I recently had the joy and honor of speaking at the Time Out conference for the Creative Mompreneur. It’s a one-day conference event created to help moms who run creative businesses to connect with each other and grow as mothers while also growing as business owners. Raising babies while running a business can be challenging, so the event was also intended to be a place to renew, relax, and indulge in self-care, which is often on the back-burner for moms and business owners (doubly-so, if you’re both).
I spoke on how to maintain your sanity while trying to balance motherhood, your marriage, and keeping your business sustainable. If you weren’t able to make the Time Out, I want to share my tips with you, here. Hopefully, you find them helpful!
One of the best ways I know how to balance my work life and my home life is by setting boundaries and being able to separate my time spent in each role. I’ve designated certain days of the week as family time/home life and others as work days/time spent working on the business. For me, that means not scheduling any shoots on Sundays, so I can spend time with my family. It also means designating Mondays and Fridays as more mom-centric days. When my little is in school, those are work days and when I’m most productive in the office. This way, I can give my full attention to my family or my business, as opposed to trying to split my attention and not doing a great job at either.
My email signature and voicemail both include my office hours (when my little is in school). That way, clients and vendors know when to expect to hear from me. If you know your best working hours are at night, but still want others to be respectful of your office hours, schedule your emails or social media posts to be sent/go live during the office hours. That way, it doesn’t look like you’re working outside of your office hours (even if you are).
For more on setting boundaries, I’d recommend you read “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst. She talks about how saying yes to something always means saying no to something else. For example: if you say yes to working on Sunday afternoons, you’re saying no to cuddling up on the couch with your babies.
2. Give Yourself Permission
You cannot expect to give from an empty well. If you want to give to your business, spouse, or babies, you have to take care of yourself first. Self care is so vital! For me, that is taking Irish Step Dance! It’s fun to learn something new. It’s also a great form of exercise. Irish Step Dance is something just for me. It’s a joyful activity outside of work and personal commitments.
If you’re looking for something that’s outside of your daily work, think about three things you’ve always wanted to do or learn. Then, go find a way to do it! Is it taking a cooking class? A monthly girls’ night out with friends? Yoga class? Learning to paint? Volunteering for an organization you believe in? Joining a local recreational sports team? Commit to it and enjoy your “me time” without guilt! Your family and your business will value you more if you’re recharged!
Insider tip: we babysitter swap with friends. Every Wednesday, we swap babysitting with friends of ours that have kids that our little gets along with. That means, we have at least two date nights a month! Not only does it put it on the calendar to ensure it happens, it also saves us money on babysitting.
3. Accept Help
There are so many things that you can outsource, both professionally and personally. What are some $10 an hour jobs that you can bless someone else with? Outsourcing those tasks will give you time back in your day to spend it with family or to build your business. It’ll also financially bless whoever is helping you with those tasks. If you don’t enjoy certain tasks, you definitely want to outsource those to keep your sanity! It could be anything in your life that takes your time. Is it planning social media posts? Blogging? Laundry? Mowing the lawn? House cleaning? Getting groceries? Editing (for photographers)?
Hire a professional organizer. I hired a local business owner recently to clean, organize, and label my kitchen and pantry. I knew that having this space decluttered would change how I viewed this space, what I was able to accomplish while in this space, and the enjoyment that it held. It was LIFE CHANGING! Now, everything in my kitchen has a home and it put me on a path for successfully keeping my kitchen in order.
Once you relinquish these tasks, you need to let go of control. It won’t buy you anything to try to re-do or perfect these tasks that you’ve handed off to someone else. So, as Elsa sings, let it go. (Yes, I had to get a Disney Princess reference in here somewhere!) Trust that the person you’ve hired wants the best for you and is sincerely trying to help you. Train them enough to make sure y’all are on the same page about desired outcome/results and give them enough freedom to get the task done. After that, you have to step back and let them help you.
4. Find Community
If you were at the Time Out Conference, you would have seen a room full of women who are in exactly the same season as you are. The others there were also moms, raising kids and running a business. Find those women who will walk alongside you in this season and cheer you on. In return, support them, love them, and encourage them when they need it. We were made for community, so don’t try to do this alone. Find your tribe.
You find them by being brave. You have to put yourself out there. The hobbies you want to do (from point 2) may already be a place your future best friend is hanging out at. There is a local Rising Tide Society here in Austin (and a ton more all over the country) that meets once a month. It’s a meet-up for local creative business owners and guess what? Some of us are moms! You find them by going the extra step and getting plugged in. Once you find a community, make the effort to be truly involved. Yes, you’ll need help with babysitting and scheduling, but it’s worth it! Take on the leadership roles where you can and ask how your talents will benefit the community, then use those talents to push the community forward.
5. Stop Comparing
Comparison is the thief of joy. That’s what Theodore Roosevelt said and those words are still true over a hundred years later. Except now, it may be easier to compare yourself to others, as we’re so connected to others’ highlight reels on social media. People post their great work, their talented kids, their doting spouse, their vacations, their new cars, and the list goes on. Their highlights can make you feel less than, like you’re not good enough and that is NOT TRUE! If social media (and seeing everyone else’s highlights) is making you feel like you’re behind in any aspect of life, get off the app. Take a break from social media. Vow to not check in on the weekends. Move it’s location on your phone, so the muscle memory in your thumb isn’t automatically opening the app when you have your cell phone on. Turn your wi-fi off (or check out these distraction-blocking apps) while at your desk, so you’re not tempted to check in. Unfollow accounts that spark jealousy in your heart. If you feel like you’re missing out or your work isn’t good enough and this account makes you considering quitting your dream, it’s ok to unfollow them – even if they’re a friend. If it doesn’t Spark Joy for you, it doesn’t have a place in your life.
There are SO MANY things in your life to be thankful for. If you find yourself stuck in the comparison game, start a gratitude journal to document the blessings that are in your life right now. If this concept sounds crazy, read “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. Gratitude will change your mindset and change your entire outlook on life.
Other books I’d recommend are:
Thank you to Angelic Edge Photography for taking photos at the conference!