Now, I’ll be the first to admit that the terms “career goals,” “caring for children” and “newborn baby” don’t seem to go together. Even the title of this blog strikes fear in the heart of productive moms everywhere. So, from a realist’s standpoint, is it actually possible to make all your career goals a reality while caring for your children, maybe even homeschooling them like I do mine, and caring for a newborn?
I’m here to tell you… Yes, it is! And although it isn’t easy, it’s so worth it.
Stick around because I can tell you how it’s done – just as soon as I get this baby to sleep!
- Throw Out Your Schedule… It’s WORTHLESS!
Y’all, I’m an Enneagram Type 3, a DISC Type C, Left-Brain Oriented, Uptight, High-Strung Perfectionist and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love schedules, to-do lists, organization, and meticulous planning. Nothing makes me happier than a color coordinated schedule with each item beautifully checked off as it’s completed.
Right after my last baby was born, I attempted to keep my glorious daily schedule. “I’ll wake up at 7:00am for an hour of quiet time with my Bible Study and a super large cup of coffee. At 8:00am I’ll exercise, then shower and get dressed. At 9:00am I’ll begin working and accomplish this giant list of duties by 12:00pm…” You can imagine how that played out! The baby was awake half the night and when my alarm went off at 7:00am I threw it at a wall, hoping it would stop beeping and I could get the baby back to sleep. When I finally stumbled out of my bedroom with a screaming baby at 8:29am, like a zombie with a gross cup of coffee because I didn’t realize I was out of creamer, my morning was already behind. And, how am I supposed to exercise when I feel half-dead and I can’t put this crying baby down?
Moms, do you feel me or do you FEEL ME? When you rely on a schedule to keep you as productive as possible and there are SO many things out of your control, the schedule will never go as planned. You can imagine how someone as Type Crazy as I am dealt with “failing” at my daily schedule! It was a major source of stress that could have been avoided with a little realism. A hard and fast schedule is impossible to keep up with when you have a brand new baby, children, and a thousand other variables. Save yourself some grief and THROW IT OUT!
- PRIORITIZE! If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything…
You need to have your priorities in place. What’s more important to you? Plenty of sleep or karate class? Homeschool or exercise? Work or lunch with a friend? And, before you forget… your kids aren’t optional! The baby will need diaper changes, to be fed, and plenty of cuddles. The kids will still need attention and not to feel forgotten. And, those things can’t be planned. They have to be on an as-needed and consistent basis!
The main reason you need to know what your priorities are, is that things won’t always go as planned. On those days (most days, if your family is like mine!) you will need to know what you can sacrifice and what you can’t! If you HAVE to work, homeschool and take the kids to karate today (big tournament coming up?) but you don’t have any critical house chores to accomplish, or if you absolutely have to work, homeschool, and attend a class you signed up for but the kids’ guitar lessons and karate class are optional, you need to know that!
However… Let me insert one ABSOLUTE MUST! If you want to be successful with your business, work HAS to be a priority.
You need to know what things can give and what can’t. Maybe some days or even some weeks you’ll be able to fit everything in that you want, but on those days (or weeks!) where everything is chaos and nothing is going as planned, you’ll know what you have to sacrifice.
- Routine… Now THAT’S Where It’s At!
Okay, I know I just told you to throw out your schedule, but what you absolutely have to have is a ROUTINE. You can’t live without it, girlfriend.
What do you do daily? Don’t put any times on it. No hours, no minutes, no strict timeframe. Instead, have a general routine… First I’ll read my bible and drink my coffee. During the baby’s first nap, I’ll exercise. Next, I’ll get some work done. Before, during, and after all of that, I’ll feed the baby and care for her. After lunch, I’ll homeschool the older kids. In the evening, I’ll take the kids to karate.
And that’s where our PRIORITIES come into play! We have our routine, but when the baby doesn’t sleep and we wake up late… when she wants to be held all morning and exercise doesn’t happen until after lunch and homeschool doesn’t start until 4:00pm… you’ll be able to make the best decision about whether or not karate can fit into your day or whether you have bigger priorities (meetings with clients, piles of laundry, a husband who wants quality time…) which can’t be compromised!
Remember, your business responsibilities are a MUST! Treat them as a huge part of your routine. Sometimes you might be done in an hour and other times it might take half the day, but if you want to continue to thrive in your business you need to make it an EARLY and STEADFAST item in your routine.
- Work is a Priority so Make Every Minute COUNT!
As I’ve mentioned a few times, your business is critical! You have to work if you want to be successful. Those dreams won’t work if you don’t! Your business should be at the top of your priority list (well, maybe right under God, your kids and husband) and early in your daily routine so that it is rarely sacrificed!
When you sit down to get your work responsibilities accomplished for the day, focus! Sign out of Facebook and ignore your cousin’s ranting text messages about her husband’s job. Focus on your tasks and make every minute count! If you don’t finish in your allotted time and certain things still have to be done for the day, fit it in somewhere else. Make sure you do your daily tasks, fit in all the extras throughout the day (like while you’re waiting on your kids to finish karate or while the casserole Is cooking in the oven!) and don’t allow yourself any excuses!
You have big dreams and goals! Be willing to make your business a major part of your day so those dreams can become your reality. Remember not to ever feel selfish for working! You aren’t taking time away from your family by running your business – you’re trying to give them a better tomorrow by working hard today.
- Use a Planner… or BE DOOMED!
Alright, y’all… Listen up! We are not using a planner to color coordinate a perfectly scheduled day. Remember all the reasons that won’t work! However, you need a planner with a calendar. Whether it’s a calendar in a paperback planner or simply the calendar on your cellphone, you have to have something where you can write your unusual, upcoming events.
Girl, when the doctor’s office schedules your baby’s wellness checkup for three months from now on a random Tuesday at 3:15pm, your older kids have a piano recital on the second Saturday of July at 10:30am, you have a meeting with your clients next Thursday at 8:00am and another at 12:00pm, your parents are coming for a visit in six weeks and their plane lands at 9:17pm, and your husband scheduled your oil change for next Wednesday at 5:45pm… Are you going to be able to keep all that straight? And that’s not half of the events typically scheduled in advance for a family of five!
Save yourself some serious humiliation and stress by writing it down on your calendar as soon as it gets scheduled! Review your upcoming events at the beginning of each week so you have those things in mind. No you can’t make a perfect schedule work, but for those events that are hard and fast, you’ll need them written down and saved so you don’t miss your obligations!
- Give Yourself Some GRACE!
Moms, this is the most important item on the list. You have been given the most beautiful gift in the world… your babies. You only get one chance to raise them! Life isn’t perfect and your days won’t be either. Don’t work yourself to death trying to do everything! Enjoy your life, your babies, and your home. Give productivity your best effort, but when life gets in the way just take a deep breath and push forward with a smile. Do what you can and at the end of the day, be proud of yourself for your best effort and content with whatever you accomplished!
I’ve said throughout this blog that you can’t compromise your business. And, while I stand by that, I also know that life is busy. There are days when I have six hours worth of work to do and only an hour to get it done. On those days, I’m super stressed and try to force emails in between other activities… or look at my priority list and compromise something less important so I can spend more time working. There are other days when I have six hours available to work and somehow get done in an hour! On those days, I try to use my extra hours productively by getting ahead on client research, paperwork, or even house work and homeschooling if that means freeing up time the following day so I can work more then. Still other days, I hold my baby and my kids without a care in the world because that’s what they need, and what my own heart longs for.
Sweet Moms… Just do your best and be proud of what you’ve accomplished! You are capable of big things.