Being a mama is not my favorite job.
It’s a job that I dread every single day. The work is hard, the hours are long, and being mindful and intentional with my kids when I feel this way is the most draining thing I’ve ever done.
But I know it won’t be like this forever.
Even though I hate my job as a mama, I choose to stay at home to raise my kids. I choose to spend (almost) every day with them, not because I think it’s better for them or because I should. But because I can.
Not many mamas can. And I am grateful that I have the opportunity.
Before I rediscovered my entrepreneurial fire post kids, I felt lost and depressed. For almost three years it felt as though wiping butts and playing dress up was going to be my life. I totally lost myself in motherhood. And not in a good way.
Luckily, that fire in my belly wasn’t dead… it was still there waiting for me to say, wait a minute! I’m still here! I deserve to be happy too!
Once I started to really believe that – I deserved to do what makes me happy – everything changed.
Since that realization, I’ve started a business and a blog, I co-wrote a book, and I am currently working on two brand new projects. This is what makes me feel alive. I find joy and fulfillment in doing the things I love… and apparently, doing them ALL?
The tricky part about being a mompreneur is making sure that I’m not consciously or subconsciously putting my kids on the back burner. As much as I love my work, I would never sacrifice their happiness or well-being to pursue my passions. Those can wait. My kid’s growing brains and changing emotions and need for love, can’t.
Here are 5 tips on how I manage being a multi-passionate entrepreneur with toddlers at home.
- Time Blocking
This is EVERYTHING. As an entrepreneur, it’s really hard to switch my brain from work/create mode to family/house mode. If I really want to work on something for the business or get some writing done and the girls are needing attention or interaction – I get super frustrated and resentful.
Time blocking isn’t just physical time organization, it’s mostly mental for me. If I go into my day with a solid plan on how much time I’ll spend on work and when, how much time I’ll spend playing with the girls and when, and how much time I’ll spend cleaning or doing laundry and when, it keeps all the guilt and stress at bay. I alternate my blocks, and always make sure that I’m spending more time with my girls than anything else.
- Activity Lists & Ideas
Waking up to a day with no plans, nowhere to go, and no one to see puts me in a horrible mood. I immediately start scrambling to find something to do to fill the time. I loathe sitting at home alone with my kids. I need activities or outings to break up the day so I don’t get stuck sitting on the floor building blocks or playing barbies for hours and hours.
So tomorrow (Saturday), for example, my husband is going to work for about 6 hours and we have nothing planned. As I went through my day today, I slowly made a list of things we could do with our time at home (we can’t go anywhere because of a big snow storm happening right now). And I promised my oldest that I wouldn’t do any work until daddy came home. So far, we will be making puffy slime, playing in the snow, baking cookies, doing a science experiment, and taking baths. There will probably be a few rounds of hide and seek in there somewhere too, along with coloring and snacking. You know, the basics.
- Communication & HELP
People who don’t work from home don’t know the struggle. The distractions, the messy work space, the kids. My office is currently the dining room, and my candle work space is my kitchen. This means that if either of those spaces are messy – I can’t work. And unless the kids are otherwise occupied or at the sitter’s – I can’t work. I have two 8-hour work days a week when the girls go to the sitter’s, and I always make sure my work spaces are clean the night before. I can’t waste a single moment of my kid-free time!
But two days a week isn’t enough for me to actually grow my businesses, so my husband has recently started to take the girls downstairs when he gets home Tuesday-Thursday. This gives me a few extra dedicated work hours, and something to look forward to.
I constantly have to remind myself that my current work/life struggles are only temporary. In a couple of years my kids will be in school and by then I will hopefully have a real office and studio space. So for now, I will continue to put the important things first – my girls. Because in reality, who knows where my businesses will be in a few years… they may not even exist. I may have started new ones. But my kids will be here regardless, and I’ll have to deal with the consequences of bad parenting if I don’t work hard every day to do it right!
I know lots of mompreneurs who stay up all hours of the night to work, but I just can’t. I am not as creative when I’m overtired. I feel less inspired and not mentally energized. Plus, I’m prone to migraines when I’m sleep deprived, so I have to make rest a priority. Luckily, 6 hours is all I need!
On that note, I’m off to bed so I have energy to pull two toddlers around in a sled tomorrow. Woo hoo!