Yesterday, I heard some words that left me in shock and sad, I got teary eyed! It made me realize that I need to find a balance to be able to pursue my business goals and my own personal goals. I remember when I was working for a company and would hear them talk about Work-Life balance and how they pride themselves in giving us this balance. I couldn’t really put my finger on it as to what this really meant, until NOW.
Work-Life Balance Defined
According to Wikipedia:
Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
See, sometimes we make commitments to ourselves that we feel are very important in our lives and take the steps to pursue them. We set out our planner, jot notes here and there, set up the schedule and hope that we will scratch it off the To-Do list. We go on about our days and seem to be accomplishing the multiple tasks that we juggle. As mentioned in this post about life being a balance act, it seems to sometimes hit us on the face!
SMACK!! Stop you on your tracks.
Finding Work Balance
I mentioned in this post that sometimes we as WAHMs need to ask for help. This week I’ve had a change in my work schedule and will be having another big change that will prevent me from getting my boys ready for school in the mornings.
Chaos in the horizon!!
I usually am the one that gets up and gets the kids ready for school because I was not having to clock in to my work at home job. This past week I obtained a full time job but still have the ability to work from home but now have to clock in per se. This will leave me without the ability to get my kids ready for school or get them on the bus.
My head and heart started racing and wondering, what will I do?! Thankfully my mother volunteered to come early in the mornings and get them ready and on the bus. The bad thing is that Summer is almost here and kids will be on vacation. I will need someone to watch them while I’m on the phone working. The good thing is that even though my mom will be having other commitments, she will be taking them with her while she can. Thank goodness for GRANDMAS!
Phew! I can breath now and keep calm.
Now, in regards to maintaining a work-life balance while working from home and still be able to manage the house chores, we need to balance our lifestyle to be able to be with our FAMILY as well.
But how do you do that?
Finding Life Balance
Being a mom to two boys is as easy or as difficult as being a mom to one, three or more kids. You can have only one child and still have some juggling to do with your work and caring for your child. Even if you’re a step mom, grandma, auntie or anyone that takes care of children, it is a tough job, especially if you have to juggle in your job.
Being logged in during the day to work as a Spanish interpreter, this has been my schedule and activities so far:
First 15 Minute Break: Run out of my office, load the washer, unload the dryer, potty break, grab something to drink. Then run back to my office and log back in.
30 Minute Lunch Break: Run out of my office, eat leftovers or make a quick sandwich, make the beds, wash dishes, unload washer into the dryer, load washer, potty break, log back in.
Second 15 Minute Break: Run out of my office, unload dryer and washer, tidy up any toys or items not in their place, potty/water break, log back in.
As you can see, I don’t have much time to waste and time is of the essence! In order to balance my work and life, I’ve had to accommodate or rearrange certain tasks.
Family Quality Time
In order to have time for my family, I try to spend as much time I can with them but it seems that sometimes that time I try to spend with them won’t always be the right amount of time or quality time.
Maybe you’re asking what it is that I heard that hurt my heart and almost made me cry? What I heard from someone close to me about another person who is a mom of three and who has an In Home Learning Center (or Day Care), is that her children seem to notice that she spends a lot of time away from them and more in her business.
They are older, from 7 to about 13 years of age, so they see things and happened to mention that their mom doesn’t care for them and prefers being involved more in her business than being with them.
WHAT?! This is the part that hurt me the most!
She is trying to grow her business, which she has by the way, but has ceased to take time to be with her children. It made me think, is that what my children think? If they don’t see me, do they think I prefer my job over them? Will they see me as the mother who prefers being more involved in my business rather than with them? All these questions popped in my head and my heart literally hurt.
When we’ve gone out with family members of this mom, it’s usually the other members that go and she stays behind because she has to be doing work on the computer. I mean, I understand that she has to be working and try to keep her learning center up to par and everything but is it really worth not spending a few hours with her children? I don’t know the answer to that and I’m not one to judge, but her children have really pointed out the fact that they hardly see their mother and want to spend time with her.
Spend Time Together
Sometimes we do have a lot on our plates and have to figure out how it is that we can handle everything. Here are some tasks we can do:
Have Dinner Together. When having dinner, some families opt to eating at different times because of the different schedules. Try to have everyone regroup for dinner at the same time to have a nice family dinner. It doesn’t have to be a gourmet dinner but as long as there’s a gourmet discussion full of juicy details of how the day went for everyone to a delicious motivation for each other’s accomplishments. Something like, “great job on getting an ‘A’ on your homework!”
Play Together. You can have some quality time by playing together as a family. We have a small kitchenette for my boys with the pots, pans and chef hat that my oldest enjoys wearing and he sits us down on a small play table and usually pretends he is the server and chef and asks for our orders and goes cooks it up and brings it to us. Yes, we only have plastic play food, but it is a delicious meal he prepared for us.
Do Homework Together. My five year old usually gets homework daily except on Fridays. After we have played, gone outside and got tired of playing pretend, it’s time for homework. I usually sit with him to work on it and help him out. When I get a bit frustrated because he does like to play around and just play with the pencil, my husband joins in and takes over and vise versa. Two heads are better than one in this case.
Read Books Together. After we finish homework and bathe them, it’s time for bedtime. We usually have a routine set already which if we go off course, they will not go to sleep. When it’s bedtime, they usually get to choose a book or two that we can read. My oldest already knows how to read Spanish a little so I allow him to read to me and his brother. When my husband reads to them, sometimes he’ll read the book to them or let my son read it himself. Sometimes my husband reads an English book to them so they listen to both languages.
Do Chores Together. Have your kids help with chores, get a printable chart from this blog that I enjoy reading, Living Well Spending Less, and find an age appropriate chore they can help you with. I allow my kids to do simple things like remove the bed sheets when it’s laundry time, take out the trash from the restrooms and kitchen and help feed our two dogs. You can also get organized with your own daily to do list like this printable one from this great blog, The Small Stuff Counts.
My youngest still wears diapers, so after I change him, I hand the diaper to him to throw it in the trash and he already knows he has to do that. Also, in the mornings when I am able to dress them for school, each of them gets there clothes and puts it in the laundry basket. We helped them understand that we need their help since they were younger so now they see it as something normal. Plus, we spend that valuable time together.
With all the juggling, just know that you need to have a balance at work or business, your family and have that quality time spent with them in order to fulfill both roles. To meet the quality family time, don’t forget to do the little things such as: having dinner, doing homework, reading books and doing chores TOGETHER.
P.S. What are some things that help you keep a work-life balance? How do you spend quality time with your family?
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