proposals and book keeping, all the while doing the actual “work” stuff, like the design, photoshoots, wire framing and consulting we are supposed to be doing that actually makes us the money we so desperately need to organize. Dang, the vicious circle.

I feel like I kind of have that under control…. like after so many years of reading about how to prioritize and get to the bottom of your to-do list strategies and Accounting for Dummies has actually paid off. 

And life… I mean, let’s be real, is never really under control. It’s life. There are always dishes and laundry and dirty floors. And husbands that want to buy more fishing lures and babies on the way that we really think we can totally make time for… You know, good parenting sh*t and all that jazz. Totally. I can handle that. Bring it.

But what about work life?

I share an office with 3 AMAZING ladies. Three of my very best friends, my soul mates, my partners, my kindred spirits. And they are all so different from each other.

We have 6 businesses operating out of one office, 1,000 square feet of dream incubation. 

However, the 4 of us, never mind our four different teams, four sets of clients, four sets of parents and siblings and significant others, populate our space on an everyday basis.

And we are all women. In four very different seasons of life.

But we are all struggling right now. Like, really really struggling. And all with such different things, and sometimes we simply don’t know how to support each other, and sometimes can’t even find the emotional space to help one another.

If we all were the typical “American” life story, we would go in sequential order, everyone having their place in life, in line. And dealing with such life struggles that come along with that season. 

However, it hasn't always been this way, and sometimes the massive “out of order” throws us for never ending loops. Like we are on the Chutes and Ladders game of real life, and oh what we would give to just skip that last chute… or make the choice to not climb that ladder…

In our office right now, we have lost parents, husbands living far away, babies on the way, growing businesses, home purchases, technical difficulties, team dynamics, an upcoming wedding season, travel plans to coordinate, day care issues, and that was just yesterday.

It’s hard. We want to support each other. We need to support each other. So sometimes, when in a single day, you have work, life and work life, you just have to lay in bed at night and ask God for peace in your heart, and in the ones’ you love. Pray that you can find the room, the strength and the patience to be the support your loved ones need in their struggle, and that they will do the same for you.

So today, as I step into the office, I will not worry about channeling my inner Olivia Pope, and I will instead remember that my friends need me, and I need them. That love will show through, no matter what. That’s what our purpose is, after all.

I think that little chart not only applies to business ownership. I think it goes well with life, too. 

So my dear Jodi, please enjoy your Mommy Bailey day while your little girl twirls in her tutu and dance class and enjoys her lunch time cookie. 

 

 

 

 

 

My love, Carey. The laser is your friend, and FreshBash is so incredibly lucky to have you and your dreamy ambitions. As am I.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heidi, honey, may your talents shine bright today as your hard work presents itself to your clients. Be proud of what you’ve made, and the work you’ve put in. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To my team, God bless you. I could NOT have done any of this without you. You are my bright lights, my saving graces and my dream team.

And Baby Andreini, if it’s at all possible, please don’t squeeze my bladder today, I have a long meeting that I’d like to get through. And I promise to pay more attention to you when we get home.