Do you like how the title of this post sounds like I’m going to give you advice?! The truth is, I’m writing this in our guest room/office, drinking a glass of red wine, with the baby monitor next to me while our almost-one-year-old takes a nap. And I had a legit nervous breakdown a few days ago. Friday I had to bail on a friend’s party because I was too exhausted to get out of bed. So, maybe I’m not the best person to give advice, but I can tell you what is and isn’t working – and hopefully you can take something out of that mess that you will find helpful.
First piece of advice – DO NOT ask for advice about schedules from someone who isn’t a parent AND an entrepreneur. It isn’t that they don’t have great advice about other things, but schedules and time management is hard because they just don’t get it. It’s hard to explain how you have to work during nap time, or after they go to bed, or getting some quick work in by locking your kid in the hallway with a bunch of toys – because it’s the only fully baby proofed room in the house.
The reality is, asking someone for advice who doesn’t understand is just frustrating for both of you. They want to help, but they don’t understand. Instead, focus on things they CAN help you with, and save the kid-specific questions to someone else who may have a better understanding. Being a parent and running your own business is very unique – and business to business creates even different scenarios. It’s not that they can’t help or don’t want to, it’s that you might get some advice like, “Wait until the kids go to school, then start your own business.” Which is actual advice I received from an entrepreneur group I am in…
Second piece of advice – GIVE UP THE SCHEDULE!! Okay, I know some other mompreneurs are probably shaking their heads in horror right now. Every mompreneur scheduling article I’ve seen talks about having a super specific schedule and sticking to it. That doesn’t work for me and it definitely doesn’t work for Nova. We have a laissez-faire attitude in our house when it comes to specific schedules – or at least I do. I’ve always struggled with structure, and predictably, Nova is a bit of the same way. We have a loose structure around bed time and naps – she generally goes to bed at the same time and usually naps about the same time. But, some days she takes 20-minute naps and other days it’s 3 hours, so they are pretty unpredictable.
It was a rough go the first couple of months doing the business full time and being home with Nova most days of the week. We both cried a lot, but we eventually found some structure that works. I gave up the 9-5. I still get about 8 hours+ of work in each day, but it’s in blocks throughout the day, I might do some social media research before she’s awake or while she’s playing in the living room, I work when she’s napping and after she goes to bed, if she’s playing I’ll bring my laptop out to the living room and work so I can watch her, etc. Each day is a little different, but I am still productive.
She’s distracted – quick, grab the laptop!
Third piece of advice – zero in your focus and lower your expectations. Pre-Nova I did a lot, probably way too much. I also could afford the time to be really scattered. So, after Nova was here and I was puttering out through half of my usual tasks, I was incredibly frustrated.
So, I lowered my expectations of what I can get done in a day. I eliminated any tasks that weren’t important or I put them on my “B” list. Every day I reprioritize my “A” list and pick the 3 most important things I should focus on. Whenever she is distracted or napping I laser focus on that list. I then have a third list of things I can do while she’s awake. Some of the cleaning, going for walks, or other around-the-house tasks and errands I can do with Nova and I save the computer work for when she’s asleep.
Most importantly – do what works for you, don’t overwork yourself, and don’t forget about self-care. It’s easy to do – Daniel has to keep reminding me that it’s important to make sure I get as much sleep as I realistically can, eat well, and fit in some type of activity – even if it’s not the amount of working out I’d like to do right now, I try to do something (even 10-15 minutes is better than nothing, right?!) Ask for help and be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask if a friend could come over and watch your tiny tornado while you meet a deadline or take a nap. There are people willing to help! Another idea, take turns with some other mompreneurs – get a group together where you take turns watching kids while they other ones work. We are not islands – we are Mom’s and we need our community!
Speaking of community, I want to hear what’s working for you! I need some advice too! Please comment below with your secret Mom wisdom!