Being a mom is tough enough as it is. We often find ourselves physically and emotionally drained, giving every ounce of ourselves and our energy to our families. But then, when you add on being an entrepreneur, the level of stress and mommy-guilt go through the roof. As working mothers, we feel torn between our work and family balance.
Our minds are constantly spinning with never-ending questions: Are we doing a good job? Are we doing enough? Are we failing miserably? It seems like every day is getting shorter, but our to-do lists are growing longer. Is it possible to set boundaries and build a schedule that allows us to “do it all”? Believe it or not, the answer is yes. First, by redefining our perception of “doing it all”, and then incorporating boundaries into our lives that will allow us to not only be productive but to also be present.
1 // Understand Your Priorities
What do you want? What matters most to you in this life? What do you dream about? What are your professional goals? Where do you see yourself (and your family) in 10+ years? What memories do you hope to make with your family? Do you hope to grow your business?
… Why? With each question, it is always important to dig deeper by asking “why” as many times as you can until you really begin to comprehend what it is you truly long for. This process of unraveling our desires and aspirations both personally and professionally allows us to gain a more thorough understanding of who we are and visualize the direction we long to move in. Answering these difficult questions will provide us with valuable insight into what tasks we need to prioritize in order to get closer to accomplishing our goals.
There is more than one way to dig into your heart to uncover these answers. You can brainstorm on your own by journaling, doodling, or meditating. You may choose to do a form of counseling to help unravel your feelings and become more aware. Find what works for you and then go all in.
2 // Build an HONEST Schedule
One of the top reasons that schedules fail is because they are built without the consideration of realistic circumstances. Sure, it would be great to accomplish everything on your to-do list in one day, but there is only a limited number of hours in each day. Before you nail down a schedule, make a list of how your family operates. Write down things like feeding times, errands, the time of the day you work best, and downtime. Take these into account when creating your schedule.
Make sure to align the more difficult tasks with the time you have more energy. Schedule meetings and calls when you have extra help with your kids. Believe it or not, you will even want to block off times for responding to emails. Likewise, dedicate time to family adventures when you won’t feel rushed or distracted. Most importantly, don’t spread yourself thin and try to do everything at once as this can cause some serious burnout and frustration.
Taking all of these home/work facts into account when building a schedule will help us set ourselves up for success. We will check more of the to-do list, as well as experience more meaningful moments if we are feeling our best and can allocate our full attention.
3 // Be Open to Schedule Revisions
Unfortunately, just because your current schedule works great, doesn’t mean that will be the case in the future. As your little ones grow and adapt, so should your schedule. Regularly step back and analyze how you are spending your time. Ask yourself, What do I need to alter about my schedule in order to better suit my family’s current needs?
You will also want to take time to periodically review your work life. Do you have missed deadlines that have caused lost business? Are you constantly stressed out? These are signs that your schedule may not be working and may need revision. If you find yourself needing help, that’s OK – It is not a sign of weakness! Don’t be afraid to welcome help, whether it’s in the form of paid child care, outsourcing business tasks, or hiring employees.
Above all, remember that you got this! One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. Every day brings new learning through experience. Be honest with yourself and create a balanced schedule so that you can promote health and happiness in both your work and in your home.