After taking in a newborn foster baby a few weeks ago, I have been bombarded with the same question, almost every day.
“How do you do it all?”
Here I will try to give some tips on how I juggle ‘it all’.
Firstly, I’ll give you some background. I’m an adoptive and biological mother to four boys, aged 7, 5, 3 and 1. My oldest has autism, which is a post unto itself. I am also an active special needs foster parent (currently to a beautiful newborn baby girl). I work part time as a registered nurse in the NICU and I am an active union steward. I also own Bundles and Buzz Promotions and FlipSize Canada. I co-own TOTS and now TOTS Family.
Although it sounds like a mouthful, I do not write this to brag about myself and how I appear to ‘do it all’. I write this post in hopes of giving you a few practical ways to help manage your busy life as a business or blogging mom.
1.Prioritize. I will argue that no one can ‘do it all’. If you are out there, please contact us, we would love for you to join the writing team here at TOTS! I will also argue that some things just aren’t important. These days showering and grocery shopping are not always my top priority. Although grocery shopping is essential, it may not be essential this hour, or even today. Can cleaning the bathroom wait one more day? What about replying to an email on Saturday. Is that essential? Look at your life. Make you priorities and try to stick to them.
2. Make lists. This goes hand in hand with prioritizing. I have a terrible memory. Without lists, my life would honestly fall apart. Organize them by urgency and move things around as you need to. Don’t forget to tick things off as you finish them. Nothing causes a bigger sense of accomplishment!
3. Surround yourself with amazing people. My family and husband are amazingly supportive. I could not run my life without them. I know I am lucky, not everyone has this resource. Do your best to find friends that can provide emotional support and relax you (as opposed to stress you out). Work on relationships that give and take, not just suck the life out of you. Also find smart people and learn from them. Personally I have an incredibly supportive business moms group on Facebook. These women not only provide encouragement, but give advice and feedback. If you can’t find one to join, make one. That’s what I did. (I recommend keeping it small).
4. Get a smart phone. I try not to spend all my time glued to my phone, but, replying to a quick email while waiting for your child to get out of school, or making a Facebook post while in the grocery store line is a great use of (otherwise) wasted time.
5. Utilize apps. This post is currently being written on the WordPress app as I wait for the oil to be changed in my car. These minutes are priceless to me and being able to utilize it is essential! This particular app is amazing and allows me to add images, hyperlink and publish posts from my iPhone. There are also some other great apps for the small business owner. (I see another post idea).
6. Ask for help. Not very many people will offer to help, but many are willing to. We have a good friend who is retired, but is thrilled to come by and simply take the kids for a walk to give me a break. Sometimes all you gotta do is ask!
7. Hire help. I know this isn’t fiscally possible for many small business moms, but if it is possible, do it. I also suggest thinking about where your time is best spent. If you trust anyone to pack orders, but believe there is a science to social media, hire someone to ship. If you are a blogger, look for a blogger willing to guest post (many do this for free).
8. Read the love language books. Several months ago I was struggling with spending enough time with each of my children and my husband. A great special needs parenting course taught me that it was quality, not quantity. By knowing what your family members’ love language is, you can provide them the love they need in the way they will respond most and in the most efficient way.
9. Don’t let yourself get sucked in! Facebook kills me, specifically certain FB groups I am part of. Just popping on for a few minutes can easily kill all the ‘child free’ time you have. When you are working, work (close the tabs as I learned from this post). But along with that, when you are relaxing, relax.
10. Make friends with Google. In the past I have spent hours trying to fiddle with our iPad charger. When I finally logged in and did a google search for ‘why wont my iPad charge?’ I quickly received my answer. (switching the wall plug did not provide enough watts to charge it). Google EVERYTHING. Measurements, IT questions, business questions, government and tax details and Childcare reviews. Warning: if the response seems questionable, check a few sites to verify your answer. The Internet can cause stress and I do not recommend ‘googling’ medical questions. This will likely cause undue stress and misinformation.
11. Say ‘YES’ more. You know how when you first have a baby people offer to bring dinner over? Don’t turn it down! If someone offers to bring my son home from school, my inclination is to say ‘no’. Being an independent person, this has taken practice, but has proven to be vital during this busy time in my life.
12. Learn to say ‘No’. This is probably the hardest one of these 12 tips. I would love to be on the PTA, drive for every field trip, mentor others at work or take one more specialty course. But at this point in my life, I have to accept that I just can’t. Turning down an opportunity may disappoint yourself or others temporarily, but is far better than the disappointment of not being able to meet your expectations.
Bottom line, a lot of the time I am ‘faking it like a duck’ and I don’t think there is too much harm in that!
I would love to hear some tips on how to juggle business and life. Please tell us how you keep up with your busy life.