Work-life balance feels like a joke most of the time.
Truly, most of that is my own fault. Because of *all* the things that I do, I do have to make a conscious effort to improve my work-life balance. I juggle a lot of things – full time job, side hustle, supporting our food truck business, supporting my teammates, mom of two, stepmom of four, fur-mom of three…and that’s just the every day things.
Here’s what work-life balance looks like for me:
1. I plan at least one weeknight each week where we can all eat dinner together.
Wow, even writing that sounds like I’m never home. haha. In reality, most weeks it’s probably more than one night that we eat together, but there are times where if I wasn’t making an effort to be home for dinner at least one week night, then I could have somewhere else to be. Because I work a full-time day job AND I’m trying to work a side hustle, I have networking events, markets, customer parties, and educational classes in the evenings. Thankfully, the kids aren’t involved in extra-curricular activities, so their schedules aren’t too crazy.
2. My husband and I have date nights every week.
Ok, maybe not quite every week. BUT, most weeks, we will go out for dinner while the kids are at their church activities. Often we are also doing shopping for the business, but we are at least doing it together! This is often the only time that we have to talk about things with out little ears around, and we definitely need that time to reconnect given our busy schedules.
3. I automate as much as I can.
Whether that is creating workflows for emails or automatic responses, there are small things I do to try to streamline my side hustle. My day job isn’t something I can compromise on and my side hustle is just that – a side hustle. That means it’s something I have to try to fit in…and one way to do that is to automate things.
I have had to do some research, but thankfully also have some amazing friends at CoCreate Lexington who are great resources for apps/software to help small business owners. I’m still learning how to automate things like emails while maintaining that personal experience. I mean, I LOVE connecting with my customers!
Taking an hour on a Sunday afternoon to schedule my posts for the week helps me to ensure that I’m able to reach my customers even if I’m not physically posting at that specific moment. I can come back and respond to their comments, questions, and emails when it fits into my schedule. You know, when I take the time to actually schedule my posts.
Now, if I could just figure out how to get the thoughts that float around my head automatically written into a document… I have some great ideas… Really! But I usually forget what it was by the time I go to write it down…
4. Our kids have chores too.
There is no way that I could manage to hold together a household while doing all of this, so I am glad that my hubby is on board with our kids contributing to keeping the house running. During the week, Nick and Tori wash and put away dishes, take care of the dogs, and do general cleaning when asked. (Yes – we have to ask – because they somehow manage to just walk right past the biggest messes and seem confused when you ask them to clean up something…until you point it out to them.)
When all the kiddos are here, they usually get paired up for chore duty. Washing dishes seems to be the least favorite chore…and mowing the lawn is the most fought over. *shrug* Even with that, I just don’t go back to the kids half of the house most days, haha.
5. Mommy takes time outs too.
Yep, I put myself in time out. But I don’t complain about it! As one of the few introverts in our household, I’m generally the only one affected by the volume level and chaos that ensues when all eight of us are home. I can literally hear my step-kids before they even enter the house on Fridays when they arrive. (Not bad sounds…just loud.) It has taken us most of these five years we’ve been married for DJ to start to understand that I don’t sit in our room because I am ignoring anyone…but because I’m overwhelmed and I don’t want to yell at anyone when I know it’s *me* that is having the issue. So I cope with it by hanging out in our room for a bit, watching tv or scrolling through social media.
I also participate in activities like Moms Night Out. These are great for helping me to just unwind from work so that I come back refreshed to my family. I didn’t know how much I needed to fellowship with other women until I became an Independent Color Street Stylist last year and joined a team of amazing ladies. With our crazy schedules, time with friends always seemed to get pushed to the bottom of the list. This past year, I’ve made more of an effort to reestablish some of those relationships that I had neglected while still learning to blend our family.
There are still things to work on…
For example, I know I need to put my phone down (or computer too) and just be present more often. Some of that is a coping mechanism…but that doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Also, while I still think virtual school is the best choice for Nick right now, sometimes it can be hard for me to be with him all.day.long. Especially days when he’s mad that I’m making him show his work in Algebra. HAHA. One day he will thank us…right?
It’s dinner time in our house and I’m being summoned for that family dinner night…
What tips do you have to improve your work-life balance?
~ Teresa ~
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