Being a wife as well as a mother to an 18-month-old is such a blessing. When you add entrepreneur to the list, things start to get even more exciting. I’m very much a true Virgo — analytical, observant, precise, and always striving for perfection. However, I’ve had to learn to adapt to my new roles in life and to go with the flow.
My multi-tasking skills went from being great to becoming my superpower. When my son was an infant, I learned how to cook dinner, wash clothes, and nurse him in a sling almost all at once. Can you say #parentwin? It might not sound like a big deal to some of you but all of my moms out there feel me.
I’m very proud to say I’ve done a great job of learning how to get work done all while watching a very active and witty toddler. I want to share what I’ve learned with other moms (and dads) who are in a similar position as me. I don’t claim to be an expert or to have it all figured out but I do know what works best for me and I hope that by sharing my story I can help someone else.
Here are 7 ways I stay balanced and grounded:
Make a list
I’ve learned to write everything down and to put all dates and events in my calendar. I’ve even created a family calendar that my husband and I have access to. If I write things down and set reminders, it’s less information that I have to remember or run the chance of forgetting (which seems to be very easy to do these days).
I also make a list of the most important three to five items that I want to accomplish each day. I try to do no more than five because it becomes overwhelming and I start to add things to the next day, which leads to overload and burnout.
Set a time for starting housework
Sometimes I try to juggle too much while working from home and it ends up being a large mistake. What I’ve found that works best for me is no housework or chores until after 5 p.m. This helps to set boundaries and I am able to focus only on my list items mentioned in number one. I’ve tried blending business work and housework and one or none gets done. By focusing on one at a time I am able to provide devout attention to each task.
Take a nap or rest when my son does
This is so vital for many reasons. When my son would go down for his nap, I would run around like crazy and try to get as much done as I could before he would wake up. It almost always ended up a mistake. I would be so tired from either staying up late or waking up early with him that I would have no energy left. When I was pregnant people would always say, “Make sure you nap when he naps.” I would think to myself, yeah, yeah, sure. When would I get things done if I did that? Well, I really didn’t want to admit it but they were right. It’s so important to give your body and mind some rest and to enjoy those extra cuddles with your little one. This leads me to my next point.
Take a break
One of my son’s favorite things to do is play outdoors. He’s actually helped me to develop a deeper appreciation for nature and being outdoors. When permitted, I try to take a 15-20 minute walk outside. It’s important for both of us. It helps to clear our minds, rejuvenate and I earn bonus points if he falls asleep.
Establish a healthy lifestyle
I can go on and on about the wonderful benefits of yoga and why we all need some type of regular physical activity but I want to touch on the importance of establishing a healthy lifestyle. My husband and I don’t believe in dieting but rather making small changes that we can live with and be happy about. That includes being mindful of what we eat, drink, and use on our bodies. We recently started switching our household toiletries to natural and/or organic products and switching from plastic to glass water bottles. These are subtle changes but will have a significant impact on our overall health. We also try to start our days by having breakfast, which is really important for me because when I was younger I would always skip breakfast. I’m still nursing my son, so I need to make sure I’m eating properly and staying well hydrated. It’s a challenge but we do it.
Focus only on what’s in front of me
I’ve learned that I can get so much more accomplished if I don’t check my social media accounts, emails, text messages, and don’t take any calls while I’m working. It’s hard — very hard sometimes. But I am so much more productive and focused without all of those distractions. It only takes one time for me to “check” that comment or to see who liked my post but before I know it I’ve spent almost an hour mindlessly scrolling the ‘gram. I have to tell myself, “don’t do it, you didn’t miss anything.”
Here’s a tip: If you feel like you can’t stay away then schedule several five-minute social media breaks throughout your day. That way it’s on the schedule and not taking you away from what you should be focused on. Making sure you don’t go over the allotted five minutes is another struggle.
Enjoy some mommy-time
My husband and I call my personal time “mommy-time.” It’s almost like my safe word. What is it? It’s actual time out of the house to do whatever it is I need to rejuvenate and get back to 100 percent. For me, it doesn’t take much, usually I end up doing something that revolves around food. All I can tell you is to have an outlet. Some of my mommy-time activities can include but definitely are not limited to:
- The spa
- A massage
- Trying out a new restaurant
- Wine tasting
- A yoga class or taking a new fitness class
- Catching a movie
- Hitting a happy hour or visiting a friend
These are just a few things I’ve learned along the way, and please believe me when I say that I’m still learning and figuring things out. Sometimes I’m able to wake up earlier than everyone and finish my work, other days I’m burning the midnight oil. There are days when I feel like I dominate and other days when I’m trying to pick up the pieces of my day.
I’m learning that life is all about counterbalance and learning how to not sweat the small stuff.
Disclaimer: Every day I make sure I carve time out for meals, play and learning for my son and I. I’m all about my business but family comes first.