Balancing life as a wife, mother, and small business owner definitely has its challenges, but now that my daughter is 14 months old I feel like I’m finally getting the hang of it.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy when I decided to leave my blossoming career in international development to be a stay at home mom and grow my little jewelry design business from a project I’d kept on the side for nearly ten years to something bigger. I knew there would be days when I felt like I failed at everything and days where I felt like I could easily do it all.
Although I don’t claim to have it all figured out, here are a few tips that have helped me find a little balance and keep my sanity over the past year:
Take 30 minutes for yourself.
I made the decision to take a shower every day the first week Jane was in our lives. I didn’t want to be one of those moms who couldn’t remember when the last time she washed her hair or brushed her teeth. To find those 30 minutes to take care of myself, I decided to put Jane in her mamaRoo and turn on an episode of Baby Einstein. I knew Jane was safe and couldn’t get into anything, and she enjoyed listening to the music and seeing the shapes and animals. If you don’t want to use that time to get ready for the day then use it to have a cup of coffee, or practice yoga, or find something else that isn’t about doing chores or taking care of your baby. It sounds silly, but I promise it will help you keep your sanity.
Make the most of naptime.
I thought I was an efficient worker before having a baby, but I quickly realized I was wasting a lot of time. It is so tempting when you finally get your baby down for a nap to just sit down with a nice cup of coffee, put your feet up and relax. So turn off the TV, turn on your favorite Spotify station, and get busy!
While Jane was taking two naps a day, I used her morning nap to tidy up the house, get some laundry done, and prep for dinner. During her afternoon nap I could make jewelry, answer emails, and prep orders to ship. I found that if I tried to work in the morning while there were chores to be done I couldn’t focus on my work.
Save yourself the torture and be realistic. You are human, not Superwoman. If you don’t have a made-from-scratch three-course meal on the table and a spotless home by the time your husband gets home from work, don’t fret. He will forgive you. It sounds silly, but we put an unnecessary amount of pressure on ourselves to be perfect. I wasted many, many hours and even shed a few tears because there were just those days where no matter how hard I tried nothing was getting checked off my to-do list.
I try to keep the house clean and organized because it stresses me out to be in a messy home when I am here all day. But, with that said, we have a junk room that never seems to be organized, sometimes the laundry gets backed up and seems to be everywhere as I’m trying to get it all folded and put away, and if it is my busy season I claim the dining room table as my second office and staging area as I prep for shows. I try to keep up with the cleaning throughout the week and tackle one bigger task a day so on the weekends we don’t have to spend our family time cleaning the house.
As long as it isn’t raining, you can bet that this mamma is going to be outside for some fresh air! As soon as Jane is up from her afternoon nap we head outside for a nice little walk around the block. After having a baby your hormones are all over the place. Most women experience some level of what I like to call the postpartum crazies, from mild baby blues to full-blown postpartum depression, it can become a debilitating and scary place. I found that getting a little sunshine and fresh air could change my entire mood, plus, making exercise a part of your daily routine will make it a little easier to get your post baby-body back in pre-baby shape.
Ask for Help.
Everyone told me to be sure to ask for help when I needed it. But it wasn’t until Jane was almost a year old I realized I really needed help. My business was growing and I was spending my nights and weekends working, instead of spending time with my family. So when Jane was almost a year old, she started going to Children’s Day Out at our church three or four mornings a week to play with her friends. This was the best decision for our family. Jane needed the stimulation and interaction with other children and I desperately needed the baby-free time to work. Suddenly, I had 9-12 baby-free hours a week to tackle my workload. Not to mention, Jane has been thriving with her new routine.
For some reason I thought that I was failing as a wife and mom if I admitted that I needed help, but really the only thing that was making me fail was being too stressed out. So maybe your help is just one free afternoon to run errands alone, or having a maid come every couple of weeks, or having your husband cook dinner a few nights a week. Just figure out what you need and don’t be scared to ask for it.
So there you have it, just a few tips from one mom to another that will hopefully help you find a little balance in your life.
But, most importantly, remember that there are just those days where everything else can wait, and snuggling with your baby is the only thing that matters.