I have to admit my first few months of being a Mum was fairly easy for me. My son slept often and I made the most of every 3 hour nap he had. I often thought to myself that I'm nailing this work/mum life balance. I remember a week out of hospital I was up to date with all my work and I had no idea what this whole issue was around being a Mum and also working.
Then my son got to around 6-8 months old and EVERYTHING changed. Not only did we go through some terrible sleep regression period, he became extremely active and day sleeps were like 20-30 mins in duration (just enough time to have a shower or eat something). The struggle become very real and I often felt like I wasn't coping or that there was just no way to move forward with my work or business goals.
Just before my son was born I decided to start a new business. I thought it was the perfect opportunity as I was finishing up my full time job to work part time from home and I would have so much more time on my hands.... When I was pregnant I was working both a 40 hour a week corporate job and from home 20 + hours a week so I'm sure you can understand why I thought my life was going to become easier. Oh how I was wrong. This past 12+ months has really taught me so much about time management and valuing my time.
One main thing I've learnt is that 'Mum Guilt' is a very real thing. We beat ourselves up about absolutely everything, no decision is every the right one and we second guess everything! I really wanted to be home with my son for at least the first 12 months of his life so I put off sending him to daycare for as long as I possible caught. By the time he was 8 months old I was drowning in work and felt like I was going crazy. I felt like I didn't have a choice but to work every weekend to stay on top of everything. By the time he was 11 months I decided it was time to send him to daycare (despite the feedback from family members that he was far too young). I knew I needed it for my own sanity. Even though I felt extremely guilty about it my son absolutely loves it and I know its the best thing for him. I value my days even more when its just the two of us and my work days (when he is at daycare) are now so extremely productivity. I don't even stop to do washing or dishes (much to my husbands annoyance! haha).
Here are a few of my tips for juggling a new business/work and Mum life -
- Understand your why. If you don't have a clear purpose for what it is you are doing then trust me your motivation will slide and within time you are going to resent whatever it is you are working on.
- Do something you love. If you truly love what you do then you will find time to work on it. I know this is easier said than done but perhaps your business could start off as a side project so you have that thing in your life you truly love (it will also help make the other job in your life bearable)
- Don't feel guilty for having days where you just do nothing but be a Mum. You can't do it all and some times you just need a day to not think about work and recharge.
- Some days are going to be complete failures, just accept it and move on. I have the best of intentions some days to work through a huge to do list and priortise my work, then for what ever reason I wake up in the morning with zero motivation to do anything but sit on the couch listening to the wiggles with my son (its true this happens often! haha). When you've had a night with a teething baby and very little sleep your heads just not going to be in the right space to work so its best to just accept there are often going to be days like this.
- Structure your days. Children love structure and routine. Your business/work will thrive with structure too! I know every day that my son is home that he will sleep for roughly 1-2 hours some time around mid day. I don't use this time to do house work or anything else unnecessary. The second his head his the sheets I'm in my office working through a very well prioritised to do list. I know I can do washing, dishes etc when he is awake but sitting at my computer for any more than 2 minutes while I'm looking after him is completely unrealistic. You really need to make the most of your time and have a very well thought out schedule.
- Always have goals to work towards. To get through the day to day boring tasks you need to be working towards something. There needs to be clear objectives set for what you are doing and trying to achieve.
- Book a holiday. Ok I know this isn't possible for everyone but seriously the only way I get through my day to day work is knowing that in a few months time I'll get a much needed holiday. It keeps me sane and it's really the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I love having something to look forward to!
I'd love to hear what your tips are for juggling work and Mum life? Leave them in the comments below