Tips for Finding Balance as a Work From Home Mompreneur (and a secret about balance!)
Welcome to the blog - ah! I promised I was going to do it, and here we are.
So to kick off my re-entry into blogging, (and by re-entry I mean I had a blogspot in 2007), I thought I'd start with a Q&A to answer some of your questions - so many of you replied to the poll in my stories, and because of an OVERWHELMING number of these types of questions, I'll start with the most burning topic.
Here's what many of you asked:
"You are so BUSY! How do you find the time to recharge?"
You have no idea how much I despise "busy." A few years ago I heard a friend mention "stopping the glorification of busy" and that it resonated with me so much. Since then, I've tried really hard to not wear my busyness like a badge. Listen...I can chill. HARD. I'm talking I own more varieties of PJ lounge joggers than actual pants. And as an introvert and an empath,
it can turn from chilling to apathy and fr laziness real quick!
I take so much pleasure and peace from being still. Due to who I naturally am, I haven't exactly figured out a "balance" yet, because here's the secret, I don't believe there is a such thing as balance when it comes to managing your competing priorities. I recently heard the analogy, "it's like juggling plastic and glass".
Which priority is plastic, and which one is glass?
They can change from moment to moment, and sometimes you'll have to drop the one that won't shatter to keep the others afloat. But I wouldn't call this balance.
Remember I mentioned being an empath and introvert? That means I recharge by being alone. So a key way that I take care of myself is to be by myself!
Maximize or institute nap time or quiet/independent time.
I treasure my children's nap time, and bedtime, and I encourage every parent to have one because it helps you AND your children tremendously (behaviors, mood, and body function/toileting are tied to sleep, to say nothing of the brain development that takes place in our littles when they get the amount they need.....I mentioned I'm a Child Development instructor...didn't I, lol!?) I digress. When they go to sleep/into their rooms for quiet time and nap time, I recharge. I also look forward to when Dev takes H&H on bike rides, or out to play....the silence is golden.
Sometimes these child-free times equal doing nothing, but many times, it means being able to focus on one of my competing priorities, rather than multiple. Being able to sit and focus on one project is definitely a recharge, and leaves me feeling like I actually DID something when I'm done!
Outside of that, I have Relator in my top 5, and recently found out that I'm an enneagram 2...close relationships are super important, and often what helps
my mood a ton is just getting to hang with Dev and watch a show or movie, talk and LAUGH! I spend a LOT of time connecting with my friends virtually through Marco Polo or Facetime/Duo. Because COVID.
Self Care is critical! But we have to take care of more than just our skin and nails.
Of course, there's everyone's favorite, self care. And while I love a good mani-pedi or trip to the spa (like....a LOT), what gives me the grace and ability that truly recharges me, is spending time with God - reading my bible, attending virtual church services on Sundays, and bible study on Thursday, PLUS therapy, and journaling! This isn't the only way I practice self care, but it's definitely the most fruitful way.
When I don't do these things, my mood, mental heath, and spirit are ALL out of wack, and ultimately I am out of wack, which causes a disruption to everyone in the family. If I'm spiritually drained, I am probably not coping healthily, and not making decisions in accordance with God's will, but rather in my tired flesh (NEVER a good combination).
When I am out of alignment, I am for sure going to throw my whole family off-course.
So. I make recharging a priority, EVEN if other priorities don't win out. Not all of the time, but putting myself first sometimes is critical.
Several of your asked versions of the following questions, lol, but this phrasing was too flattering and thus too good to not share:
"Literally, your life strategy like – how do you keep it all together? How do you decide, I’m doing this today! I’m pushing that to tomorrow-like....sometimes I can’t even just each lunch properly. You have a job/kids/husband/and and and..."
"How do you do it?"
I'm never sure how to answer this question, because honestly, many days I feel like I'm NOT doing it, lol. But here's what helps me push through to the next set of to-dos:
1. Calendar Everything On Your Plate
A calendar is a multitasking mama's best friend and critical for keeping track of all of the details.
If it's not written in my calendar, it literally doesn't exist, lol. I will forget ANY commitment not written down. And even still, once it's in the calendar I have to schedule reminders - birthday party I need to attend? Project due on a specific date? I'll enter that into my calendar, add a 30 min reminder before I have to be there/its due, a 24 hour reminder so the day before I remember, lol, AND a reminder a week out. I will forget, and forget, until the calendar tells me what to do.
2. Have a Schedule, and a Plan
Having a set time for everything is helpful for maximizing the calendar is as a tool
"Where there is no vision, the people perish, but he that keep the law is happy." (Proverbs 29:18) It's so true. When we fail to plan in our house, we just laid out our failure plan instead, lol. I have a schedule each day that includes completing home school work by lunch time for the most part, and once lunch wraps up and H&H head to their quiet time/nap time, I essentially begin my work day, which will typically last until I head upstairs. And some nights, my laptop may come upstairs with me. More on this later.
3. Trust and Rely on Your Partner
Whatever support system you have, utilize it by asking for help, and releasing the need to control everything. For me, it's my husband, Devin who is my main support system and 100% partner.
Dev and I are in every step of our family life, together. There's nothing he doesn't share in. I owe so much of my ability to manage competing priorities to his support. He is fully dialed in to the needs of our marriage, our family, our commitment to homeschooling H&H, and running our home. Being in a partnership, means partnering.
4. Rest -
We broke that down above!
5. Leverage Your Strengths -
Knowing what I do well...or better than well, has helped me stop spinning my wheels and beating myself up when I fall short.
I've been a Strengths-based educator and developer for 13 years, and it is a HUGE part of how I approach everything - from my coaching work with clients, to teaching, to parenting....I play to my strengths, and I try to spend as little time as possible doing things I'm not good at that dip from my bucket.
Using the personality assessment results from CliftonStrengths to know what I'm naturally talented in is so empowering because it allows me to try and bring my best self forward intentionally, rather than feeling like my highs and moments of success are flukes or strokes of luck. Naw. I've got superpowers and I always have.
Using my top 5 talent themes as much as possible is energizing, and helps me produce in the following ways:
Individualization - I'm great at knowing what makes each person unique, what they're great at, and partnering with them to help THEM use THEIR natural talents. This one's my fave!
Strategic - I love finding creative solutions to problems, and in just about any scenario, I can figure out patterns and issues.
Relator - I enjoy, and am keen at close-knit, interpersonal relationships.
Discipline - I'm good at creating the order I need to feel like I'm set up for success, and once I create a plan, I'm really good at sticking to it, and seeing it through to the end.
Empathy - I can sense other people's feelings by imagining myself in their shoes. I'm not afraid of others' emotions, and willingly meet people's hearts where they are.
6. Schedule Time for Your Grief -
Grief is Real, and momming without a mom is so hard. But there are so many things we mamas grieve daily, but are we taking the time we need to process that grief?
I lost my mother almost three years ago. And I then lost her mother, my gramie, just 8 months later. To say my life has been steeped in deep grief as I've mourned the loss of both of my mothers, would be an understatement. It is pain indescribable, Grief comes in waves, unstoppable, and often unexpected. When it comes, sometimes I can give myself over to it, either partially or completely. Other times however, I have to manage those emotions in a way that let's me get ish done.
But that can't be the default. So, when I notice I've been triggered by one thing or another, OR as grief anniversaries and milestones approach, I just have to schedule it. That can sometimes look like a day in bed, a date with a person who willingly meets me in my grief place, or a combination of things. But I give myself permission to feel every feeling - songs, journals, pictures, voice messages, videos, old cards and letters...I draw them near however I can, and I allow for it to just hurt.
2020 and COVID-19 Have Caused So Much Grief
While the loss of loved ones is one point on the grief spectrum, there's also small + huge things I grieve all week and throughout the days. Feeling like I failed my children by losing my temper or forgetting to do something I said I would do, a misunderstanding with Dev, being overwhelmed, having a creative block, Black Lives simply tryna' Matter, an election, oppression, A WHOLE PANDEMIC (80's babies are TIRED YALL,geeesh), expectations, not having a break from my children in 8 months, cancelled plans, health issues, missing my friends and family, sick loved ones.....
There is plenty to grieve, and not allowing myself to grieve sets up a false notion that these feelings don't need or deserve a place to go, and that's simply not true. We're allowed to hurt and be disappointed, and grieve these losses. Otherwise, we leak our pain and disappointment out on people who didn't hurt us.
These babies deserve an emotionally intelligent mama who is working on her healing process.
7. God's Grace -
We are not doing this alone - our belief and faith is what keeps and sustains us day to day
I listed this later, but it's by no means the least. It is honestly what allows me to use the above to get anything done at all. His grace is sufficient! The beauty is no matter what will be thrown at me on a given day, He supplies what I'll need to get through each piece.
8. Remind Myself - This is Only a Season -
Can we say longest year ever? Yes! LOL, but as somebody's grandma used to say, "Trouble don't last always." Never has, never will.
I remind myself that this is not how my life has always been, and it is not how my life will always be. Some work days end at a decent hour, and on others I take the laptop to bed with me and work a few extra hours so I can at least be cozy and comfy while I push through. I am in a grind season that is very specific to stage of life being married with young children, while growing my business, while in a pandemic, while grieving, while, while, while....
And as her royal majesty, Tiana of Maldonia by way of 'Nawlins would say, "I'm almost there!"
Life will not always be this way. But for now, all of the work going in to our home, our family, our creative businesses, our jobs, is equity.....it allows us to invest now, and profit in so many ways later.
The grind is not the goal.
Well, that's it for this round of Q&A - these questions were so good for me to receive, process, and share with you - thank you! I'll def do another Q&A again once I answer all of the questions sent this round!
Until next time,